From the night of the Paris attacks until Tuesday, when Sweden's government announced it was reversing its open-borders policy, Sweden was in a state of turmoil. No matter what the government said, it accomplished nothing -- other than making the Swedes increasingly livid.
When Prime Minister Stefan Löfven accused his people of being naïve about radical Islamism, anger exploded on social media. You could read comments such as: "No. Some of you have been naïve. The rest of us have been labeled fascists and other ugly things."
The shock and horror of the Paris attacks -- in which one Swedish woman was among the 130 dead and another among the 350 wounded -- had barely subsided when the Swedish people received another blow. On November 18, a grim Security Service Chief, Anders Thornberg, held a press conference during which he revealed that a combat-trained ISIS terrorist was suspected of having entered Sweden and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Because of this, Thornberg had raised the threat level in Sweden from three to four on a scale of five -- meaning the country was now facing the highest "threat level" since the scale was introduced in 2010.
The Security Service Chief, as well as various Ministers, then urged people not to be alarmed. The suggestion had little effect. Rumors ran rampant on Facebook and other social media that police in Stockholm had told their family members to "stay away from the inner city for the next four or five days as the threat was a lot more serious than what had been made public; apparently they are looking for more terrorists, about 20 people; you need to decide for yourselves. In any event, the threat is bigger than what was shown on the news."
The next day, the Stockholm subway, which normally transports 1.2 million passengers a day, was rather desolate. Then, on November 20, the Security Service confirmed that an attack had indeed been planned to take place in Stockholm.
The day after the nationwide alert, the suspected ISIS terrorist was apprehended. It turned out that he had sought asylum in Sweden under the name Mutar Muthanna Majid, and had been living for several weeks at an asylum seekers' home in the small mining village of Boliden in northern Sweden.
Only after the arrest did Prime Minister Stefan Löfven speak out in public. During a press conference, he announced stricter anti-terror laws to deal with foreign Islamist extremists, which he now admitted posed the biggest threat to Sweden, and not the only one:
"We know that about 300 Swedish citizens have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIL. We also know that about 120 have returned. The Security Service believes that among them, there are individuals who pose a threat to our society and have also committed crimes against people in other countries. It is unacceptable that people can travel, participate in terrorist acts and come back without being held accountable -- and drain the society of large resources."
Next, the Prime Minister claimed that "Sweden has been naïve," conveniently forgetting that he had called those who were not naïve -- those who had expressed concern about the Islamization of Sweden -- "racists" and "Islamophobes." He also neglected to mention that as far back as May, Security Service chief Anders Thornberg had raised the alarm that Sweden could not handle any more jihadism. At the time, Thornberg had also expressed concern that foreign jihadis would take advantage of the Swedish asylum system -- through which more than 90% of applicants lack identification documents but still got permanent residency -- by hiding among the refugees.
A few days after Mutar Muthanna Majid, the suspected terrorist, was arrested, the District Attorney dismissed the Security Service's evidence against him. On November 22, Majid was released and all charges dropped. A columnist from the daily Dagens Nyheter, Lasse Wierup, called the Security Service's conduct "astonishingly unprofessional."
Even as the mass immigration of Muslims to Sweden increased at an explosive rate during the last few years, the government kept stubbornly insisting that it did not entail any problems. According to the government, everyone was the same, and it did not matter if Sweden was populated by Swedes or by Muslim Somalis, Iraqis or Afghans. Those who insisted otherwise were ruthlessly branded "racists" and "Islamophobes."
Finally, last week, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven stood up on live television, and said:
"I must say that Sweden has been naïve in this regard. Maybe it has been hard for us to accept that in our open society, right in our midst, there are people, Swedish citizens, who sympathize with the murderers of ISIL."
In response to questions from Gatestone Institute about who, exactly, was being called naïve, Mr. Löfven's press secretary, Dan Lundqvist Dahlin, said that the Prime Minister had in mind "Swedes in general." When asked if that meant Löfven was blaming the Swedish people for the peril the country was now in, Dahlin replied: "The Prime Minister says that we have been naïve in Sweden. He means me and you and you and you and you!"
When asked if that meant he was accusing the Swedish people of being naïve, Dahlin said:
"But can't you see what I mean? It is not an accusation. If someone feels accused, that is his problem. I suppose he means politicians and everyone else."
The Prime Minister's statement seemed to outrage many Swedes. The hashtag #naiv ("naïve") immediately started trending on Twitter, and people began posting comments such as:
- "I haven't been #naiv so don't drag me into this."
- "'Sweden has been naïve'? No, you have betrayed your country."
- "I have been called many things over the years, but this is the first time I have been called naïve. By the Prime Minister no less. Not bad."
- "Why is Löfven saying that 'Sweden' has been naïve? Very, very many have warned about exactly the situation we are now in!"
The only political party that warned about the Islamization of Sweden was the Sweden Democrats, and it has consistently been shut out of all consultations. During the press conference, Löfven called for national unity and invited all the opposition parties to talks -- except the Sweden Democrats. He even said:
"In moments such as this, it is important that Sweden stands united. There is no room for partisan squabbling or party politics here. That is why I have invited the right wing-bloc for talks on how to fight terrorism."
The Sweden Democrats' Parliamentary group leader, Mattias Karlsson, wrote on Facebook: "No, 'Sweden' has not been naïve. You, your party and your coalition partners have been naïve and you still are."
Karlsson reminded the public of the massive criticism of the Sweden Democrats, when its members recently handed out flyers to migrants in southern Europe. The flyers -- signed by the Sweden Democrats and "the people of Sweden" -- urged asylum seekers not to go to Sweden. Journalists and politicians then attacked the party for speaking on behalf of "the people."
"Judging by the media storm and the comments of government representatives about our flyer the other week," Karlsson wrote, "I got the impression that speaking in the name of the Swedish people was utterly terrible, but apparently, that was not the case."
Löfven, appearing on the newscast TV4 News, was asked if stricter border controls should have been introduced earlier, to prevent terrorists from entering Sweden. Löfven was evasive, but the question was actually inaccurate.
The border controls Sweden had introduced in past, meant, in reality, nothing. The borders were as wide open as ever to anyone claiming to seek asylum. The flow of migrants was as big as before: 10,000 new asylum seekers a week.
While the mainstream media is careful to avoid telling the public about this, Dispatch International recently broke the story that at the Öresund Bridge, which connects Sweden and Denmark, the border police performed only random checks -- and only on people not claiming to seek asylum. The people who claimed to seek asylum were not checked at all. They were simply transported to an Immigration Service facility. There, they were fingerprinted and photographed; however, as very few of the asylum seekers actually have passports or other identification documents, it takes months even to get a "probable" identification.
While the identity of the asylum seekers was being investigated, they were not held. On the contrary, although many are actual refugees or honestly seeking better lives, they all were sent to various asylum facilities around the country, where, if some wished, they were free to plan any terrorist acts they liked in peace and quiet. For example, Mutar Muthanna Majid, the man who a few days ago had been suspected of being a terrorist, even had his own apartment in the Boliden village -- with his name on the door.
Instead of closing Sweden's borders, Löfven kept pressing for a redistribution of Sweden's asylum seekers throughout the EU. He called the EU countries that did not have open borders (all except Sweden, Germany and Austria) "irresponsible." He apparently did not reflect on the idea that the responsible thing might, in fact, have been to protect your own people, and put their well-being first.
Keeping the country's borders wide open and calling terrified people "racists" and "Islamophobes," while claiming "we have been naïve," did not exactly increase the Prime Minister's popularity. The daily Metro recently reported that Löfven's Social Democrats now have only 21.4% of Swedish voters on their side, while the Sweden Democrats reached a new record of 26.7%. Moreover, according to the same survey, despite people tending to rally around their leaders in times of crisis, Löfven has become one of the government's least popular ministers – in 21st place out of 24. His Deputy Prime Minister, Green Party leader Åsa Romson, is the most unpopular.
The poll also showed that more and more Swedes believe that the most important political issue right now is the migrant problem. Since the last poll a month ago, the number of people believing this has grown to 64%, an increase of 8% since October.
What finally seems to be dawning on the Swedes is that while the government puts the right to asylum before the safety of its own people, the country could be filling up with terrorists.
To add insult to injury, Swedes have just found out that the host of the Christmas Show on Swedish Public Television -- a very prestigious role designed mainly to comfort lonely people who do not have anyone with whom to celebrate Christmas -- will this year be a young Muslim woman, Gina Dirawi, aged 24. Regrettably, on several occasions she has made anti-semitic remarks, yet she nevertheless keeps getting new TV hosting assignments.
Swedish Public Television's appointment as Christmas Host of Gina Dirawi, who professes to be of the Islamic faith, and who according to Islamic scholars should believe the celebration of the birth of Christ is a heathen tradition, sparked feelings of anger and betrayal in Swedes. (Image source: Expressen video screenshot)
The Public Service director, Safa Safiyari, who recently introduced Dirawi to a large press gathering, came to Sweden at the age of 14. In newspaper articles, he has spoken about how he does not feel "fancy" enough for the Swedish archipelago; and how, in 2001, when he got to do current affairs shows for young people about "all the injustices in Sweden," it felt as if it were revenge for all the injustices he said he has experienced in Sweden and that still characterize his life.
The announcement that a person such as Dirawi, who professes to be of the Islamic faith and who according to Islamic scholars should believe that the celebration of the birth of Christ is a heathen tradition, will be Christmas Host, sparked widespread expressions of anger and disappointment on social media. Comments were posted on Twitter, such as: "Public Television has declared war on Christian Sweden by choosing Muslim Gina Dirawi as Christmas Host! It is shameful!" And, "If things continue down this road, by next Christmas, Christmas ham will be banned."
Safa Safiyari told the daily Göteborgs-Posten, that Swedish Public Television had been prepared for all kinds of reactions: "We have chosen Gina Dirawi as Christmas Host based on her competence, her comedic talents and experience in large television broadcasts. When we hire our Christmas Hosts, religious belief is not something we inquire about."
Ingrid Carlqvist is a journalist and author based in Sweden, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Gatestone Institute.