The following op-ed from the newspaper Aftonbladet is quite remarkable within a Swedish context.
It cites the lockstep leftist voting habits of Swedish Muslims as evidence for the failure of the country’s conservatives to help Muslims integrate within their adopted homeland. In other words, it uses the failure of integration to bash conservative politicians.
But what is significant about all this is that it even mentions the failure of Muslims to integrate. Up until now the topic has been all but taboo within Sweden — one simply did not talk about it in polite company. So the acknowledgement of such basic facts by Aftonbladet constitutes a breakthrough of sorts.
It’s also important to remember that Sweden doesn’t really have any conservative politicians as Americans — and most of the rest of the world, for that matter — would understand the term. All major Swedish parties are socialists of varying degrees, and the leading party, Moderaterna (The Moderates), is just a bit less leftist than the Greens, Social Democrats, Communists, etc.
It’s being attacked here from the left to try to nudge it back within the Swedish socialist consensus — or even better, to drive it out of power and restore the true Socialists to their rightful position as Sweden’s permanent governing party.
So by taking this opportunity to attack the ruling coalition, the opposition has exposed to public view something that was supposed to remain a shameful family secret.
Many thanks to our Swedish correspondent Henrik W. for the translation:
Integration is a fiasco
Magnus Hagevi: Insignificant Muslim support for the ruling coalition
Representatives of the conservative coalition have used the phrase “Sweden is a divided country” to describe integration as a Social Democrat failure. That is why the political integration of Swedish Muslims is a conservative fiasco. Their own contribution to the political integration of Swedish Muslims is tiny. It would be more fair to say that the conservative parties contribute to the divided country.
Swedish Muslims are a tiny block of voters. In order to study it, I’ve used a series of six interviews conducted by the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg polling the whole country, West Gothia, and the suburbs Bergsjön, Gårdsten, Hjällbo and Norra Biskopsgården in Gothenburg. These represent the population with foreign and Swedish citizenship between 15 and 85 years of age. The respondents have self-identified as Muslims or non-Muslims by replying with a “yes” or “no” to the statement “I’m a Muslim”. A total of 747 Muslims answered the poll about party sympathies.
The results are clear. Swedish Muslims look like a homogenous voter block from a party sympathy point of view. Between 70 and 75 percent of the Swedish Muslims support the Social Democrats. The red-green opposition coalition nets a total of 80 to 90 percent of the Muslim vote. The ruling conservative coalition is supported by only 10 to 20 percent of Muslim voters.
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Class considerations are inadequate to explain the Swedish Muslim support for the Social Democrats. Even if many Swedish Muslims belong to the working class, there remains a religious-identity effect. The same is true for all other background variables considered.
In my recent book “Political opinion and religiousness in West Gothia” (Sekel Bokförlag) where I, despite the book’s title, also analyze the Swedish population, I show that Swedish Muslims do not embrace leftist opinions, despite the strong support for the Social Democrats and the red-green opposition. Instead, the opinions of Swedish Muslims show that they are not a homogeneous group.
There is every reason for the representatives of Swedish conservatives, party leaders as well as minister of integration Nyamko Sabuni, to address their failure to integrate Swedish Muslims.
— Magnus Hagevi, PhD and Assistant University Professor in Political Science at the University of Växjö