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Probe into school's alleged Islamic veil discrimination

Charlotte West · 7 Aug 2009, 11:55

Published: 07 Aug 2009 11:55 GMT+02:00

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The Ombudsman has now put forth several questions to the City of Stockholm regarding alleged discrimination at Västerort adult education centre (Västerorts vuxengymnasium) regarding the motivation behind the institution's policy prohibiting burqas and other veils.

The women both submitted complaints in January 2009 to DO about Västerorts Vuxengymnasium for ethnic and religious discrimination.

The Ombudsman's letter to the City of Stockholm in August states that, “according to the law on discrimination, an educational provider may not discrimnate against a student on the basis of the student's ethnic background or religion.”

The statement continues that discrimination includes direct actions, indirect actions and harassment. Furthermore, an educational provider that becomes aware of a student who has experienced harassment is obliged to investigate the circumstances and take appropriate action to prevent additional harassment in the future.

One of the women described ongoing harassment from school staff members regarding her niqab.

“Today the school made the decision that I could no longer attend if I don't take off my niqab in the classroom or while in contact with school staff. They referred to the decision made by Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) regarding this matter. This is only a decision, not a law and the decision concerns those who wear a burqa, which covers entirely. I wear a niqab, which shows the eye area,” one of the women wrote in her petition to DO.

She continued that the decision was confusing because it was not applied across all instititutions. In addition, she found it extremely insulting to be “expelled for her personal style.”

The woman also wrote that she had offered to sit at the back of the classroom and leave her veil up, except when the class was sitting around the room facing each other.

“Even then, I can take it up to identify myself, but they didn't think that was enough. I have even spoken to the men in the class about this matter and how they feel about it. They have said it doesn't bother them at all. I therefore feel discrimated against by the school. There is religious freedom in Sweden and many schools permit the niqab,” she said.

The woman concluded that she felt the staff's reticence regarding her veil was not that it made it difficult to do their jobs, but “that they don't want me there”.

Story continues below…

She claimed that the actions of the staff have effectively forced her to choose between quiting a course she wants to take or compromising in her desire to dress according to the requirements of her personal beliefs.

The woman's petition also mentioned that she had been told by educational staff that the niqab would make it extremely difficult for her to find a placement for the practical component of the course, although she had already found a position on her own.

DO has given the City of Stockholm until the end of August to respond to the inquiry.

Charlotte West (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:03 August 7, 2009 by ppk
Why religious freedom would have to be one way only ?

What if a collectivity think that a niquab is against the will of God -- or even human common sense?

When I'm not happy somewere because of my difference, I change myself or I get out. That it !

Respect of the values and cultur of a community is essential to protect each cultur.

Each cultur have the right to prosper on its way, that the big idea behind the nations.
13:07 August 7, 2009 by JethroGreenmantle
As a teacher, I would find it very difficult to accept a student who concealed her (or his) face from me. If it is not illegal, then I think it should be. In a liberal society, a conflict between liberal ethics and religious customs should never result in defeat for liberal ethics. (I am using liberal in the correct European sense not the illiberal American sense, of course!)
13:14 August 7, 2009 by ukgal28
there has to be an element of right to choose. Muslim women have to cover themselves for their religion and the extent of how much they cover beyond hijab is then personal/cultural/family choice. Surely if Sweden has such open borders for other nationalities, they have to also take into account that these nationalities will bring their culture with them. If Sweden cannot accept muslims as they are, are these people then expected to start to follow a western way of life and a different religion just so teachers are happy with all the students in the class?
13:35 August 7, 2009 by Kemi
Religious freedom and respecting different cultures are highly over rated. Not all cultures are equally good in every aspect. How about placing facts and reasoning above believes and habits?
14:00 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
I wonder how would those girls react if I was sitting next to them naked because I´m naturist....
14:21 August 7, 2009 by tigger007
it's a prime example of letting nonchristians in a christian state,it's like oil and water it don't mix. why would a nonchristian move to a christian state knowing that some of their beliefs will be questioned? everybody wants to talk about freedom of religion which is cool,but u need to be around your own kind to express this belief.when people move to a christian state they must obey the christian laws of that state and the christian state should tell these people to change their religion,in order to live in the state. some people are not so LIBERAL(what every that means!!) when it comes to nonchristians living or working around them.this freedom of religion really needs to be looked at more closely and revised. sorry for my comment i'm looking at it in a illiberal American sense!!
14:24 August 7, 2009 by Norum
Agree with the school's decision. Right call. Other cultures have to adjust to the way things are being run in here and not forcing their beliefs and ways of life onto us.

Good call.
14:37 August 7, 2009 by Brtahan
i like your comment magic 1964:) hahaha , as in sweden its democratic country the majority decides whats best for everything. i understand we should respect all cultures. but its up to the education ministry to decide.

my personal opinion they should not allow any one either naked or fully covered like niqab. they should dress decently thats it.
14:42 August 7, 2009 by tin tin
We all have our different and personal opinions about how we percieve someone wearing a particular head garment, and that is perfectly fine everyone has a right to express themselves. Although to tell someone they can not attend a school or get a job i feel is morally wrong and unacceptable. No one has the position or the authority to tell a person you cannot do this because of the way you look, or because of what you believe or the colour of your skin. Where the hell are we living.. what century !!!
14:45 August 7, 2009 by Nutcracker
To unveil the facts in Islam's own 'holy' text: Hadith Bukhari, Vol 1, Bk 4, Nos 148 & 149 & Hadith Muslim Bk 026, Nos 5395 & 5397: Mohamed permitted his 'wives' to go out of their house at night "to answer the call of nature"; these women were seen doing so by Mo's men who asked Mo to order them to cover themselves; Mo "revealed" the verses calling for their veiling. Also, it prevented "good and bad men from talking to them". This Moslem woman is trying to force a non-Moslem, Western society to accommodate with, and eventually acquiesce to Islam & its Sharia (inequality between Moslems, non-Moslems, male, female, free man & slave). She should be ordered to uncover and join the Western world since she appears to want a Western education.
15:04 August 7, 2009 by masyed
Freedom of expression

" Gay parade is allowed "

but if someone tries to veil itself it is prohibited

May be this is modernism ?
15:06 August 7, 2009 by Greg in Canada
It's the responsibility of immigrants to adapt to the mainstream culture, not the other way around. Personally, I support the school decision.
15:08 August 7, 2009 by La Figaro
Nutcracker, excellent viewpoint and insight.

The niqab is more of a cultural thing of many centuries ago and clothing of those days had a lot to do with the weather, sand storms etc. One can approach this from various viewpoints and sadly, I feel the niqab question will be defeated in most of them.
15:11 August 7, 2009 by Kaethar
I hope the niqab along with the burka gets banned soon. This has nothing to do with freedom of choice. There are reasons as to why you're not allowed to wear masks in public. Besides security issues face-coverings also dehumanise you. I refuse to speak to someone who refuses to show their face. Head-scarves are perfectly acceptable in Islam. It's time to put an end to exceptions given to this minority of religious nutters who choose to hide their faces. -.-
15:11 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
Dear tin tin you wrote:

"No one has the position or the authority to tell a person you cannot do this because of the way you look, or because of what you believe or the colour of your skin"

So this mean an naturist will be allowed to work fully naked in a muslim library ??? do you understand exactly what yopu writte ???
15:26 August 7, 2009 by eZee.se
Forget nude, take our present summer into consideration and imagine if most of the guys wanted to sit in class without their shirts on... or the girls wanted to sit with just the top piece of their bikini and jeans, would that be allowed?

Just for fun lets flip this a bit, how about if we non-muslims wanted to be shirtless (guys) and (girls) in a top piece bikini and jeans in say...50 meters from a mosque (note: NOT in the mosque) just very close to it. And we did that everyday because the shade keeps us cooler.

How long before things get violent or there are complaints?

I studied with some women who covered themselves when i was in SFI, very decent people (just avoid talk about "bad" subjects like religion or politics/George Bush) - but it was still was a bit hard to communicate with the ninjas.
15:28 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
Freedom of expression

" Gay parade is allowed "

but if someone tries to veil itself it is prohibited

Gay parade don´t go thru muslims quatters cause it would be interpreted as provocation by muslims.....just like the niqab is interpreted as provocation by many....hehehe
15:29 August 7, 2009 by tin tin
To Magic 1964

Yes i understand clearly... i do understand what your are trying to point out!!!

LOL i dont know about working naked in a religious library but i do know, it probably won't happen if we were in their country and in this day and age i am with you on that one..

But i also think two wrongs dont make a right...

Sweden is a civilised country... even though i personally dont agree with covering up to that extreme. I guess its a touchy subject... they also say "do as the Romans do in Rome"... its my opinion i dont agree with the covering of someones face and long clothing but i also would not accept someone telling me to change or i cant be something or someone...
15:42 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
Dear tin tin...

Only Two thing have no limits, the size of universe and human stupidity....If you want to live in harmony with your neighbours you must have limits in the way you talk, dress, act.....

If you believe in anarchy then bandits heavily armed will rule....
15:46 August 7, 2009 by KipHamilton
If I moved to another country and culture, and expected to live there the rest of my days, I would expect to adopt the ways of that culture, and raise my children as part of it. If I didn't approve of the ways of that culture, and was not willing to accomodate myself to it and have my children be part of it, I wouldn't, and shouldn't move there.
15:48 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
If there is no limits in the dressing code the how about some kids dressing with the KU KLUX KLAN ???

Niqab or Burka is the sign of islamism and not islam......just like the KKK is the sign of racism. Both are horrible ideologies.
15:53 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
I agree with masyed.

If this is really a developed and civilized Sweden then every body has the right to follow his/her own religion and culture.

By the way it is extremely non-sense ( sorry for using such words ) that women can not attend the class just because she has a niqab.

Now will swedish tell to other people how to follow their religion and other things like how to eat, sit, sleep and defecate ?

The word defecation was just used for the angryness after reading this news because how people can say that if they live in our country (in sweden) then they must follow and respect our culture, no matter if what ever their religion demands them.

I have also one question to those people who says such things that if tomorrow you go to any muslim country , then will you change your religious views,believes, practice and culture according to their country ?
16:12 August 7, 2009 by totyis
It does seems to me to be an ethnic or religious discrimination to regulate the outfit of students in a western school. It is rather about the functionality of the educational system. Lets assume that a teacher has dificulties to identify a ninja attending his class. There are even more problems with two, three.

One of the hillarous photos I've seen lately was about a driving license of a woman wearing niqab. It is just self-explanatory stupidity incompatible with the western civilisation.
16:20 August 7, 2009 by Querist
Question: Should Christian snake-handlers be allowed to bring their rattlesnakes into the classroom?

just sayin'.

16:21 August 7, 2009 by totyis
@browneyes10. Reply to your question: No. Because I would not have the time. I would probably stoned to death or decapitaded just because I do not have a beard or because I would go there from "evil-evil" Europe.

That's just the tolerance level in a muslim country.
16:25 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan
its time to ban religious dressings of any kind in all schools just like france to prevent religious breakup of the class. how stupid the girls parents are.

they think that they are still in pakistan or afghanistan

the girls are making two mistakes . one by wearing wrong dressing. and second complaining to authorities about discrimination. few weeks back in germany one mad man killed a egyptian woman under similar circumstances in a courtroom.some people with burkhas and some people naked in the same class. dont misuse the freedom.
16:32 August 7, 2009 by vladd777
I agree with Kaethar.

In this age of suicide bombings one cannot feel safe around anyone who is wearing a tent and disguising headgear.

Headscarfs are fine but ban the other.
16:49 August 7, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"about a driving license of a woman wearing niqab. It is just self-explanatory stupidity incompatible with the western civilisation."

We had that happen in Canada. A Muslim woman didn't want the photo on her driver's license with her face exposed. We told her if photo then no driver's license.

There are limits on how far host countries should be willing to accomodate these people.
16:53 August 7, 2009 by someoneonthenet
To avoid similar issues, Sweden and other western countries should decide as soon as possible what is acceptable and what isn't, so that similar issues don't keep rising so often. It will reduce future conflicts between immigrants and locals and those who consider this absolutely essential part of their faith won't come here. European will have to draw a line somewhere and there will be some people who would not like it.

In this case she should not have been expelled because her classmates did not object to her dress. In my opinion, scarf is fine and burqa is not.

In major cities of Pakistan, it is not common to run into women wearing burka (most women cover part of their head (by scarf or dupata), some don't cover their head and very few wear burka). It might even be much harder to find a good job (doctor, engineer, lawyer, etc) in Pakistan wearing burka compared to Europe because in Europe you can go to court for discrimination.
16:55 August 7, 2009 by NEXT
I am Muslim. I have seen some in Niqaab in Sweden and I feel it is an extreme behavior. These people are 1 in 100 who go to this extreme. Most of the time they are either ignorant or less informed about religion. Also I feel they have inferiority complex as well as an extreme sense of guilt.

Setting religious argument aside, I do not approve of Niqaab because it is not practical in Sweden. Either adopt to acceptable ways (scarf) or leave would be better.

2nd an extreme(in majority of the Muslim countries it is regarded as extreme) presentation in a foreign does not entitle you to accuse them of discrimination all the time and get compensation. Because Quran stats clearly that respect the local laws wherever you go.

These people are responsible to ignite clashes of civilization/cultures debate.

Best practice is use scarf which is allowed by Islam and respect where you living.
17:07 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@totyis. Dont messed this issue with other things like muslims beard etc.

Ex President of US Mr Bush do not have a beard at all but can you even imagine how many innocent people he killed and then in the last he justify his evils and sins just by saying ''sorry I did not find any weapons of mass destruction in iraq''. What will your modern views and civilization says on that?

So please do not mix this issue with things like beard and stoned to death like things. It is all media war where you can easily make an evil ''hero'' and a normal person to a bad person.

And also tolerance is not only shown by words, it is more shown by acts. So do acts, so that we can proudly says that you people are more tolerant.

Lastly to your saying, by the way who issue that driving licence ? Will you also like to comment on that?
17:13 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan
all muslims dont wear burqua. europeans never tell to you that do not wear burqua even though they do not like it at all. its the duty of fellow muslims reponsibility to tell them its not the way in sweden. sweden is not dusty, or dirty ,no sand stroms,no pollution. . so one can enjoy the fresh air at least in the summer.

how stupid it is wearing a too much cloths in the summer.

i think they under pressure from somewhere.
17:16 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@Next, you said you are a muslim. You said that they wear niqab because they have extreme sense of guilt? I am shivering because of your IQ.

Wow, will you refer me that particular Quran which you studied that now you are passing such baseless comments in genaral. It may be your own thinking but please dont try to proof it in the light of Quran.

Also you mentioned that Quran tells that obey the law where you live.Ok agree but can you also tell me what Quran tells about women parda/niqab ?
17:29 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan
some stupids bring george bush into the topic. dont mix politics with religion. many muslim countries have same problem. they mix up politics with religion and start fighting and become beggers(refugees) in other countries.

if we talk about crimes commited by george bush or saddam hussen or bin landen or pol pot, chengees khan its a long list.

there are many oil rich countries like norway or venezula not only irak. the war on irak and afghanistan is pure politics. americans just used stupidity of muslim culture.
17:29 August 7, 2009 by NEXT
my IQ is nothing to with the discussion going on here. Neither your personal attack will justify extremism.

If you agree my point that obey the law where you live, this proves the whole point. Not only mine but also the schools decision.

I have not invented my own Quran, Quran is same for the eternity.
17:33 August 7, 2009 by davidmc
When in Sweden do as the Swedes do.

These seems to be some US bashing. Did they influence any of this?
17:34 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan
@browneyes10 your IQ is is "BIG ZERO".

one should adapt to the local culture or get out. that is common sense. no need to read quran or bible or some other book to understand this simple fact.
17:38 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
Niqab and burqa is not just another religious code.....it´s also a clear sign of religious fanatism suported by groups like hamas or countries like Iran....

Sadly some Swedish are naïve enough to miss that point...
17:41 August 7, 2009 by NEXT

I think such extremists burn the schools for girls and treat them like animals. They are against the women to work and contribute to the society.
17:44 August 7, 2009 by totyis
@browneyes10 On media: Nowadays in the West at least media has changed. Images are captured by anyone,send faster, so the stories, events are reaching the receivers beyond the censorship capability of the big actors like the state, religious institutions. Even if it is not a 100% trust in the media, still this environment remains the main platform of communicating raw facts happening around the globe. Without the media you are accusing of falsifying facts you would probably never have heard about the hoax about the weapon of mass destruction engineered by the Bush administration. So yes, I do associate terrorism to muslims. "...tolerance is not only shown by words, it is more shown by acts."

About the photo: sorry, I have to search again for it.
17:45 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10

Did this article mentioned that this women is from Pakistan or Afghanistan. You see this is the problem of civilized people that they dont think of themself and just sit infront of the TV news and picks wrong ideas about all muslims in the world.

As I said before that this a media war and game and you put all dirty things on these countries without knowing reality.

You are trying to proof that muslims as they are from third world countries so they have no manners but friend you may be from highly civilized country, so think before you speak and dont use loose words like saying stupid to other people.

So leave my IQ but kindly act as civilized people and use good langauge.
17:46 August 7, 2009 by ppk
It's time to change the text : instead of religious freedom (or discrimination), we should read: faith freedom (or discrimination).

Religion have nothing to do with freedom.

I don't want to wake up in a muslim country in twenty years just because I open my arms today.
17:55 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@Next. No due to some mentally retarded people and other people who are malingering Islam you can not blame on all muslims. Infact it is the Islam, which gives too much rights to women in a society. But treat women as true women and not like a goats.

@Eurostan, before passing your golden comments (lol) about this issue, you must know that women wear niqab not because to protect themself from pollution and dust. It is a religious sign for muslim womens.
18:03 August 7, 2009 by The Opinionator
If you move to another country, then you should try to adjust to its culture and customs. If you don't like it - LEAVE! and if you can't leave - then accept the fact that you'll have to change a little of how you think and do things if you want to get accepted by its society. I refuse to talk to ppl who hide their face from me. If they want respect then they need to show it.
18:15 August 7, 2009 by DMatni
I agree that the niqab is a pretty extreme form of religious expression but instead of only bashing the ladies who bear it or demanding an immediate ban for it, remember that sometimes it is not just her decision to make. Don't you realise the amount of family and environmental pressure (within their very close knit society) these women have to face on a daily basis?

It is true that some changes need to be made about this but this takes time. Lots of it just as it had probably taken many generations for their faith to have developed to that level.

We should appreciate the fact that these women are trying to gain an education 4 themselves, that they have tried to make adjustments in class as mentioned in the article but was deemed 'not good enough' and that she did not solely depend on the school to find her a practical spot but that she realised the difficulties it might raise and found one herself.

I see it as an encouraging albeit small step in the right direction.
18:20 August 7, 2009 by donaswe
niqab = burqa = islam = woman submission. If islamic people doesn't want to respect swedish law, it can go to a freedom land as like as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine ecc.. ecc... they don't show their face because they are submitted. All know what islamic men think about women. Islam is a shame for women dignity.
18:36 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@donaswe. Believe me i feel shame after reading your comments. No one say that we do not want to respect swedish law.

Also islamic men always think good for women in general. Due to few ill-cases you can not blame on majority of muslims and so good and bad people are found in every society and religion and believe me Islam was/is and will never never shame for women dignity. Infact it is the islam which teaches us the women respect in a true sense and not use women like a goats and so on..
18:53 August 7, 2009 by NEXT
@browneyes: Have I blamed All Muslims? Here is my original comment,"These people are 1 in 100 who go to this extreme. Most of the time they are either ignorant or less informed about religion."

Are you among those 1?

A simple question. Should we respect the ways and values of a foreign country and their laws????

If yes, than extreme people should accept the change or LEAVE.

Is there any ambiguity in this?????
19:03 August 7, 2009 by magic1964
Free education, free health, welfare thaks to the tax payers.......I guess it´s not enough for some minorities who abuse the country which give them asylum.
19:35 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@Next. Well it is rightly said by someone that weight your words before you speak out. So I dont like to pass comments on your post anymore.

@magic1964, no one is abusing to sweden, so dont be so emotional, we all love this country equally but we all have freedom to express our words openly. So please dont take this topic to another side, apart from few (who try to justify their statement by using abusive words) rest all readers are well educated, you can not divert readers from the original topic.
19:38 August 7, 2009 by odinmp5
women!! if you want to dress in a way that symbolises your submission to a fairy tale cult, leave sweden and look for a cozy home in the middle east.
19:42 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@odinmp5. Thanks God that you are not in the Government, otherwise you will badly harm your country image.

21:10 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan

how do you come to sweden. you dont fit in sweden. dont argue with logicless arguments.

swedes respect your cultrue. you must behave accordingly and try to preserve that respect . if muslims are continuing like this without adapting to swedish culture the day will come in future they throw you out forcebily.
21:34 August 7, 2009 by donaswe
@browneyes10 : watch "Submission" by Theo Van Gogh!....He was killed by an islamic....as like as Pim Fortuyn. "Submission" is the translation of the word ISLAM. The movie is about women condition.
22:09 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10

Now you are getting personel and you start personel attacks on me which I think does not suit to most of the civilized swedish people.

According to you I am not fit in sweden...Yes this may be your thinking and you can not impose your thinking on others, also it can be only say by sick person because I did not do any personnel attack on any body like you . I just say what I think is correct as a freedom of Expression but you are now really getting personel with me.

If you have your thoughts and feelings, you just post in a decent way but if you behave like this then what is the difference between you and illetrate.
22:26 August 7, 2009 by someoneonthenet
I have watched "Submission", its only purpose (or at least a major purpose) was to provoke muslims and many muslims proved that they can't behave like decent humans. I doubt anyone outside a small group would have ever seen the movie if muslims had just ignored it. Every-time someone does anything like this, muslims spread it around the globe and create a big image problem for Islam. Even if someone thinks that such movies or pictures should be banned, ignoring is the best that he can do (at least that way it won't spread). The more they oppose it the more it spreads.

Europe should decide what it can tolerate and what is not acceptable. This will be better for both locals and future immigrants (who can decide not to come here if they find these restrictions too harsh).
22:46 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10

I forget to mention one thing in response to your last comments. According to you we should respect swedish culture. Yes we did. Look my other comments on other news titles. So I respect swedish culture and people as my owns. I like most of the things here, thats why I am here.
22:52 August 7, 2009 by Eurostan

you told that you like swedish culture then follow it. if you came as a student for short stay then its ok not to follow swedish culture. but if you want build house and family and children in sweden or some other country you must leave your culture and follow the host country culture without exceptions
23:09 August 7, 2009 by browneyes10
@Eurostan. Well this may be your suggestions, I will not comment on this further.
23:58 August 7, 2009 by here for the summer
1st the headline is wrong. This is not a headscarf it is a face mask and such things have been used to even conceal the sex of the person wearing it. You have no idea who you are talking to. France is trying to ban these, the US bans them in many public situations and I think Sweden should follow this also. This is not freedom but a matter of public safety and perhaps woman's rights.

I also wonder how this is racism. The practice of covering your face in class is banned not specifying the race or religion of the person.
07:55 August 8, 2009 by magic1964
Wearing a niqab is also a clear sign of suporting fanatics and terrorists groups like hamas or countries like Iran.....

Only stupid or naïve Swedes don´t get that point....
08:56 August 8, 2009 by voiceofreason
As much as I try, I can't seem to see any tolerance in Islam.

I just read how a sect in Nigeria forced christians to convert and them slaughter them using knives.

Muslims cry wolf when they are asked to conform a little bit in the west but they compel every lady that comes to the Middle East to dress in Islamic manner.

What about a tit-for-tat? Let's have a church in Saudi Arabia just like there is mosque in Rome.
10:34 August 8, 2009 by DMatni
Is everyone here just arguing about the principle of dress and personal style in a public situation in Sweden? How is wearing a niqab not following the laws of the country? I'm not supporting the wearing of the niqab at all here but to say that one needs to follow the culture of the host country WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS also sounds a tad extreme. If I'm vegetarian but I move to say Germany where the food culture is a lot of sausages and pork (just an eg..dun pounce on me :P), does tat mean I put aside my views on eating meat bcos it would be rude to my German hosts who serve me their traditional meaty food? If my personal style is to sport a mohawk and goth make-up, would I have to change the way I like to dress when I go to church bcos it makes other church goers very uncomfortable?
10:45 August 8, 2009 by magic1964
Getting tolerance lessons from muslims is as stupid as getting humanism lessons from NAZIS.....
12:10 August 8, 2009 by Eurostan
hitler is a vegetarian. many europeans dont go to church.
13:21 August 8, 2009 by DMatni
Aaah...guess tat makes my entire point null and void huh...well, I'd better start drinking snaps, eating surströmming and sill, ensure I get hour long fika breaks at work and change anything about me that would make Swedes remotely uncomfortable. Forget my own culture, my diet, my language and my sense of style cos it's just not Swedish! Get with da program or get out, right? :P
14:57 August 8, 2009 by Playmaker
how is making a women wear a mask a sign of respect? i dont understand. how is making women ask for permission to leave thier home respect or how about wearing green trousers and lashes for it respect? it is a proven fact that terriost also use the birka to escape and commit crimes because there are no women to search them.you read how many women die in labor because they can not use male DRs.

Tabari IX:113 "Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur'an."
16:38 August 8, 2009 by insect
When in Rome do as the Romans. Muslim countries stick to this rule to the letter. If you go to a muslim country you have to wear a headscarf or hijab. So why don't they want to apply their own rules in other countries by adjusting to the host country's ways.

Somebody tell me how long you would last on a street in a muslim country without being 'properly covered'?

They need to be also flexible.
18:10 August 8, 2009 by KipHamilton
Browneyes10 In answer to your question- If I moved to an Islamic country would I change my ways and adapt to that country's ways? If I moved there, yes. I would certainly not do anything that they would find offensive, at least in public, and would not prohibit my children from assimilating. But I WOULD find some of their ways and customs stifling and offensive, and would NOT want my children assimilating into such a culture. Therefore, I WOULD NOT MOVE THERE, nor would I have the right to, and to continue with my offensive (at least to them), behavior. If I did move to Saudi Arabia, and continued with customs they might find offensive, they would have the right to throw me out, and probably would. What is so hard to figure out about that? I apply the same rule to myself as I do to Islamic immigrants to the west.
10:37 August 9, 2009 by magic1964
Finding a job dressed with a niqab is as difficult as for a top less girl trying to get a job in an islamic library or shop....

So in the end we need to talk money...this girls project is basecly live on welfare payed by workers. Now I understand why so many muslims love to come to Sweden.......
12:16 August 9, 2009 by Puffin
This is an interesting question as the only established praxis at the moment is that schools:

- do have the right to ban burqas

- do not have the right to ban headscarves

The ban on burqas was the result of a joint investigation into the issue by JO/Skolverket aound 5 years ago as a result of 2 girls at a gymnasiet in Western Sweden who demanded the right to wear Burqas. The result of the investigation - was that schools have the right to ban the burqa. However much of the discussion around the ruling came down to saftey (PE/Science) and pedogogical issues of teachers not being able to make contact


However schools have no right to have blanket bans on headcoverings such as headscarves or yarmulke - as it is an infriengement on religious freedom. An independent school (Minervaskolan i Umeå AB) was criticised after an girl was forced to leave the school when the headteacher refused to let her attend wearing it - pointing to a rule that said "outdoor clothing must be removed"


So it will be interesting to see where the niqab places among the current regulations

- it may in part depend on specific requirements of the course
14:35 August 9, 2009 by magic1964
if they come with a burqa I will dress my daughter with something as offensive to them.......if they what they want come on....my imagination is very productive.....hehehehehhe
15:21 August 9, 2009 by Puffin
That sounds like a very sick attitude - that you will exploit your child to get some sort of reaction
15:32 August 9, 2009 by KipHamilton
DMatni- This is not an argument over innocuous things like diet and dress style. The covering of women is not considered offensive because it is different, but because it is representative of the second-class status of women (by western standards, both socially and legally) in many Islamic societies, and the importation of that inequity to the west. Secondly, and admittedly a seperate issue, but even more disturbing is the trend among many Muslims to disdain the western societies to which they have moved, and there are many notable examples of this. I maintain that no one has a right to move to a society they disdain.
16:08 August 9, 2009 by browneyes10

Christian living in our country should also be then forced to live according to our culture? Is that what you want to say and prove with your comments ?? Can you show me any mosque here with proper Aazan ( call for prayers) while in my country lot of churches and thier sounds of bells but we never say that stop those bell ringing sounds because we disturbed. So who are more tolerant ?

Tolerance is not only shown by words but also by acts and I am seeing urs people tolerance levels especially on this issue.

What about almost every day news of rapping and murder of young and innocent women in your country ? Is this is ur culture where you can not save your womens?

So why you targeting all muslims as a bad in ur comments, go for individual case. Did we target whole christians?? So good and bad people must be everywhere regardless of country and their religion.
16:37 August 9, 2009 by magic1964
@Dear broneyes...

You don´t get respect and sympati by being offensive and provoking !!!!!! but this takes a bit of IQ.
17:25 August 9, 2009 by Eurostan

which muslim country has lot churches and making sounds?

now sweden is not chritian. majority of swedish people think that only idiots with low IQ believe in god. thats why you never find people in churches. lots of churches closed down.
18:47 August 9, 2009 by browneyes10
@Dear magic1964,

No one can say that he want respect by being offensive and provoking, so I dont know how to comment on your post when you divert from real issue and just firing words in air and trying to prove yourself with high IQ. Lol


I can cry for your comments and laugh on your IQ and knowledge.

By the way you are also calling your own elders as an idiots because your elders still believe on God. So respect your elders, they are also precious part of your community, they are not just born to give you birth and then to be kept in old people houses.

Also it does not make any difference to me that whether you believe on God or not? So keep your personel views upto you , i have no interest at all.
20:49 August 9, 2009 by Nilspet
People must be allowed to dress the way they want as long as they do not harm anyone. I have traveled the world and in most Muslim countries I've been to they warmly welcome US tv shows, McDonalds, BurgerKing, Sushi bar, Indian, Italian restaurants..maybe not heavy drinking culture and they accept suit and tie. We do not live in N. Korea where men are not allowed to have long hair. In Sweden we accept odd and painful-looking dresses that our kids wear and those with crazy piercing and tattoos..so what is wrong if some Swedish citizens/residents put on the head scarf? Guys, we are living in a globalized world i.e. we have to accept the differences not only physically but culturally. Those of you who have not been to Muslim countries, you should do it. Many of us Swedes are makings LOTS of money there and they don't complain how Swedes dress and talk. We should always think globally.
22:01 August 9, 2009 by magic1964

Do you understand that the burqa is not just a simple religious dress code ?? this dress also show support to the most fanatics side of Islam.....just like wearing the KKK dress show support to racism?? Im amazed about how naïve and ignorant some Swedes can be....
22:48 August 9, 2009 by browneyes10
@Nilspet. I agree with you. Why people should be banned to wear their own dresses just because they are in sweden. I am myself shocked when I read comments on this issue because I myself first thought that swedes accept other people with open hearts but I am really really sorry :(

I dont know why they react in such a way. Where are other swedes ? May be these comments are from minority and not majority but it really make us sad. I still do not believe that how can be a swedish act like a racist.
22:57 August 9, 2009 by KipHamilton
This is not about a general ban on cultural expression. This is about a manner of dress which those who value the equal rights of women, socially and legally, find offensive. I am not condemning all Islamic cultures- some are more tolerant that others. But the burqa is a cultural statement. In the cultures where it is expected and even demanded, women are not equal under the law, or socially either. How are they unequal? Let me start a list, and perhaps others can add to it. In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive. In many Islamic societies men can have multiple spouses, women cannot. Under Sharia law, a woman's testimony does not have the equal legal weight of a man's, and a daughter inherits a smaller portion of a parent's estate than a son. Add these to all the cultural prohibitions about socializing outside the household etc., and you have a clear picture of the second class status of women. The burqa represents those Islamic cultures where women are repressed the most.
00:19 August 10, 2009 by browneyes10

With respect, burqa is not a sign of culture, it is more related with religion. Islam ask a women to cover yourself properly. This is what I want to proof that please (to all readers) do not consider a burqa for culture only. It is more related with religion view. So a person can not leave his or her religion just because he is now living here.

Regarding the rights of a women, I am dead sure that Islam is the only religion which gives complete rights to all womens regardless of their religion. Unfortunately if that is not practicing in some countries because of the one or the other materialistic reasons....so for that you can not blame or point out a religion.

Before Islam women were buried alive under the soil, for the first time it was the Islam which gives order to respect yours women and do not treat them ill.
00:41 August 10, 2009 by Nilspet
If your dress doesn't physically harm anyone you don't violate the law. We don't discriminate against Swedish people who dress like satanists, hell-angle or whatever else as long as they don't break the law. Why should we discriminate against foreigners that wear their religious dresses? (that is what this news is all about, veil discrimination..right?). I can imagine that if rich female business women from muslim countries come to Sweden with billions of dollars to invest, no one would ever raise an eye brown even if they cover 90% of their face. The root problem in Sweden against immigrants boils down to races, colors and economic backgrounds. There are a # of white immigrants in Sweden who are on state handouts but their neighbors don't make a big deal of it. But if the immigrants are from certain races/religions (u know what I mean) many people here tend to make a big deal even though those people might have been recruited for top jobs at ABB, etc. We must think globally!
07:36 August 10, 2009 by peropaco
The only problem I see with the burqa is that she can send some many people to sit in for her at school since noone can really tell what she look like.

@Nilspet, I agree with you except the part of being recruited to top jobs at ABB. We all know how hard it is for a immigrant to find work in Sweden.
08:14 August 10, 2009 by Puffin
I'm not sure why you are all discussing burqas? - as this case does not have anything to do with the burqa - but the right to wear the niqab

Please keep to the topic
08:24 August 10, 2009 by magic1964
@ You are right we must think globally.......but this goes with muslim coming to Sweden too, and if you think wearing a burqa is a sign of global thinking then you have a problem with the meaning of globalisation....
08:28 August 10, 2009 by here for the summer
The two are the same in the sense that both conceal the face/identity of the person.
08:32 August 10, 2009 by magic1964
In fact while Swedish adopt global thinkink many muslim adopt the other way round becoming more narrow mind. Wearing a niqab is a good sign of this anti global mentality....but I know it takes a bit of intelectual agility to think global, somethink many muslims lack.
10:30 August 10, 2009 by Leprehcaun
Browneyes, Nipset and magic1964

I can't believe this. Do you actually believe the crap you're spewing? Burqas is a discrimination against women and women aren't equal in Islam, if you claim they are you don't know what the word means or you're consciously lying or you're plain stupid. I believe you're lying or maybe you've been brainwashed.

You can say whatever you want about respecting women, the Muslims themselves tend not to. 17.6% of Sweden's population was born abroad or has had two parents born abroad and not all of them are Muslims. Now, from those few % you see things that has never happened in any other ethic group. First honorary killings happens some Muslim girls for having sex or a relationship with a non Muslim, then parents kidnapping their daughters to force them into marriage with a Muslim, some gets raped if the refuse, like the latest case that was in the newspapers. Why only from your ethnic group?
11:56 August 10, 2009 by magic1964

I´m surprised you put me in the same league with Browneyes and Nipset cause from the begining I say that Niqab or burqas are clear signs of:

-Discrimination and humiliation against wohman

-Clear support to countries like Iran or fanatics groups like Hamas

-Clear sign of provoking and offense Swedish society

-And.....cause it´s the most ugly, horrible and disgusting dress I can imagine !!!!!!!!!!
12:02 August 10, 2009 by Nutcracker
I recommend the following article:


Apart from detailing Islam's misogynistic views and doctrines concerning females, it makes the indisputable point that this misogyny is as damaging to males as to females and to society overall, which helps to explain why Moslem nations function so poorly in every respect. It is totally misunderstanding the notion of 'tolerance' that we should 'tolerate' the intolerance of Islam.
12:43 August 10, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ magic 1964, sorry I must have.. misinterpreted, misread or remembered wrong.

I've only read aftonbladet and expressen until a few months ago when I found this site so I'm not sure if they cover the same stories but assuming they do, just how many cases of group rapes have you read about? One 14/15 year old raped by 5-8 Muslims or 3-5 Africans, that is not an unusual story and it only exists in a minority, now tell me, is that respect? Neither of those things exists in any other ethnic group, Not among Swedes or Asians or South Americans. Just you. Don't twist this because I haven't said that all or even most Muslims are like that but I am however saying that it happens way too frequently. FYI I like Iran way better than Iraq and Turkey.

Does anyone have any idea how you can keep the bad ones out? And is it possible to make a law that says that rapists and murderers can be thrown out of the country after serving their time (naturally native Swedes too)?
13:44 August 10, 2009 by Nilspet

I am talking from the point of view of the Swedish law. I never went into details of what those dresses mean. What do you think about young kids dressing up like satanists? Do they offend you? Do you get offended by dresses from other cultures or only islamic dresses? I am non religious but I really do think that you cannot discriminate people just because of the way the dress. What the dresses mean is another story which I am not going to go into detail. If you have not traveled to world, you should do it otherwise you are just like a frog under the the leaf.
14:38 August 10, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ Nilspet

I must be really unclear or something.

1. I am not offended by dresses believe it or not, I am however angered that some women believe it to be morally wrong not to wear a dress. In Sweden you shouldn't wear a dress because you grew up learning it's wrong not to.

2. I have never seen anyone who dresses like a satanist. Or are you talking about goths? They are weird but certainly not offending :D.. they however do not wear what they wear because they believe they are bad ppl if they do not.

3. I am not discriminating anyone and I probably wouldn't discriminate someone because of how they dress but maybe their are some really weird to dress yourself.. I hate all ppl who rapes, murders, robs, steals etc but there is just something more offending about an immigrant and even worse a refugee committing a crime. That's like.. I take that personally. The reason I am turning to Muslim criminals here is because of the article, nothing and no one else is relevant.
14:58 August 10, 2009 by KipHamilton
Browneyes10 -While I disagree with you, I appreciate your civility.I agree that Islam improved the state of women orignally- but that was a long time ago. On the other hand, Nilspet, enough of the "rascist" accusations. While some critics of Islam are assuradly rascist, it is the belief system itself, not race, I, and many other critics are wary of. I see no reason to distinguish between an ultra- conservative secular belief system, and a religious one. Blue eyed Swedish Muslim convert,Taliban, German Neo-Nazi or White American conservative Christian fundamentalist, I am wary of them all. Think globally by all means, but do so in a way which encourages individual rights, including those of women, gays, polytheists, atheists etc., not in a way which encourages the spread and influence of ultra-conservative, intolerant, archaic religious beliefs.
18:52 August 10, 2009 by Nilspet
@KipHamilton .. You last sentence was a good point but Who should set the norm for the world? The West, the Chinese or the Muslims? You are I are just minority really. We should bypass issues of cultural dresses. The Swedish law allows you to express yourself the way you like as long as you dont violate the law. I dont remember where it was but not in Europe, there was a tv program that revealed that people in that country really discriminate against muslims. Some of them (white of course) dressed rather like taliban women (so no one could see their face) and you know they got bullied by shopkeepers and bus drivers and lots of people on the street. However when they put western-style business dresseds on foreigners (who otherwise would be bullied if they appear in their original dress) they were not bullied as much. Do you see the phenomenon? Let's face it..we fear others just because they are different. We should not.
20:27 August 10, 2009 by KipHamilton
Nilspet- Once again, thanks for keeping this discussion civil.I can only speak for myself, but it is not a fear of those who are different. It is a dislike of ideas I find anathema. I admire many cultures very different from mine. In all honesty, do you think that Islam teaches tolerance for homosexuals, polytheists and Atheists? (neither does conservative Christianity- I find that unacceptable as well) Do you think that Sharia law treats women equally in legal matters? If so, then I suggest you go to some Islamic web sites and see what they say on the subjects. If not, then why be totally accepting of the importation of those intolerances to the west? When a belief system challenges values of human rights concerning gays, women, polytheists etc., then yes, in the west we have a right to set the "norms". I will stay out of whatever they wish to do in their own cultures.
21:23 August 10, 2009 by Nilspet
You made a good point. Yes there are those issues (that some religions, some groups are less tolerant than others etc). However given my profession I will not say which way is best. In a civilized society it is up to you really. Here we strive to be a tolerant society and new Swedes can see for themselves what is best for them. Let me stick to this news article by quoting "alleged discrimination at an adult education centre in Stockholm. Two women claim they were not allowed to attend school because they wear veils that only show the area around the eyes". I find it immoral to forbid people to have education to which they are eligible based on how they look. It also violates the law. Those women are in Sweden now and if we gladly show them that we accept them, it "might" be easier to get them to integrate and accept the mainstream ways of life than to use such the carrot and stick. It is better to be persuasive than taking a hard measure. The key word = tolerance.
07:16 August 11, 2009 by KipHamilton
Nilspet- Good point as well. I think we just need to be careful and take each issue and incident individually. There might just be some times when we would both agree that something has crossed the line. I have enjoyed our discussion, and found it quite interesting.
22:08 August 11, 2009 by benomax
The law of sweden prohibits discrimination in any form, there is freedom of expression of ones self. From my opinion I do not want to criticize the school for not allowing her to attend school because of her islamic veil, but I also believe some things might just be appropriate, on her part if unveiling herself goes against her religion then probably the school should create a special class for people of that category and also the authority should place an advert for a veiled teacher, probably that might make her to be comfortable, or she can sit at the back of the class, maybe that might help the situation also. I would not want to sit in a class with someone nude because to me it is not proper, I would not also want to sit with someone with a veil because I want to see who I am relating with in class. Well the judge knows the right decision to make about this.
15:51 August 12, 2009 by KipHamilton
For those who preach tolerance, might I suggest going directly to some of the Islamic sites for a lesson on that subject. On the islam4uk site, (granted one of the more radical ones) in the section on the superiority of Sharia law, it states "Adultery and homosexuality are to be punished by public execution" (in Britain!). This is after stating that criticism of this punishment for those "crimes" is showing intolerance. Even the more moderate sites evetually give themselves away. On one of them, a seemingly reasonable rebuttal of Gert Wilders ati-islamic postions ends with "And is he not married to a Jewess?", as if that is the final damning proof of his evil ways. Please, look at these sites, and you will see what I mean. Europe, be carefull of too much tolerance for the intolerant.
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