Trump Is Right: Sweden’s Embrace of Refugees Isn’t Working
The country has accepted 275,000 asylum-seekers, many without passports—leading to riots and crime.
When President Trump last week raised Sweden’s problematic experience with open door immigration, skeptics were quick to dismiss his claims. Two days later an immigrant suburb of Stockholm was racked by another riot. No one was seriously injured, though the crowd burned cars and hurled stones at police officers.
Mr. Trump did not exaggerate Sweden’s current problems. If anything, he understated them. Sweden took in about 275,000 asylum-seekers from 2014-16—more per capita than any other European country. Eighty percent of those who came in 2015 lacked passports and identification, but a majority come from Muslim nations. Islam has become Sweden’s second-largest religion. In Malmö, our third-largest city, Mohamed is the most common name for baby boys.
The effects are palpable, starting with national security. An estimated 300 Swedish citizens with immigrant backgrounds have traveled to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State. Many are now returning to Sweden and are being welcomed back with open arms by our socialist government. In December 2010 we had our first suicide attack on Swedish soil, when an Islamic terrorist tried to blow up hundreds of civilians in central Stockholm while they were shopping for Christmas presents. Thankfully the bomber killed only himself.
Riots and social unrest have become a part of everyday life. Police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel are regularly attacked. Serious riots in 2013, involving many suburbs with large immigrant populations, lasted for almost a week. Gang violence is booming. Despite very strict firearm laws, gun violence is five times as common in Sweden, in total, as in the capital cities of our three Nordic neighbors combined.
Anti-Semitism has risen. Jews in Malmö are threatened, harassed and assaulted in the streets. Many have left the city, becoming internal refugees in their country of birth.
The number of sex crimes nearly doubled from 2014-15, according to surveys by the Swedish government body for crime statistics. One-third of Swedish women report that they no longer feel secure in their own neighborhoods, and 12% say they don’t feel safe going out alone after dark. A 1996 report from the same government body found that immigrant men were far likelier to commit rape than Swedish men. Last year our party asked the minister of justice to conduct a new report on crime and immigration, and he replied: “In light of previous studies, I do not see that a further report on recorded crime and individuals’ origins would add knowledge with the potential to improve the Swedish society.”
Our nation’s culture hasn’t been spared either. Artists accused of insulting Islam live under death threats. Dance performances and art exhibitions have been called off for fear of angering Islamists. Schools have prohibited the singing of traditional Christian hymns because they don’t want to “insult” non-Christian immigrants. Yet reports made with hidden cameras by journalists from Swedish public media show mosques teaching fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.
Sweden’s government now spends an incredible amount of money caring for newly arrived immigrants each year. The unemployment rate among immigrants is five times as high as that of native Swedes. Among some groups, such as Somalis, in places like Malmö unemployment reaches 80%.
Our party, the Sweden Democrats, wants to put the security and welfare of Swedish citizens first. We are surging in the opinion polls and seem to have a good chance of becoming the country’s largest party during the elections next year. We will not rest until we have made Sweden safe again.
For the sake of the American people, with whom we share so many strong historical and cultural ties, we can only hope that the leaders in Washington won’t make the same mistakes that our socialist and liberal politicians did.
Mr. Åkesson is party chairman of the Sweden Democrats. Mr. Karlsson is the party’s group leader in Parliament.