Deputy Speaker Björn Söder during a debate in the Swedish parliament. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
Björn Söder, who is the deputy speaker of the Swedish parliament, made his argument on the Facebook page of Sweden’s Centre Party, as part of defence against accusations from the party’s leader Annie Lööf.
“Annie Lööf adversely affects the position of Jews and Sami in Sweden when she indirectly claims that they are Swedes,” he wrote.
“These groups have minority positions in Sweden just because they are not Swedes. Shame on you Annie Lööf for your racist attitude.”
Anders Lundin, whose grandfather was imprisoned in the Nazi Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic, told the Aftonbladet newspaper that he had reported Söder for hate crimes.
“Björn Söder wants people to know that only some of us are allowed to be Swedish,” he said. “I want it to be assessed whether that constitutes a “hate crime, which I believe it is if you look at the definition in the law books.”
Asked how he had felt when he read Söder’s words, he said he had felt “disgust if I’m honest”.
“You cannot say anything you like in this position [deputy speaker]. To say the very least, it's a position of responsibility he holds.”
Police spokesman Martin Detterström told Aftonbladet newspaper that an investigation had been launched into Söder’s statement, but that the responsible officers had decided to not to take it forward.
Lööf published a screen grab of Söder's comments on her Instagram account, saying it showed that the Sweden Democrats had not moved beyond their early roots in neo-Nazi groups.
“The problem with the Sweden Democrats is not just their history, but also that their dividing up of people continues even today. And at the highest levels of their leadership,” she wrote. “As a citizen you are Swedish, whether you belong to a national minority or not.”
Söder accused Lööf of using “low” tactics and taking his reply out of its context, which was to defend himself against accusations of racism for earlier comments made in 2014.