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Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans

 
 
 
 
 
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The country’s first suicide attack and the rise of a far-right political party are signs of change in traditionally tolerant Sweden.

Laid-back Sweden questions its welcome for Muslims.

The bullet exploded through the mosque’s window, sending glass splinters hurtling into the office worker’s neck.

Frantically abandoning their New Year’s Eve chatter and coffee cups, worshippers rushed to the bloodied victim’s aid. The bullet had missed his head by inches; the sniper’s target would survive.

Police allege the shooting at Malmo’s Islamic center — Sweden’s largest mosque — was not random. Investigators say it was one of ten attempted murders and at least one killing perpetrated by a gunman whose objective was to “shoot at immigrants.”

The apparent bid to kill a Muslim in a place of worship provoked much soul-searching in Sweden, long regarded as one of Europe’s most liberal and welcoming societies.

But only nine months later, hundreds of thousands would cast ballots for the far-right Sweden Democrats . With its roots in the neo-Nazi movement, the party warned of “the dangers of Islamization” and ran a controversial campaign ad showing a gang of burqa-clad women overtaking a senior citizen in a race for benefits.

The election result grabbed headlines across Europe. “Anti-immigration party formed from skinhead movement seizes balance of power in Sweden” was the take of Britain’s Daily Mail. Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine noted that the showing had “shocked a world so used to viewing Sweden as an open-doored bastion of tolerance.”

Many stunned Swedes took to the streets to express dismay that an anti-immigrant backlash sweeping across the continent had reached their shores.

‘Taking over’
The Sweden Democrats’ success was another sign that a mix of immigration, economic woes and the threat of Islamist extremism has swirled into a perfect storm of problems in Europe.

Far-right parties in Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland have all made significant gains in recent years.

Some have pushed for caps on immigration. Other measures – such as France’s ban on face veils and Switzerland’s moratorium on minaret construction – have directly affected Muslims.

And the reverberations of radical Islam have been felt widely with security services thwarting many terrorist plots on the continent since 9/11. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and controversy over Muhammad cartoons have made some Muslims feel the West is at war with Islam.

“We can’t deny that today Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans,” said Professor Anne Sofie Roald of Malmo University’s Department of International Migration and Ethnic Relations. “People are perceiving it as a threat because they feel that the minority is growing.”

It’s then that the symbols, such as minarets and veils, become important, she said.

“It always comes back to that people are afraid of Muslims taking over their countries.”

An Iraqi-born bomber who blew himself up before he could set off several devices along a busy Stockholm street before Christmas damaged relations further.

However, the Sweden Democrats’ upward trajectory began long before the botched attack.

About a decade after its birth, the party earned fewer than 20,000 votes — less than half a percent of the ballots cast — at the 1998 national elections.

But under fresh-faced leader Jimmie Akesson, the Sweden Democrats’ enthusiastic support for the cradle-to-grave welfare state — reinforced by a message of nationalistic pride and a vow to dramatically reduce immigration — struck a chord.

In September, the Sweden Democrats captured nearly 340,000 votes (about six percent of the total) and claimed 20 seats in 349-member parliament — helping to prevent any party from being able to govern on its own. They were not invited to join the ruling coalition.

The 31-year-old Akesson and his colleagues received a frosty welcome when they moved into the Riksdag — with other lawmakers refusing to even share a photocopier with them.

At the party’s waterside offices in Stockholm, Akesson told msnbc.com that he believes that his country is under siege due to an “extreme immigration policy.”

Surrounded by leftover campaign posters, a Swedish flag and a banner emblazoned with the party’s “Security and Tradition” motto, Akesson says the government should focus its resources on upholding the welfare system.

He alleges that many immigrants live in “parallel societies” – segregated neighborhoods where they speak their native languages and often only socialize with each other.

“They will never become a part of the Swedish society,” Akesson said. “We have to make them Swedes, and they must want to be Swedes. Then I think we can have a future together.”

An estimated 44 million Muslims live in Europe – about six percent of the continent’s total population — and the figure is expected to grow to 58 million by 2030, according to The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

This growth has sparked fears and a backlash across Europe:

-A poll released in December indicated that only about one third of Germans hold positive views of Muslims.
-France – home to an estimated 4.7 million Muslims — last year banned the wearing of face veils in public .
-In 2009, Swiss voters backed a ban on new minarets being built at mosques.
-Earlier this month, about 2,000 supporters of the extremist English Defence League held a rally in Luton, north of London. The group says its focus is countering radical Islam, but banners reading “No more mosques” were visible at the protest. Past demonstrations have erupted into violence.
-And during last year’s election campaign, Akesson wrote an op-ed in which he promised to combat the “dangers” of Islam, which he labeled Sweden’s “greatest external threat since World War II.”

In Malmo, about one-third of the city’s almost 300,000 residents were born abroad. Although Denmark lies a mere 10 miles away across the hulking Oresund Bridge, there are more Iraqis living there than Danes.

People from 174 countries call Sweden’s third-largest city home – including substantial Bosnian, Serb, Polish, Lebanese, Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Somali communities.

Malmo’s Islamic center serves a 60,000-strong Muslim community, including people who speak 120 different languages.

Bejzat Becirov, the mosque’s founder and chief executive, remains shocked by the Dec. 31, 2009, shooting through the window that wounded his colleague. The victim had been sitting at a desk when the sniper took aim and fired. Shards of glass were removed from his neck.

“He could have been hit if that pot wouldn’t have been there,” Becirov said, motioning toward the window sill where a heavy terracotta planter sits, palm fronds fanning out from its center.

The bullet was found lodged in a wooden cabinet. The office worker was treated at a hospital and later released.

Police arrested Peter Mangs, 38, in connection with the mosque shooting, part of a series of attacks in Malmo that started with the October 2009 murder of a 20-year-old woman. She was shot as she sat in a car with a male friend of an immigrant background. He was also seriously injured.

Mangs denies any involvement in the shooting spree. However, his father told reporters in November that his son “lived in fear of immigrants taking over Swedish society.” Police in Malmo told msnbc.com that they are still investigating the motive behind the attacks. Mangs remains in custody.

Fortress of tolerance
The victim of the mosque shooting has since returned to his native Albania “and he doesn’t want to come back,” Becirov added.

The attack was an affront to Becirov, who had during the past three decades strived to build a fortress of tolerance.

“It is supposed to be – and it is – an open mosque, open to everybody, not just Muslims and believers, but to everybody for just that policy: to make people come together and see that we are equals. And that’s the way it’s working.

“We often get the comment that this is the way you wish it would be everywhere,” said the 69-year-old Becirov, who fled Communist Yugoslavia by breaking away from a student trip to Sweden in 1962. “That people can go into a mosque, or go into a church to pray no matter what religion you come from, and to work together for the common good.”

An imam at the center works regularly with the Christian community, an event with the Jewish community is in the works and the site has hosted the head of Norway’s far-right political party, Becirov said. The mosque’s founder conceded that they might have disagreed on a few things, but insisted they were able to have a fruitful discussion.

Becirov says Malmo’s Islamic center was established as “a Swedish mosque” and that the language is key to uniting people born in the country and immigrants.

It’s impossible not to notice how many archetypal blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedes work there. Seventy percent of its 70-person staff are non-Muslim, Becirov said. His translator for the day – Cecilia Hallstrom, who doubles as a first-grade teacher at the Islamic center’s school – wears a small navy blue cross on the delicate chain around her neck.

Located in the immigrant-heavy Rosengard neighborhood, the mosque has been the target of more than just a gunman. Becirov said there have been roughly 300 incidents – including the release of a pig – since it was founded as Scandinavia’s first mosque in 1983.

The most devastating attack occurred in 2003, when an arsonist set a fire that engulfed the complex and damaged its school. Only the walls of the prayer room remained, Becirov said. While the center was being rebuilt, another Molotov cocktail was hurled at it.

“After 9/11, we’ve had fires and the shooting and everything, but nobody has been able to stop us from cooperating with others,” Becirov added.

‘Norms and values’
Akesson is unconvinced by Becirov’s claims of openness and the center’s moderate approach to Islam.

The far-right politician maintains that Swedish identity is not rooted in the color of an individual’s skin but instead in adherence to the “norms and values that have built up the Swedish society.” He sees elements of Islam as running counter to those.

He said the Malmo Islamic center is “not a Swedish building, it doesn’t look Swedish,” adding that minarets “shouldn’t be built at all.”

Akesson said that some Muslim communities “say that they are not extreme … but when they think they are alone, in secret, they say other things that they don’t say in these open areas.

“So, I don’t really trust those Muslim groups that build those mosques in Sweden,” he added.

Immigrants to Sweden often receive government assistance for job-seeking, learning the language and lessons about civic rights. The economic downturn has made some question whether this is the best use of scarce resources.

Roald, the Malmo University academic, noted that if a large group relies on state allowances, it causes an attitude shift among those contributing to the pot that keeps the welfare state moving.

“Everybody has to sort of work for it,” Roald said. “And the point is at a certain level or at a certain stage, it will not be enough money – that’s a fact.”

Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert based at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm, told msnbc.com that even in traditionally tolerant Sweden there was “fine balance between maintaining equilibrium in society.”

”The fact that we didn’t discuss the issues of integration in a very productive way … [has] led to the rise of right-wing parties who are capitalizing on what everyone sees: There is a problem with integration in terms of social issues,” he said.

“We do have a lot of immigrants, we are proud of the fact that we have diversity. If we can’t get it right, what is the recipe for the rest of Europe who have much more backward policies in terms of social challenges that they are facing?”

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Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans, 3.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
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  • British Patriot

    STOP the islamification of Europe :twisted:

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  • Joe

    You Swedes better get rid of these black Muslims first and then the rest of the Muslims.if you don’t,many more of your young blue eyed and blonde haired women and girls will get RAPED! And they will get pregnant from the rapes and will have to get an abortion.I am a black male and an atheist American and I hate Islam and it’s ideology.I live in Louisville,KY about seven months of the year and there is a mosque about a mile from where I live.after I read about the organized gang rapes in Scandinavia I don’t like looking at black Muslims and other Muslims.I hate their attire,their long beards,their burqas and their whole fucking Islamic world!How could you white swedes throw away what your ancestors worked hard to make Sweden a morden civilized society?is Islamic countries as morden as Sweden and Scandinavian countries?all the Muslims(black and non blacks) want from Sweden is to take your young women and girls and BREED to them.they call it (war booty)look it up in the Koran(SURA 4 23:24)go ahead look it up.Islam,radical and moderates have declared war on the white race world wide.the men want to impregnate as many white women and girls as they can and make them and the new borns submissive.once they get your sweet smelling,juicy pussy you white men will lose them forever!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • John Smith the 42nd.

    The muslims must be destroyed!

    “Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Koran 2:191
    “Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.” Koran 9:123
    “When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Koran 9:5
    “Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Koran 3:85
    “The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.”… Koran 9:30
    “Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam” Koran 5:33
    “Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Koran 22:19
    “The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Koran 8:65
    “Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.” Koran 3:28
    “Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Koran 8:12
    “Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Koran 8:60

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    • Josh

      EXACTLY!

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  • Anti-Imam

    Muslims have no place in Sweden or Europe in general. Ship them all back to North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, etc.

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  • Josh

    I am a white Canadian and I lived in Sweden for 2 years. My wife is Swedish and I was treated like gold by the Swedish people. I worked, payed my taxes and never committed a crime. I lived in an apartment building full of muslims and was threatened at my doorstep of my unit with a knife by a muslim man because I was frying bacon. I slammed the door on his hand, he dropped the knife and I kicked him down the stairs which were right beside my apartment. I called the police and I almost got charged for assault. I was heckled by muslims in the area forever after. Kick them out or you will no longer control your nation. They are scum and they have no place in our society. Sweden is a beautiful nation, time to become vikings again and smash these cowards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Jon Haward

    Hi,

    I dont follow religions but what I ,ve read are just rubbish lies on muslim and Islam. I tried to find just one of these written about koran. I never find them. If West will lose that because of their ignorence.

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    • Josh

      John, all you have to do is google violent scriptures in the koran and you’ll find out. Obviously you haven’t searched. Your country is going downhill due to Muslims while you just sit back and watch. KFC in England isn’t even allowed to serve bacon products now. That’s just a small example. Anyways, 70% of the prison population in Denmark are muslims. The rape rate in Sweden is double that of most countries, and it’s not Swede’s doing this. It’s muslims. They explain that women are showing to much and they are asking to be raped. That Pastor Jones guy isn’t my favorite guy, but in a way I understand where he’s coming from.

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      • Joe

        There is a Swedish woman that has designed a reverse chasity belt that would make it harder for the rapist to rape if he is in a hurry to penetrate her with his penis.There is a product on the market for women and girls to wear in side their vaginas.The product is called “rape axe”.this rape axe clings to the penis and cannot be removed by the rapist,he will need to see a doctor to have this axe removed.Can you tell me if Muslim men have been raping these beautiful Swedish women this year?I have a difficult time finding this information for this year’s rape statistics.I wish Swedish men would start to murder or castrate or chop off a foot and a hand as punishment for any rapes that have happened this year and beyond.

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    • Joshua Davis

      You should read the Quran…those intolerant verses are there. Also, keep in mind, that there are MANY translations of the Quran, many done by muslims who intentionally watered down many of the verses for western readers. Right now, there are no proper scholarly translations done by someone who is not muslim. There is one older one I know of done by a European man. This translation is MUCH less watered down from the others I have read. Keep in mind, there are many verses in Christian scriptures that ARE JUST AS BAD. The main difference is that Christians followed these scriptures word for word in the MEDIEVAL AGES. The problem with Islam is that many muslims STILL treat the Quran like Christians treated the bible 500 YEARS AGO. At the moment, most Christians JUST follow the New Testament, which is pretty tame. On top of that, many westerners and Europeans are leaving religion behind. For example, take a statistic from one of Canada’s recent censuses: around 28% of people registered themselves as atheist. I am all for restricting immigration of Islamic peoples on the bases that our society is slowly moving away from illogical religious values; letting large quantities of people’s with archaic religious values would be a step backwards. I would say the same thing if Christian’s with medieval-esc oldtestament values starting being immigrated into European society in the same quantities. There are still some out there and in my opinion, they are nuts. To put is frankly: It’s hard to incorporate someone into a society consisting of liberal, democratic, scientific, and market-economy based ideals when they believe there is someone in the sky watching over them who has more authority. Let’s get real here, intolerance/ tolerance aside, a lot of these people have completely different ideals from the ones western society is based on, and always will. I’m not saying that either ideals are better than the other but, there IS definitely a difference.

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  • Arrowtown2011

    I am sure many people on this web site know about the 20 Muslim men gang raping an 11 year old girl at a swimming pool and ripping off the the swimming suits of other girls and chasing them so that they can rape them.Then there is a picture of a white Swedish girl with blood all over her face from a gang rape on new hear’s eve on the Internet on other web sites.Bare naked Islam is one of the sites.Islam has a war booty (rape jihad)mentality.I think Swedish people should make life as miserable for immigrant criminals.these types of crimals should be castrated and then flown back home after the surgery.

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  • E Venter

    It is not about Islam, it is about Karma. Even if Islam did not exist, Europe would have had another threat of the same kind, because Europe did not care when the Afrikaner was terrorised by Britian during the Anglo Boer War, and lost the two little Boer Republics.
    During that War British soldiers starved almost four times as many Boer children to death in concentration camps, as they killed soldiers.
    Kitchener, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII are still honoured for a war that had Boer farms burnt, and Boer women, children, sick, disabled and elderly whipped onto soild animal trucks and transported to concentration camps without food, water or sanitation.

    Then, Europe turned a blind eye when Britain set up the homeland system in South Africa in1913, forcing blacks into the smallest parts of the country, and sowing discontent.

    In 1948 Europe again turned a blind eye when the England handed over a failing state to the Afrikaner, and when England set out to finally eliminate the Afrikaner by calling for majority rule, knowing that the black people would blame everything on the Afrikaner, and would now torture them to death.

    Of course, Europe turns a blind eye to the suffering of the Afrikaner now.

    What goes around, comes around. As I understand, Muslim women tend to produce many children…

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    • Joe

      What about the Arabs?The Barbary Muslim pirates and the Bedouin Muslim camel riders in Sudan.These two Arab groups enslave and tortured and killed off many blacks over ten centuries and all that you can do is blame the white man for all of black Africa’s problems.Back to the topic,Islam in Europe.Most Muslims that are living in Sweden are not compatible with Swedish culture,don’t know and don’t want to know any thing about Swedish history or have any interest in Swedish food and sports except soccer.I am a black American man and have never been to Sweden and I bet that I would be very compatible with Swedish culture,especially the food and ice skating and skiing at ski resorts!

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