Approximately 27 out of 40 preschools located in so-called "vulnerable areas" in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö have admitted to be ready to enforce the hijab if such is the parents' desire, the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten reported.
The newspaper rang up the preschools pretending to be an inquisitive parent concerned over the upbringing of her five-year-old daughter, only to find the majority of the preschools cooperative and pledging their assistance in "controlling, correcting and enforcing" the veil, despite the fact that this may violate the law.
Parents wanting their children to wear the veil is a "recurring phenomenon," the newspaper wrote. At one preschool, the staff went so far as to film a girl via Facetime app so that her parents can always make sure that their daughter has the veil on.
This exposure has triggered criticsm from the authorities'.
"Clothing is a matter of individual expression and the school cannot exert such control over either younger or older students. This is not the school's task, and everyone who works there should know that," Education Minister Gustav Fridolin of the Green Party said, pledging to report the "crystal clear" violations of the "common values" to the School Inspectorate and other responsible bodies.
Göteborgs-Posten's report also provoked an outrage from opposition politicians.
"As Sweden has become a multicultural society, more and more issues arise where religion, the secular society and freedom of the individual all collide with each other. Göteborg-Posten's review shows that we have to start talking about where the borders of religious freedom go," Liberal Party integration spokesperson Gulan Avci wrote in an opinion piece published by Aftonbladet.
According to Avci, the veil has a deeper symbolism compared with other clothing, as it consolidates the "patriarchal order" in which a woman is limited to a subordinate role.
Right-wing Sweden Democrats tweeted a summary of Göteborgs-Posten's findings, commenting: "Here's what happens with Social Democrats in charge."
GP:s granskning av förskolors inställning till religiöst tvång visar att 27 av 40 kommunala förskolor i utsatta områden i Stockholm, Göteborg och Malmö kan tänka sig att kontrollera, tillrättavisa och tvinga barn att bära slöja.— Sverigedemokraterna (@sdriks) June 5, 2018
Inte i vårt Sverige. #SD2018 pic.twitter.com/2J0VcEPYGh
Journalist and debater Jan Sjunnesson ventured that staff contributing to oppression and enforcing the veil should be fired immediately. In his opinion piece, Sjunnesson suggested that "feminist Sweden" (alluding to Sweden's government that is self-described as feminist) has normalized oppression, was turning its back on girls and allowing school staff to become "puppets for extremist parents."
Personal som medverkar till slöjtvång och förtryck bör få sparken omgående https://t.co/mB4A2a9PfN— ن Jan Sjunnesson (@sjunnedotcom) June 5, 2018
"Hijab at preschool and burqa in elementary school, right?" a user tweeted wryly.