by WorldTribune Staff, March 6, 2018
Despite reports of a major increase in violent attacks by Muslim migrants against Christians, Sweden’s government has not launched a serious investigation, a report said.
Christians in Sweden “who wear a cross in public have been attacked and their crosses ripped off by Islamists, an experience analogous to that of many Swedish Jews wearing a kippah,” Jacob Rudenstrand, deputy general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, and Peter Paulsson, director of Open Doors Sweden, wrote for National Review on March 3.
“There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.”
The writers noted several recent incidents:
- In Stockholm, a new Christian convert was stabbed by fellow asylum-seekers on the same day he was to be baptized.
- Last month the Christian daily Världen idag reported that an asylum-seeker who had converted from Islam was attacked when exiting a Pentecostal church in Karlstad. The church is now taking safety precautions for its other converts.
- Amir (not his real name), a Christian refugee from Syria was threatened by a jihadist, also from Syria and living in the same refugee home, who said he would cut Amir’s throat and harm his family back in Syria. “I fled the war to avoid this kind of thing,” Amir told police when they responded to the emergency call. The man who threatened him was eventually sentenced to probation and fined 8,000 kronor (around $900) in damages.
A survey by Open Doors Sweden found 512 separate incidents in which Christian asylum-seekers faced death threats, sexual assaults, and other acts of violence.
“Most of the victims were converts, and most perpetrators were other migrants,” Open Doors Sweden said. “Most victims did not file police reports. They feared reprisals or assumed that the police wouldn’t take any action.”
More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.
“One time they told my daughter that she was not allowed to eat in the canteen without wearing a headscarf, if she wanted to keep her head,” one of the survey participants told Open Doors. “Another time, they told my son that he was not allowed to have a visible cross around his neck if he wanted to remain in one piece.”
Rudenstrand and Paulsson noted that “The reaction both in the media and from government officials” to the persecution of Christian asylum-seekers “has been cool. The experiences that Christians have had with Sweden’s migration officials has been far from positive.”
Citing the findings from Open Doors, the writers said, “a member of the Swedish parliament questioned the minister for migration, Helene Fritzon, who responded with no reference to threats specifically against Christians. She offered only general remarks on safety provisions that the government makes for refugees in general. Meanwhile, the Swedish Migration Agency, which evaluates applications for residence and citizenship, has been known to give those asylum-seekers who have turned to Christ pop quizzes on theology, asking them to explain the Trinity, for example, or to name the number of sacraments or of books in the New Testament, to determine whether they are genuine Christians – questions that many Swedish churchgoers would not be able to answer correctly. The testimony of churches and pastors counts for little; the agency often outright dismisses it.”
The challenges of integrating migrants into Swedish society, the writers said, “include ensuring that Christians who were victims of genocide – a genocide that the government has refused to recognize – are not persecuted all over again after they resettle in their new country. The evidence shows that they are not safe in Sweden, which needs to take measures to improve their security, but first it must acknowledge the seriousness of the problem they face.”