• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden Dems slammed for 'Muslim rape' jab

TT/The Local/dl · 8 Jan 2014, 10:30

Published: 08 Jan 2014 10:30 GMT+01:00

The latest controversy stemming from statements by top brass of the far-right nationalist party started with a Facebook post by Michael Hess, vice chair of the Sweden Democrats in Karlskrona in southern Sweden, in which he wrote that "rape is deeply rooted in Islamic culture".

When asked about Hess' comments, Linus Bylund, press secretary for party leader Jimme Åkesson, said the statement couldn't be construed as racist because it was factual.

"It says in the Koran that rape can be used against women who have been unfaithful. It's a Muslim form of punishment," Bylund told the Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) newspaper.

When pressed by BLT about which passage in the Koran condoned rape as a form of punishment, Bylund said he did not know.

"I'm not sure exactly. I don't know exactly what's stated in the Koran, but it's been shown that that's the case."

Jan Hjärpe, a professor of Islamic studies at Lund University, rejected the Sweden Democrat's claim.
 
"It's not true, it's not in the Koran," he told The Local. "But it's rather common in parlance, you can hear this kind of thing in environments where there are ethnic tensions," he added, pointing to similar occurances in the Balkans during the nineties.
 
Hjärpe said that rape wasn't a punishment under Sharia law either.
 
"This is wrong too, it's not in sharia texts at all. There have been some examples in tribal systems, there were cases in Pakistan and Bangladesh for example, where a village council gave a verdict for rape, but it's not Sharia at all."
 
"I think he just repeated what he heard, or what he read. There is a lot of misinformation and Islamophobia on the internet."
 
Hjärpe was quick to add that the misconceptions can head both ways, and explaind that in certain Islam enviroments, people selectively quote from the Bible to show "how bad Christians are".
 
"But this is a special case indeed, where the quotation is based on something completely false."Bylund's statement caused consternation on the political landscape, with Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund calling the claim ignorant.

"It comes from ignorance and could signal distancing yourself from people of another religion," Hägglund, who also heads the minority Christian Democrat party, told the TT news agency. "Of course I strictly distance myself from this kind of statement."

The prime minister also said he was critical of the statement and said it was telling of a wider attitude among the Sweden Democrats.

"It's an example of us-versus-them thinking that permeates much of the Sweden Democrats' rhetoric," Fredrik Reinfeldt said.

"Let's see if he become the targets of exclusion now," the prime minister added, in reference to the Sweden Democrat party's efforts to cull outspoken racists from its ranks late last year. 

Speaking later with the TT news agency, Bylund claimed he was misquoted by BLT when it came to what the Koran says about rape.

"I said it was naive to believe that this hasn't occurred as a punishment in Muslim countries. I don't care if it's in the Koran," he told TT, adding that he's never read the Koran.

Story continues below…

Bylund described Hess's statement as "inappropriate" but maintained that rape is considered by some Muslims as a form of punishment.

"There are examples of people using rape as a form of punishment and claiming it's because they follow sharia," he told TT.

He explained further that Hess' statements on Facebook should not be considered public statements and that they don't amount to racism.

"It's not racism. It's inappropriate, but I don't understand what it has to do with racism. Islam is never going to be a race; it's a value system, an ideology," Bylund told TT.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Presented by Lernia
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Photo: Lernia

Struggling to learn Swedish? There are a few ways to make it easier. Here are seven tips from the experts.

Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
It was a good year for the likes of Jonas Jonasson (left) and Camilla Läckberg (right). Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Henrik Montgomery/TT

From Nordic Noir to a hundred-year-old man (and one called Ove), Sweden's authors had a good year in 2015.

Sweden named world's sixth most competitive country
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

The Swedish celebs you really should not google
'Oh no, don't tell me I just clicked on THAT link.' Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

These are the world's most dangerous viral Swedish celebrities, according to a new report.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,960
jobs available