• Sweden edition
 
Islam 'Sweden's biggest threat': far-right leader

Islam 'Sweden's biggest threat': far-right leader

Published: 19 Oct 2009 10:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Oct 2009 10:21 GMT+02:00

A number of jurists believe the text, published in the opinion section of the Aftonbladet newspaper, qualifies as agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp).

The Sweden Democrats concluded their annual congress on Sunday in the town of Ljungbyhed in Skåne in southern Sweden.

On Monday, Aftonbladet published an opinion piece by party leader Jimmie Åkesson in which the prominent far-right politician slams Islam.

According to Åkesson, “today’s multicultural Swedish power-elite are totally blind to the dangers of Islam.”

He goes on to claim that more than ten Muslim terrorist organizations have established themselves in Sweden, that Sweden has the most rapes in Europe, and that Muslim men are highly overrepresented among the perpetrators.

“As a Sweden Democrat, I see this as our greatest external threat since World War II and I promise to use all my power to change the trend during next year's election,” writes Åkesson.

Åkesson’s claims prompted academics and legal experts to draw parallels between the Sweden Democrats and the Nazis.

“This is the same sort of propaganda as the Nazis' anti-Semitism,” said Jan Hjärpe, an emeritus professor of Islamic Studies at Lund University, to Aftonbladet.

“This also has racist undertones, because the rhetoric assumes that religious affiliation determines how a person acts.”

Several leading lawyers who spoke with Aftonbladet believe the article borders on qualifying as agitation against an ethnic group.

“I think that the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern - JK) should prosecute it. The article is uniformly directed against and is hateful toward Muslims as a group,” said attorney and media expert Peter Danowsky.

“To single out an entire religion as the greatest external threat is very close to agitation against an ethnic group,” attorney Peter Althin told Aftonbladet.

“A tough jury assessing the boundaries of free speech would condemn this article. It’s an expression of disrespect towards Muslims as a group,” said Per Hultengård, a lawyer with the Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (Tidningsutgivarna).

But Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz said he has no plans to launch a preliminary investigation himself as to whether Åkesson’s article violates Swedish rules governing the freedom of expression.

“This isn’t an obvious case of agitation against an ethnic group. If it had been, I would have launched an investigation myself. But I’ll probably receive complaints about the article and then I’ll look more closely into the matter,” Lambertz told TT.

One controversial claim in Åkesson's article is that Sweden has more rapes than any other country in Europe.

According to Sweden’s National Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet – BRÅ), researchers agree that it’s impossible to assess and compare the actual number of violent crimes and rapes across different countries by comparing the number of crimes reported to police.

“The differences between countries’ judicial systems and their systems for gathering statistics regarding crimes reported to police isn’t just big – it’s really big,” council head Jan Andersson wrote last spring in comments on an EU study on the matter.

“Firstly, we in Sweden have an obvious legal definition of what is considered rape. That means that more cases in Sweden are tried and registered as rape than in many other countries. Secondly, we in Sweden began putting a lot of effort into registering all cases which could be suspected of being rape at a very early stage in the process, which means that we even count cases which later turn out to be some other sexually-related crime, no crime at all, et cetera.”

In Sweden, every individual act reported to police is registered, not just the most recent or primary criminal act. In many other countries, authorities want and remove many cases from statistics.

There is also no basis for Åkesson’s claim that Muslim men are overrepresented among rapists.

“I haven’t seen any scientific articles dealing with this which have reached that conclusion. It’s based on an assumption,” Brå researcher Klara Hradilova Selin told TT.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Åkesson’s article makes clear what the Sweden Democrats want to achieve.

“They have an interest and that’s to differentiate between people, to create an us-against-them way of thinking, cast suspicion on ‘them’ and in that way lay the groundwork for policies by which ‘they’ are thrown out or deported,” Reinfeldt said at an informal press conference on the margins of a Monday morning visit to Gothenburg University.

“Every attempt by those in power to single out the right religion or right nationality, right sexual preference, has always ended horribly. Because as soon as practical policies are to be made using that approach, a dividing up of people begins which is neither manageable nor desirable.”

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

985
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN