The Swedish right-wing Liberal People’s Party has called on school teachers to spy on their Muslim students under the pretext of combating extremism, drawing immediate rebuke from the teachers union.
“We want Swedish teachers to spy on their Muslim students who have extremist tendencies,” the party’s education spokesman, Jan Björklund, said Wednesday, September 21.
Liberal People’s Party MP Lotta Edholm has also proposed cooperation between the teachers and Säpo (intelligence service) to hunt down “Muslim extremists”. “We see for us a form of information exchange: Säpo should inform teachers about these groups but the schools should also give important information to Säpo about how young people think,” she added.
Since 2002 the Liberal People’s Party has been seeking to attract voters by adopting right-wing populist policies. Party leader Lars Leijonborg has proposed tougher rules for immigrants applying for the Swedish citizenship. The party recently hosted controversial Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a vocal critic of Islam.
The proposal of the Liberal People’s Party drew immediate fire from the teachers’ union Lärarförbundet. “If one is going to observe students on a very vague basis and do what Säpo has asked it could have long-term and destructive consequences for the individual student,” Eva-Lis Preisz, the union’s chairwoman, told Aftonbladet newspaper.
In an opinion poll by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, some 64% of the respondents opposed spying on Muslim school children, while 34% supported the proposal.