Swedish government fails to protect Muslims, Jews

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 6:08 GMT
Muslim bear brunt of more than half of religion-based hate crimes reported in Sweden
Swedish government fails to protect Muslims, Jews

The Swedish government has failed to prevent religion-based hate crime against Muslims and Jews.

In 2021, Muslims bore the brunt of more than half (51%) of all hate crimes against religious groups in Sweden, according to a report published by the National Crime Prevention Council.

They were followed by Jews (27%), Christians (11%) and other groups (11%).

Muslim and Jewish women are more likely than men to become victims of hate crimes.

The 2021 Religious Freedom Report by the US State Department stated that many hate crimes in Sweden were not being reported to police.

Anti-Semitism is "uncomfortably normalizing" in Sweden, according to a survey of more than 16,000 people in 12 EU member states by the bloc's Fundamental Rights Agency.

While 40% of respondents from Sweden stated that they had experienced anti-Semitic harassment in the last five years, nearly a third of respondents said they had experienced antisemitic harassment within 12 months.

In addition, 39% of respondents said they were worried about being a victim of anti-Semitic verbal abuse or harassment within 12 months, and 27% feared being physically attacked in the same period.

Rising anti-Semitism

The far-right Sweden Democrats party received 17% of the votes in 2017 and 20% in 2022, indicating a rise in anti-Semitic attitudes in the society at large.

In the country where 15,000 Jews live, the city of Malmo has become the hub of anti-Semitic hate crimes, with frequent incidents of violence.

According to the EU research conducted in 2019, anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased by 70% in the last five years in Malmo.

It is reported that the worshippers in synagogues in Malmo have decreased from 2,500 to 500 in the last 20 years.

The Swedish government tried to improve its image by hosting the "Holocaust Commemoration and Anti-Semitism Forum" in the city.

But in 2021, during one such ceremony, the words "The Holocaust was a hoax" were projected onto the Malmo Synagogue. The neo-Nazi Scandinavian Resistance Movement claimed responsibility for the act.

Sweden through eyes of Jews

Officials of Jewish organizations occasionally express their concerns about the situation in Sweden in open sources.

According to Jonathan Greenblatt, chairman of the Anti-Defamation and Denial League (ADL), Swedish Jews are concerned about anti-Semitism and do not feel completely comfortable expressing their religious identity in the country.

Brenda Katten, who works on the integration of immigrants and chairs the Israel, Britain and the Commonwealth Association, also finds it difficult to live in Sweden as a Jew. Katten believes members of the Jewish community face growing anti-Semitism in Sweden and live in fear of physical or verbal abuse.

Siyavosh Derakhti, who works against anti-Semitism and xenophobia, states that the Jewish community in Malmo has decreased by 50% in the last 10 years. According to Derakhti, anti-Semitism threatens the existence of minorities in Malmo.

UN warns Sweden to step up efforts to combat systemic racism

A delegation of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council visited Sweden on Nov. 4.

Racial justice and equality experts, Tracie Keesee, Yvonne Mokgoro and Juan Mendez held talks in Stockholm, Malmo and Lund.

Independent experts from the council urged Sweden to step up efforts to combat systematic racism and focus on strategies to restore trust between the police and minority groups.

Keesee stressed the Swedish police should diversify their staff to reflect the multicultural society.


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