Religious conflict on the rise in Sweden: study

When American research centre Pew investigated the development of religious conflicts and oppression worldwide between 2006 and 2009, Sweden distinguished itself as a country where hostilities related to religion are increasing the most.

In the Pew index Sweden has risen from being one of the safest countries to positioning itself on the middle of the global scale, with an index rise from 1.2 to 2.3 between 2008 and 2009. By way of comparison Finland came in at 0.6 and Norway at 1.3.

Out of the ten countries where social hostilities related to religion are reported to be on the up, five are located in Europe, namely Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

According to the report the increase is due to an “increased animosity between the general public and the growing Muslim minority”.

As an example of social hostilities related to religion Pew brings up the riots in Rosengård in Malmö in 2008.

Pew also alludes to a report from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande Rådet-Brå), which shows an increased number of hate crimes being committed against Muslims in Sweden. Pew also mentions a growing anti-Semitism in Malmö.

According to Pew’s report, religious hostilities are rising worldwide. Iraq is the worst case when it comes to violence with index 9.0, while the worst oppression is carried out in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. The report spans 2006 to 2009, when Hosni Mubarak still ruled Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood was prohibited.

The Pew report is based on information from 18 open sources, including the UN, the EU and several human rights organizations.

Therefore Pew says that its results may be misguiding, as open democracies are more likely to report incidents that will go unreported in more closed states.

Sweden, for example, finds itself at a par with Libya when it comes to religious conflict, according to the study.

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Swedish underwear shop puts staff in bras

Swedish lingerie mongers Lindex have taken the top crop of its staff off the floor and put them before the camera instead for its latest campaign.

Swedish underwear shop puts staff in bras
One of the Lindex employees in the upcoming campaign. Photo: Lindex

The underwear chain chose five models from the 45 employees who applied to take part. Employees from Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and Slovakia then met up in a studio in London, where they had their pictures taken to model the upcoming season's new designs.

“At first the girls were quite nervous but as soon as they got in front of the camera, they rose to the occasion and shone,” said the campaign's London-based creative director Mooks Hanifiah. 

IN PICTURES: Lindex keeps its models in-house 

Swedish companies using their own staff members for publicity is far from new.

Last year, online payment service Seamless had female staff members strip off in a series of nude portraits, with nothing but mobile phones to cover their private parts. Sweden's advertising watchdog received several complaints from angry Swedes who claimed the ad campaign was sexist. 

READ ALSO: Swedish wrath at 'naked shocker' adverts

Another women's underwear chain landed itself in hot water in 2011 because its staff members had to display their own bra size on a badge as they worked the shop floor. Their employer, Change, said the idea was to be helpful to customers trying to identify their own bra size. 

READ ALSO:  Staff bra sizes on display at Swedish lingerie shop