In Sweden, Europe’s Drift To The Right Continues

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“Populism” seemed to have suffered a premature death a year ago. Emmanuel Macron had beaten Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections, Dutch right-winger Geert Wilders had underperformed massively, and the EU had found — or at least thought to have found — new popularity all around Europe. After a turbulent 2016, in which the UK voted to exit the EU, and which saw Donald Trump become US president, everything seemed well again.

Ever since, however, the tide has turned again, and Europe’s drift to the right, coupled with the ongoing demise of center-left parties, has continued. Highlights of the past year included a strong performance by the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany (they are polling second behind Angela Merkel’s CDU right now), a right-wing coalition government in Austria, and the Italian election in March, which saw two “populist” movements come to power together (and since then causing havoc on the European level). Continue reading

Sweden, Nation of Open Arms, Debates Implications of Immigration

If you’ve been tuned in to Global Geopolitics for a while, you’ll find this whitewashed and played-down article a bit laughable, if not insulting for its attempt to hide facts and/or discredit those who are experiencing the negative effects.

The Rosengard district of Malmo, which has a large number of people with foreign backgrounds. Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

MALMO, Sweden — It has been only three years since she came to Sweden from Syria, but Hiba Abou Alhassane already says “we” when speaking about her new home country.

“Did we, I mean did Sweden, take too many refugees? Should we close the border?” she pondered this week after President Trump’s remarks that Sweden’s immigration policies had failed. “It already happened. People aren’t coming anymore.”

In many ways, Ms. Alhassane is a perfect example of Sweden’s long-held belief in the rightness of sheltering and helping to support migrants and refugees. She has worked hard to integrate. Already nearly fluent in Swedish, she teaches at two local primary schools.

But recently Swedes also find themselves questioning the wisdom of their generosity to outsiders in need, and its potential limits, leading to the country’s harshest debate ever over immigration. Continue reading

Europe’s Rising Far Right: A Guide to the Most Prominent Parties

Amid a migrant crisis, sluggish economic growth and growing disillusionment with the European Union, far-right parties — some longstanding, others newly formed — have been achieving electoral success in a number of European nations. Here is a quick guide to eight prominent far-right parties that have been making news; it is not a comprehensive list of all the Continent’s active far-right groups. The parties are listed by order of the populations of the countries where they are based.

Germany

Alternative for Germany

The Alternative for Germany party, started three years ago as a protest movement against the euro currency, won up to 25 percent of the vote in German state elections in March, challenging Germany’s consensus-driven politics. Last fall, support for the party was reportedly in the 5 percent range, but shot up after the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne. The party “attracted voters who were anti-establishment, anti-liberalization, anti-European, anti-everything that has come to be regarded as the norm,” said Sylke Tempel of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Frauke Petry, 40, the party’s leader, has said border guards might need to turn guns on anyone crossing a frontier illegally. The party’s recently adopted policy platform says “Islam does not belong in Germany” and calls for a ban on the construction of mosques.

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Swedish Politicians: “Islam is Definitely Compatible with Democracy!”

Mehmet Kaplan, a Turkish-born Muslim, became Sweden’s Minister for Housing and Urban Development, all the while rubbing shoulders with the Islamists of Turkish groups Milli Görüs and the neo-fascists of the Grey Wolves — he was convinced no one would ever question him or his agenda, for fear that doing so would be considered “Islamophobic.” Kaplan was only forced to resign in April after revelations that he compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Jan Ainali)

 

 

  • With their goodhearted eagerness to be inclusive, not to discriminate and to defend freedom of religion, Swedish politicians are easy prey for Islamists with an anti-democratic agenda.
  • “The presumption is that Muslims want nothing more than to adapt to a Western way of life and Western values. … the presumption is also that Islam can be tamed…” — Jimmie Åkesson, Sweden Democrats party leader.
  • “Democracy is a man-made system, meaning rule by the people for the people. Thus it is contrary to Islam, because rule is for Allaah… it is not permissible to give legislative rights to any human being…” — Sheik Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, in fatwa number 07166.
  • Everyone knows what happens to anyone who criticizes Islam — first, you get labeled an “Islamophobe racist,” then, like the artist Lars Vilks, you might get a fatwa of death on your head.

The question is where the democratic Muslims will be when Islam has gained even more influence in Sweden — will they stand up for Swedish democracy if that means openly going against the tenets of Islam?

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How Sweden, the most open country in the world, was overwhelmed by migrants

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A man ascends on an escalator as signs put up by the Sweden Democrats political party are seen at Ostermalmstorg subway station in Stockholm Photo: REUTERS

 

Sweden used to pride itself on giving a warm welcome to outsiders. But as the refugee crisis grows, so too does its sense of injustice

When it opened 15 years ago, the Öresund Bridge was seen as a glistening symbol of the new Europe. Sweden and Denmark had been joined together by a motorway with no border controls, fusing together economies and even blurring national identities. Many Swedes in Malmö have come to relish the city’s growing reputation as a suburb of Copenhagen, just half an hour away by train. It seemed to embody many dreams about the future: a continent where national borders would come to mean nothing. That dream was shattered at noon today.

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