Recently, The Boston Globe's Astead W. Herndon wrote an article criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's ways of gathering support for his statements and proposals. While it is basically true that politicians should not only rely only on the media, Herndon's understatement Sweden's problems is dishonest at best.
If one mentions problems in Sweden relating to migration, it is important to describe what is really happening. Sadly, Sweden's refugee policy has made Sweden less secure. In 2015, Sweden received 163,000 asylum seekers. The same year, the United States received about 70,000 asylum seekers. Sweden, however, has a population of ten million, while the United States has approximately 323 million. If the United States in 2015 had received the same proportion of asylum seekers as Sweden, in relation to its population, the US would have taken in 5.2 million. Would it have threatened U.S. security to host 5.2 million new asylum seekers in one year? Probably. That is what happened in Sweden.
The US already has a rigorous vetting process, but Sweden has a weak one -- only slowly improving. In addition, because many "unaccompanied refugee children" lie about their age when they reach Sweden, the National Board of Forensic Medicine ("Rättsmedicinalverket") has been instructed by the government to do medical age-assessments. These are made at the request of the Swedish Migration Agency ("Migrationsverket"), this, after the asylum seekers' consent. The National Board of Forensic Medicine began performing these age-assessments in March; reporting on their activities on September 4, they found that in 83% of cases, the investigated person was not a minor, but 18 or older.
The problem of asylum seekers lying about their age is that these adults of unknown backgrounds have been sent to primary schools and high schools with children and placed in different homes with them. Sweden's liberal migration policy has jeopardized the safety of Swedish children.
As a result of the migration crisis, since 2015 Sweden has been forced to introduce border controls. This activity, along with deporting illegal migrants and violent disputes in asylum accommodations, has claimed a large part of the resources of the police. In June 2016, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, surveying fires at asylum accommodations, found that only 11% of the fires were started from outside the asylum home. The resource-crisis of the Swedish police has resulted in more municipalities forced to hire private security companies. In spring 2017, Radio Sweden sent a survey to Sweden's 290 municipalities. 200 responded, and of these, 140 stated that their security costs had increased, and of these, 35 responded that their costs had increased directly because of the lack of police officers.
In 2005, Sweden enacted a new law concerning sexual offenses, that broadened, under Swedish law, what was considered rape. In 2013, this law was extended even further to include even a passive response as a rape.
While the increase in the number of reported rapes should not be interpreted as Sweden having a "rape epidemic," in June 2017, for example, Sweden's public broadcasting television reported that in just a little over a year, 15 unaccompanied migrant boys from Afghanistan were convicted of gang-rapes of other boys in Sweden. In a police report published in 2016, dealing with sexual assaults, the police stated that:
"In cases where the crimes were committed by perpetrators in a larger group in public places and in swimming pools, the perpetrators were mainly young people seeking, or recently receiving, asylum in Sweden".
In the same report one can also read that:
"All investigations in Stockholm and Kalmar from 2014 and 2015 have been closed down due to difficulties with identification or lack of evidence."
Another scary fact is that in 80% of the reported sexual assaults in the traditional Swedish bathhouses where Swedes go during the harsh winters, the offenders were of foreign origin and most lacked a Swedish national identity number.
The survey covered the period 2011 to 2016 and concerned more than 10,000 reported crimes relating to sexual offenses.
Certainly, one should criticize articles that exaggerate how insecure it is in Sweden, but it is equally wrong to minimize the extent to which unvetted mass-immigration has created an insecure situation for women, especially at bathhouses, swimming pools and gymnasiums.
That Sweden has not managed to handle migration properly, and that the conditions for conflicts exist, is not something that alternative media or Donald Trump have made up. Nearly one-fifth, or 18%, of Sweden's population are now foreign-born. At the same time, unemployment in July 2017 among Swedes born in Sweden was 3.9%, while unemployment among foreign-born Swedes was 21.8%. This disparity creates conflicts within Sweden's civil society that should not be neglected. The reason many foreigners do not get jobs in Sweden is because often a person needs to be highly educated. Those who come to Sweden through asylum immigration are simply not well-educated enough to meet the demands of its labor market. The question soon becomes: how much asylum immigration can Sweden manage before spending gets too big and social problems become too heavy?
The Boston Globe is making a mistake when it minimizes the enormous crisis through which Sweden is going.
That traditional Swedish bathhouses in Sweden today are associated with rape and sexual abuse was something unthinkable before the migration crisis began in 2015. Both the Boston Globe and alternative media should please stick to statistics and facts.
That traditional Swedish bathhouses in Sweden today are associated with rape and sexual abuse was something unthinkable before the migration crisis began in 2015. Pictured: The Varberg open-air bathhouse, in Varberg, Sweden. (Image source: Henrik Johansson/Flickr)
Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö, and is the author of the Swedish book "Därför är mångkultur förtryck"("Why Multiculturalism is Oppression").