icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Top Swedish politician takes heat for claiming Jews, minorities ‘not Swedes’

Top Swedish politician takes heat for claiming Jews, minorities ‘not Swedes’
The deputy speaker of the Swedish Parliament has come under fire for claiming that Jews and Sami people are “not Swedes.” Police even received a formal complaint about the comment, according to local media.

Bjorn Soder, a senior member of the Swedish Democrats who currently serves as deputy speaker of parliament, made the remarks on the Facebook page of Sweden’s Centre Party, in response to allegations of racism from the party’s leader, Annie Loof.

“Annie Loof adversely affects the position of Jews and Sami in Sweden when she indirectly claims that they are Swedes,” he wrote. “These groups have minority positions in Sweden just because they are not Swedes. Shame on you Annie Loof for your racist attitude.”

Loof had previously criticized comments made by Soder in 2014, in which he said that while Sami, Jews, and other minority groups enjoy Swedish citizenship, they are still part of their own distinct ethnic groups. The Sami are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sapmi, which today encompasses large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and Murmansk Region in Russia.

Loof published a screen grab of what she said were Soder’s comments, on her Instagram account, claiming that they revealed his party’s racist undertones.

“The problem with the Sweden Democrats is not just their history, but also that their dividing up of people continues even today. And at the highest levels of their leadership,” she wrote. “As a citizen you are Swedish, whether you belong to a national minority or not.”

Not everyone agreed with Loof’s assessment, however. “Why, for example, should a man be forced to see himself Swedish in the first place when he / she does not see it himself? Because you like it?” One Instagram user wrote in response to her post.

Soder’s comments were reported to the authorities as a potential hate crime, according to local media reports. However, police dropped their investigation shortly after receiving the complaint, it is said.

Speaking with national broadcaster SVT about the incident, Soder accused Loof of engaging in “low” tactics, taking his comments out of context to score cheap political points.

“It is up to each individual to identify their own nationality. When we speak of minorities, it is to support their distinction and special rights. To accuse me is to twist it all 180 degrees and deliberately misinterpret the whole debate,” Soder told SVT.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.