The 33-year-old man was watching the football game between Sweden and Ukraine during the summer on a big screen in a local park when the incident took place.
In court, he said the Hitler salute was an “inside joke” between him and his friends. He also stated that he was too drunk at the time to realize the gesture was inappropriate.
The court said in its verdict it had taken these claims into consideration, but found his action to be in breach of Sweden’s racial agitation laws (hets mot folkgrupp).
The law is meant to protect against harassment of people based on, for example, their ethnicity, religion, sexuality and gender.
Sweden also has legislation on hate crimes stipulating a sentence can be made more severe if a criminal act can be proven to have been motivated by prejudice or hatred.
The regional Sydsvenskan newspaper has previously reported on the lack of hate crime convictions in the southern city, which is one of Sweden’s most multicultural urban centres, despite several complaints to the police.
The 33-year-old’s sentence to do 100 hours of community service is the first time in three years that a Malmö resident has been convicted of hate crimes, Sydsvenskan reports.