‘War on terror – one of main ideas of European culture’
Sweden receives more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country, and the issue of immigration is an especially hot topic there. Amid the largest influx of immigrants, the anti-immigrant far-right Sweden Democrats party emerged in third place in September 2014 general parliamentary election.
Winning votes from center right and center left politicians, the party intends to reduce the number of asylum seekers by 90 percent. Some of the anti-immigrant supporters have turned to violence.
An arsonist set a mosque ablaze in southeastern Sweden on Christmas Day. The attack on a Muslim place of worship left five people injured. Just four days later, police suspected arson in another Swedish mosque in the country's south. And on New Year’s morning a mosque in one of Sweden’s largest cities was struck by a Molotov cocktail and vandalized with racist graffiti.
Following the attacks, thousands of people rallied across Sweden last week, expressing solidarity and support for Muslims. The participants had the slogan “Do not touch my mosque.”
Adrian Groglopo, Professor of Social Science at the University of Gothenburg, told RT that several factors are behind those attacks, including the politics of the war on terror and the ideology of the European culture.
RT:Across the year at least a dozen attacks on mosques in Sweden have been reported. Why is it happening?
Adrian Groglopo: There are different reasons regarding the attacks on Muslim communities. There are at least 3 or 4 factors that I would like to pinpoint here. One is the ideology of the European culture. The idea [of] who belongs to Europe mainly, what kind of body and religion are going to be the dominant and lead the politics and economics in the whole Europe. That is one of the basics.
The other one is 9/11 consequence, and its politics of the war on terror. We tagged the main enemy, the Muslim world. And in consequence political discourses were created in order to handle Muslims. That is one of the main ideas in the European culture which I already talked about which creates and legitimizes Islamophobia.
RT:EU figures predict Muslims could make up to 40% of Sweden's population within 15 years. One Swedish Democrats leader said Swedes don't feel at home any more. Does the general public actually feel threatened?
AG: General public is not like the Sweden Democrats are describing it. One of the main problems in the political field here in Sweden is that they are putting the frames of the questions which we are going to be concerned about. I would say that most of the people in Sweden are very friendly and mainly very accepting of different communities, different cultures, and different sort of people coming from different parts of the world. And that has been shown very much in the polls.
We have these Sweden Democrats that got 40 percent, but it is not the whole population of Sweden. The question for me, and I think for many other of my colleagues will not be of what happens if 40 percent of the population is Muslim. I would put it another way. [What happens] if the Swedish population’s tolerance in which I include all the different communities - especially the more powerless - has been pushed too far regarding the political terror done by few political parties against minorities. Specifically I am talking about Swedish Democrats. How much more are we going to tolerate and accept racial discrimination, violence and flippant and weak attitude of the authorities?
RT:The popularity of the far-right Swedish Democrats has increased recently. But there are also people on the streets supporting Muslims. What will be the conclusion of this conflict over the next two years?
AG: Sadly I’m expecting rise of the Sweden Democrats because [there are] some problems within the political Swedish field. When the right and the left are going together against the Sweden Democrats they are putting the Sweden Democrats in opposition which is a very, very important position for them to have. I think that one of the main problems is that the Social Democrats and the left party couldn’t get the support of many social movements that are open and freely would like to work together with these parties. We have real political problems in Sweden. What is going on is a terror situation for minorities. A terror political party, the Swedish Democrats has taken us a hostage - the whole political field - and that is the main problem.
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