• Sweden edition
 
'Hijab appeal' campaign divides Sweden

'Hijab appeal' campaign divides Sweden

Published: 25 Aug 2013 15:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2013 15:51 GMT+02:00

Hundreds of Swedish women have posted photographs of themselves wearing

headscarves on social media sites to show solidarity with a heavily pregnant

Muslim woman who says she was attacked outside Stockholm for wearing a veil.

Police are searching for witnesses to the incident, which is being treated as a hate crime, and has sparked a wave of online protest.

Leftist politicians and celebrities were among those who lent their support to the movement, dubbed "The hijab appeal", by tweeting pictures of themselves wearing the Islamic headscarf.

By Thursday, more than 2,000 people had posted pictures tagged with the "hijab appeal" hashtag on Instagram, mostly featuring women of different faiths wearing the veil.

A Facebook "event" page set up by the activists garnered 10,000 attendees but had to be removed after the comments section was swamped with racist and

sexist remarks.

"The number of hate crimes against Muslim women has increased lately," one of the campaign organizers, Foujan Rouzbeh, told AFP.

However, critics say the campaign trivializes the suffering of women forced or pressured into covering their heads, in Sweden and elsewhere.

"I support protesting against the treatment of the woman who was attacked,

absolutely. Holding speeches, demonstrating," said Sara Mohammad, the head of a charity for victims of honour crimes.

"Not by wearing the veil, which is known around the world as an Islamic symbol for oppressing women. It's not just being forced on women in Iran and Saudi Arabia, it has also become the flag for political Islam in the west."

The Swedish politicians wearing the hijab this week rarely displayed the same support for those fighting for the right not to wear it, sometimes risking their lives in doing so, Mohammad argued.

"This is an injudicious and populist measure designed to attract votes from the Muslim community," she said.

Rouzbeh said critics of the Swedish hijab campaign had taken it out of context.

"We're not trying to belittle people's experience of having been forced to wear the veil ...we're basing this on veiled women who wear it out of choice. Those women should have the right to do that without being attacked," she said.

Muslim women were being used as scapegoats in the face of rising unemployment in Sweden and the rest of Europe, said Rouzbeh, who met the justice minister on Wednesday.

"None of us are saying this started under the current government, but we would argue that it has increased because they haven't taken this threat seriously."

The group is demanding a commission be set up to investigate the problem of

violence against veiled women, and also wants the government to ensure a ban

on newsreaders for public broadcaster SVT wearing the garment is lifted.

Rouzbeh said the rise of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, which the latest polls indicate would be the third largest party in an election, and a negative image of Muslims in the media had stoked violence and harassment of women wearing the hijab.

But there is little data to support claims of a surge in the number of Islamophobic hate crimes.

Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention said 306 such crimes were reported last year, compared with 278 the previous year and 272 in 2008.

Social anthropologist Aje Carlbom of Malmoe University said Swedish attitudes towards the hijab were largely positive, unlike towards the full-face niqab sometimes worn by more conservative Muslims.

He said he was not aware of any rise in the number of people who opposed it.

"Ever since we began having immigration from the Muslim world, it's been claimed that (dislike of the veil) is increasing, that it's widespread, and so on," he said.

"I don't know why this is happening right now."

AFP/The Local/pr

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
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

877
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