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MUSLIM

Sweden Democrats fear Islamic revolution

An Islamic revolution akin to the one that swept through Iran in 1979 could easily take place in Sweden, claims the second highest ranking member of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

“It can happen really fast,” said Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder to the TT news agency.

Söder is number two behind party leader Jimmie Åkesson on the Sweden Democrat party list. As party secretary, his role is to stake out the party’s line on key issues.

The Iranian revolution came up as Söder was explaining statements made by Sweden Democrat international secretary Kent Ekeroth, who could also find himself with a seat in the Riksdag following Sunday’s vote.

Ekeroth said previously that “Sweden and western countries are at risk of going out with a whimper” because of the influence of Islam, drawing a connection to 1400 years of Muslim aggression.

Nor did Ekeroth see any real distinction between ordinary Muslims and militant Islamists.

“I think that he brings up a very timely problem and as I see it, Islamification is a question of destiny for the entire western wold,” Söder told TT.

According to Söder, all Muslims are “bearers of an ideology”.

“It’s a political ideology disguised as religion. And I think that it’s a very appropriate subject to address, otherwise we’ll be facing the same problem that Iran did in 1979. It can happen really fast.”

Söder explained his argument by pointing out that the socialists made common cause with the Islamists to overthrow the shah in Iran.

“But when the Islamists came to power, they wiped out the socialists too. And I’m saying that if we don’t take the Islamification that’s taking place in western Europe right now seriously, maybe history will repeat itself,” he said.

When asked to clarify whether he thought an Islamic revolution was possible in Sweden and other western countries, Söder answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, Sweden is being Islamified right now. We’ve taken up countless examples of how Sweden is adapting to Muslim demands and we’re seeing how mosques are popping up like mushrooms from the ground in Sweden and all over Europe. It’s not necessarily the case that we’ll all become Muslims, but that we will have to obey Sharia,” Söder said.

“Through Muslim immigration and rapid propagation, as well as through Turkey’s membership in the EU, Europe can become dominated by Muslims.”

The theory of a so-called “Eurabia” has been roundly rejected by scholars of Islam, who compare it to anti-Semitic views of an international Jewish conspiracy.

But Söder claims his view isn’t simply a conspiracy theory, and goes on to lament what he sees as Swedish culture’s weakened ability to keep Muslim influences out.

“Unfortunately, it’s been weakened through several decades of ridicule and belittling, which means that its very marginalized and threatened,” he said.

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IRAN

Foreign students risk losing Swedish university offers after embassies close for interviews

An Iranian student planning on starting university in Sweden this autumn has told The Local he and many others risk being unable to take up their places after the Swedish embassy cancelled their visa interview appointments.

Foreign students risk losing Swedish university offers after embassies close for interviews
Amin Ansari, a project manager and and part-time lecturer, fears he will not be able to start his course later this month. Photo: Private
Amin Ansari, a project manager and and part-time lecturer from Iran, is due to start an MSc in Innovation and Industrial Management at Gothenburg University later this month, but before he can come to Sweden, he first needs to have an in-person physical interview at the Swedish embassy in Tehran. 
 
But after applying for an interview on July 23rd, he was informed on July 26th that the embassy had cancelled all scheduled visa interviews, and was not currently taking new appointments. The embassy also announced the cancellation of all appointments in a statement on its web page
 
“Such a decision will prevent us from travelling to Sweden on time, we may lose our offer of admission, which will profoundly affect our academic future,” Amin Ansari, a project manager and and part-time lecturer told The Local. 
 
“Also, it is worthwhile to mention that we have spent a considerable amount of time and money up to this point, which will be lost thoroughly by this decision.” 
 
 
Ansari has formed a Whatsapp group with roughly 70 Iranians who had been hoping to study in Sweden.
 
The students complain that even though it is less than two weeks before their classes are scheduled to start, and only a matter of days before they reach their tuition fee reimbursement deadline, they have not yet managed to obtain any indication of when or if their interviews would be rescheduled.

 
Ansari said that he felt Iranian students were being unfairly singled out as “Swedish embassies in many other countries, regardless of the intense Covid-19 pandemic, are fully active”. 
 
He said he and other students had repeatedly contacted Sweden's Migration Agency, the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the Swedish embassy in Tehran, and its ambassador, without getting any indication of when or if interviews might be possible.  
 
“We have been told that the embassy ruled this policy as an internal resolution,” he said. “But unfortunately all our efforts so far have not yielded any results.”
 

A screenshot of an email, seen by The Local, sent to Amin by the Swedish Embassy in Tehran.

 
When The Local contacted the Swedish foreign ministry, a press officer suggested instead contacting the Swedish Migration Agency, suggesting they were responsible for student visas. 
 
But in an email to Ansari, the Swedish Migration Agency, said that embassy interviews were in fact the responsibility of the foreign ministry and could not be influenced by the Migration Agency. 
 
“The coronavirus pandemic has compelled embassies in certain countries to take measures to protect their visitors and staff, such as delaying appointments, and this is not something which the Swedish Migration Agency is able to influence,” the agency told Ansari in an email. 
 
The KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm told The Local that it had “a number of overseas students prevented from getting to Sweden”. 
 
“In most cases, this means that the foreign authorities need to open up to implement the biometric part of the entry permit,” it said.
 
“For this reason, KTH has extended the possibility for non-Europeans to begin their studies until September 7th. However, they must come physically to Stockholm and KTH. No one is allowed to start their studies at a distance.” 

 
Iran is by far country in the Middle East worst-hit by coronavirus, with leaked figures sent to the BBC's Persian service by an anonymous source indicating that almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to July 20th – triple the official figure of 14,405 reported by the health ministry.
 
Since the start of June, the country has been hit by a severe second wave of the pandemic, with as many people dying in mid-July as during the country's first peak in March.
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