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'Lynch mob' prompts refugees to flee town in northern Sweden

David Landes · 22 May 2009, 11:56

Published: 22 May 2009 11:56 GMT+02:00

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“I thought that Vännäs was the perfect place for us. And there are many, many friendly people here. But we still don’t dare to stay; I’m seriously concerned about my children’s safety,” said father of five Ismail Ramadan to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Ramadan’s family and several others have decided to abandon plans of starting a life in the small community outside of Umeå less than two weeks after a group of 30 to 50 young people assembled outside the apartment building in which the refugees lived and began shouting threats and throwing stones.

The May 9th incident resulted in several broken windows and many frightened refugees.

“I can’t even describe to you how horrible it was. ‘Now it’s over, here they come!’ I thought,” Ramadan told SvD.

“We all cried and screamed. We spent the whole night lying in the hall and held each other tightly.”

The weekend of harassment prompted municipality refugee coordinator Ingrid Lindroth to evacuate the refugees to safety.

“I made the decision after speaking with a number of refugees who were extremely scared – simply terrified. It was an easy decision,” she told SvD.

But the move was criticized by police, who characterized the decision to evacuate around 40 refugees as “significantly more drastic” than necessary, adding that it complicated the police’s investigation into the incident.

“We don’t believe this is a racially motivated dispute, but rather a disagreement between a number of young people, some of whom live in the refugee building and others from the area,” said local police commander Uno Nilsson to SvD the at the time of the incident.

According to the Västerbotten-Kuriren newspaper, the dispute began when a group of local youths confronted a refugee boy about the assault of a local girl which took place Tuesday night.

The initial school yard confrontation, during which the refugee boy was pressed for information rather than accused of involvement in the assault, but was also allegedly pushed to the ground, escalated during the course of the week through subsequent run ins, culminating in the weekend's disturbances.

The day following the attacks, several hundred Vännäs residents gathered to demonstrate in support of the refugees and to denounce what they perceived to be racially motivated attacks.

While the families were welcomed back to Vännäs with flowers after the evacuation, about 30 out of the roughly 70 refugees have ultimately decided to move out of the community of 4,000 residents, much to the dismay of local politicians.

“It’s not confirmed that they will leave yet, but if they do, it is obviously a failure on our part. No one should need to leave Vännäs because they are afraid or worried,” municipal council member Johan Söderling told the newspaper.

Story continues below…

Police are also still investigating the matter in hopes of clarifying exactly what took place and who or what may have lay behind the attack.

Prosecutor Lotta Sundström expected it would take at least several more days for her office to make sense of the more than 20 different complaints which have been submitted.

“No one has yet been informed that they are suspected of a crime,” she said to SvD.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:28 May 22, 2009 by "green Swede"
Hell,does anybody proof read these reports?counted 5 or more "typos" it was a bit of a struggle to read and defenitely not the first time i've noticed this on the local,not very professional me thinks. sigh!
13:45 May 22, 2009 by zeero
What did you expect to happened? SE people will not take such an action unless they had a good reason to do so...

and since the police in SE are meant only to be beautiful the next level of law enforcement is people take it into their own hands..

Simple, it happened in NY during the 80 and it's starting here now..
14:07 May 22, 2009 by martell
Maybe the politicians should ask their citizens first if they agree to let in thousands and thousands of foreigners from cultures which do not go with the local culture.
14:29 May 22, 2009 by Kooritze
Come tough economic times in Sweden......I mean really tough times which is largely alien to most in this land........there will be more of this sort of thing, plus a sharp rise of right wing motivated crimes. In my opinion, racism is rife here and it does not take long to realise it. For example, all crime it seems is next to automatically presumed to be commited by foreigners........because the Swedes of course are special, harmonious and good clean living ayran people!

Ignoring, widespread alcohol abuse, pill popping, sucide level, unsociable, jealousy of each other, two faced, materialistic to the extreme, abuse within marriage and relationships widespread and dillusional about how great the country is.
15:05 May 22, 2009 by wabasha
I'm not sure these 30 to 50 young people should mess with Iraqis. they have (most likely) seen violence that would make the average swede poop his pants. A level of mutual fear needs to be established.

Kooritze is a tough on sweden, the whole world is guilty of most of that, except for the unsociable part.
15:10 May 22, 2009 by David Landes
Dear "green Swede"-

Thanks for drawing our attention to the typos. They have since been corrected.


David Landes

The Local
15:48 May 22, 2009 by powerofknowledge
Commonely we listen to Rac** People talking about immigrants here and wat they do,,, NOW wat will those people say about the Swed the first World, throwing stones against refugees and Peacefull Families and scaring thier Children is that the justice and cilivilization of the Swedes and forcing them to flee , stop that lie and stop blamining immigrants and claiming cilivilation look at the Staitics Byrå scb.se , look at DN, they said that the immigrants esp IQ have higher education percent, than the swedes, u will not accept the others, even if u WRONG, those people are more peacfull than u they just want to live in peace
15:55 May 22, 2009 by Jamtjim
Blimey! That little lot was a single sentence.
16:10 May 22, 2009 by Mzungu
Haha...Likely a set-up! Who is keen on living in the far north when one can have all amenities supplied a great deal further south?

*happened with 'boat people' many years back*
16:11 May 22, 2009 by Puffin
I'm surprised that the article does not mention the assault of the girl which seems to have been the flashpoint for the trouble.
17:52 May 22, 2009 by DidiE
This link you sent goes to a site that states that the blog in question does not exist. I am confused about the things I have read here today. It is difficult to find reliable source material for at least two of the issues that have been discussed- rapes by nonSwedes, and this story, which, I suppose, might also be a suspected rape by an immigrant.

I conclude that I can't take anything I read at face value, particularly when source data is nonexistent. Puffin, is there an article in Swedish that you have read?
17:57 May 22, 2009 by longtime
Like the British and Americans I assume you mean.
18:01 May 22, 2009 by "green Swede"
dear mr landes

your response is commensurate with the expected professionalism already mentioned,thank you.But at the risk of seeming petty-"the may 9th incident resulted in several windows and many frightened refugees" several windows...hmm anyway they say third times a charm.

yours "Green Swede"
18:36 May 22, 2009 by KnowledgeIsPower
Sorry DidiE, but my post was deleted apparently. Just google the town name and lynch mob, and you should find the blogspot site. The site then links to two other news sites in Swedish. But once again, as Puffin said, this incident did not arise out of nothing.
18:49 May 22, 2009 by jacks
That's true. Few days back in blogs I read that it was an "act of revenge" in response to an incidence of assault by few immigrants on an innocent girl.

"Taking Revenge" is not a sign of wise community and immigrants did not deserve any amount of response, simply due to their ignorance about laws in Sweden. It is good to see this community welcoming back their immigrant friends.
19:03 May 22, 2009 by Plowbridge H. Broad
And you complained about typos?
20:36 May 22, 2009 by Jamtjim
Good to see that you are doing your bit to create a stereotype of a brain-dead, rasist, Frenchman there idylie.
20:58 May 22, 2009 by Greg in Canada
What is going on in Sweden? I really don't understand why a country like Sweden would ever want to immitate a US/Canada type of "multiculturalism" when you had a distinct homogeneous northern European culture and no history of colonial expansion. You've created your own monster with your immigration policies. What were your politicians thinking?
21:33 May 22, 2009 by "green Swede"
mr "broad"

you can have you're ' e,but then again i ain't editing a major online newspaper, is I?
21:59 May 22, 2009 by Plowbridge H. Broad
Don't call them major, they have delusions of grandeur as it is, innit?
22:36 May 22, 2009 by Eurostan
this is new to swedish people. but this kind of things happen with muslims in many countries on daily basis.

girl issue is the main cause of dispute of gujarat riots in india where thousands of muslims are killed in riots.

where ever muslims are there this kind of riots are very common. police have lot of work to controll these muslims.

muslims proved that they are controvercial in sweden also.

there is no problem with other immigrants from vietnam or thailand or china. in recent weeks there are lot of controversies about these muslims in sweden from southern malmo to north umeå.
22:44 May 22, 2009 by Jamtjim
Oh yes they're all creeping out of the wood work today...
22:56 May 22, 2009 by "green Swede"
Fair nuff.G.S
23:10 May 22, 2009 by Playmaker
it is time to stop taking refugees and limit immigration just like finland and norway. or soon we will have shira law just as england, holland, denmark, and almost germany. i do not think finland has any problems with the immigrants they take.
02:40 May 23, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
This is a poorly written article because it really says nothing and leaves a lot to the imagination.

"We all cried and screamed. We spent the whole night lying in the hall and held each other tightly." --- I knew it! The police are in on it!!! They refused to even show up when they got the 112 call!

Sorry this article was very poorly written and had too much sensationalism. 30 to 50 young fascist skin heads attacking every single immigrant family in the building!!!

Get more facts before creating perceived racial problems, where there really may be no problems, by sensationalizing an event!
03:42 May 23, 2009 by moh
similar case to one in överkalix...about six local guys attacked a group house where 8 children lived, actually sleeping at about 3 am. no police nothing.

left a broken windows,a 16 yr old glass cut face.

what if that glass hit an eye? sliced the throat?

does it make sence to live in an unsafe enviroment because one wasn't safe at home?

May be these type of victims should reseek assylum from migrations verket to live in another town.
10:55 May 23, 2009 by voidplay
The world is GLOBALISED you hate the word, people are resources just like oil

Those few Swedes who are critical of Iraqi and Afgani 'refugees' will not be so

When they know how many billions Sweden will make out of reconstruction contracts, telecom, selling Trucks, and weapons (bofors, gripen etc etc)

Ever wonder why Sweden imports oil from the ME than from Norway.

Because it is cheap .... Cheaper than for some of these 'Third world' countries
11:11 May 23, 2009 by Rubbi
So enlighten me as to when British goverment changed the laws of the UK to Sharia law. Can't say i've noticed Hollan Denmark or Germany changing their laws to this either.
11:37 May 23, 2009 by Nutcracker
Rubbi: the British govt didn't "change the laws of the UK to Sharia law." What it did was to permit Sharia Law to be set up as a parallel jurisprudence in Britain: "Sharia Courts" conducted by Imams, dispensing 'justice' in "domestic matters", an area of law in which Moslem females are particularly disadvantaged because Sharia Law is based on three inherent inequalities in Islam: between Moslem and non-Moslem, between man and woman, and between a free man and a slave (slavery still exists in several Moslem-dominated countries). Sharia Law is antithetical to Western Law. Also, if a non-Moslem enters into a contract with a Moslem, it becomes a matter of dispute as to which court would hear the case: a "sharia" one in Britain or a British court.
12:30 May 23, 2009 by RoyceD
So a school yard racist dispute turns into a lynching of residence by swedish people on immigrants and somehow this is a problem caused by Muslims... I mean you can't even comment on that type of stupidity.

Swedish people are racist at a generally higher level than other countries I have visited. I mean for crying out loud... you called chocolate coconut balls n*gger balls up until very recently. That just shows a level of ignorance like no other. Sweden really needs to feel the shame they deserve when it comes to their genophobia.

As far as I can remember Sweden has the most number of passports out of the country per capita in the world... imagine if other countries started to shut their border to you racists. Try making it through winter after winter when you can't fly off to thailand.
12:37 May 23, 2009 by Jamtjim
With respect RoyceD but I dont think that most of the pepole who post rasist statements here are swedes but rather either white european immigrants or people who live abroad with some type of agenda. Most of the swedes I have met are not (at least openly) rasist like this .
14:36 May 23, 2009 by Eurostan
so many indians are there to comment. i am from india.

there is a serious problem with muslims in india.

almost every school with muslims have same problem like above.
15:32 May 23, 2009 by Rubbi
The Sharia Law courts work under the arbitration act same as the jewish community has had for over 100 years in England. It is not a paralell system though who knows one day what would happen
15:35 May 23, 2009 by 7
i found this article on DN about the incident. it mentions the attack on the girl but in a context which leads me to believe that these "youths" are truly a hateful, vengeful mob acting on nothing more than hatred.

there's even quote in the article of one of the youths of the area who said something like, "the guy who hit her deserves this reaction, but not the collective of the immigrant families"
16:28 May 23, 2009 by LostInSweden
Europe is dead...


and Sweden is in Europe...

What can we expect for the future?
17:28 May 23, 2009 by Kaethar
Bullshit. Prove it. Any study done will tell you otherwise.

They're called negroballs. Sorry if this offends you.

Ignorance? You sure you're using the right word?

Why? We love sex.

Are you Bosnian, by any chance?
18:00 May 23, 2009 by Keithy
Hmmm, a quality debate, and no mistake.
18:25 May 23, 2009 by Nutcracker
RoyceD: If you think a name for a Swedish concoction is "racist", what would you make of the fact that, in Arabic, the name for a black man and a slave is the same word because of Islam's almost 1400 year history of running the slave trade in Africa? People should be able to debate and discuss genuine and legitimate concerns without grabbing for the nearest insult term (xenophobic, racist, fascist, nazi, far-right (try far-left BTW if you are describing Hitler's party which was totally left-wing). Eurostan is right about India and Moslems: during islamic rule, they slaughtered over 80 million Hindus, Buddhists and Janists. As for Sharia law in Britain, in Sharia a woman's testimony is regarded as half that of a man; also the Koran 4.34 mandates for men to beat their wives thus legitimising domestic violence, etc)
19:58 May 23, 2009 by moh
it's true that there is racism in every race....am sure if africans, arabs or any other race was ruling the world as the case of the westerners, the race that is at the top would be looking down on other races,and ofcourse violating international laws inorder to protect their intrests...i guess it's only a matter of getting the opportunity.

now' i wonder if racism is really prejudice due to race(colour) ...i would appreciate hearing your thought.

is it correct to deal with issues of race,culture religion as one??
11:35 May 24, 2009 by jimmyjames
First off this article is very misleading in that it does not bother to explain that there was a serious incident that led up to the expulsion of the immigrants. Second, let me tell you what I have personally witnessed time and again : at first the refugees are muslim refugees are very humble and quiet and polite. As time passes and their numbers grow then they want to build a mosque, then they want the locals to start recognizing and respecting "Shiria" law, ect. Then you'll start getting "guest" clerics coming to speak at the mosque preaching a very radical,anti-western, jihadist, type sermon(s) and recruiting local muslims for more indepth "religious"instruction. Everything in the muslim religion and culture is COMPLETLY opposite to the equality,democratic,personal freedom Swedish culture. Keep letting all these refugees into your country..you are in for a very rude, very shocking, very illuminating experiance. You are slicing your own throat.
13:20 May 24, 2009 by Eurostan
dear jimmy james

you are perfectly correct. we read one news in thelocal that one women has 7 children. they grow up very fast.they are humble until they get swedish passport.

once they get swedish passport they will show their power united, want to build mosque. mosque is the good place where they can organize EVERYTHING. if anything happened to the mosque it will became international news.

13:35 May 24, 2009 by voidplay
World we need to deal with it but not this way .....

Think of the time when in few years 50% of the world youth would be Muslims

Radical ones are always a problem ...

About the incidents in India it happens in the North where there is deep distrust but not in the south, where people (generally) leave their religion at home.

It is important not to allow sharia laws or even burqa in schools .... atleast the younger generation should be bound less by religion

Religiousness is the same as racism and nationalism ..... Looks like you need a little bit of all to be considered a 'Good citizen' and too much of any will make one a radical.
13:43 May 24, 2009 by Eurostan
criticizing muslims is not racism. muslims are also problem in countries like india and thailand with other religion.


you can read a lot . those incidents are not europe . but europe also having same problems now.
13:56 May 24, 2009 by Stewie Griffin
I'm gob smacked at the levels of ignorant comments displayed on this thread. Seriously.

You talk about these violent Muslims taking over Sweden and not respecting the Swedish law, but think the behaviour displayed by this group of thugs is justifiable...

Talk about double standards...

I wonder what happened in your lives that makes you so distrustful and scared of anyone that's just not like you. So much so, that you can no longer see the wood for the trees.
13:59 May 24, 2009 by Stewie Griffin
In a way, I hope you're right
14:20 May 24, 2009 by Eurostan
every human must read this article everything about islam.

14:22 May 24, 2009 by 7
or cheesecake.
14:33 May 24, 2009 by oddity
I am living in France and can't say a single nice thing about muslims. No.

I don't care what ideologies or theories sociologists are coming up. I am talking of practical experience. The real world, not on the paper.

I used to feel admiration for Sweden until I learned that you swedes began the same thing that began in France in 1981 where we took an unlimited year by year supply of muslims until we couldn't walk safely on the street of the big cities. Really, if even the swedes do not understand basic facts, who will in this world ? what'll be left ? Norway ? don't think so.

The muslims thrive on demography. Not on work. Not on being able citizens of their country of adoption. They just make lots of kids, live in welfare and wait until they'll be numerous enough to dominate the region.

An Israeli sports team couldn't even play in Sweden recently without having the muslims minorities throw a fit. Reminds me of 1939 Germany. Muslims are oriental nazis.
14:35 May 24, 2009 by 7
well then, you ought to listen to your mama's wisdom and not say anything at all...cuz it's really like...we don't care. you're in france, we're in sweden, get over it.
14:44 May 24, 2009 by oddity
You'll eat your words when the muslims will become majorities in some Swedish neighborhoods, just like they did in other European countries.

After a certain threshold the native population can't take it anymore. Be it the British, the Italians, the Greeks, the French, we've all seen the true face of Islam. You've yet to experience its oriental pleasures, 7. Sweden is like a virgin asking for a rape.
15:33 May 24, 2009 by voidplay
The problem is not with Muslims themselves, but the more isolated they become from the rest of the population the more radical they would want to become.

A part of the problem is with the administration itself, to make sure things like Sharia or Burqa does not become mainstream just to be PC.
16:46 May 24, 2009 by DidiE
In which European countries are Muslims the majority?
17:14 May 24, 2009 by kmbr
None currently.

I like to try to be respectful of everyone. In the case of Islam and Christianity/Western Civiliization existing side by side, I have to say that Christianity/WC loses.

Either that or hostility will surely result. The Islamic goal is to take over completely. Where we have seen that take place, the rights of non-Islamic peoples cease to exist.

My vision of multiculturalism, is that everyone ought to have a place on our planet where they can live as they choose, within reason, some vile human cultures being the exception.

Thus the Islamic people have a place to live as they choose. Christians should have a place like that too. I pretty much hold that even some racial boundaries remain somewhat constant. I don't think the white populace should be allowed to flood Mexico and take over. On the other hand, I don't think the citizens of Mexico should be able to flood into the U.S. and take over.

White Christians have as much right as any other ethnic group to exist as a majority in some nations.

So what I am really advocating, is not something to so much put limits on other peoples, as to protect the rights of all peoples.

Do we wish to come to a place in time some 25 to 50 years from now, when white northern European decedents will not have majority self-rule status in any existing nation on the earth?

That's where we are headed. I don't have animosity toward any race, but I do think mine should also be able to continue. That' why I stand up and object to where things are headed. It's not out of hate of others. I honestly love others. It's out of love for my own kind.

They deserve a place for self-rule. We deserve a place for self-rule. That's not hate. It's not racism. It's not bigotry. It's also not idealistic pollyanna non-achievable BS.
17:53 May 24, 2009 by voidplay
Islam itself was once liberal but is now militant

In the times of caliph's when the ME was comparatively modern and wealthy

Many poets could insult their religious leaders or rulers and get away with it. Sadly societies as a whole are no longer liberal as they once used to be.

Even Afganistan before the Taleban had pubs, bars and night clubs but now probably will have none in the open.
18:02 May 24, 2009 by 7
i think cheesecake is in order.

i mean for all and any of you who have a real connection to sweden and are on here to post about things related to sweden, or of interest to those of us with a relationship to sweden, the hatred-spewing monotony of repetitious prophesying is so obvious "canned" i.e. generic for any "anti-muslim" message.

this article and this situation occurred in sweden. and the reasons pertain to circumstances in sweden with a swedish flair.

so many of the trite "words of wisdom" echo the same dull message of "or else you'll end up like us in ________(fill in blank)...well, if things are so bad wherever they are they really ought to devote their time an energy to solving the problems where they are rather than "warning" swedes for some inevitable doom they've failed to avoid themselves.

or even worse, they try to hold sweden up to some last stop frontier land which could be their salvation or the last refuge of the great white hope *yawn*

i'd just ignore most of the crap being posted of late, but i'm rather disturbed by readers believing this crap is generaged by either swedes or people who have a clue about sweden.

08:45 May 25, 2009 by RoyceD
The more we see ourselves as them and us the worse it gets. People blame immigrants for all the problems they can't explain. People get angry at immigrants for taking local jobs... not realizing that the tax the immigrants pay from working their (usually lower paid wage) job pays for things that the local population would not be able to afford without the immigrant tax input... like health care. What French people who are racist towards people of the muslim faith do not realise is that France is completely dependent on those taxes... with out an extra million immigrants French people wouldn't get all their lovely benefits.

But I am in no way defending extremist Islamic ideals either.

And Hitlers Nazi party was not extreme leftist. Idiot.
10:11 May 25, 2009 by Nutcracker
RoyceD: not very bright disputing historical facts by calling someone an idiot, and gives the impression you're afraid of open debate.
22:27 May 25, 2009 by Kaethar
Albania? Bosnia?


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