I have written previously about the situation in the Swedish town of Södertälje (for previous articles, see the links at the bottom of this post) and the problems caused by its large immigrant population. What makes Södertälje unusual is that most of the immigrants causing trouble are not Muslims, but Assyrian Christians.
The example of Södertälje highlights the fact that the issue in Sweden and other parts of Europe is not just Muslim immigration, but all mass immigration, especially from the Third World. Even though the Assyrians are Christians, like their Muslim counterparts they have brought with them violence, crime, the disinclination to assimilate, and a widespread disregard for the laws and customs of their adopted country.
These are hard lessons to learn, but it’s important to see the problem clearly: mass immigration into a country tends to cause disruption of civil society and lawlessness. It also tends to erode respect for the authority of the state, on the part of immigrants and natives alike.
Daniel Eriksson, who blogs at Falkblick, kindly agreed to prepare an English-language report for Gates of Vienna on the situation in Södertälje.
by Daniel Eriksson
Södertälje, a town with 60,000 inhabitants, features regularly in Swedish news. Most of the time it is crime that draws the media’s attention to the town. A few weeks ago, twenty immigrant youths attacked a defenseless girl, whose life was saved only thanks to five native Swedes from neighbouring Gnesta, who stepped in and themselves were beaten up.
Similar incidents are common. A few years ago the police station was even attacked by machine guns following riots. The riots had started when police came to arrest youths who had thrown stones at two girls.
The explanation for the unusually high level of cruel and senseless violence in this little town is not a very surprising one. Södertälje is one of the towns in Sweden with the highest portion of immigrants. A very large number of them, more than one third of the entire population, are Christian Assyrians.
Recently there has been a huge influx of Iraqis, too, something that has led to massive overcrowding (in Swedish), and there are also many other immigrant groups represented in the town. However, so far, it is the Assyrians that have caused the majority of the problems in Södertälje.
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In certain areas, such as the ghetto-like suburbs of Hovsjö and Ronna, Assyrians are the all but dominant ethnic group. In those areas, clans with their own “courts” rule (Swedish). Lennart Gabrielsson (Folkpartiet) comments on the incident prior to the machine-gun shooting: “When the police were interrogating among others the attacked girls, two boys aged 14-15 came by. Even though the police were there they kicked at the girl. They don’t have the slightest respect for the police — that is bad,” he says in an upset tone.
Mafia-like criminal networks, many of the members of which are Assyrians, threaten policemen, officials, and small businesses (Swedish). In classic mafia style, restaurants are offered “protection”. Professional criminals work at the entrance, which enables them control how much money comes in and to take what share they want. An alcohol inspector got a bomb put on the outside of his car. Threats are regularly issued against policemen — “your house will be burnt down, we know where you live”, etc.
It is generally believed that the fact that the Assyrian group is so dominant it a major reason for the problems (Swedish). In more diverse multicultural areas, people don’t stick as much to one another as the Assyrians do in Södertälje. The diversity makes it less easy for criminals to co-operate, less easy to construct a parallel justice system, and people are also more prone to integrate into Swedish society. The Assyrians in Södertälje don’t need that; they have set up their own self-contained society in Södertälje.
There are many similarities between the Assyrians and Muslims from the same region in Middle East. Just as among Muslims, “honour violence” is common; though a former Muslim scheduled to speak on the subject in Södertälje has been forced to cancel her plans due to threats (Swedish). “We will not tolerate being taught by a Muslim,” aggressive Assyrians say. Marriages with Muslims are frowned upon by the Church, and to a certain extent, marriages with Swedes too.
Among the Assyrians, religion plays an important part in political life, just like it does for Muslims. The Syrian Orthodox church is closely knit to the Assyrian identity. Also, they share the Muslims’ poor understanding of the Western idea of freedom of speech. Just as Muslims in Sweden and abroad protested violently over Lars Vilks’ Mohammed dogs, Assyrians in Norrköping, another Swedish town, clashed with the police (Swedish) nine years ago, trying to destroy the art exhibition Ecce Homo and throwing objects at the artist. Many Swedish Christians protested too, admittedly, but they did it in civilized, Western, style, writing letters to the artist and to the papers.
Previous posts about Södertälje:
|2007||Sep||23||Malmö and Södertälje|
|25||The “Youths” of Södertälje|
|2008||Sep||11||Struck Down by Twenty “Youths”|