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Sweden’s most populated city, Stockholm, has once again become the focal point of a minority group claiming to be ignored by the press. Jewish chairwoman Lena Posner Körösi is shedding a light on a recent series of Islamic terrorist threats against Jews in Sweden, asserting that the media has blundered in its responsibility to cover the threats in three of Sweden’s big cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.
It is uncertain which terrorist groups are responsible for the threats against Swedish Jews. Whether it is al-Qaeda, ISIS, imitators or jokers behind the threats is difficult to pinpoint. Some posit that the difficulty is because of the media’s lack of interest in Jewish communities across Sweden.
Apart from the terrorist threats, which ironically surfaced shortly after the Paris attacks, chairwoman Körösi asserted that too much media focus has been on Swedish Muslims and not on the current threats to Jews. During an interview with The Local, Körösi comically commented that journalists and politicians in Sweden are unable to multitask, meaning to process and manage issues regarding both Muslims and Jews residing in the country.
The magnitude of these threats can be seen in Sweden’s southernmost city, Malmö, where 20 percent of its population is Muslim. Because of the recent threats, scores of Jewish families living there have relocated north to Stockholm with the aim of avoiding possible clashes with Muslims. Backed by prominent Jews in the country’s capital, Köröski stepped up and voiced her opinion.
Founded in 1988, and recently having more say in Swedish politics, the right-wing political party, Sweden Democrats, has historically stood for anti-immigration and stronger ties to Swedish nationalism. They, too, have been publicly criticized by Köröski, who chided the party’s parliamentary speaker, Bjorn Söder, for saying, “I think most people with Jewish origins who have become Swedish have left behind their Jewish identity.” The comment infuriated Köröski, who declared Söder a “coward” for not answering to claims of discrimination.
Sweden’s national politics continue to be a hot topic as questions arise concerning immigration and the social standing of Swedish-born Muslims and Jews; so hot that a political party labeled flat-out racist by most of Sweden’s population, the Sweden Democrats, silently won 13 percent of all votes during 2014’s election. Over six million Swedes voted in 2014, and more than 800,000 voted for the Sweden Democrats. They are the third largest party in Sweden today. However large the party may be, Körösi is confident that the ideals for which they stand are not shared by the general public and pose no threat to the Jewish population.
The question whether Sweden’s media is ignoring or simply not showing interest in terrorist threats against Jews is up for debate, and Söder’s comment about Swedish Jews can be decoded in two ways. Either he does not see a difference between Jews and Swedes and his comment was stemming from genuine fairness, or it was a direct shot at the Jewish faith, meaning that Sweden has provided too much of a good thing to minorities, thereby converting them.
It seems as though the larger issue itself, whether threats against Sweden’s Jews are being ignored, can be looked at both ways as well. Either the liberal immigration policy of Sweden has resulted in an overly consumed media and a divided government, or they really do have a hard time multitasking.
By Darin O’Connor
The Local (1)
The Local (2)
Image by Mariusz Kluzniak – Flickr License