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'Your baby looks like Saddam Hussein'

David Landes · 19 Jan 2012, 10:28

Published: 19 Jan 2012 10:28 GMT+01:00

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The man, who has worked at the agency for 30 years, is also under investigation for physically assaulting a female colleague and making derogatory remarks about a woman wearing a headscarf.

The comparison of the baby to the former Iraqi dictator came during an interview conducted last year between the employee and an asylum seeking couple from Iraq who brought their newborn infant along to the meeting.

“Who do you think he looks like?” one of the proud parents asked the Migration Board employee.

Saddam Hussein,” the man replied.

On a separate occasion, the man stood in a customer service reception area and glared at a woman wearing a headscarf.

After one his colleagues had assisted the veil-wearing woman, the man went up and asked his co-worker, “How does it feel to talk to 'one of those'?”

The shocked co-worker, who had also been told by the man about his exchange with the Iraqi asylum seekers, decided to inform their supervisor about both incidents.

A few days after the female colleague reported the man, he deliberately pushed her twice within the span of a few minutes when he passed her in the hallway, while other surprised Migration Board employees looked on.

During a subsequent conversation with his supervisor, the man did admit to pushing his colleague and to comparing the asylum seekers' baby to Saddam Hussein.

He added, however, that the comparison was meant as a joke which he had quickly realized was inappropriate.

The man also admitted to his comments about the woman wearing a headscarf, going on to say that he didn't think it was appropriate for women to wear veils when conducting business with public authorities.

Story continues below…

According to the report filed with the disciplinary committee, the man's supervisor has had numerous conversations with him since 2007 about his behaviour toward colleagues and asylum seekers.

“The incidents described above show, according to the judgement of the section head, that the reprimands have had no effect,” the section head wrote in his report, adding that “under no circumstances can violent behaviour and the like be tolerated in the workplace”.

In the wake of the incidents, the man has been transferred to a role in which he has no contact with the public pending a ruling from the Migration Board's disciplinary committee on possible disciplinary measures.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 January 19, 2012 by John.Smith
Emmm... is it just me or should at the very minimum the guy be suspended without pay for his actions (self confessed) until the disciplinary committee? He has a history of disciplinary issues and was violent in the workplace! Automatic dismissal IMHO...
11:07 January 19, 2012 by DAVID T
It is kind of funny - Can we have a picture of the baby?
11:09 January 19, 2012 by Iraniboy
Far worse than this conversation can be exchanged among friends with different backgrounds. But you should have a minimum acquaintance to someone to start joking! A joke is joke when you don't need to explain that it was a joke!
11:18 January 19, 2012 by ardnis
When i will register to migrationsverket (i'm french), i hope that nobody tell me i'm look like Sarkozy because i will overreact :)
11:35 January 19, 2012 by gudvalsignedig
Strange people are every where. I have had bad experiences in a Church in Skövde. But as a whole majority of Swedish people is very kind and positive.
11:38 January 19, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Love to see a picture of the baby!
11:41 January 19, 2012 by Hauhr
Question: "Who do you think he looks like?"

Answer: "Saddam Hussein"

Exacly what offence has been committed by giving that answer? Personally, I think that Beyonce looks like Shakira. Is that not OK?
11:44 January 19, 2012 by Willy
Sounds like Basil Fawlty has joined the Swedish Migration Board.
11:55 January 19, 2012 by joeyt
@Ardnis: since you're a EU citizen, you can register online and avoid any kind of human contact:

11:56 January 19, 2012 by Liefje
oh come on folks, for I think it was a very good joke!

Why would you want to ask some officer at Migrationsverket about your baby? For most of sweden arab babies all look the same, so what was the poor man to say? he looks like your neighbour?
12:17 January 19, 2012 by tendance
Well given Saddam's activities and history, and also how his days ended on earth, i think no one would like to be referred to as anything like Saddam. A mare thought of him is like forcing a child who just woke up from a nightmare back to sleep immediate... or just like comparing German baby to Adolf Hitler
12:39 January 19, 2012 by swedengreat
I am not Swedish but i support Swedish here. If any one met a new person first time, How do we react to them?. It was looking like a joke to be optimistic. if you complaint this as an assault, Swede's never going to talk to any immigrant. I can say Swedish are very shy persons to contact at first site to any unknown person. He just tried to do some fun any how and had been jammed with lot of issues.
12:53 January 19, 2012 by occassional
12:55 January 19, 2012 by flintis
Oh! dear how could he be so honest on both accounts, how can you trust someone who covers their face, talk about predjudice, I can't go into migrationsverket, a bank, petrol station with my mc helmet on, so why should it be ok for anyone covering their face!!!!!!!!!!
12:58 January 19, 2012 by plswun
Why does this guy still have a job after the first in incedent is the real question?? This procedure of not firing anyone in Sweden has to stop. Some people just flat out deserve to be fired. People should be hired for experience and because they can represent the employer in a good way. Otherwise, fire them. If you can't put on a good face at work then you should not reap the benifits of being employed.
13:02 January 19, 2012 by stupr

FYI - If a parent asks you who their baby looks like, I think they are generally referring to the likeness with either the mother or the father.... not with a former Iraqi dictator! lol
13:16 January 19, 2012 by Terri85
OMG. was it difficult just to say the baby is like you or the mother. Parents just were happy to have a baby and they were proud. And after all it is a baby let it be Arab, Swedish or something else.
13:30 January 19, 2012 by Liefje
"@ stupr

Oh yes i understood that, but believe me when i am asked the very same question about another race babies, the first thought is to your neighbour, for they all look the same.

I was told once never ask the question if you are not ready for the answer.

Maybe in this immigration classes they should also adress developing the sense of humour , not just learnign the basic Swedish in order to be able to claim their rights.
13:34 January 19, 2012 by apelsin000
Creative cruelty or bloody taste of fun, it is a question.
13:40 January 19, 2012 by RobinHood
If you look at the picture of the baby above, he does look remarkably like Saddam Hussain.
13:58 January 19, 2012 by Dazzler
Iraqi babies have beards too? Thats some awesome cross breading!
14:03 January 19, 2012 by Vitas
Very good joke! When I am in Tensta or in Södertälje there are thousends Saddam Husseins
14:05 January 19, 2012 by this_aint_sparta
I wish if some western parents ask me who their kid look like and i can answer "like my d!ck" hahahah, just a joke just a joke hahhaha i am so funny, hahaha what a sense of humor i got.

I wonder if any one of us can even imagine how these kinda comments can hurt someone. That b!oody a$$ hole was there for fact findings and not to be funny. F!re him
14:08 January 19, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Its a reflection, either on the boring nature of Mvkt work, or the lack of professionalism of some of its staff, that such a remark could be made to customers
14:16 January 19, 2012 by acidcritic
People overeacts to jokes. Why one ougth to believe it is a shame to look to someone else, including Saddam Hussein? If the baby looked like the postmen or some neiborgh will be a shame for the mother, not for the baby. On the other hand Jooholt do looks like Sadam Hussein and nobody have the rigth to complain about it is`nt?
14:37 January 19, 2012 by kashmiri81
I have a beard if someone call me Talibaan or Osamaa I will enjoy ...... Strange how people think about jokes

and more strange how swedish laws, sometimes protects their narrow thinking.
14:56 January 19, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
I think the problem with what YOU yourself mean to be a 'joke' is that it may be offensive to others.

Agree with Iraniboy,- you have to 'know' someone before you start 'joking with them'

'One man's food is another man's poison'...
14:58 January 19, 2012 by FutureHuman
If I were the judge, i would punish the guy for the headscarf comments and assaults, but reward him for the baby joke.

Besides, if the baby is boy, Sadam is hell of a good looking man:)
15:18 January 19, 2012 by gh2008
if i was the father of this baby i would take the joke, flash him a whole bad look then spit on his face. end of story.
15:39 January 19, 2012 by Svensksmith
At least he didn't say, "the milkman."
16:20 January 19, 2012 by eppie
None of us where there at the time, so with which accent the guy made the joke and what he really meant....we don't know.

However, if you all cared to read the rest of the story this guy seems to have some serious problems...he seems to be a bit of a weirdo. I mean pushing a female coworker around in the halls of your workplace....
16:27 January 19, 2012 by ThursdayNext
In the UK all babies are said to look like Winston Churchill (which they do, regardless of gender). Maybe the administrator mistakenly thought it was polite to say that ones baby looks like the former leader of ones home country?
16:29 January 19, 2012 by RobinHood
This is the tip of the iceberg. On 29 December 2006, evil Nazi scientist, Doctor Mengele extracted and preserved Sadaam Husseins DNA, and has been breeding Sadaam clones ever since in his secret laboratory in Brazil. This one obviously found his way to Sweden, where he was recognised by an observant immigration officer. There are thousands of baby Sadaams out there now, in about 20 years time, they will activate their evil plot.

Someone should make a movie about this. I suggest they call it The Boys From Brazil.
16:35 January 19, 2012 by Vill
At some point in time most humans lost their sense of humor. I pity those people.
17:13 January 19, 2012 by VicTaulic
Sweden, just sit back and enjoy the benefits of multiculturalism.
18:32 January 19, 2012 by puddleofmud
@Hauhur @thursdaynext: mad props to you guys. Maybe next time i'm in Germany i should go around telling people their babies look like Adolf Hitler, its my opinion isn't it? freedom of speech yea?
18:40 January 19, 2012 by bramblebush
How many Saddam Hussein's do we need in Sweden?
21:27 January 19, 2012 by skogsbo
They asked a honest question and clearly got a honest answer.
21:44 January 19, 2012 by wxman
Well, maybe he does! Since when is speaking the truth a crime?
23:28 January 19, 2012 by scrawler
what If someone says your baby look like Anders Bervik, then those parents will be proud of their babies .!
00:25 January 20, 2012 by Andersonville
It's unfortunately that some are so poisoned by bigotry they let their bias cloud their reason. The poor couple was trying to be friendly and warm and were met with ridicule. That joke wasn't funny at all. Saddam Hussein was a devil and no one probably knew that BETTER than those people. That agent meant his comments in a hurtful way when he should've been more welcoming. He should lose his job. He has no business dealing with a sector of gov't whose sole purpose is to interact with newcomers to anywhere. He's a dinosaur. As for the woman with the HEADSCARF, what the heck?! I grew up watching Christian women wearing scarves to mass. The nuns were obviously even more covered. What is the difference??? This is the epitome of hypocrisy. Life is short; take inventory of thoughts and actions.


Who are these people and why did they dress this way???
00:27 January 20, 2012 by Svensksmith
Breviek's problems have nothing to do with his looks.
01:15 January 20, 2012 by TheWatchman
I think they are taking this too seriously. I agree it wasn't the best thing to say, but when coming to a new country you should try and blend in. It's like me going to Sweden with a cowboy hat, boots, jeans and a waving American flag(fan) in my backpack, with an orchestra accompanying me playing the American national anthem.
09:13 January 20, 2012 by seborga82
the fxxxxxx political correctness has taken sweden too far, it will be destroyed as a matter of fact! even the certificates of citizenship issued by the migrationsverket are signed these days with strange names..
10:56 January 20, 2012 by DAVID T
Why is Sweden still accepting Iraqi asylum seekers? Don't we have enough?
13:17 January 20, 2012 by sarah02

Why don't you go to Migrationsverket and tell them that yourself? - rolling eyes-
15:33 January 20, 2012 by guliver
What come out here is not the issue of that poor family who escaped from Iraq, but the big question of the immigration from the poor and under developed countries up to Sweden and other European countries,

This causes culturale,mentality,language ,social problems.

For the poor people it is the way to make their life better,but the host country has to face all problems linked with that immigration.

How much a country can and will accept these people it is up to the citizens of the host country,they have to decide how many and in which condition people will become Asylium right.

One thing is sure, once you have decided to let that people in your country you have to face with the problems linked to that act,other possibility is to try to help the undeveloped countries to reach a good standard life,

Every body likes his fotherland and nobody leave it so easly but wars , instability, bad economical situation are the reason for that.
18:52 January 20, 2012 by tadchem
Saddam is dead. The fascist Ba'ath party is gone. Even the Americans are gone. Nobody is left to rule Iraq except the holy men. So why are there "Iraqi asylum seekers?" Who or what are they running from?

Saddam did not always have whiskers:

19:06 January 20, 2012 by kerry1
Ha Ha that is funny, honestly, I have been told that I look like

"Miss Piggy",. Could the couple not have laughed it off, and say something

like "we will be in trouble then"!!!

If the person said that the baby looked like "Hitler" would they have taken action?

My rule do not take things like that too serious................at try not to.
20:00 January 20, 2012 by guliver
Yes Tadchem, Saddam is dead and this is good ,but still Iraq is instable country ,there is still a civil war there and the simple people suffer and as it happen also in other underdeveloped countries also the poor economical conditions push the people to seek work in the developed countries,and as I posted before here is up to the citizens of those countries who got the right to decide if they willing to accept these people or not,and people arriving from middle east countries ,far east countries and african countries as well ,not just from Iraq.
21:27 January 20, 2012 by biddi
For goodness sake. It was a joke! ROFL. You can't look sideways these days without 'offending' some people. Get a life.
12:46 January 21, 2012 by Roy E
I wonder how many of Sadaam's toadies sought asylum in Sweden.

It's seems like they'd be the most likely refugees fleeing a democratic Iraq.
13:04 January 21, 2012 by Marc the Texan
If the baby looks like Saddam Hussein, then what's the problem. Lots of Iraqis still look on Saddam favorably. Would he have been fired if he'd said Abraham Lincoln? This story sounds ridiculous. If he assaulted someone then why is that only mentioned in passing?
13:38 January 21, 2012 by phil23456
What a load of political correct rubbish, it's just a joke. Toughen up Sweden!
22:22 January 21, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
This is not a time for cynicism phil23456. In addition to being severely punished, this incorrigible civil servant in question (the lout) ought to pay damages to the parents.

As a joke it could have been in place to say that the baby looks like Sir Winston Churchill (as they usually do if they're chubby) but to insult the parents who fled Iraq because of that Butcher of Baghdad by saying that their beloved new born angel looks like Saddam Hussein was calculated to be deeply hurtful - like saying to a mother, any mother - your baby looks like Adolf Hitler.

Have a heart!
07:11 January 22, 2012 by biddi
Cornelius Hamelberg : I bet it was just an off the cuff remark.

Maybe their beloved new born angel does look like Saddam Hussein. Bet there are alot of look-alikes. As for 'pay for damages' - don't you think these people get enough already from the government?? Your kind of remark encourages these people to only think in terms of money and how they can further milk the system. Are you on welfare?? Me thinks you could even be a troll

since you are so provocative.
20:52 January 22, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Your cynicism and rudeness is beneath my contempt.

I'll just tell you this I did not come to Sweden as a political or economic refugee or to study.
23:08 January 22, 2012 by TheWatchman
@ Cornelius Hamelberg

I hope you are joking. Damages? Really? He didn't punch the child in the face. If someone told me I looked like a dictator, I would swear and call them rude, but I wouldn't ask for damages or anything of the sort. They are already getting the ultimate gift of being allowed into Sweden (despite its harm to the country) so that should be the only payment.
00:37 January 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
The Watchman,

I want to puke. You make me sick. What would Jesus say? Turn the other cheek?

If you were to meet a Holocaust survivor here or in Tel Aviv and tell her that her baby or grand-baby looks like Adolf Hitler, I should hope that you would get more than your share of damage done to you and you would deserve to join the Führer and his ilk. I myself would gladly assist your rite of passage to what in Iraq is called Jahanam

The Iraqi mother will probably never forget your tjänsteman's racist "joke" - it must have been a traumatic experience for her.

Next you'll be trying to convince people like yourself that urinating on the Taliban soldiers that you just killed was a Swedish kind of joke. Well, I'm not that kind of Swede
03:43 January 23, 2012 by biddi
Cornelius Hamelberg :

OMG. You're over the top! Pathetic. And nasty big time running through your head.
04:47 January 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Whoever you may be, humanity is on trial and your words betray you just as mine betray me.

Although you don't even have the guts to identify yourself so that we may know what you look like, I wouldn't go as far as imagining that you look like Pol Pot. I have better jokes than that.

Hillel the Elder taught: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn" We could both take a look into ourselves and into that teaching....

08:51 January 23, 2012 by biddi
Interesting. I don't see anything about you on your profile either.

I am surprised, since you are 'so well read' you are actually very intolerant, yes, intolerant. I get the feeling you have religious

tendencies (Jewish) (Dutch or part thereof) although, with your spiteful remarks, I really wonder what you are about. If I think something is funny I will say so, if I don't agree I will say so. You're spewing overtime. Go get some sleep, Cornelius.
13:42 January 23, 2012 by Santanu Dey
dont like to be politically correct as from a City which was never "politically Correct" for more than a century....

I think every person has his/her own right to express dislike or fondness regarding anything she/he feels like. It should be a part of Freedom of Expression.

That doesn't mean however the freedom to extend the barriers of vocal expression and become violent/derogatory in nature.....

For a worker working for a Migration Board, he/she is expected to have a minimum sense of political correctness so that the comments and action should not cause physical or mental stress to anyone....

As for all the immigrants(from My country and elsewhere), if you dont like Sweden, dont stay here..move elsewhere....

But first I need to ask that , if there is so much resentment against immigration among people of the country, then why dont the government listen to them?

Everybody is talking about Swedish Racism everywhere
14:02 January 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg

"So well read"? Me?

"Intolerant"? When somebody violates a young mother's sense of pride like that?

You "get the feeling"?

Still feeling funny?

That psychopath should not be working in such a position....and neither should you.

If there were not certain language proprieties to be observed in The Local,

I would have told you exactly where you should go and bury your head

14:56 January 23, 2012 by biddi
The bitter and twisted Cornelius Hamelberg. I rest my case.
22:22 January 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Looka here "biddi"

I've worked with refugees. A very long time ago I taught English to about a dozen medical doctors who were political refugees from Afghanistan. I have also taught refugees from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon. One has to be sensitive. Some people need sensitivity training to do such work. Above all the student or client has to be treated with respect.

From a Judaic point of view, the stranger especially, has to be treated kindly.

This is the item that we have been discussing :

"An administrator at the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) is facing disciplinary action after telling a family of Iraqi asylum seekers that their newborn baby looked like Saddam Hussein. "

For the psychopath who has no sense of humour, everything is a joke.

Decent & normal people are shocked by this and agree that the administrator should face disciplinary action for his cruel remarks and you are trying to tell me - in the name of "freedom of speech" that I am "twisted and bitter"? Even Lars Vilks wouldn't tell me that.

I know who Saddam Hussein is and we have a fair idea as to the kind of personality who for lack of a more precise identity calls himself/ herself "biddi" and would like to gives us the impression that Saddam Hussein might be his/ her father. He "rests" his "case" - as if he has been standing on his hind legs to argue conclusively to a quod erat demonstartum.

" Twisted and bitter" is the essence of your cultural vocabulary and in your view such a description is applicable to anyone who stands up for Human Rights and common human decency.

Let me tell you this little story: I was sitting on the floor of the Imam Ali Mosque here in Stockholm - then at Skanstull - sometime after Halabja and listening to Sheikh Hassan's lecture on forgiveness. I whispered to Ahmed from Lebanon who was sitting besides me," Perhaps Allah subhan t'ala the forgiving and all merciful will forgive Saddam?" He got up and walked away to the furthest corner of the mosque and there he sat. After the lecture I went over to ask him, " Why did you walk away like that Aki?" He answered, "If Allah subhan't'ala were to forgive Saddam Hussein, then who is going to go to hell?"
11:22 January 26, 2012 by Camorin
To all those who think this should be taken as a joke, would they be ok if when they visit a country, an officer there says their child looks like Hitler? If they would, then, they probably lack sense.
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