Sweden Democrat quits over anti-Muslim views

The head of the far-right Sweden Democrats’ local chapter in Falkenberg in western Sweden has quit the party in the wake of an anti-Muslim article published by party leader Jimmie Åkesson.

Lars-Erik Persson took over as head of the local Sweden Democrat chapter in April, but now says he’s had enough, according to local media reports.

One reason for his departure is an opinion article by Åkesson published on Monday in the Aftonbladet newspaper in which the far-right party leader describes Islam as the greatest threat to Sweden since World War II.

“I don’t like that he went after Muslims as a group. I have several Muslim employees at my job and I think they’re really talented and well-mannered. You can’t just lump everyone together,” Persson told TV4’s local affiliate in Halland.

Persson has made his views known directly to Åkesson, but hasn’t received a reply from the party leader.

He joined the Sweden Democrats because he agreed with their policies relating to families, education, and care for the elderly, but has also become a critic of Sweden’s current immigration policies, one of the Sweden Democrats’ central issues.

“On the other hand, I’ve never felt that the meetings and workshops I’ve attended were as hostile toward foreigners as is claimed in the press,” he told Svergies Radio.