In case you tend to think of Sweden as monolithically Swedish, with a few troublesome Muslims thrown in, here’s some information (several years old now, but still instructive) regarding the Swedes’ melting pot. Or, perhaps one should say, their simmering cauldron:
|Origin||Foreign-born inhabitants (2004)|
|Serbia and Montenegro||74,600|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||54,500|
|People’s Republic of China||11,900|
|Other Nordic Countries||277,100|
|Former Soviet Union||37,800|
|Rest of Asia||91,700|
Much like Ireland, though less drastically, and with no external pressure (Ireland had British rule and not-so-benign neglect to deal with), during the mid-19th century and well into the first third of the 20th century, Swedes poured out of the country and into America, Canada and Denmark. They were driven by crop failures and the scarcity of jobs for a rising population –
What is less well-known is the number of emigrants who returned to the home countries. This was especially true in Sweden: The re-migration of Swedish nationals from U.S. was culturally more important than the absolute figures reveal. The re-migrants often re-settled in their native parish, where their relative wealth and foreign experience ensured a prestigious position in the community. U.S. views, values and not the least world-view followed the re-migrants, ensuring a popular perception of closeness to U.S., contrary to the situation in for instance neighbouring Denmark or Finland (and contrary to the Swedish elite’s closeness to Germany and Europe).
Ah, now we begin to get some sense of the tensions existing in Sweden long before the arrival of the new immigrants, beginning in the 1960’s.
Who, precisely, was making the policies that led to the influx of the foreign-born immigrants in the table above? Do their motives – their multicultural, Europe-trumps-Sweden attitudes – begin to make more sense? And is it the case that the average Swede-in-the-street is friendlier toward America than the elites, who hate the US? (I realize that’s not saying much. The American elites hate the US).
The elites could let the tsunami begin because they lived on high ground, far above the day-to-day consequences of living with huge, unassimilated, and often mutually opposed groups of foreigners.
Perhaps Fjordman could tell us. Was it cheap labor (as is the case in America)? Was it political pressure from the countries the immigrants fled? Was it a needof the elites to see themselves as being capable of bringing in such disparate groups and making them fit into a small, relatively homogenous population?
I say “relatively” homogenous. Long before the onslaught, there were the fractures within:
Beside the Swedes, the Sweden-Finns are the largest ethnic minority comprising approximately 50,000 indigenous people along the Swedish-Finnish border, and 450,000 first- and second generation immigrated ethnic Finns. Also in the farthest North a small indigenous population of Samis live (sometimes referred to as “Lapps”, which, however, is considered a pejorative term by the Sami).
Not to mention the Jews who fled Denmark during World War II, many of whom stayed; and the Romany (gypsy) population. Like America, there is not an official Swedish language, but there are groups who languages are recognized:
Even though Sweden (similar to the United States) has no official language, Swedish dominates totally. The indigenous Finno-Ugric languages were repressed well into the 1960s. Since 1999 Sweden has five officially recognized minority languages: Sami, Meänkieli, Standard-Finnish, Romani chib and Yiddish. The Sami language, spoken by about 7,000 people in Sweden, may be used in government agencies, courts, preschools and nursing homes in the municipalities of Arjeplog, Gällivare, Jokkmokk and Kiruna and its immediate neighbourhood. Similarly, Finnish and Meänkieli can be used in the municipalities of Gällivare, Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala and Övertorneå and its immediate neighbourhood. Finnish is also official language, along with Swedish, in the city of Eskilstuna.
Now, of course, that has been further complicated with the arrival of the various additions to the work-force, driven from their homelands by strife and ambition to settle in Sweden. Now the majority of the minority languages are Finnish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Arabic, Persian, Spanish, English, Sorani and Somalian. These groups however, do not totally take into account the Babel of tongues coming from the political refugees — Persians, Kurds, Palestinians, Jews, Vietnamese, Chileans and Hungarians. Not to mention the Yugoslavians.
All of this is happening in a country of just over nine million people. Try to imagine the average American state coping with that level of onslaught. What a prescription for the sundering of any culture’s social fabric.
And don’t forget religion. While the Muslims make the most noise, they are not the majority, just the squeaky wheel. Islam seems to move from squeaky wheel to resentful entitlement to threat in relatively short order. So it has been in Sweden. Unlike America, Swedes are nominally Christian with a polyglot minority of beliefs and faiths. In other words, it translates into a negligible amount of attention to religious affairs:
The majority (78%) of the population belongs to the Church of Sweden, the Lutheran church separated from the state in 2000. Other Christian denominations in Sweden include Roman Catholic…, Orthodox, Baptist, and other evangelical Christian churches (frikyrkor = “free churches”). Some of the Sami practise Animism. There are also a number of Muslims, Buddhists and Jews in Sweden. It is estimated that 46-85% of the population do not believe in God. An estimated 5% of the population attend church.
Is “church” meant to signify church, synagogue, and mosque? If the numbers were broken down that way, it might be quite different. It is well to remember that Swedish Jews feel threatened and some have emigrated to safety. Jews do not wear any religious paraphernalia that might lead to attacks on the street. The synagogue in Stockholm spends twenty-five percent of its revenues on security.
We read much about the dhimmification of Sweden by the Muslims there: Kurds, Africans, Persians, etc. But there are also hopeful signs. People are fighting their way to the fore. Take, for instance, Nyamko Sabuni, the current Integration and Equality Minister of Sweden. To coin a phrase, she’s black, she’s beautiful, and she plans to be the Prime Minister one day.
Is she controversial? You bet. The child of a Christian father and a Muslim mother, Sabuni is Congolese by birth and Swedish by choice. She is an agnostic who does not identify herself as a Muslim Swede, but a Swede of Congolese extraction. Her family moved to Sweden when she was twelve, when things were relatively calm. She is Swedish by education, by citizenship, and by her ministerial position.
– – – – – – – – – –
She wants to ban veils, genital mutilation, and all the baggage that keeps ethnic minorities — women and girls in particular — in the Middle Ages. This makes her controversial. Social critic and author Kurdo Baksi, a Swede of Kurdish origin, is one of her nay-sayers:
“I’m very disappointed that a person whom I perceive as an Islamophobe has been appointed integration minister. It’s a very bad start to the centre-right government’s integration policy,” he told Swedish news agency TT recently.
He cited her “lack of empathy in integration issues and lack of experience from the field.”
“Appointing incompetent foreign-born people is symbolic politics, but not an active policy,” he said.
He does not say in what areas she is incompetent (other than not being a Muslim – which makes her by definition an Islamophobe, not to mention an apostate). Nor does he cite what constitutes her “lack of empathy” – when you listen, her empathy for mutilated little girls and women forced into unwanted marriages sounds far more “empathetic” than his carping disapproval:
“Honor-related violence is an urgent gender equality issue,” said Sabuni, 37. “Everyone who works with it — the police, social services and women’s shelters — say that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. It’s a big problem.”
“I know there are girls who cannot choose with whom to marry. I know there are girls whose genitals are mutilated. I know there are girls whose virginity is checked before they marry,” Sabuni said. “For me it’s unacceptable that these phenomena exist in a democratic country.”
But perhaps what Baski means is that the Minister is not sympathetic to those who are cruel towards women, and she spurns Muslims’ excuses for refusing to adapt the mores of their adopted home. Nothing like being invited in and then declaring your superiority by spitting on the floor, Mr. Baski. It’s one of the characteristics of aggressive Muslims like you who make the average Swede dislike you so much.
In the end, the assimilators, the adapters like Sabuni who transcend being black – and are often unwelcome in stores and restaurants because of their color – will win. The disdainers, like Baski and the other “superior” critics, will lose, for they cannot win demographically. As soon as one group of Muslims starts to gain power, splinter groups will bring them down and demogrpahy will be irrelevant.
What Mr. Baski hasn’t learned, despite the millennia of Kurdish persecution, is that victory does not lie in oppressing back.
How does a country teach its immigrants that crucial lesson?
Hat tip: Reader LN, via email.