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RACISM IN FORSERUM
Somali woman 'forced to pour milk on herself'

Somali woman 'forced to pour milk on herself'

Published: 29 Aug 2012 11:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Aug 2012 11:54 GMT+02:00

New details have emerged about the types of harassment suffered by members of the Somali community in Forserum in south central Sweden, with integration minister Erik Ullenhag upbraiding local politicians for trying to belittle the problem.

The new information was aired during a meeting held Tuesday between local public officials and representatives from several Muslim organizations.

"On one occasion, a Somali woman was forced to pour milk over herself in order to symbolize that she should be white," said Rashid Musa of the Muslimska mänskliga rättighetskommittén ('Muslim human rights committee') to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Others at the meeting described people having rocks thrown at local Somalis, girls who had their head scarves torn from their heads, and other Somali women who were spat upon.

Many participants explained that there was no point in reporting the incidents to police, echoing earlier complaints that police in Forserum have done too little or ignored reported incidents completely.

However, local police officer Anders Ydreborg said that language difficulties may be to blame for the lack of formal police reports from Somalis who have been harassed.

"There's no intention from any individual decision maker, whether it be an officer or civilian employee, to refuse to accept a complaint," he told SVT.

The meeting took place following a number of reports in the national media last week detailing widespread harassment of Forserum's Somali community.

According to SVT, the number of Somalis living in the community, located near Jönköping, has dropped from 160 to 95 in the last year as a result of constant racist threats and taunts.

Following the initial reports, local politician and council member Anders Karlsson of the Centre Party argued that incidents were attributable to a local gang of young people, rather than being an indication of any underlying problem of racism.

The reaction prompted criticism from integration minister Erik Ullenhag on Tuesday, who expressed his disdain for any attempt to belittle the incidents by laying blame on an isolated group of young people.

"It bothers me when local leaders have downplayed what has happened," he told the TT news agency.

He explained that communities must instead stand up against racism and xenophobia, as many Forserum residents did last weekend by organizing a torchlight parade which saw hundreds of residents demonstrate on Friday night in support of the area's Somali community.

Zakaria Zouhir, chair of the Stockholm chapter of the Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarna i Stockholm) compared the reaction to the problems in Forserum to how other past high-profile instances of racism in Sweden have been handled in explaining why he planned to attend Tuesday's meeting.

"We pointed to racism at the slave auction at Lund University and were told it was simply some students clowning around. We criticized the culture minister for participating in a racist cake installation at Moderna Museet and got a lesson on freedom of speech," he told SVT.

"And even now we're hearing voices that this isn't about racism and therefore we're choosing to go to Forserum so that the whole country and the world at large can feel the terror what these Afro-Swedes have lived with in recent years."

Following Tuesday's meetings with representatives from several Muslim groups, Karlsson admitted he had a new understanding of the depth of the problem.

"The overall picture is that we obviously see this as racism and have racism in our community," he told SVT.

Ullenhag added that the government is continuing to look at what more it can do to help small communities like Forserum, which has about 2,000 residents, address the challenges that come with an influx of refugees.

"When a small municipality, or community like Forserum, receives a large number of refugees in a short time in relation to the size of the local population, we from the side of the state need to think about what is our responsibility," he told TT.

TT/David Landes

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Your comments about this article

12:43 August 29, 2012 by Mib
Come to Sweden as long as you look Swedish and act like a Westerner!! We preach equality and welcome asylum seekers and other immigrants, but behind the PR BS...we actually don't like you.....but it makes us look good. AND YOU WONDER WHY som epeople don't integrte with society when bigots/racists are allowed to get away with such issues-!!
12:46 August 29, 2012 by Swedishmyth
And you wonder why people become bigots/racists when the government imports systematic welfare takers by the tens of thousands from the same places every year, places where this kind of conduct is systemic.

You won't see the end of racism in Sweden until welfare immigration and government toleration of violent crime are both abolished.
12:56 August 29, 2012 by RobinHood
Perhaps, in future, it might be best if huge numbers of incoming refugee families were not introduced into small villages like Forserum until after a process of consultation. I'm sure if the original residents had been asked their opinion, and their opinions respected, there wouldn't be this problem now.

Consultation and compromise has always been the Swedish way.
13:03 August 29, 2012 by Swedishmyth
@RobinHood

Sweden is a country with a native populace smaller than that of the city of Los Angeles. For it to act as the world's grandest martyr for the sake of refugees (and let's be real about the actual proportion of refugees to immigrants) is collective suicide.

The solution is to stop treating the Swedish people and the products of their work as a free meal for the whole of the third world.
13:36 August 29, 2012 by Twiceshy
Islam is such a religion of love.. errrr.. well... maybe not if you are a girl!
13:58 August 29, 2012 by Cephalectomy
American history x
14:09 August 29, 2012 by canuk
this bs with the importation of garbage from the worlds dumps will continue until SD is voted into power as they are the only ones with the kahones to actually address the issue publicly.
14:28 August 29, 2012 by engagebrain
Everyone legally resident in Sweden deserves to be treated with respect. We don't know the background of the Somali community but they have met the criteria for residence.

Their misfortune is to have left one of the world's trouble spots for another. Instead of finding safety they have been met with violence and,a at best, the indifference of the local police.
14:36 August 29, 2012 by hjoian
I applaud the minister for acknowledging that their is a problem. But while the population as a whole deny there is a problem nothing will change. I know Sweden is trying and does a lot for refugees and immigrants, but sometimes those in charge just dont see the bigger picture.
15:10 August 29, 2012 by Children Of Adam
@ Twiceshy

Do you know 3 out of 5 converts to Islam are women. More women are accepting Islam than men. I would give you the home work to find out why.
16:33 August 29, 2012 by jostein
Quod non est in registro, non est in Mundo.
18:46 August 29, 2012 by Svensksmith
Not that it justifies the racist actions, but this is a perfect example of how the immigration policy is failing. Dumping a bunch of low skilled and uneducated people in an area with a small population and a lack of jobs is a recipe for disaster. Crime goes up and resentment builds between the locals and the newcomers.
19:57 August 29, 2012 by respect4ALL
@svensksmith-i don't see your comment on other stories but see them in news related to immigratin and Islam. u dont just comment but u are always negative about them. u said u live in USA and u live in peace there. theres many black and more muslim who are native americans than in sweden. don't fuel the swedes who live here to be against us. something chased u from here-get more money- and something chased us from somalia-get peace here-. if u don't want us here COMEBACK AND WE'll MOVE BACK. AS LONGER AS U THERE, sweden is ours n aint urs. hypocritical of u.

WHY SOMALI are targeted: one is because they are black and two is because they are Islam. but we dont give a *care* about that.
20:39 August 29, 2012 by Rod Munch
==="When a small municipality, or community like Forserum, receives a large number of refugees in a short time in relation to the size of the local population, we from the side of the state need to think about what is our responsibility," ====

Geez, ya think???? Understatement of the year.

So even though violent crime and rape is nearly always committed by a MENA refugee against an ethnic Swede, that doesn't qualify as "racism." However, the one time there is a "racist" act against Somalis, our Integration Minister mentions the word 'racism' over and over again. Someone is going to have to explain that one to me.

@Children of Adam- What in the world are you doing in a non-Muslim country?
20:45 August 29, 2012 by Social Hypocrisy
As long as swedes keep regarding immigrants as a welfare drain instead of a possible tax boost, these problems will continue.

Putting immigrants in employment is the solution. If there aren't any jobs, change swedens politics to a climate that creates jobs.

As the ever wise Chinese often say. "There are no problems... only opportunities".
21:50 August 29, 2012 by nightwolf
If Somali people don't feel safe here in Sweden, why don't they go back to their country or another country which treat them better than Sweden?
22:14 August 29, 2012 by Swedishmyth
@Social Hypocrisy

Swedes don't "regard" immigrants as a welfare drain; they ARE a welfare drain. It's not their responsibility to "put" immigrants - who didn't have to come here in the first place - in employment under the threat of suffering further national costs.

Natural immigration consists of people from all over the world moving into a country to improve their lives through production, not a homogenous stream of immigrants limited to two regions: Africa and the Middle East. The latter is the result of the combination of welfare statism and multiculturalism (including open immigration).
23:23 August 29, 2012 by truthworthy
I am Somali who lives in a small town with sizable Somali community. In this town none of us have experienced racist attacks. One of the problems that Somalis in Forserum faced is also lack of response from themselves.

They should have responded forcefully. I won't stand idle when someone abuses me with racist attack. If they are hit they should hit back. The police will take a notice when violence flares up.

Now they are making us look silly and cowards. Somalis are strong people who know how to fight. Of course, we didnt came to Sweden to fight but when the authorities ignore the problem, the only option is to defend yourself.
23:42 August 29, 2012 by Svensksmith
@truthworthy Knowing how to fight is one thing, knowing how to support yourself is another. If you can do this, and are actually contributing to the society in which you live, then you can hold your head up with pride.

@respect4ALL I comment on lots of stories concerning many topics so I really don't know what you are going on about. And, as far as your implications, frankly, I resent them. I don't care one whit what race a person is. I work with people of all different races and do not prescribe to the notion that one race is any better than another. It's all really a matter of upbringing and personal character.

Again, what I am saying is that many unskilled immigrants are being placed in areas where there are no jobs. Therefore they either depend or welfare or resort to crime or both. This does not endear themselves to the locals. Pretty simple concept, really.
06:28 August 30, 2012 by SecondGen
@truthworth;

I would hope you're not advocating an 'eye for an eye' type justice, if someone commits a crime you report it, you don't commit an equal or more serious crime in retaliation. That is how the western world works.

@Children of Adam;

My guess would be more girls convert because they have to convert in order to marry a boy they like. One of my daughters friends is marrying a Muslim boy and his family insisted that she convert her faith. She had a terrible time finding an appropriate swim suit around here.

@Rod Munch;

Violent crime against strangers is usually committed by someone who no longer holds out hope for the future. Lack of opportunities will often push people over the limit. If your going to bring in immigrants, you really need a plan to get them contributing to the economy so they aren't idle.
08:57 August 30, 2012 by gumbojinx
as an immigrant to this country i am ashamed of the attitude of 'some' white europeans towards their fellow man. until we realise that we are all one and the divisions we see between ourselves are mirages then we will never be at peace.
09:47 August 30, 2012 by canuk
hey trustworthy, can you publish your address details here?
11:16 August 30, 2012 by hunnysnowbee
It doesn't matter where some one comes from, what language they speak, what colour skin they have or what religeon, if any, some one follows. How some one can treat a fellow human in that way, or even condone that behaviour, is beyond me! At the end of the day we are all the same. We all come into this world with nothing and we all leave with nothing. No one is above or beneath anyone else!
12:08 August 30, 2012 by Migga
Has any of these harassments been proved? As it is now it all seem like something made up from the movie American History X. How come the somali community didn`t report these things to the police but had no problems contacting the media?

"According to SVT, the number of Somalis living in the community, located near Jönköping, has dropped from 160 to 95 in the last year as a result of constant racist threats and taunts."

Has anyone checked if this is true at all? Is the number correct? When did people start moving? Why did they move? According to local reports some people started moving before this started, a year ago, and have no conection to it at all. One shouldn`t belittle the issue but I think we should be open and honest about what really has happend.

@ trustworthy

"If they are hit they should hit back."

Is that your view of justice? It`s very medival. Is that view common within the somali community? If someone hit you then you should report it to the police and take them to court.
13:33 August 30, 2012 by soultraveler3
Comment #1 hit the nail on the head.

The longer I live here, the more convinced I become.

The people in charge here care only about maintaining their shiny facade to the rest of the world. They don't care about (and purposely ignore or try to hide) the problems with immigration / integration, racism, lack of employment, horrible emergency services etc. that are rampant here. Things need to change.

The thing with pouring milk on that poor woman's face is straight out of American History X. It's sick and scary that anyone would copy that.
14:02 August 30, 2012 by Jamal77
Well, every body here is just talking nonsense based on their prejudice about Somalis, as a Somali refugee living in Sweden, here are the basic facts about what most Somali refugees experience, now, In order to get Permanent Residence in Sweden *PUT* you have to attest to the following in your immigration board interview.You are illiterate Somali,never had basic education back in Somalia,you either hail from a minority clan or alshabaab are actually busy chasing your skinny ass,you have a large family somewhere in Somalia to be reunited with, if you say something other than that, say for example, you are educated or speaks English or Arabic or have any other useful skills(vocational wise),or you are 22 or above and SINGLE,Swedish immigration officials will be irritated and its highly likely that you will get negative decision. This is the stereotype about Somalis in Sweden and every Somali understands that he needs to fit in, other wise you will be tied to Sweden without papers and you have no chance of moving to other EU country due to Dublin-II Agreement, you will be shipped back to Sweden.

Now, When you get your PUT, the Immigration forwards your information on file to the Arbetsförmedlingen(The Swedish Job Center) in order to enroll you to one of the Establishment plans, during this period you will be financially assisted while you're learning Swedish and getting some practical job skills, now, can you imagine how someone officially registered as an illiterate will find work? or even continue studies? NO-WAY, now lets say the immigration board came to know that you said that you're an educated person and looked for job based on that,anyway, if you might be wondering, they can know this through the paper they make all refugees sign which gives them the right to share their information with other government agencies (mainly immigration,forsäkaringkassan and Police), they can revoke your PUT on providing false information grounds, This is the life dilemma and the main reason behind Somali refugees unemployment in Sweden, one more thing, all papers from Somalia are not recognized including education certificates, passports,birth certificates..etc, so even if you claimed to be educated and produced papers its not recognized and will be treated as an illiterate, its not worth trying.

Another reason is that swedish emplyers are not easy on emplying refugees even after the swedish government announced some plans where it will pay up to 80% of the salaries of potential emplyed refugees, you might think this is good deal for swedish emplyers, but Hell no, still jobs are very hard to come by for refugees, is this because of the scarcity of jobs in sweden or is it due to hiden racism, im not entitled to judge.

Sweden accepts refugees for its internationl PR reasons,FULL STOP
14:22 August 30, 2012 by M/amin
Mine is to remind you guys talking about the negative side of migration and migrants. For us migration is a new phenomenon but for you (Swedes) is a life-savng experience. We Somalis and or Africa or middle East whatever you call it, we never know the taste of hunger when hundreds of thousands of Swedes migrated to USA, Canada and Latin America. So it sounds ironical to call us people of migration while you know your grandparents were amang the first to migrate. The difference is Swedes migrants never met racism in the those countries. So please you young people do go back to your history books and ask your elders the pain of the famine that engulfed Sweden in late 19th and begining 20th centuries as a result of the first and the second world wars. So please be patient now is our turn of moving circle. Tomorrow we dont know who is going to be on the next move on the migration circle. May be Swedes again.
19:11 August 30, 2012 by Svensksmith
Bullsh!t! My ancestors knew plenty of discrimination in Ireland. And starvation, too. They came to America to make a better life for themselves and faced racism there as well. But, the perserved, worked hard and made it.
21:43 August 30, 2012 by Jamal77
Look at the image attached to the article, it also fits the stereotype, its zoomed to give you certain impression. HA HA HA, too paranoid, Maybe
03:25 August 31, 2012 by Paul Lista
This is a public relations problem for the local Swedes because it communicates to the world that there is hypocrisy within their society. Not only does the Swedish police do nothing about harassment targeting particular immigrant communities and right under its nose, it also outright denies the gravity of those incidents. Yet it's Sweden's own policies which have allowed immigrants from non-Western areas to legally enter the country in the first place.

A Swedish government delegation recently traveled to the Somali community in Minneapolis, United States, to find out why it was doing so much better than the Somali community in Sweden; thriving, in fact. It concluded from all this that it was the stifling Swedish institutional policies themselves, particularly those related to Swedish language fluency and acquiring business permits (too much red tape), that were largely responsible for the stagnation of the Somali community within Sweden.

As someone wrote, the Somalis could easily integrate and thrive in Sweden, as they've managed in Minneapolis and other areas, if they were given a fair chance. It's evident, however, that this is not really what many, though perhaps not all, Swedish people want. Clearly, some immigrants are considered desirable, whereas others (read: non-Western immigrants) are persona non grata no matter what they do. All of this sends a troubling outward message that although Swedish government policies nominally welcome people into Sweden who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families, those immigrants could face discrimination once they enter the country by people who didn't want them there to begin with. To add insult to injury, the newcomers will then be blamed for (quite understandably) being reluctant to integrate.

Here's a simple solution to the problem: change the Swedish laws so that they are in line with the actual far right views of what is clearly a great many Swedish people. Once that happens, non-Western immigrants in general shall, almost like magic, leave the Swedes to their own devices. But of course, such a move would also destroy whatever is left of the facade of local hospitality, warmth and tolerance and leave Swedish travelers open to similar treatment abroad.
04:35 August 31, 2012 by Rod Munch
Many people faced discrimination of the worst kinds when they migrated to the United States in its early days. My grandparents were from Italy and used to tell me about being shut out from jobs, harassed by the police, etc. Much like Svensksmith's relatives, mine also persevered, worked hard, managed not to rape, commit violent crimes, throw stones at police or sexually harass women on a daily basis. And were able to support themselves and their families. I remember what my Chinese-Indonesian friend once told me when I asked her why her country is 90% Muslim and 10% Chinese but the Chinese control all of the important positions in the country? Her answer was simple, "Some people like to work hard and save their money and some people don't."
10:04 August 31, 2012 by Migga
@soultraveler3, Jamal77, M/amin and Paul Lista

So immigrants coming to a foreign country on the other side of the world has no responsibility, the entire blame lies with the government or the natives?
12:41 August 31, 2012 by Jamal77
LoL@Rod Munch, So Italian immigrants to the united states where all saints? No crime no violence, No Racketeering, No counterfeiting, drug trafficking, extortion, fencing, illegal gambling, murder, prostitution, blackmailing.

No Mafiosi culture, No Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno,Colombo,camorra,Ndrangheta ,cosa nostra,..etc

I respect your grandparents strive and struggle for survival, I assume they were honest people who worked hard and earned money by honest means, but only for the sake of this argument how can i be sure that your grandparents where not just another typical Italian American Mafiosi who prey on extortion money and chop off people and stack them in rusted barrels for fun.

Prejudice, bigotry, misconception is a major issue, and one should understand that he must judge people individually based on their behaviour not based on his misconception and prejudice about certain group.
15:03 August 31, 2012 by tadchem
St Ambrose (387 AD): "si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi" which means "if you are in Rome, live in the Roman way; if you are elsewhere, live as they do there."

To live among Swedes one must live as a Swede.
17:35 August 31, 2012 by MitchXXX
Sweden is far away from the Roman Empyre legal system at the same time close to the conditions when that Empyre was taken over by the Barbarians.The result will be the same-lack of civilized society or just getting back to the old traditions may be for senturies and dissapearing of Swedes as local culture.If you go like this Sweden will be converted into a muslim state in Europe.Nothing to fear off it is just new for you but old for the History.Albania was converted by the Otoman Empyre into a muslim state for example.Looking down on people comming from abroad even from Europe is common for the natives here.Believing in miths that Sweden is the best country in the World is good for the patriotic education of the kids but keeps you not seen what is the reality.Greece is a good example for this too.If you asked them only 3 years ago if Greece is going down to the sink they would say you are crazy.Turning a blind eye of the problems now is the best way to fail in the future.
18:19 August 31, 2012 by silversurfer
Did he break that glass?
18:56 August 31, 2012 by Svensksmith
@Jamal

Talk about prejiduce and bigotry....indicting all Italian Americans as being Mafioso. That's just ignorant.
17:18 September 1, 2012 by basenbeats
@ all the white folks

Your politicians chose to bring poor people running from war and famine and give them a safe home. people with little skills and very nomadic in nature, you've got something to say? say it to your politicians.

i never knew Sweden was such a Nazi nation.
21:04 September 2, 2012 by Eyeswideopen
The Swedish politicians are like the rest of the Scandinavian political class - noone is allowed to dissent from the party line. When they started accepting refugees it was a trickle, now it's a tsunami and they don't know how to handle it because to start refusing entry now would be to go against all their original noble principles.

Let's turn the problem around: why do Muslims want to leave their own countries where life and society is centred around and dictated by religion, to come and live in country that is cold and dark for most of the year and totally liberal in most senses. Wouldn't Sweden and its neighbours be better off spending their money in REAL development in those countries and stop indulging corrupt dictators and welfare migration so that people don't want to leave or start going back. When people know there's a comfortable haven a plane ride away, there is no pressure in the country to change the system.

Also, is it being true to Islam to knowingly leave an Islamic country to live in one that is non-Islamic which is totally different in culture and practice. How do they reconcile this.

There will be lots of issues for the next generation to resolve.
22:13 September 4, 2012 by shiraz
The somalis are just pawns in this affair. The swedes have tensions with Russia/ Finland and they are using their proxies (Somalia was aligned with USSR) to attempt to dilute each others' culture. Finland is suffering from ex-Brit/Swedish/Western European proxies (Nigerians?). And so in this way people hurt and destroy and bring each other down. Instead of the world ressembling scandinavia the world is ending up resembling like the hot deserts and the hurtful and scarred people of the tropics / equator/ milder belts. This unfortunate fighting continues and no one can love one another particularly a swede with a fellow scandinavian.
23:59 September 5, 2012 by Vermaldeehide
All you Christians and Muslims are going to learn one day, and when you do you're going to be so mad at yourself for placing your mythologies over the human condition for so long that you can't remember what it's like to be human.

Give up the religion people and grow up. How much longer do we have to tolerate you guys?
21:23 October 2, 2012 by B.olesen
I SEE that the LOCAL has chosen to leave this article intact, EVEN THOUGH it is proven now that the Somali's LIED. RIGHT?

Where's the link to the updated article that explains how the Somalians admitted they lied because they hoped they would be moved to a larger city to be with their Somalian friends?

I LOVE how all you ignorant white haters IMMEDIATELY believe everything you hear and read. REALLY? Pour milk on yourself to make yourself white? I haven't heard of any hate crimes against Somalians, but I hear about violent and horrible crimes perpetrated on young Swedish people by groups of Somalians. You need to start choosing sides now, because the Somalians have already and will always choose the side of their country and religion first, then their race. Whites, christians and swedes do not factor at ALL into their equation. Except as robbery and sexual assault targets.
03:25 March 12, 2013 by daisy1111
Note to self, never visit Sweden. Not that there is anything worthwhile there anyways.

But I always heard Sweden was peaceful. I guess it's easy to be peaceful when you all look the same, are pretty much of the same religion and act the same right?
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28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

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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:
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