Refugee crisis

Nationalist rock song fails as refugees profit

Nationalist rock song fails as refugees profit
Jimmie Åkesson (left) and the song's composer Simon Ådahl (right). Photos: Rickard Nilsson/TT/Simon Ådahl
Sweden's anti-immigration party leader Jimmie Åkesson has recorded a cover of a Christian soft rock song, but the man who wrote it has told The Local he'll give away any composer royalties to charities helping refugees in the Nordics.
Jimmie Åkesson, who heads the nationalist Sweden Democrat party, has made no secret of his love for the track 'Be för Sverige' ('Pray for Sweden') in recent months, posting lyrics from the song on social media in October and commenting that he had been singing it regularly amid record immigration to his country.
Earlier this week it emerged that he had recorded a cover of the track with a band, Bedårande barn, that supports his anti-immigration party, just in time for Christmas.
“With it we hope to contribute to the reduction of polarization and [encourage] objective discussions during Advent,” he said in a new post on his Facebook page.
But the man who penned the song, Christian singer Simon Ådahl, has told The Local that he had no idea that Åkesson was planning to use the material and said that he would give away any money he makes from composer royalties to organizations that help refugees and other vulnerable immigrants living in Sweden.
“In Sweden you do not necessarily need permission to do a cover if you do it like the original, and they have done it just like the original, but they didn't take the last verses which have the Christian connection,” he said in a phone interview.
“I cannot allow a political leader to benefit from this (…) so I have decided to give all the money I get from it refugees, to exactly the projects they [the Sweden Democrats] don't support,” he added, laughing loudly.
“It's my sense of humour to do it like this! (…) They have always been against all immigration and with my Christian beliefs I cannot support that party because I believe that every man is equal.”
Ådahl composed the track 12 years ago and it has become a well-known song in the secular Scandinavian country, regularly performed in churches year-round as well as at Christian events. 
“I wrote it because I wanted people to wake up to what is happening in Sweden – more violence and the love that has somehow gone cold in Sweden,” he told The Local.
The singer-songwriter said he was “still deciding” exactly which charities would benefit from any profits generated.
Jimmie Åkesson's foray into pop music comes off the back of the largest bi-annual political poll in Sweden, which suggested on Tuesday that his anti-immigration party would secure the support of 19.9 percent of voters if there was an election. The figure is the group's highest-ever projected share of the electoral vote in the poll.