Saturday, July 02 2016

Intolerance against Sweden’s Muslims and Jews on the rise

  A report by the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia) has found that racism and intolerance towards Sweden’s Muslim and Jewish communities is on the rise.

From the Swedish paper, The Local:

“The number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

“This follows an EU-wide trend where right wing extremist groups are using the internet to spread hate-propaganda.”

“According to the report, these are characterized by anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views, where conspiracy theories are the most recurring elements.

“The Jewish group is often cast as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as physical occupiers, actively are on their way to taking over society through mass-immigration and rising nativity figures.”

The report also found that prejudice is being spread through school books.

Crime statistics show that in the last year there were 161 hate crimes reported with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives, although the authors of the report express concern that there may be many more unreported hate crime incidents. Sweden’s Muslim community consists of around 300,000 whilst its Jewish community is around 20,000.

The Swedish Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag stated that “Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country but this report shows that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbour hatred against Muslims and Jews”.

Head of the Forum for Living History, Eskil Franck stated that, “Above all this study shows that research and follow-ups into preventative actions regarding intolerance against Jews and Muslims is sorely needed”.

“According to Ullenhag, Swedish authorities must further their knowledge about what causes the hate against these groups to grow in Sweden and how they should meet it. That, he said, is the aim behind the investigation regarding xenophobia that the government launched earlier this spring.

Ullenhag also stated that “We have learnt from experiences in other European countries that all the forces who want a tolerant society need to be active in the public debate. Prejudice against Jews and Muslims can never be normalized”.

A report released earlier this month by the American research centre Pew found that Sweden was one of the top five countries in which social hostilities relating to religion had risen between 2006-2009.

The report comes not long after social hostilities specifically towards European Muslims and Islam in Europe culminated in the fatal terrorist attacks in Norway, which has spurred increasing debate about a Europe-wide trend of rising Islamophobia.

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