• Sweden edition

Sweden dragged into cartoon row

Published: 09 Feb 2006 19:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2006 19:21 GMT+01:00

“We have freedom of the press in our country and everyone has to take responsibility in the context of freedom of the press, and I appreciate very much the responsibility shown by the Swedish media,” said Freivalds, following a meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee at Stockholm’s Royal Palace.

“But there are those who still clearly want to offend and provoke in this way, and I think that they too ought to show some responsibility,” she added.

SD has invited sympathisers to send in their own caricatures of Mohammed, which will then be published on their site.

Asked whether Swedish diplomatic staff had received direct reactions to the caricature competition, Freivalds replied that she had received word of negative reactions.

“Up to now, I have only got information from Damascus, but I am afraid that [similar reactions] could come from other places.”

Freivalds did not give more specific information about who had given her information or whether the ‘reaction’ included any kind of threat to Swedish interests. She said only that “people” were upset in Damascus, where the Swedish embassy was burned out by rioters on Sunday.

“We have already noticed a reaction in certain countries, where there have already been reactions to the fact that SD have published these pictures on their website, and this could of course have extremely serious consequences for Swedes and Swedish interests,” she said.

SD writes on its homepage, on which caricatures have already been published, that more will be posted soon, but adds that it won’t show all of them, as some “are on the boundary of what is respectable.”

Laila Freivalds could not confirm US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s statement that Iran and Syria have “gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes.”

“I can’t judge exactly what has happened, but certain information points in that direction, although we have no such information in Sweden,” Freivalds said.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the main opposition Moderate Party expressed support for Rice’s statement on Iran and Syria.

Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg repeated his argument that Sweden’s “clear position on freedom of speech” is laudable:

“We seek good relationships with Muslims, but a part of that is to protect freedom of speech.”

Leijonborg, Reinfeldt and Freivalds were all speaking after attending a meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, which is chaired by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

During the meeting, Freivalds briefed committee members on the international row over the cartoons, and Sweden’s protest against Syria over the vandalized embassy. According to Freivalds, there was no discussion following her briefing.

In another development, a television station owned by Hezbollah broadcast a report on Thursday which claimed that Sweden had criticised the prophet Muhammad, Swedish Radio reported.

According to Johan Gärde, an expert in the sociology of religion based in Lebanon, the report was shown in prime time on the al-Manar channel, a large channel with millions of viewers in the Middle East and Europe.

One of the main claims in the report was that Sweden and a Swedish newspaper were depicting Muhammad to provoke and to show that “democracy is more important than religion,” Gärde told the Studio Ett programme.

Gärde said that the report is deeply worrying, adding that it is important that the Swedish government reacts and explains that Sverigedemokraterna do not represent Sweden as a whole.

TT/The Local

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Getinge Floods
Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden showed no signs of abating on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting that the rains are unlikely to stop any time soon. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
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 »

'Assange will not leave until safe'
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
People-watching August 16-17
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Top ten literal Swedish words
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits 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

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:
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: