Factsheet: Sameh Egyptson

Published on 04 May 2023

IMPACT: Sameh Egyptson is a Swedish academic and highly visible public commentator. He is hired as an expert by public agencies and right-wing political parties. Egyptson is engaged in spreading conspiracy theories about an alleged Islamization of Sweden by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sameh Egyptson (formerly known as Sameh Nabeh Basely Khalil) is a Swedish academic and highly profiled public debater. He describes himself as a secular Egyptian Copt with Christian roots. Egyptson has a tourist agency business in his country of origin, Egypt. He also retains a house there, called the Scandinavian-Swedish Culture Center. In 2023, Swedish journalist Bilan Osman reported that the center had business connections with the Egyptian government’s intelligence agency

Following the 2013 military coup d’etat led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt, Egyptson began writing op-eds in line with the Egyptian regime’s view of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptson’s texts are often cited in Swedish public debates about Islam and Muslims. A leading Swedish academic spreading Islamophobic views, Magnus Ranstorp, has been referring to Egyptson for a long time. 

In 2018, Egyptson released the book Holy White Lies about the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged infiltration in Sweden. Egyptson was subsequently invited to an international expert conference by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Authority, a Swedish administrative authority organized under the Ministry of Justice, whose Director General is appointed by the Swedish Government. Egyptson’s book has received harsh criticism from scholars of religion including Frederic Brusi, who described it as “pseudoscience full of bias and circular reasoning that “misses the most basic criteria of academic investigation.” Additionally, Aje Carlbom, an Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, described the book’s arguments about the supposed infiltration of the Swedish political system as “conspiratorial.” The same book with updates and changes has been published under different titles in Arabic, Swedish, and English. In his PhD thesis, he claims that the books are early versions of the thesis.

Egyptson has also been hired as an expert on Islamist extremism by the conservative Moderates Party (Moderata samlingspartiet) in Sweden and has lectured in Swedish towns such as Värnamo as well as in the Swedish parliament (the Riksdag), where he was invited by conservative MP Hans Eklind from the Christian Democratic Party (Kristdemokraterna). In 2021, all MPs received a copy of two of his books. These copies were paid for through fundraising by one of Sweden’s most active anti-Islamic networks Demokrativärnet (Democracy Shield). 

The network Demokrativärnet arranged crowdfunding campaigns to finance the translation of Egyptson’s book, Holy White Lies, from English to Swedish. They are also mentioned with gratitude in the foreword of the translation.

In 2022, the Swedish intelligence service claimed that students at two Muslim schools in the country were at risk of being radicalized, alleging that the schools had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Upon requesting the intelligence service’s report into this matter, it was revealed that Egyptson was the primary source for these allegations. In a January 2023 piece by the Fenix think tank, it was noted that when the intelligence services statement about the school was placed “side by side with texts from research student Sameh Egyptson,” it revealed “that large parts of Säpo’s [Swedish Intelligence Service] statement are plagiarized verbatim from Egyptson’s book and blog texts.” The allegations ultimately led to the closure of both schools. No actual cases of radicalization or violence on behalf of former students have been reported in either of the two schools, which had been in existence since the early 1990s.

In February 2023, Egyptson earned his PhD with a highly controversial dissertation, claiming that a large number of Muslims in Swedish civil society are members of a European Muslim Brotherhood movement, and that the Muslim Brotherhood was an ultra-reactionary organization threatening Swedish security and democracy. Lecturer Torsten Jansson was on Egyptson’s thesis committee and was the only one in the committee active in research. He voted to not accept the thesis, while Paul Katsivelis, adjunct faculty at Uppsala University, and Intelligence and special security employee Torsten Lindquist at the Swedish Armed Forces voted to accept it. The examiner, Khaled Salih, holds a position in the government of Free Kurdistan, but has not published any academic work in decades following his PhD thesis in 1996. Egyptson’s dissertation did not go through a standard ethics procedure despite disclosing family relations, ethnicities, political affiliations and religious convictions, and other sensitive information about approximately a hundred Swedish individuals.

Prior to earning his doctoral degree in 2023, Egyptson was a PhD student at the University of Lund for almost 25 years. During this period, he did not produce any academic research, but did write opinion pieces in the press, claiming to be a scholar. Egyptson has written around forty op-eds accusing many different actors in Sweden, including  the Church of Sweden and the liberal Center Party, of paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptson claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated Sweden, being aided by leftist politicians who, in search of new voter groups, open up for infiltration. He also propagates that the leadership of the National Board of Popular Education should be forcefully acquitted, and has, without empirical evidence, claimed very far-fetched allegations including that Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice, a small Swedish Muslim social justice organization, secretly wants to acquire nuclear weapons. Fenix ​​think tank has found Egyptson to strategically mistranslate texts from Arabic to support his own theses about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of Sweden.

On his blog, Egyptson has offered space for guesta posts. A number of these guests have used this space to spread antisemitic conspiracy theories. In one post, the former Sweden Democratic politician Thomas Flystam (now chairman for the conservative Moderate party in Hylte) writes that Egyptson’s research on the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration reminds him of the so-called “Kalergi plan.” The “Kalergi plan” is a Nazi conspiracy theory created in 1940 by the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi’s official propaganda newspaper, alleging that a small elite in Europe was trying to eradicate the white race and European identity by “importing” people from other parts of the world. In the rest of the post, Flystam writes about this conspiracy theory as if it were true, and advises Egyptson’s readers to buy literature that confirms it. Following public scrutiny of the post, Flystam apologized and distanced himself from the theory of the “Kalergi plan,” and demanded the post be removed. But Egyptson claimed on his blog that the post was removed due to false accusations from “extreme left-wing populists,” and maintained that it was legitimate to compare “the method of the Kalergi plan” with that of the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan.

In 2021, Egyptson posted a translation of a presidential election speech of far-right  French politician, Eric Zemmour. Zemmour, who has previously been convicted of inciting racial hatred, describes himself as “reactionary” and “Bonapartist” and has long propagated the Great Replacement Theory, a theory similar to the Kalergi plan. The text includes several strongly Islamophobic dog whistles, describing expressions of islamic religiosity, such as wearing veils, as “barbarism”.