According to this year's "Diversity Barometer," a poll conducted by the University of Gävle, nine out of ten respondents were convinced that it was the immigrants' duty to adapt to Swedish customs and traditions, and every other Swede thought that immigration threatened "Swedish values." In particular, immigrant men were regarded as a threat to Sweden.
Remarkably, 64 percent of all respondents agreed that criminal immigrants "should be forced to leave the country." Furthermore, only 55 percent of respondents agreed that immigrants who come to Sweden should automatically gain access to Swedish welfare on the same conditions that Swedes do.
"These are dark figures. In Sweden, human rights and obligations have always been important pillars to support the community. These figures reflect a change in our values. It is not just about xenophobia as such, but about a spread of this ideology," Fereshteh Ahmadi told Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, citing the Swedish media's "exaggerated" and "biased" reporting of rapes at summer festivals and social problems in troubled suburbs.
Only five percent accepted Arabs and Africans as "identical or very similar" to Swedes, whereas nine out of ten said they did not want such immigrants as neighbors. Many specified that they would move out if too many immigrants from the Middle East or Africa moved into the apartment building they lived in. Predictably, Swedes' Nordic brethren, the Norwegians and Danes, were esteemed as the most welcome neighbors.
"We believe that the change of the political climate regarding immigration in general, and the new arrivals, in particular, may have influenced the Swedes' perception of diversity. We are witnessing this development in many parts of the Western world, with extreme right-wing and even racist trends emerging," a worried Fereshteh Ahmadi told Swedish science magazine Forskning.
"We have found it difficult to deal with cultural clashes of a certain kind; we have found it difficult to handle the combination of diversity and feminism," Green Party spokesman Gustaf Fridolin admitted, as quoted by the Swedish news outlet KIT.