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Muslim groups face threats in Sweden: study

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Muslim groups face threats in Sweden: study
13:36 CEST+02:00
Some 40 percent of Muslim congregations in Sweden have been exposed to some form of criminal attack, according to a recently published study at Mid Sweden University.

"The study concludes that around four in 10 Muslim congregations are exposed to criminal attacks of various kinds - vandalism, threats, physical attacks or such like," said Klas Borell the researcher who led the study to The Local.

Borell explained that the study is the only statistically representative survey of its kind in Europe and involved more than 100 representatives for Muslim organizations.

While the study is unable to offer conclusions as to the perpetrators of the attacks, Borell said that their frequency followed a familiar pattern.

"There are really two identifiable factors. Firstly if the organization's operations have gained media attention, such as the building of a mosque. And secondly an international event, such as the Madrid or London bombings."

Borell explained that the conclusion could be drawn from the study that the attacks against Swedish Muslim groups were "very much dictated by specific events".

One of the most contentious issues in recent years has been the building of a new mosque on Hisingen in Gothenburg.

Demonstrations by far-right and counter-demonstration groups required the deployment of police force resources not seen in the city since the violent EU summit demonstrations in 2001.

Sweden is however not unique in the frequency and nature of criminal attacks against Muslim groups and despite the findings of the study, Klas Borell concluded that Sweden as a whole "is a very tolerant country".

"The situation is much, much better in Sweden that in other comparable countries," he said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Follow Peter on Twitter here.

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