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MIGRATION BOARD OUTRAGE

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Man disciplined for comparing baby to Saddam Hussein

A worker at the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) who told a family of Iraqi asylum seekers that their newborn baby looked like Saddam Hussein will not lose his job over the incident, the agency's disciplinary committee has ruled.

Man disciplined for comparing baby to Saddam Hussein

The man, who has worked at the agency for more than 30 years, was under investigation not only for the insulting comparison, but also for physically assaulting a female colleague and making derogatory remarks about a woman wearing a headscarf.

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

When his shocked colleague reported his remarks to the disciplinary committee, he responded by deliberately pushing her twice, to onlooking co-workers’ surprise.

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 fromIraq 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.

According to the man himself, this comment was intended as a joke.

However, the report filed showed that the man’s supervisor has had numerous conversations with him since 2007 about his behaviour toward colleagues and asylum seekers.

The Migration Board’s disciplinary committee has now ruled that the man is to keep his job, despite these incidents.

However, he is to be transferred to another department, and punished with a loss of wages.

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IMMIGRATION

Attack on migration minister at refugee home

UPDATED: Sweden's Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson has been attacked with a fire extinguisher after visiting a housing project for refugees in southern Sweden, but is not thought to have been injured.

Attack on migration minister at refugee home
Sweden's Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson. Photo: TT
Morgan Johansson was leaving the building when a man grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam over the minister, according to reports in regional newspaper Kristianstadsbladet.
 
According to the paper, the Social Democrat politician barely had time to react before a guard from Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) pulled the man to the ground.
 
The minister had spent the day visiting various locations around Kristianstad, a city in Skåne in southern Sweden.
 
The refugee accommodation he was attacked at is on the former site of Broby Hospital, a healthcare centre which closed down several years ago.
 

Sweden became the first European country in 2013 to grant automatic residency to Syrian refugees and has since seen asylum requests rise to record levels, which are still expected to reach about 90,000 in 2015.

Previously no more than 200 asylum seekers were permitted to stay in one centre. But under the new rules, the Migration Board can sign a basic contract for 350 places, including two supplementary agreements of 150 places each after the first ones have been filled.

According to the Swedish Migration Board's latest prognosis, 15,000 more asylum places will need to be created in the coming year.

Last week a survey by pollsters Ipsos commissioned by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter suggested that more than 60 percent of Swedes believe that immigration is good for the country, but just ten percent agree that integration efforts are working well.

Morgan Johansson told local news network P4 Kristianstad that he had been "taken by surprise", but added that he had not been injured.

"But you shouldn't treat these things too lightly either. You can't just say 'move on', because of course it's serious," he said.

The attack on the politician took place as Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven reiterated his commitment to helping refugees, but called on other EU nations to share the burden.

"We need to provide security for the refugees who risk facing death just a few mile off the coast of Europe, and get more of the EU member states to take responsibility for refugee protection," he said in a speech at a school in Gothenburg.

"Germany and Sweden take the greatest responsibility. More countries need to help take care of refugees," he added.