• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden Dems slammed for 'Muslim rape' jab

TT/The Local/dl · 8 Jan 2014, 10:30

Published: 08 Jan 2014 10:30 GMT+01:00

The latest controversy stemming from statements by top brass of the far-right nationalist party started with a Facebook post by Michael Hess, vice chair of the Sweden Democrats in Karlskrona in southern Sweden, in which he wrote that "rape is deeply rooted in Islamic culture".

When asked about Hess' comments, Linus Bylund, press secretary for party leader Jimme Åkesson, said the statement couldn't be construed as racist because it was factual.

"It says in the Koran that rape can be used against women who have been unfaithful. It's a Muslim form of punishment," Bylund told the Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) newspaper.

When pressed by BLT about which passage in the Koran condoned rape as a form of punishment, Bylund said he did not know.

"I'm not sure exactly. I don't know exactly what's stated in the Koran, but it's been shown that that's the case."

Jan Hjärpe, a professor of Islamic studies at Lund University, rejected the Sweden Democrat's claim.
 
"It's not true, it's not in the Koran," he told The Local. "But it's rather common in parlance, you can hear this kind of thing in environments where there are ethnic tensions," he added, pointing to similar occurances in the Balkans during the nineties.
 
Hjärpe said that rape wasn't a punishment under Sharia law either.
 
"This is wrong too, it's not in sharia texts at all. There have been some examples in tribal systems, there were cases in Pakistan and Bangladesh for example, where a village council gave a verdict for rape, but it's not Sharia at all."
 
"I think he just repeated what he heard, or what he read. There is a lot of misinformation and Islamophobia on the internet."
 
Hjärpe was quick to add that the misconceptions can head both ways, and explaind that in certain Islam enviroments, people selectively quote from the Bible to show "how bad Christians are".
 
"But this is a special case indeed, where the quotation is based on something completely false."Bylund's statement caused consternation on the political landscape, with Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund calling the claim ignorant.

"It comes from ignorance and could signal distancing yourself from people of another religion," Hägglund, who also heads the minority Christian Democrat party, told the TT news agency. "Of course I strictly distance myself from this kind of statement."

The prime minister also said he was critical of the statement and said it was telling of a wider attitude among the Sweden Democrats.

"It's an example of us-versus-them thinking that permeates much of the Sweden Democrats' rhetoric," Fredrik Reinfeldt said.

"Let's see if he become the targets of exclusion now," the prime minister added, in reference to the Sweden Democrat party's efforts to cull outspoken racists from its ranks late last year. 

Speaking later with the TT news agency, Bylund claimed he was misquoted by BLT when it came to what the Koran says about rape.

"I said it was naive to believe that this hasn't occurred as a punishment in Muslim countries. I don't care if it's in the Koran," he told TT, adding that he's never read the Koran.

Story continues below…

Bylund described Hess's statement as "inappropriate" but maintained that rape is considered by some Muslims as a form of punishment.

"There are examples of people using rape as a form of punishment and claiming it's because they follow sharia," he told TT.

He explained further that Hess' statements on Facebook should not be considered public statements and that they don't amount to racism.

"It's not racism. It's inappropriate, but I don't understand what it has to do with racism. Islam is never going to be a race; it's a value system, an ideology," Bylund told TT.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea threatens to shelve Russia growth plans
Everything Moscow. Photo: Maxim Murmur/AP

Will the Swedish furniture goliath retract its rubles?

Swedish police brace for 'unpredictable' pope
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Nobody knows quite what to expect when Pope Francis visits secular Sweden this autumn.

Could this Swedish finding help cure alcoholism?
What causes alcohol dependency? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Scientists hope their findings will end the stigmatization of alcoholism.

Man jailed for six years for asylum home arson
The district court in Västmanland. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A court in western Sweden has sentenced a 28-year-old asylum seeker to six years in jail for starting a fire at the asylum centre where he lived.

Volvo on hunt for 400 new engineers in Sweden
Want to help build one of these? Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Want to work in Sweden?

Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas
Tell me why I don't like Mondays. Photo: Marcus Lindblad/SvD/TT

July is Sweden's most heart-warming month.

Woman told she's not Swedish enough for a job
A sun bather wears a Swedish flag hat to celebrate National Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's discrimination watchdog is on the case.

Really hungry elk wreak havoc in Swedish forests
Om-nom-nom. Photo: AP Photo/Becky Bohrer

"It's an emergency situation."

Swedish hotels cash in on business travellers
Visitors are flocking to Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Business travellers have been flocking to city hotels in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm this summer.

Opinion
'More men must stand up against abuse in Sweden'
Equality Minister Åsa Regnér. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden's equality minister Åsa Regnér on why the government is introducing a new strategy on male violence against women.

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
How good is Sweden for expat life?
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Landskrona, Skåne
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th-28th
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,373
jobs available