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Swedish Islam critic convicted of shoe attack

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Malmö District Court. File photo: Ofog/Flickr
13:46 CEST+02:00
The 55-year-old who battered a Muslim woman with a shoe in Malmö was on Wednesday handed a suspended sentence for assault. He also attacked the woman's daughter.

The assailant was sentenced to 75 hours community service and will have to pay 17,000 kronor ($2,632) in damages to his victims.

In August 2012, the man attacked the woman with a shoe, hitting her on the head and in the face. He proceeded to slam her head against a wall. Once she fainted, he kicked her as she lay on the ground. The 18-year-old daughter's attempt to stave off the attack lead to her being hit also.

The teenager told the Sydsvenskan newspaper last year that the man had seemed "completely crazy". 

"For me it's obvious that he attacked us because we are Muslims," she said. "He was screaming stupid things about immigrants, like 'It's all your fault' and 'You're destroying the country'," she said. 

A nurse from a nearby clinic managed to pull the man off his victims. The 55-year-old at first refused to talk to the police because the first officer who arrived on the scene had an immigrant background.

"There was no doubt that his view of Muslim was extremely hateful," the police wrote in their report. 

The prosecutor had tried to have the man convicted of hate crime (hatbrott), as he attacked the woman without provocation and later told the police he disliked Muslims. The Malmö District Court ruled, however, that there was not enough evidence to conclude that the man had targeted his victims due to their religion.

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The man is a member of the Free Press Association (Tryckfrihetssällskapet), which many consider to be a front to print xenophobic materials. The Malmö District Court reasoned, however, that membership in the association was not enough to prove any motive in the assault case.

Local Malmö politician Mrutyuanjai Mishra earlier this year explained in an op-ed in The Local why he had joined but also why he had left that same association, by writing: "My immigrant background has been used to justify hatred and racism, and to defend a narrow-minded nationalism."

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