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RACISM

Danish far-right extremist plans to use Swedish citizenship for new provocative demos

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of an extremist far-right party in Denmark, says he plans to travel to Sweden to carry out demonstrations after authorities confirmed he was a citizen of the country.

Danish far-right extremist plans to use Swedish citizenship for new provocative demos
Rasmus Paludan, leader of the extremist far-right party Stram Kurs. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, who has a criminal conviction in Denmark for inciting racial hatred, was previously banned from entering Sweden for two years. But that ban would be rendered invalid by his now-confirmed Swedish citizenship.

Paludan came to prominence in Denmark through his anti-Islam demonstrations in areas with sizeable minority ethnic communities. The main feature of the demonstrations is burning and desecration of the Quran.

Muslims believe the Quran to be the direct word of God and intentionally destroying one is therefore seen as an extremely sacrilegious act.

Far-right activist Paludan espouses vehemently anti-Islam rhetoric and wants to ban Islam in Denmark — in breach of the constitution — and deport swathes of non-ethnic Danes from the country.

In August, a group of activists linked to the Stram Kurs party posted a video of themselves burning a copy of the Quran in Malmö.

Around a dozen rioters were subsequently arrested, as were as a number of people involved in far-right rally where a Quran was kicked around on the ground on the city’s Stortorget square. Six people at Stortorget were seized by police on suspicion of agitation against ethnic groups.

Police had earlier stopped Paludan himself on the border and banned him from entering Sweden for two years on the basis that there was a risk he would break the law while the country.

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But Swedish immigration authority Migrationsverket has now recognised he is in fact a citizen of the country due to the nationality of one of his parents, Danish newswire Ritzau reports. That would enable him to freely enter Sweden.

“I hope that we can carry out activities in Sweden later this year,” Paludan told Ritzau.

“It was not difficult to become a Swedish citizen due to the fact that I haven’t done anything at all. I apparently became one when my parents married in 1989,” he said.

Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan has also confirmed the report, publishing a copy of the Migrationsverket confirmation on its website.

It should be noted that the Swedish immigration agency has confirmed that Paludan was already a citizen of the country, not granted him citizenship.

He took the opportunity to make a discriminatory remark in comments given to Ritzau.

“The Swedish constitution states that no citizen may be denied entry. I will probably need to get a Swedish passport before I try to get in. If there happens to be an Arabic person in police uniform who doesn’t know what the rules are, it will probably help to have a Swedish passport,” he said.

Paludan has claimed that Swedish immigration policy is a threat to Denmark and therefore justifies his activism in the country. He also argued that by demonstrating in Sweden, he will persuade Danish voters to elect his party.

“We think more Danes will vote for us when they see it,” he said.

He told Ritzau that he would sue Sweden for having previously denied him entry, given he was a citizen of the country when it happened.

“The Swedish government breached the constitution,” he said.

“That is very serious. Maybe we’ll burn a couple of hundred Qurans as a response to this serious assault on my integrity,” he added.

READ ALSO: Did far-right Danish party break rules to qualify for election?

Member comments

  1. Well, well, while so many decent migrants have struggled for years without any certainty of getting a Swedish citizenship, it just took overnight for this anti-Muslim “fighter” to get a citizenship. This story says a lot about Sweden itself.

  2. if you don’t like the country that much I think it would be better for you to look for another one. Others who’s willing to stay and love the country for what it is can stay. You probably didn’t even read the article. He is NOT granted a citizenship, one of his parents is Swedes therefore he already has the right for it far before he became a politician. He just didn’t find the need to make a Swedish passport.

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RACISM

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize

The international civil rights movement Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation on Friday won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020.

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize
A Black Lives Matter protest in Malmö, June 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The foundation was honoured for its work promoting “peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence all over the world,” prize organisers said in a statement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013 in the United States, has “in a unique way exposed the hardship, pain, and wrath of the African-American minority at not being valued equal to people of a different colour,” the statement said.

The movement had its major international breakthrough in the summer of 2020 following several cases of extreme brutality in the US, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Sweden's anti-racism protests aren't just about what's happening in other countries

Prize organisers noted that an estimated 20 million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in the US alone, and millions more around the world.

“This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem.”

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $100,000 awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund.

It commemorates the memory of Sweden's Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

Since 1987 the award has honoured human rights defenders around the world including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

An online prize ceremony will take place in Stockholm on Saturday.

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