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Fri Oct 30, 2015, 12:45 PM

Racist violence reveals Sweden’s xenophobic underbelly

"Despite its self-image as a tolerant society, migrants often find racism and closed doors in Sweden"

By: Debra Black Immigration Reporter, Toronto Star (Canada)

"For thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe there is only one goal — to get to Sweden, a country known for its acceptance and tolerance of those escaping war and persecution.

But Sweden may not be as welcoming as they had hoped. A recent stabbing at a school in the small industrial city of Trollhattan, which killed a 20-year-old teacher and a 17-year-old student from Somalia, was described by police as an attack against “people with immigrant backgrounds.” There have also been 20 fires at refugee asylum centers.

The Scandinavian country has an underbelly of racism and xenophobia that could make life difficult for newcomers, says Daniel Poohl, managing director of Expo Foundation, an organization designed to shed light on racist ideas and organizations in Sweden.
Known for its civility and social cohesion, Sweden has seen an influx of immigrants, from the Balkans in the 1990s and more recently from Iraq and Afghanistan. But the latest wave of Syrian refugees — 190,000 are expected this year alone — has triggered an “agonizing” debate both politically and culturally, says Marie Demker, a professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg.
One outspoken anti-refugee and anti-immigrant group is the Swedish Democrats — a right-wing party that won 13 per cent of the vote in the September 2014 election. Now the third most powerful party in parliament, it is calling for a referendum on whether Sweden should close its borders to refugees and immigrants.

“Sweden is a country that is divided by the idea of us being a multicultural society,” says Poohl. Those who oppose the acceptance of refugees and immigrants are mobilizing and making their voices heard, he says.

Sweden is “very schizophrenic” when it comes to attitudes about racism and xenophobia, he says. “If you look at the majority of Swedes and their attitudes, Sweden stands out as an open and accepting country and people.” But, he adds, it is also clear people with “another skin colour” do not have the same opportunities. We’re very good at opening the first door for people, but very good at closing the next doors.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/10/30/racist-violence-reveals-swedens-xenophobic-underbelly.html

21 replies, 1961 views

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Reply Racist violence reveals Sweden’s xenophobic underbelly (Original post)
uawchild Oct 2015 OP
Hortensis Oct 2015 #1
HickFromTheTick Oct 2015 #2
KamaAina Oct 2015 #3
uawchild Oct 2015 #5
FLPanhandle Oct 2015 #4
uawchild Oct 2015 #6
FLPanhandle Oct 2015 #7
uawchild Oct 2015 #11
DFW Oct 2015 #8
Lizzie Poppet Oct 2015 #9
1939 Oct 2015 #10
geek tragedy Oct 2015 #12
pampango Oct 2015 #13
hifiguy Oct 2015 #14
Jim Beard Oct 2015 #15
hifiguy Oct 2015 #17
Jim Beard Oct 2015 #16
hifiguy Oct 2015 #18
Jim Beard Oct 2015 #19
romanic Oct 2015 #20
Jim Beard Oct 2015 #21

Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 01:03 PM

1. Roughly half of everyone everywhere leans conservative,

half leans liberal. Some degree of xenophobia, from very mild to American Tea Party-style, is characteristic of conservative personalities, so of course there will be xenophobia in Sweden. Kudos to the Swedes for keeping it in balance as well as they do.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 02:38 PM

2. No reference to the rape problems in Sweden? Or the demographics of the perps? n/t

 

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 02:40 PM

3. Trollhattan?!

 

Manhattan for trolls?

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:01 PM

5. great place name, eh? lol n/t

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 02:40 PM

4. The epidemic of rapes by immigrants isn't helping

Many Swedes regret opening their doors so wide now.

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Response to FLPanhandle (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:03 PM

6. would you have links to this?

Are there articles backing this up? Any links would be appreciated.

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Response to uawchild (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:11 PM

7. Just Google Sweden rape crisis

I also travel to Malmo for work once or twice a year. It's no longer the safe beautiful place it once was. The Swedes I work with are not happy.

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Response to FLPanhandle (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:37 PM

11. Ok... the only one from a major source I could find was this...

It doesn't mention an immigrant rape crisis, and in fact gives an explanation for Sweden's high rape reporting rate:
"...
On the face of it, it would seem Sweden is a much more dangerous place than these other countries.
But that is a misconception, according to Klara Selin, a sociologist at the National Council for Crime Prevention in Stockholm. She says you cannot compare countries' records, because police procedures and legal definitions vary widely.
"In Sweden there has been this ambition explicitly to record every case of sexual violence separately, to make it visible in the statistics," she says.
"So, for instance, when a woman comes to the police and she says my husband or my fiance raped me almost every day during the last year, the police have to record each of these events, which might be more than 300 events. In many other countries it would just be one record - one victim, one type of crime, one record."
The thing is, the number of reported rapes has been going up in Sweden - it's almost trebled in just the last seven years. In 2003, about 2,200 offences were reported by the police, compared to nearly 6,000 in 2010.
So something's going on.
But Klara Selin says the statistics don't represent a major crime epidemic, rather a shift in attitudes. The public debate about this sort of crime in Sweden over the past two decades has had the effect of raising awareness, she says, and encouraging women to go to the police if they have been attacked."

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19592372

===========

If you have links about an immigrant rape crisis in Sweden from major news sources, I would greatly appreciate seeing the ones you find most authoritative. Thanks.

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Response to uawchild (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:23 PM

8. Unfortunately, the reports are everywhere

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_crime

The Swedish press has been partially unmuzzled, so...

Muslimer kraftigt överrepresenterade i våldtäktsbrott |
www.d-intl.com/.../muslimer-kraftigt-overrepresentera...

Maj 7, 2014 - I morgon får sverigedemokraten Michael Hess sin dom i Blekinge tingsrätt. Talade han sanning när han skrev att våldtäkter är djupt rotade i den ...

In Sweden, the effort at "tolerance" had, for a while meant no foreigner was to be charged, much less convicted, of any violent crime. This denial led, predictably enough, to a very ugly right-wing skin-head scene, where dark-skinned foreigners were automatically (extremist rightists are intellectually lazy everywhere, not just at home) presumed to have committed some awful offense, and were therefore fair game to be attacked on sight.

This is not recent in Sweden, by the way. I've seen the skinheads roaming around there for over ten years. They are a scary bunch. Drug and/or alcohol-addled brains and steroid-enhanced muscles that are looking for nothing else to do than hurt people. The difference is that now, their prey is everywhere. They don't have to look for it, and all they have to do is pick up the nearest local newspaper to find their rationalization for their actions. "våldtäkt" is "rape (you probably remember that if you saw the original "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". You can probably figure out the rest.

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Response to uawchild (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:26 PM

9. I found many...but it's hard to find any from sites that aren't of dubious objectivity.

 

I'll have to see if I can find their source material. In Sweden, anyway, their reporting methods on crime make it almost impossible to determine if some of the offenders are either immigrants or first-generation children of immigrants (from communities that resist assimilation). There is a simple correlation between Sweden's sharp increase in rape and similarly sharp increase in immigration/refugee acceptance...but that's only correlation...not a reliable demonstration of cause-and-effect.

Basically, it's difficult to find hard data on a (possible) issue that's starting to get a LOT of press, public outcry, etc. That said, it's not exactly a far-fetched proposition to suspect men from societies in which misogyny and the devaluing of women is deeply institutionalized.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:32 PM

10. Most cultures

are very welcoming to "exotics" but don't want the exotic population to grow into a significant minority population.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 03:38 PM

12. Scandinavian countries have a good thing going.

 

They're understandably reluctant to embrace destabilizing influences.

These places aren't the United States--they depend on social stability, which is reflected in their safety net programs.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:03 PM

13. The government and most people are liberal and welcome refugees. The right

is conservative and does not. That is true in Sweden and everywhere else it seems.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:28 PM

14. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of human nature

 

should be able to see that the introduction of large numbers of people who are VERY culturally different into a place that has been more or less homogeneous for 1500 years is going to cause problems. Big problems. Humans are primates and primates are tribal.

The people from the Balkans were at least from the fringes of Europe and shared a fair number of social and cultural norms and mores. I daresay the Syrians - particularly if they are not educated - share virtually no social and cultural norms with Swedes. And I have no doubt that Islam in its traditional form greatly exacerbates the problem.

If I were to emigrate to another country, say China, I would accept the fact that I have to acclimate myself to the norms of that new country. Certainly Southeast Asian and Latino immigrants have had no problems becoming as culturally American as those whose families have been here for generations while retaining their own traditions, just like the Irish, Norwegians, Germans, Italians, Poles and all the other immigrants who came to the US in the last 150 years. Hell, I've seen it right here in Minneapolis where I live.

Many - not all - Muslim immigrants do not want to blend into the new society, they want to bring their old society with them, including treating women as fourth-class citizens at best and property at worst. One can't blame the Swedes for being uncomfortable with that. Here, the Somalis show zero desire to assimilate in any but the most superficial ways, unlike the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Latino immigrants have done.

Moral of the story as I see it - refugees should be grateful that they were taken in by a host country and adjust their behavior to their new home if they wish to be accepted.

"When in Rome do as the Romans do" has been wise advice for centuries.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:46 PM

15. The source is the source but here is another article.

 

BTW, looking back on the hungry experience of refugees rushing barracades etc. If they expect special priviledges of breaking the law getting into the country, what are they going to do when they get there.

Disappointed migrants 'too frightened' to live in Swedish woods

Waez and 52 other asylum seekers were shocked when migration officials brought them by bus to their new accommodation on Sunday: a cluster of red wooden cabins in a forest in the village of Limedsforsen, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) northwest of Stockholm.

Some of the migrants moved into the cabins right away.

But a handful of others have refused. On Thursday evening they finally agreed to get off the two buses that drove them there, but continued to block one of the vehicles from leaving. Warming themselves in the glow of a bonfire, they were demanding to be taken to a bigger town.

"We don't understand why they've taken us to the forest where it's so dark and so cold. When we first arrived, we were frightened and we don't want to live like this –- in the middle of nowhere," says Waez, in temperatures hovering around seven degrees Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) as darkness fell around 4:00 pm.

The area's pristine nature, tranquil forest and clean air are normally cherished by Swedes who flock to the cabins during the winter ski season.

But Waez and the other refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa were not having it.

"We don't like to stay in the woods, it's not our way," says Waez.

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Response to Jim Beard (Reply #15)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:55 PM

17. Then turn your ass around

 

and go back home. Now.

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Response to uawchild (Original post)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:49 PM

16. And then there are the most like this person....

 

"- 'Happy to be here' -

The 19 cabins are spartan and clean, with running water and heat. Most have two bedrooms, a toilet and shower, a kitchen with an oven, a refrigerator and a microwave, and a washing machine and television.

Jamel Alam, a 35-year-old from Eritrea, is one of those who thinks the accommodation is fine.

He moved into a cabin with his wife and children on the first night.

"We are happy to be here and maybe, somehow, we can build up our lives again," Alam says."

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Response to Jim Beard (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 04:57 PM

18. Those are the kind of folks

 

who are grateful for the chance and will probably adapt and adjust to life in Sweden very quickly. Who couldn't wish people who have that attitude well?

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #18)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 05:15 PM

19. You are 100% correct

 

I would welcome them any day.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #18)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 05:19 PM

20. I agree.

Here in metro Detroit we've had many immigrants from the Middle East who adapted to working and living here in our area, while still abiding by their cultural traditions (as seen in the many festivals and cultural contributions they've made in cities like Dearborn).

Sadly it's the small number that want to bring their cultural "norms" and make it normal for everyone around them or else and THAT's going to cause trouble.

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Response to romanic (Reply #20)

Fri Oct 30, 2015, 05:27 PM

21. I see that with some

 

who fly the Mexican flag here but so many others are just concerned with making a home for their families and they work hard.

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