With their party conference just barely over, the ultra right wing Sweden Democrats are creating headlines in Sweden again. In an article in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet Jimmie Åkesson, party leader, writes that Islam is the greatest threat against Sweden since WWII.
According to Åkesson “today’s multicultural Swedish power elite is completely blind to the dangers of Islam”. He goes on to say that there are 10 Muslim terror organisations established in Sweden today, that Sweden has the highest number of rapes in Europe and that Muslim men are highly represented among the offenders. He concluded his article by saying that if the party is elected into parliament in 2010, he will do everything in his powers to “change the trend”.
Per Hultengård, lawyer for the Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association, told Aftonbladet that the article can be read as a warning to Swedish Muslims, not in the least due to Åkesson’s promise at the end. “I would take that as a threat,” said Per Hultengård to Aftonbladet. According to Jan Hjärpe, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Lund, the rhetoric used by Åkesson has clear racist undertones. “This is the same kind of propaganda that was used by Nazi anti-Semites,” Hjärpe told Aftonbladet.
Aftonbladet‘s Jan Helin decided to print the article against the advice of legal experts. “I have decided to take that risk. Åkesson’s text is important because it shows clearly on what values a party, on its way into Parliament, rests on. You may think that he is right or wrong in his views. But through reading this article you get a chance to consider what the Sweden Democrats actually believe,” Helin writes in Aftonbladet.
In the latest opinion polls the Sweden Democrats received 4.7% of votes. This means that if elections were held today the party would get in to Parliament.
See also the response by Anna Waara, chairperson of Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice, “What do the Sweden Democrats want to do with us Muslims?”, The Local, 21 October 2009