Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, President Trump mentioned recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris, and Brussels, and then said:
“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Nothing major had happened the night before in Sweden, except that the country has taken in armies of Muslims, and as a result is descending into social and economic disaster.
The Swedish media might have responded to Trump’s comment by addressing their country’s immigrant crisis honestly. Instead, they took it as an opportunity to mock Trump. The Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet ran an article in English headlined: “Here’s what happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President.” The article included a list of innocuous news items, among them technical problems that had occurred at rehearsals for Swedish Eurovision and the temporary closing of a highway because of lousy weather.
So much for that episode, right? No. Several Swedish photographers decided to drag it out way beyond a single news cycle. The result: a new coffee-table book entitled Last Night in Sweden.
At least one Swedish photography website has applauded this project. This book, the anonymous author wrote, is a “profound and insightful” work that “encapsulates a true and candid Sweden,” shows “the country as it really is, from the inside — in its multiplicity, subtle textures, and political, social and cultural nuance.”
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Not long ago, Norwegian journalists were virtually united in representing Sweden, with its exceedingly liberal immigration policy and its strict limits on public discussion of the subject, as a model of enlightened thinking that deserved to be emulated. Meanwhile Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate (remember the Danish cartoons) and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. That appears to be changing. As Hans Rustad of the alternative Norwegian news website Document.no noted recently, the term “Swedish conditions,” which some of us have been using for years to refer to the colossal scale of Sweden’s Muslim-related problems, is actually turning up these days in the mainstream Norwegian media — although the relationship of those conditions to Islam is still routinely underplayed, if not entirely avoided.
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In February 2017, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s statements about events in Sweden, the journalist Tim Pool travelled to Sweden to report on their accuracy. What Tim Pool concluded is now available for everyone to watch on YouTube, but what is really interesting is how the Swedish public broadcasting media described him.
Why is Pool “a threat to democracy” in Sweden? He reported negatively about an urban area in Stockholm, Rinkeby, where more than 90% of the population has a foreign background. When Pool visited Rinkeby, he had to be escorted out by police. Journalists are often threatened in Rinkeby. Before this incident, in an interview with Radio Sweden, Pool had described Rosengård, an area in the Swedish city of Malmö heavily populated by immigrants, as “nice, beautiful, safe”. After Pool’s negative but accurate report about Rinkeby, however, he began to be described as an unserious journalist by many in the Swedish media, and finally was labeled the “threat to democracy.”
One might think that this was a one-time event in a country whose journalists were defensive. But the fact is that Swedish journalists are deeply politicized.
In most democratic countries, media are, or should be, critical of those who hold power. In Sweden, the media criticize those who criticizes those who hold power.
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Sweden is in a state of collapse. Dozens of areas are now under Islamist control, which leaves locals in the hands of violent sharia patrols. According to the Swedish police, thousands of Islamic State sympathizers are on the loose, endangering not only native Swedes, but also neighbouring countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Finland—the first two of them being NATO members.
The Swedish state has shown no genuine determination to contain the problem. Nor do they have the capacity to do so, even should they decide to act. After a century of pacifism and quasi-neutrality, the traditionally Feminist country’s military is so small that it would barely be able to defend the capitol of Stockholm, should the Islamist controlled suburbs surrounding it decide to attack. Some 80 percent of municipal police officers are prepared to quit; a horrifically high number which indicates the feelings of hopelessness and stress within their ranks.
Having taken in, and still accepting, hundreds of thousands of migrants and (supposed) refugees from the Islamic world (in particular), formerly safe and peaceful Sweden has become a real threat to security and stability to all of Scandinavia.
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Many knee-jerk criticisms misconstrued Donald Trump’s comments about ‘last night in Sweden.’ The Scandinavian country has its own set of problems related to immigration and crime.
Let us first dispense with the obligatorily reproachful throat clearing: Donald Trump was foolish and irresponsible to imply at a Florida pep rally that a terrorist attack had occurred in Sweden the previous evening. “Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” he vaguely bellowed, the assumption that he was referring to some specific act of violence buttressed a few, rambling sentences later by his registering “Brussels,” “Nice,” and “Paris” in the same catalog of places where unspecified bad things are “happening.” Trump’s use of two words in particular—“last night”—lent credence to the fear that he had invented a terrorist attack out of whole cloth, the better to justify his draconian immigration proposals.
As the Twitter snarkery poured forth—hashtag #lastnightinsweden appended to all manner of posts alongside mention of banal activities and photographs of the verdant (yet uneventful) Swedish countryside—it soon became clear that Trump’s critics were behaving in bad faith. By “happening last night in Sweden,” Trump did not mean any specific event but rather was marking reference to a segment on the Fox News channel about rising crime related to that country’s generous intake of third world, predominantly Muslim immigrants. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible,” Trump had said, in his typical stream-of-consciousness style.
Of course, one shouldn’t shoot from the hip like this as President of the United States, because the entire world literally hangs upon your every utterance. Wars could erupt over misinterpreted statements or tweets. This is precisely the reason foreign policy analysts like myself got so bent out of shape over each and every Trump outburst that his supporters invariably explained away as mere “hyperbole” or “humor” (when not defending the man’s verbal diarrhea as “refreshing”). The vernacular of a reality television show star is quite different, to say the least, than that expected from the leader of the free world.
Trump’s later clarification about his comments did nothing to assuage critics, however, who simply doubled-down on their sanctimony. His complaints about immigration, they said, had about as much validity as his anger over a non-existent terrorist attack. For you see Sweden is a social democratic paradise and any insinuation that there might be serious problems related to mass Muslim immigration—clearly, in retrospect, what Trump was referring to when he said, “They took in large numbers”—is a sign of ignorance, racism, or worse. As if on cue, less than 48 hours after Trump’s comments, riots erupted in Rinkeby, an immigrant ghetto north of Stockholm where disturbances in 2013 made international headlines. “By and large, integration has been a success story there, save for incidents such as Monday night’s, which have taken place in highly segregated neighborhoods,” read a story in The Washington Post, emblematic of a mainstream media predisposition to treat as isolated these all-too-frequent events. That bit of evasion had nothing on the (since-deleted) tweet from fabulist former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who blamed the riots on Trump.
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She was sitting there quietly in the middle of the classroom — a Swedish Muslim all dressed in black with a white powdered face. I was lecturing on John Stuart Mill at Sweden’s University West. What did I say? I said that while religion may not be true, it still gives people a sense of belonging and trust, and liberal society cannot give you that. The liberal soup is thin, and most of us want something richer, some kind of political main-course goulash. When people say that liberal society is empty, they actually mean this: I cannot give my life any purpose, so can someone kindly do it for me? Please hand me some grandiose message to live by because I cannot figure out anything on my own. Emptiness? Well, that could be another word for limitless opportunities.
Two days later, the Muslim student sent me an email. She accused me of not being “neutral”. She wrote that I had called religious people “pathetic”. I had not. She accused me of defaming Islam, herself as a woman and as an individual student.
As for Islam, I had never mentioned it, and as for her, I had never seen her before. Possibly in her vanity, she seemed to think the lecture was about her; in fact, it was about John Stuart Mill. She said (and this shook me a bit) that she would keep me “under surveillance”; she signed off with: “The student dressed in her pride”. Too bad she could not find something else about which to be proud. She was proud of her submission, not of her achievements. If you cannot give your life meaning, perhaps somebody will chip in and do it for you.
Other than that, her email was full of post-modern nonsense such as science as a “belief” just like religion. In fact, science is doubt based on knowledge, while religion is certainty based on faith. We had given her the tools of postmodernism, and here she was trashing the fabric of Western society. Would she, I wondered, also “deconstruct” the Koran?
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In Sweden, there are a number of Muslim organizations that together constitute what is known as “Muslim civil society” (Muslimska civilsamhället). What is important, when discussing Muslim civil society in Sweden, is their political influence, their ideology and their structure.
One of the most important organizations in Sweden’s Muslim civil society is the Islamic Association of Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet i Sverige — IFIS), established in 1981. Some of the goals of IFIS, which you can read about on their website, are to “influence and form opinions on issues that concern the Muslim group and its interests in Sweden” and “increase participation, influence and representation of Muslims in public institutions and bodies”. In other words, IFIS works as a lobby organization for Muslims in Sweden.
It is a lobby organization that has been successful.
Former IFIS chairman Abdirizak Waberi represented the second largest party, the Moderate Party, in parliament between 2010 and 2014, when this party was in government. When Waberi sat in parliament, he was a member of the defense committee, which decides the policies for the Swedish Armed Forces.
Waberi’s time in parliament was a remarkable experience for many Swedes. In several interviews before 2010, Waberi said he believed in a literal interpretation of the Koran. In an interview from 2006, he supported the idea that men could have four wives. In another interview from 2009, he said that he does not shake the hand of a woman; that men and women should not dance with each other, and that he would rather live in a country with Islamic sharia law. After these interviews, clearly revealing that Waberi is an Islamist, and that he got to represent Sweden’s second-largest party in parliament, apparently without Swedish media or anyone else providing scrutiny over his past statements.
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