• Sweden edition
 

'What do the Sweden Democrats want to do with us Muslims?'

Published: 21 Oct 2009 16:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Oct 2009 16:20 GMT+02:00

It is a very worrying development that the Sweden Democrats now think it possible to score political points through the open use of the same kind of rhetoric used to denigrate Jews in the 1940s. The party feels comfortable propagating pure lies in an opinion piece that's out there for all to see; their calculation is that this won't be a problem, since they assume that antipathy toward Muslims will predominate in the public debate.

When it comes to the view of Muslims in today's society, the apparent dehumanization and total lack of nuance lead to a situation in which Muslims are viewed as an inordinately terrifying phenomenon. This is driven home by the fact that the Sweden Democrats' frontal attack is met by a deafening silence from the country's otherwise so vociferous leader writers.

The Sweden Democrats have a right to express themselves, and should preserve that right, but in a democratic society there is nothing forcing people to listen. Freedom of expression is an important foundation, which enables people to take a stance on the kind of society they want Sweden to become.

What's surprising is that the media establishment has received the Sweden Democrats' views with a sense of calm. The party's message contains errors that are misleading or, in some cases, consist of pure propaganda. Despite this, a lot of what they say is permitted to pass without critical examination, vocal protests, or sober counter-argumentation. This offers a snapshot of the current societal climate with regard to Muslims and Islam.

What the Sweden Democrats portray is an enemy within, in a society they wish to divide into "us against them". Such views have never led to a healthy, peaceful society, and Åkesson's propaganda represents a direct threat to the 200-year tradition of peace we have here in Sweden.

It would be particularly troubling if the established parties were to replicate the Sweden Democrats' rhetoric, providing succour to this sort of propaganda. We have seen it before in Europe - in Srebrenica for example, where 7,000 to 8,000 Muslims were murdered simply because of their identity. This happened just fifty years after the Holocaust: the kind of outrage that was never supposed to happen again.

There's a risk that Islamophobia and intolerance will become established and accepted in Sweden. Is that really the kind of society we want to live in?

A major Gallup poll thought to represent the opinions of 90 percent of the world's Muslims has shown that 93 percent are against acts of violence. None of the 7 percent who did not respond that they were opposed to violence cited religious reasons. They made reference instead to political reasons, such as achieving freedom from oppression. This is the same freedom considered so fundamental to Western values.

The study also supports the view that young Muslims, contrary to what Åkesson might claim, do not want extremism, fanaticism or violence; instead they strive for freedom, rights and democratization. The survey also showed that Muslims view Islam as a religion that confers on them a sense of meaning, direction, purpose and hope.

Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice (Svenska Muslimer för Fred och Rättvisa) is Sweden's first Muslim peace organization. Our aim is to be one of the foremost organizations promoting peace and security in Sweden and Europe, based on justice, Islamic principles, and human rights. With this in mind, we have previously invited the Sweden Democrats to debate with us; we have engaged in a dialogue with them because we believe in talking to those with dissenting opinions. We believe in a society characterized by diversity, which is why we find the Sweden's Democrats' rhetoric so frightening.

The party openly displays its defiance towards Swedish values such as respect and tolerance. It is extremely important going forward that the established parties do not slip under the net and co-opt the views the Sweden Democrats are trying to propagate, rather than countering them. The Sweden Democrats want to create the kind of society that can not be achieved by peaceful means in light of the prevailing conditions in multicultural Sweden. It is with this in mind that their election promise to do all they can to create a uniform Sweden raises so many critical issues. Just what do the Sweden Democrats want to do with us Muslims?

The question brought to a head by Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats is that of the kind of society we want to live in. I am certain that I don't want to live in a society pervaded by opinions that are laced with hatred, ignorance and intolerance, and in which not all individuals are permitted to feel safe - regardless of who the messenger might be. What kind of society do the Sweden Democrats want to live in?

Anna Waara's article first appeared in Swedish on October 21st in Svenska Dagbladet, an "independently liberal-conservative" newspaper (see link below)

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons

A man in central Sweden was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault on Friday after doctors noticed that both his twin sons had sustained serious and unexplained injuries. READ  

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money. READ  

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job
Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/TT

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job

Three Swedish soldiers risk prison after they were found to be drunk while guarding Stockholm's Royal Palace. The men, who were all armed at the time, were charged on Friday. READ  

Stockholm
What do the Swedes do when summer's over?
Photo: Isabela Vrba

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?

The heatwave is well and truly over, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. With this in mind, The Local's Isabela Vrba chatted to ten Stockholmers about how they plan to tackle the autumn. READ  

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend

Swedes are spending more than ever on makeup - and a growing chunk is going directly to their fingernails, new figures showed on Friday. READ  

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops
The pharmacy section of a grocery store. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops

After a drastic increase in the number of paracetamol poisonings in Sweden, authorities have said the drug should only be available in pharmacies. READ  

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden
File photo: Andreas Hagerman/Flickr

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden

After finding traces of listeria in ham sold in Sweden, food companies decided on Friday to recall several Danish cold cuts. READ  

Sweden Floods
More rain expected as floods hit day four
Photo: Anders Kjellberg/TT

More rain expected as floods hit day four

UPDATED: Sweden's floods showed no signs of abating over Thursday night, with highways closed, emergency teams working overtime, and more rain on the way. READ  

Ikea opens first store in the Balkans
An Ikea city centre store in Hamburg. Photo: TT

Ikea opens first store in the Balkans

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has opened its first store in the former Yugoslavia, near Croatia's capital Zagreb. The move marks the company's first step in an expansion to the Balkans market. READ  

Elections 2014
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'

With national elections around the corner, political scientist Stig-Björn Ljunggren says there's a hive of activity behind the scenes, and that the right-wing nationalist party could end up being the key player. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Politics
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

714
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