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Silence won’t solve the problems with a multicultural society

Silence won't solve the problems with a multicultural society
The problems of a multicultural Swedish society won’t solve themselves if our politicians, in fear of being called a "racist", don't break their silence on the issues, argues equal rights activist Bahareh Andersson.

How can a state-owned radio channel, Sveriges Radio, allow an imam resident in Sweden to express a death threat against a whole group of people who have converted from Islam to Christianity?

A while ago I read an article on the internet which was unintelligible to me. The article made me imagine life in a country in the middle ages with rules and values which in no way fits a modern and democratic society like Sweden.

The Christian Dagen daily reported the following:

“It is every Muslim’s responsibility to kill those who leave Islam. This is what could be heard recently on Sveriges Radio, when an imam from Rinkeby was allowed to present a text on how you should act towards Somalis who convert to Christianity.”

I thought, at least this is better than the silence on Waberi (editor’s note: Moderate Party MP Abdirisak Waberi), but they don’t even write the name of the imam.

The silence of politicians and the media is deplorable and frightening! How can we interpret their silence?

The reticence in Sweden to discuss individual rights and their responsibilities is often hypocritical especially when it concerns people with immigrant backgrounds. All have rights, which is positive, although attached to those rights are responsibilities.

But it seems that no one wants to talk about that. Is this because of a reluctance to be called a racist? The word racist has become a fear factor to silence people or get them to move in the direction you want them to.

To me, racist means that you believe that all those of another ethnic origin than Swedish shall leave Sweden and that they have no right to be here. At the same time we know that fear of being called a racist often hinders us from reacting against groups or people who in the guise of culture, tradition or religion deprive others of their legal rights.

The consequence of this is the creation of an extreme cultural relativism.

We can not be silent when children are not allowed to participate in certain subjects in school, when young girls are married off or when boys are told by their families to keep watch over their sisters, for fear of being called a racist.

We can not be silent in fear of xenophobia when an imam in Sweden publicises death threats against a whole group of people. Today you are a racist as long as you don’t bend over backwards when meeting other cultures or religions.

This is something I really don’t understand!

These actions are wrong and can’t be accepted by Swedish society. To express fear that their children will become Swedish is to express a form of racism against Swedes.

I follow the integration debate in other countries and in France for example they are more courageous when it comes to making demands with regards to common and constructive values.

All is however not perfect in France but they at least have politicians (and I am not talking about the far-right) who are not afraid of expressing themselves freely and rationally without being called racists.

Naivety (or caution) which exists among our Swedish politicians is worrying and boosts extremists such as Abdirisak Waberi, who sits in the Riksdag defence committee (the man who wants to live in a country under sharia law as he said in an SVT documentary).

In France they have a saying – “To call a cat a cat”. One should call things by their real name and not try to make things up. To always be politically correct solves no problems.

I am thus not surprised but mostly disappointed by our hypocritical society when for example I am called an Islamaphobe, racist and masses of other made up smears just because I have the guts to write.

In conclusion I have to underline again that the integration debate and the problems with the multicultural society won’t solve themselves if our politicians don’t break their silence.

How can a state-owned radio channel, Sveriges Radio, allow an imam resident in Sweden to express a death threat against a whole group of people who have converted from Islam to Christianity?

How would society have reacted if a right-wing organisation had threatened a group of people who had broken their norms and values?

It is now time to break the trend and start to clean up.

The political establishment has neglected this over the course of several years. The consequences of this failure has been that, among other things, right-wing extremists have gained a foothold and been energised.

So, I agree with you Mauricio Rojas (editor’s note: Liberal Party politician who has written a series of reports on integration and asylum issues). The evidence suggests that the immigrant debate is still far from “the bounds of open-heartedness” and even further away from sober and reasoned discourse. That’s just too bad for Sweden!

Bahareh Andersson is an equal rights activist who works with honour society issues.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website. English translation by The Local

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