Integration Backfires: Swedish Asylum Staff Attempts to Islamize Refugees

© AFP 2022 / STIG-AKE JONSSON / TT NEWS AGENCY Policemen and a group of migrants stand on the platform at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark in Malmo, Sweden, on November 12, 2015
Policemen and a group of migrants stand on the platform at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark in Malmo, Sweden, on November 12, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Sweden is making every effort to help numerous refugees properly integrate into the Swedish way of life. According to the current Swedish policy, migrants who have already settled down are encouraged to help their newly arrived comrades assimilate. Sometimes, good intentions may backfire and contribute to the uncontrolled rise of fundamentalism.

Abdallah Salah (L), President of Islamic Relief Sweden, helps refugee's as they register their names upon arrival to Stockholm central mosque on October 15, 2015 after many hours bus journey from the southern city of Malmo - Sputnik International
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Last week, staff at a refugee accommodation in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna was found out to have been attempting to Islamize new arrivals. According to the local paper Eskilstunakuriren, newly arrived asylum seekers were encouraged to become more fundamentalist believers by personnel.

Among other things, refugees were urged to pray regularly to God, keep their food diet strictly halal (that is appropriate for Muslims) and refrain from dancing and doing other things, which are forbidden under Islam.

According to refugees, many of whom were labeled as "unaccompanied children," fundamentalists among the staff were trying to persuade their fellow Muslims to become more faithful by promoting Sunni Islam.

"One day I danced a little, then he came and told me it was haram," one of the asylum seekers told Eskilstunakuriren.

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This experience came as an unsettling surprise for those refugees who came to Sweden as a "safe haven" after fleeing the religious persecution and the sectarian violence in Middle East.

"I grew up in a secular family. My mother prayed regularly but my father was not particularly religious. In our country, he had to maintain a facade, at work and in other places, he had to pretend to be faithful Muslim, but at home he was not. Now, I'm no longer there. But here, they still want me to live according to their faith," one of the disturbed asylum-seekers said.

In Islam, everything that is prohibited is considered "haram." Depending on the level of radicalism, this notion may include dancing, eating certain foods and, according to the most strict interpretations, even mixing with "infidels," i.e. non-Muslims.

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Following the dramatic influx of refugees from Islamic countries, Sweden has recently seen a readily expected rise of Islamist fundamentalism.

In last months, Sweden's Green Party suffered a major blow to its reputation, as a number of Islamist connections in the party's midst were revealed. Among other things, former Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan had to resign in acrimony after his contacts with Turkish supremacist and neo-fascist organization the Grey Wolves were exposed.

Home-grown extremism remains one of Sweden's pivotal problems, despite the recent decline in the number of Daesh sympathizers who volunteered for supporting terrorism in the Middle East. However, the level of support for extremist ideas among Swedish Muslims remains alarming. Eskilstuna, a mid-Swedish city of 100,000, is no exception.

"In Eskilstuna a Muslim is worse off saying that he is against Daesh than saying that he is for it," Abshir Osman, a local politician, told Dagens Nyheter. Osman received numerous death threats after expressing concern about extremism. 

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