This weekend, the news outlet Samhällsnytt has come up with a stunning find after comparing data from Statistics Sweden with that from legal information database Lexbase, where information regarding convictions is stored.
Samhällsnytt's search found that nearly a quarter of people named Ali residing in Sweden have a criminal record.
A search in Statistics Sweden revealed that 40,790 people have Ali as either first name or surname. A search in Lexbase resulted in 9,742 hits, meaning that roughly 24 percent of all Alis in Sweden have a conviction.
About 6,500 women have 'Ali' as either a first name or a surname, so Samhällsnytt's research highlighted a drastic over-representation of male Alis among those charged. A series of spot-checks revealed “very few women”, the news outlet wrote.
Samhällsnytt's checks for other Islamic names have yielded similar results. For instance, Statistics Sweden lists 26,867 people named Ahmed. By contrast, a search in Lexbase yielded 4,944 hits, which corresponds to 18 percent of all Ahmeds having a criminal record.
Of the 1,315 Murads found by Statistics Sweden, 274 are present in database, which means 21 percent of them have a conviction.
The connection between crime and ethnicity has become a hot-button issue in Sweden in recent years. The most recent mapping of migrant crime was carried out in 2005; afterwards, the practice of recording the race or ethnicity of convicted criminals was discontinued for 'ethical reasons'.
At the same time there is no shortage of independent studies that have highlighted migrants' drastic over-representation in certain types of crime, including rapes and gang rapes. The 2005 study, the last of its kind, showed that foreign-born men were five times more likely to be suspected of sex crimes than native-born Swedes.
Earlier this year, Sweden's Crime Prevention Council (Brå) launched a new research project intended to look at the connection between crime and immigration.
Meanwhile, owing to Sweden's generous immigration policy of the last decades, immigrants and their descendants are estimated to account for about 25 percent of Sweden's total population of 10 million.
Muslims are estimated to account for over 8 percent of Sweden's total population.