Top Sweden Democrat: No paradigm shift yet in Swedish migration

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Top Sweden Democrat: No paradigm shift yet in Swedish migration
Richard Jomshof at a press conference in late 2023. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Richard Jomshof, one of the Sweden Democrats' top figures, praised Sweden's migration minister in a new interview, while arguing that the governing coalition still hasn't delivered the migration 'paradigm shift' it promised.


The government, which is made up of the Moderates, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals with the support of the Sweden Democrats, is ruling on the Tidö Agreement, a policy document co-authored by all four parties covering seven different policy areas, of which migration and integration is by far the largest.

Sweden Democrat officials have previously described the range of migration policy covered in the agreement as “incredible”.

“We have effectively got through the Sweden Democrats’ migration policy,” the party’s chief negotiator Gustav Gellerbrant told party leadership in a meeting the day before the agreement was announced.

Since taking office in late 2022, the four parties have already launched directives to tighten up family reunification rules for asylum seekers and raised the salary threshold for work permits, as well as announcing plans to introduce harsher requirements for permanent residency and citizenship.


However, Richard Jomshof, one of the Sweden Democrats’ top figures and leader of parliament’s justice policy committee, does not believe this is enough, arguing in an interview with Aftonbladet that the migration “paradigm shift” which the four parties promised has not yet occurred.

“There’s a lot in progress in terms of legislation which will make a difference in the long term, but I personally think that a lot, lot more could have been done already. We could have been much, much clearer,” Jomshof told the newspaper.


He praised Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard, from the Moderates, while criticising her party colleague Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

“I think she’s very good, but I think the prime minister could have been a lot clearer,” Jomshof said. “I think there’s a fear of being called out and accused of being something or other.”

‘Not a single functioning Muslim country’

Jomshof has previously made headlines for his criticism of Islam, calling it in 2021 a “disgusting religion”, and branding prophet Mohammed a “warlord, mass-murderer, slave trader and bandit”.

In a speech to the party in November 2023, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson called for a moratorium on the building of new mosques in Sweden and for existing mosques to be demolished if they spread "antidemocratic, anti-Swedish, homophobic or antisemitic propaganda", a statement which was criticised by the other governing parties. Liberal leader Johan Pehrson described it as “un-Swedish”, while Kristersson, who is married to a priest in the Swedish church, responded by saying “in Sweden we do not demolish places of worship”.

Jomshof doubled down on Åkesson’s comments in the interview with Aftonbladet.

“Islam is, at its foundation, a very foreign and imperialistic ideology,” he told the newspaper, adding that Islam has “never gone through an enlightenment”, and that there is “not a single, I would say, functioning Muslim country today”.

He claimed that there are mosques in Sweden financed by “rogue Muslim states” (he doesn't mention any by name, but Aftonbladet's article links to an exposé by DN in 2017 about some mosques being paid by Turkey), arguing that “if this were a political movement which had established itself in Sweden in such a short period, in the way we’re seeing today, people would be reacting differently”.


Banning Islamic symbols 'a possible way forward'

In Sweden, freedom of religion is protected in the constitution, meaning that the state is not able to step in and limit citizens' freedom to practise their religion.

The state is also responsible for combatting discrimination – including discrimination for religious reasons, which demolishing mosques could arguably fall under.

This means that it may not even be possible for the state to do what Åkesson and Jomshof are calling for.

In a response to a question by Aftonbladet’s interviewer, Jomshof added that he wouldn’t rule out banning symbols of Islam under similar legislation as that which prohibits the use of the swastika.

“Absolutely. It’s clear that at least minarets, the crescent moon, are symbols which represent Islam. For many people, me included, they represent something very dangerous. Something very bad. A similar limitation could definitely be a possible way forward,” he said.

“I’m not saying that Nazism and Islam are the same thing, but this is about expression. For me, the headscarf is an Islamic attribute and I know a lot of people, not least ex-Muslims and women, would see it in the same way.”


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