Sweden’s PM won’t blame immigrants for surge… in immigrant crime
The country that gave the world ABBA and IKEA is now famed for a more sinister export: crime. Amid a wave of bombings and shootings, Denmark last week closed its border with Sweden, reintroducing passport controls and police checks for the first time since the 1950s. The tightening of security is necessary “to counter the threat from serious, cross-border crime,”said Denmark’s minister of justice, Nick Haekkerup.
Thirteen explosions and a double murder on Danish soil prompted the lockdown, but in Sweden, the problem is worse. There were 162 bombings in Sweden last year, and 120 in the first seven months of 2019 alone. The right have blamed immigrant-led gangs for the crime wave, but Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, isn’t having any of it.
Deny, deny, deny
While Lofven admitted that the threat of gang violence is real and rising, he told Swedish TV network SVT on Sunday that the sources of the problem are “segregation,” poverty and unemployment.Also on rt.com No, Sweden, hand grenade attacks aren’t an ‘image’ problem
“The segregation is because there is...too high unemployment in these areas. But that would have been the same regardless of who had lived there. If you put people born in Sweden under the same conditions, you get the same result” he said.
“Because of the economic gaps, the social injustices would have been the same.”
Blaming ‘segregation’ in one breath, then telling Swedes that the problem would still exist without immigration in the next, requires a delusional level of doublethink and a willful ignorance of the facts.
Sweden’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.6 percent in 2010, in the aftermath of the great recession. Sven and Nils didn’t start offing each other though, and the country saw 17 people killed by firearms the following year. By 2018, the unemployment rate had fallen to 6.3 percent, yet 43 people were shot dead. That number looks set to rise again this year, with 23 fatal shootings reported in the first six months of 2019, and more since.
All in all, murder and manslaughter more than doubled between 2008 and 2018, according to government statistics.
Loath as Lofven was to admit it, the link between migrants and crime is not just the stuff of right-wing fantasy. A 2017 investigation by newspaper Dagens Nyheter found that migrants were behind 90 percent of shootings in Sweden. The majority of shooting perpetrators, the report found, were men of Middle Eastern or North African origin.
Grenade attacks too seem to be an imported phenomenon. Sweden saw a handful at most explosive devices detonated every year until 2016, when 39 hand grenades were used in attacks. Of course, 2015 was the year that Sweden welcomed in more than 160,000 migrants and asylum seekers, more per capita than any other European country.
Unemployment and immigration linked
But correlation does not equal causation. The fact that grenade attacks increased nearly fortyfold at the same time that Sweden was flooded with new arrivals could just be a coincidence. However, if the true cause is indeed unemployment, as Lofven suggests, then the problem is again linked with immigration.
A government report last year found that the unemployment rate for individuals with migrant backgrounds stood at nearly 20 percent. Another report last month revealed that up to 90 percent of asylum seekers who arrived since the 2015 migrant crisis were unemployed.
Amid the denialism of Lofvten’s government - which has launched a concerted effort to downplay the problem internationally - police in Sweden have concocted some hare-brained schemes to tackle the violence. Less than a week after a 15-year-old boy was shot dead in Malmo, police invited gang leaders to a sit-down with legal professionals and relatives of crime victims. Pizza was served, and the cops presumably asked the criminals politely to stop murdering each other.Also on rt.com ‘Operation Snowflake’ causes uproar as Swedish police invite gang leaders for pizza & cosy chat after shootings & bombing
Sweden’s own in-house PR shop, Sweden.se, is meanwhile luring more migrants north with Arabic-language advertisements promising free health and dental care, sizable children’s allowance payments and the world’s longest paid parental leave - if the newcomers manage to find a job in the first place.
With a government hell-bent on burying its head in the sand, Scania CEO Leif Östling warned last month that clashes between migrants and locals could drive the country into “internal war.” The truck tycoon’s prediction is borne out by a recent study from the Swedish Defence University, warning that the Swedish justice system is ill-equipped to handle the parallel societies developing in immigrant neighborhoods.
If Lofven continues to ignore the problem, and if Östling’s worst predictions come to pass, then the Social Democrat leader will one day be able to hold his head high and declare “at least nobody called me racist,” as his country burns.
By Graham Dockery, RT
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.