No one seems to have given any thought as to where all the people who are granted asylum in Sweden are supposed to live. There is a massive shortage of housing, which has led to young Swedes, well into their 30s, being forced to live with their parents. In 2014, a report from the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen) disclosed that close to 300,000 young people between the ages of 20-27 do not have their own place to live. The Immigration Service has the right to send "unaccompanied refugee children," who are often, in fact, undocumented adults, to the local municipalities -- and then it is their problem to procure accommodation. It was also recently reported that adult migrants with residence permits have a right to bypass Swedes in waiting lists for housing. The municipality of Skellefteå now plans to inventory all the empty houses in the countryside, looking for possible alternatives for migrants.
February 3: Teenage girls attending the Vårboskolan high school in the Malmö suburb of Arlöv were sexually assaulted and stalked by young migrants in their 20s who take Swedish language classes at the school, according to the local daily newspaper, Sydsvenskan. As most of the migrants are male, the gender balance at the school has been severely skewed. 14-year-old Emilia and Nora told Sydsvenskan:
"The guys stared at us and made kissing noises. They said things we did not quite understand, told us we were sexy and good looking and stuff like that. And they took pictures of us and other girls with their phones. During recess, they stand outside waiting for us and then they follow us. Sometimes guys have groped us in the lunch line."
February 6: A gang of youths threw stones at a police patrol in the immigrant-heavy neighborhood of Hageby in Norrköping. The police officers were monitoring traffic when one of their cars was set on fire by a gang of 15 or 20 youths, who then proceeded to throw stones at the officers. Four youths, aged 16-18, were removed from the scene, but inexplicably not arrested.
February 7: An ambulance was vandalized by unknown persons in the immigrant-heavy suburb of Tensta in northwestern Stockholm. Three windows of the vehicle were smashed. If the patient for whom the ambulance had come had been critically ill, "the consequences," as the police reported, "could have been dire."
Åke Östman, head of Emergency Medical Services in the Greater Stockholm area, told the daily, Dagens Nyheter:
"I cannot understand why anyone would do this -- we are not a government authority; we are there to help. The next time, it might be their parents. If the ambulances have to wait for a police escort, people living in certain areas may get inferior service."
February 8: According to an opinion poll commissioned by the daily, Dagens Nyheter, immigration and integration are now the leading political issues for Swedish voters. 40% of respondents said that immigration was the most important issue -- double the number from previous poll. Johanna Laurin Gulled, a research analyst at the Ipsos polling institute, told the paper that this was the biggest shift the institute has ever seen in any poll. Education, the most important issue in June of last year, is now in second place.
February 11: A Kurdish immigrant in Stockholm was sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing his wife. The apparent motive was that a few months before the murder, his wife had worn to her brother's wedding a dress that, according to the husband, "made her look like a whore." The couple was separated at the time of the murder, but the husband had come to their apartment to collect some things for their young son. The argument over the dress resumed. The husband claims he does not remember what happened next; he just suddenly found himself covered in blood and holding a knife. The autopsy found that he had stabbed his wife 66 times.
February 11: Aside from the housing shortage for migrants to Sweden, there is also a severe absence of appropriate jobs. Rather than talk about the problems that come with the illiteracy of so many immigrants, the Swedish government announced that it is now going to introduce a "fast track" for immigrants claiming to have a teaching degree. Recently, Swedish schools have gone from being top-rated among the OECD countries to being among the worst. Thus, fewer and fewer people want to work in the school system. In 2013 the Swedish Teachers' Union described the situation as "extremely serious." The government still claims that many of the new arrivals are highly educated, and now it wants to speed up the process of approving foreign teaching degrees. Critics maintain that the "fast track" for immigrants is probably a euphemism for lowering school standards even more.
February 13: One person was killed and three wounded in a knife fight at an asylum seekers' house in Ljusne. When the police finally entered the building, they took three people into custody. Lars Ulander, the Immigration Service Unit Chief in Söderhamn, told the daily, Aftonbladet: "I thought, damn it. We had a conference ... I actually said that we should be thankful things that have happened in other places have not happened here, and then this happens. It is incredibly sad." A man in his 20s is being held, but three other suspects remain at liberty. The police investigation is expected to take some time due to a shortage of interpreters.
February 16: A Danish actor, Kim Bodnia, star of the acclaimed Swedish-Danish TV show, The Bridge (Bron), revealed in an English-language interview on Israeli television that it was the rampant antisemitism in Malmö was one of the reasons he left the show. Antisemitism "is growing, especially in Malmö, where we shot 'The Bridge', in Sweden. It's not very nice and comfortable to be there as a Jewish person. ... I don't feel so safe there, you know. It's not funny, it's growing and we have to deal with it every day..."
February 16: The Administrative Court supported the decision of the municipal government of Örnsköldsvik that the children of traveling Roma beggars are entitled to go to school, free of charge.
During the past few years, as a result of European Union rules on free movement, Sweden has been flooded by thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian Roma. They have a right to stay in the country for three months, after which, if they are not employed, they are required to go back to their own country. However, many choose to stay in Sweden illegally and earn a living through begging; there are now beggars sitting outside virtually every store in the country.
Last year, the government appointed Martin Valfridsson as "National Coordinator for Vulnerable EU Citizens," to investigate what could be done about the problem. His conclusion was that long-term efforts and co-operation between Sweden, Bulgaria and Romania are necessary to get to the root of the problem. Just to give the Roma money and social benefits is actually not "kind", but rather, exacerbates the problem. As he explained in an interview with the TT news agency, "Children of beggars should not be offered schooling as a general rule. And to put money in the beggars' cups is not a good idea in the long run."
February 16: Swedish public television reported that more and more "refugees," tired of waiting for a decision on their asylum application, return home. This year more than 1,100 people have retracted their asylum applications; in 2015, there were 4,200 retractions. The most common reasons for retractions are that it takes a long time for cases to be processed; that there are long waiting periods for family reunions, and that there is a strained housing situation. SVT public television interviewed "Ahmed" from Iraq, who arrived in Sweden in April 2015, after crossing the Mediterranean in a rubber boat and walking several weeks across Europe:
"We were told by people around us that the asylum process would not take more than a few months, but it has almost been a year and I am still waiting for a decision. My family cannot wait any more, I have small children who need me; my eldest son is not able to provide for the entire family."
February 18: A Somali-Swedish girl, 17, who was arrested in Vienna on suspicion of planning to join the Islamic State in Syria, was sentenced to one year in prison. However, as eleven months were a suspended sentence, and she had already spent one month in custody, she was immediately released. Pictures of executions performed by ISIS were found on her mobile phone, as well as a chat history in which she wrote delightedly about the Paris terror attacks. During her trial, she refused to answer any questions.
February 18: A trial began against an 18-year-old man, accused of throwing a hand grenade at a police van in August 2015. The prosecutor, Stefan Creutz, demanded eight years in prison for the accused, saying that the young man seemed "indifferent to whether people lived or died." Four policemen were inside the van at the time of the attack.
The defendant was arrested after his DNA was found on the lever of the grenade. But the District Court of Södertörn apparently did not find it beyond a reasonable doubt that the man's DNA had wound up on the grenade at the time of the attack, and acquitted him. He was, however, sentenced to three years in prison for weapons offenses and two aggravated robberies.
Left: A police van, riddled with shrapnel from a hand grenade attack in Stockholm last year. The man accused of the attack was recently acquitted, because the court doubted that his DNA, found on the grenade's lever, had gotten there at the time of the attack. Right: Kim Bodnia, star of the acclaimed Swedish-Danish TV show, The Bridge (Bron), revealed last month that one of the reasons he left the show was the rampant antisemitism in Malmö (the filming location).
February 18: Two "unaccompanied refugee children," remanded in January on suspicion of the aggravated rape of a younger boy at an asylum house in Alvesta, were revealed to be much older than 15 years old -- the age they claimed to be. One of them, an Afghan man, wrote on Facebook that he was 44. Prosecutor Emma Berge said during a press conference that x-rays of the men's teeth also showed that the other suspect was decidedly older than 18. According to the indictment, the men had lured the victim to a wooded area and took turns raping the boy, while filming the act with a mobile phone camera. The municipality has reported itself to the supervisory authority, the Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO), for allowing a child to share a room with older men.
February 18: A 27-year-old asylum seeker from Iran was sentenced to 10 months in prison for sexually assaulting a mentally disabled woman. In the verdict, the woman is described as living "in a supportive housing facility with a guardian. Developmentally, she is far behind a normal person. She can neither read nor write. She is naïve and immature and has trouble remembering things."
The Iranian man lured the victim into a public restroom, where he molested her. Thanks to DNA evidence, he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, then to deportation, but will be banned from Sweden for only five years.
February 19: The daily newspaper GT reported that the management of the housing facility for "unaccompanied refugee children," where Alexandra Mezher was murdered on January 25, was aware that her killer had severe psychological problems. The facility had even been granted extra funds from social services, yet Alexandra Mezher was working there alone that night.
Mezher's murderer initially claimed to be 15 years old and from Somalia, turned out in fact to be a 25-year-old man from Ethiopia. He had at first lived with a foster family and gone to school, but when it became clear that he had serious problems, the family demanded that he be moved to a facility where he could get "professional help." Before the murder, he was twice committed to a psychiatric care unit. According to the forensic psychiatric investigation, has a "distorted perception of reality."
Stefan Alexandersson, a spokesperson for the company that managed the facility, HVB Living Nordic, told GT that the "scope of the problems had not been evident until one or two days before the murder."
February 27: The people at the public television channel Sveriges Television seem to be working hard to alienate the Swedish people. First, they chose a Muslim, Gina Dirawi, as last year's Christmas Show host; two months later, Dirawi hosted Sweden's most popular TV show -- the music contest Melodifestivalen. This show selects the song that will compete in the next Eurovision Song Contest. During the show, Dirawi and a children's choir sang Sweden's national anthem "Thou ancient, Thou free" ("Du gamla, du fria"), but with the lyrics partly rewritten. Instead of "I want to live, I want to die in the North", they sang, "I want to live, I want to die on Earth." The show's producer, Edvard Sillén, explained to the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten: "Melodifestivalen is not for those who get upset if the national anthem is changed. The focus should be on the people of this country who have 'different roots.'"
February 27: An immigrant doctor, who as it turned out did not speak Swedish, sent a young man home with a prescription for antidepressants, even though the young man displayed clear signs of a having a brain tumor. The young man had come to the hospital, deeply concerned that one half of his face was drooping and that his speech was slurred. A few weeks later, it became clear that the young man had a brain tumor. The doctor has since been reported to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, who may or may not end up giving him a warning. Why he works in Swedish health care without understanding Swedish, or possibly medicine, is still unclear.
February 27: Two "unaccompanied refugee children," suspected of being behind a large number of mobile phone thefts in Stockholm and Uppsala, were apprehended by police. The "children" had snatched phones out of the hands of two girls, who were able to provide a physical description. The thieves, who claim to be 15 and 17, were arrested in a restaurant, but did not have the girls' phones on them at the time. They did, however, have another stolen phone. They were taken into custody under the Aliens Act, but were later released.
February 28: The Swedish embassy in London says it thinks that the British newspaper Daily Mail has got Swedish immigration policy all wrong. According to the Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, the embassy has written a report to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The report claims that the paper is "campaigning against Sweden and Swedish immigration policy" and that "Sweden is being used as a bad example [of failed immigration and integration policies]."
The embassy says it is now trying to counter the negative image.
Ingrid Carlqvist is a journalist and author based in Sweden, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Gatestone Institute.