In recent years, Sweden welcomed with open arms tens of thousands of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. The Nordic country, which is so eager to be an example of tolerance, is now getting to know the downside of that hospitality. Ethnic gangs fight drug wars in the suburbs. Liquidations and bomb attacks are the order of the day. Meanwhile, right-wing populist Sweden Democrats are rising in the polls. Security expert Magnus Norell warns: “We must finally identify the problems. To remain silent for longer is a recipe for social unrest.” Telegraf.nl reports.
“Eighty thousand migrants have simply disappeared,” says Magnus Norell (61). “They came with the refugee flow in 2015, but were not entitled to asylum. The authorities do not know where they are. Nobody has an idea. “
Terrorism and security expert Norell came to the Swedish capital by public transport. He and his wife recently moved in with his elderly parents in the countryside, in their waterfront home.
Norell, a political scientist with a PhD, has an impressive resume. He traveled the Arab world, advised the Swedish security forces and made contact between the Hezbollah and Israel terrorist groups in the late 1990s to facilitate the withdrawal of Israeli troops from South Lebanon. Norell is the author of a book about the rise of the Islamic State (“The Return of the Caliphate”).
Outside, in the streets of Stockholm, where it gets dark shortly after three o’clock in the winter, everyone can see the radical demographic change that Sweden has undergone in recent years. Due to the influx of Arab and African immigrants, Stockholm now looks as diverse as cities such as Rotterdam or Berlin.
“In 2015, at the height of the migration crisis, one hundred sixty thousand people entered Sweden. More per capita than in any other European country, “says Norell. “We were literally flooded. The asylum system was unable to cope with this influx and actually stopped functioning. Existing rules were no longer enforced, allowing tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to go into hiding. And they won’t leave anymore. By the way, it’s still a minefield to talk about this. ”
“For a long time they did not dare to report these abuses because they know they will be labeled as” xenophobic “or” Islamophobic”
For a long time the authorities denied that there was a problem, Norell says. “They describe Sweden as a” humanitarian superpower. ” Here too, “Wir schaffen das” was the motto. But in the so-called “vulnerable” areas – 61 old neighborhoods – law enforcement officials say they have long since ceased to face the problems. Crime is rising. For a long time they did not dare to report these abuses because they know that they will be branded as “xenophobic” or “Islamophobic”. But keeping silent about it is no longer an option, it is a recipe for social unrest. ”
What are the concrete consequences of this disintegration?
“We see that the welfare state is falling and that native Sweden, like my elderly parents, can take a seat in the back. All social arrangements come under pressure: health care, but also education and of course social security. The smaller municipalities in particular have a hard time: many migrants have been sent there, but there is no money to receive them. “
“We are a hospitable people, but we are not stupid”
And then there is the increased sense of insecurity, says Norell. Liquidations and bomb attacks – more than a hundred in the first nine months of last year – are the order of the day in large cities. Of the hundred people involved in murder and attempted murder, at least ninety have one parent born abroad, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter wrote. Malmö in particular, where almost half the population has a migrant background, suffers from this violence, mainly through drug gangs.
What does this knowledge do with the original Swedish population?
“We are a hospitable people, but we are not stupid,” says Magnus Norell. “People who work and pay taxes see what’s going on. If you let in so many migrants, some of whom will never contribute a cent to the system, but who do appeal to the welfare state, then you must have a damn good story to justify this. Especially when many newcomers are active in organized crime. Moreover, these ethnic gangs sometimes have links to Salafi groups. Incidentally, the latter problem has been around for some time, but the recent wave of immigration is on top of that.
Concerned Swedish citizens did not have a public voice for a long time because the most important media concealed abuses connected with mass immigration. “That has changed recently,” says Norell. “Of course, if the facts stare at you hard it is no longer possible to hide them in the long run. You can also see it in the rise of the right-wing populist Sweden-Democrats, in the polls that party is now the largest. ”
Sweden had previously experienced immigration waves. In the 1960s and 1970s, guest workers from Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia mainly arrived. In the eighties came the Iranians, the Eritreans, the Somalis and the Kurds. During the Yugoslavia wars in the 1990s, Sweden generously opened its borders: around one hundred thousand refugees moved to the North. “But that previous immigration was controlled,” says Norell.
“Now there is no plan whatsoever. While countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia show that a country can indeed handle immigration rationally, our Social Democratic Prime Minister confessed a week ago: “We have not seen this coming”. Blinkers, still. That indecision is dangerous, it undermines social cohesion. ”
The once very homogeneous Swedish population has changed dramatically within one generation. Almost twenty percent of Swedes now have foreign roots (see below this article). Norell: “Newcomers will of course not suddenly become” Swede “because they have crossed the border and now live here. Look at me: I was once the archetypal Swede: tall, blond and handsome, haha. That is who we were, in our eyes and in the eyes of others.
We lived in a fairly collectivist, well-functioning society based on mutual trust. You may want to admit large numbers of young men from very different, “harder” cultures, but then they must endorse our values. We must dare to say to them: no, women and gays are not inferior, we do not accept honor killing and we separate church and state. You cannot just hope that they adapt, you have to push and pull. Then we have to accept them as “Swede”, even though they come from elsewhere and they look different. ”
There is little evidence that such an approach will be successful.
“No, the reality is that the police acknowledge that they cannot guarantee the safety of civilians in certain neighborhoods and that civilian guards are raised. That is dangerous. We are not naturally protected against disaster just because Sweden has known peace for so long. Unlike the Danes, who pursue a much tougher immigration policy, we have not experienced the Second World War.
The Danes were occupied, they know the price of freedom, just like the Norwegians and the Finns. This long period of peace is at the same time a blessing and a curse for Sweden. It is as if we have lost the ability to recognize when a crisis is coming and to respond appropriately. We think: this is Sweden, these intense things don’t happen here. ”
Will Sweden and Europe survive this development?
“I never thought I would hesitate to answer this question. But if you look at our inability, also elsewhere in Europe, to deal with this problem, I am worried. The Islamists have a long-term strategy, they know what they want and have a goal. Open, tolerant societies such as ours must realize who we are dealing with. Courage has been asked. It is not about excluding all Muslims who can integrate, but we must dare to separate the wheat from the chaff. You can fight ethnic gangs and political Islam without being a racist, just as a decent democratic politician. By saying: this is how we do it here, we abide by the law and if you disagree, then there is the door. We must be strong – granite people, the Swedes say about themselves – otherwise we will get into serious problems. It is our fault, we have created this monster and now we are too scared to face the confrontation. That is dangerous, very dangerous. ”
Composition of population
Sweden had a homogeneous population for a long time. This composition has changed drastically in recent decades. Nearly twenty percent of Sweden’s ten million now have foreign roots.
Many immigrants come from Western countries such as the former Yugoslavia, other Scandinavian regions and Poland (92,000). But immigration from non-Western countries is also considerable. In Sweden, for example, there are 185,000 people born in Syria, in addition to 145,000 Iraqis, 70,000 Somalis, 50,000 Afghans and 40,000 Eritreans.