October 18, 2023 - 11:57am

The reaction to the killing of two Swedish football fans in Belgium has, in my home country, been rather curious. 

Following the terrorist attack, Magdalena Andersson, leader of the Social Democrats and our former prime minister, urged Swedes to moderate their tone and to avoid expressing strong emotions. Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister and leader of the Moderate Party, said that “one has to be very, very careful right now. Words that admittedly are legal can have consequences. All that is lawful is not appropriate.” 

Leading social democratic and liberal pundits are now blaming the terror on Swedish freedom of expression. If only we could ban everything that is taboo in Islam, they wouldn’t want to kill us. We have to better ourselves so that they don’t want to kill us as much, apparently.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs now urges Swedes not to show any Swedish symbols when they are abroad. Jews in Sweden are advised to hide all signs of their Jewish identity. Why is it that the victims of Islamic terrorism have to hide? It’s unsustainable.

Three Swedes were shot because they are Swedes, but if you read what many intellectuals and politicians are saying, they were more outraged that a Member of Parliament from the Sweden Democrats posted an insensitive tweet immediately after the terror attack (the post was later deleted). One tweet is worse than Islamic terrorism, judging by the reactions of our noble intelligentsia.

In taking this stance, they illustrate why Sweden ended up in its current state: for both Left- and Right-wing governments, it has been more important to distance themselves from the Sweden Democrats (the immigration restrictionist party) than to deal with the consequences of mass migration. 

Last year, two million people in Sweden were foreign-born, up from one million in 2000. In all, 35% had at least one foreign-born parent, up from 21% in 2002. In the younger parts of the population the proportion is closer to half. Over 100,000 migrants continue to arrive in Sweden each year, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Restricting migration when there was still time was seen as impossible, because that was what that awful party was proposing. That was what all Swedish politics revolved around, and little seems to have changed.

Sweden’s elites strain at a gnat but easily swallow camels. They condemn a tweet, but fall silent when Swedes are designated targets for Islamists. We are presently in the midst of a “crisis of violence” in which there have been 134 bomb attacks this year alone. In addition, gun violence has taken off: 62 people died in shootings in Sweden last year, a per capita gun-murder rate roughly 30 times higher than London’s. Moreover, a report from the European commission estimates that criminal clans have a turnover of 10% of Sweden’s GDP, or close to half of the country’s annual budget. Evidently, the Swedish system has failed.

What now? There seems to be a move, certainly from the Left-wing opposition but even from the government, towards restricting more and more of what can be labelled offensive to Islamist sensibilities. One wonders if we’ll ever be able to appease enough. And when — or even if — people will get tired of accommodating extremists.


Ivar Arpi is a journalist at Rak höger, formerly of Svenska Dagbladet.