A new comprehensive report on organised crime and extremism by the Institute for Future Studies has highlighted an overrepresentation of people with roots in other countries than Sweden in a number of overlapping categories.
The Institute for Future Studies described violent extremism and organised crime as the foremost threats to a democratic society and stressed that they have had a major influence on Sweden's crime-fighting policy in recent decades, prompting authorities and the scientific community to do more research.
In total, the report identified about 15,000 people as belonging to criminal networks, extremist milieus or other groups with a "destructive and antisocial purpose." Motorcycle gangs turned out to be the largest category, numbering 5,693 people, followed by 5,094 people belonging to organized crime groups. While Islamic extremists only numbered 785 adherents (which is fewer than the number of people engaged in so-called football "firms"), the report highlighted a large overlap between various groups.
"For instance, we see that the Islamist environment strongly overlaps with organised crime," sociologist Amir Rostami, a postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University and one of the authors of the study, told Swedish Radio.
Admittedly, the research team was also astonished by the extent of the criminal networks.
"The criminal environment proved significantly larger than previously reported. Even the authorities, with which we collaborated over the project, had no idea that it would turn out to be this extensive," Rostami told national broadcaster SVT.
The average person featured in the report is thus a 19-year-old male. A total of 62 percent of the people surveyed have roots in other countries. The percentage of Swedish-born individuals with both parents born in the Scandinavian country varies, from 78.5 percent in the white power environment to 6 percent in the "mafia" category, down to merely 1.9 percent in the Islamic environment. Almost half of the individuals surveyed have a psychiatric diagnosis.
The Swedish mainstream media, such as national broadcaster SVT, chose to instead stress the fact that the majority of the people surveyed were born in Sweden, placing the emphasis on an "onslaught of the white power groups" and "far-right extremism," prompting strong reactions from the Swedish public.
"*62% of managers are men* — This has terrible consequences in the form of bad role models, affects women extremely negatively, crushes future dreams, establishes male norms. Dismantle the patriarchate! *62% of organised criminals have foreign backgrounds* — Totally uninteresting. Why even measure it?" Moderate MP Hanif Bali tweeted sarcastically, taking a jab at the left-wing slant in Swedish media.
* 62% chefer är män*— Hanif Bali (@hanifbali) 12 ноября 2018 г.
— Detta har hemska konsekvenser i form av förebilder, påverkar kvinnor extremt negativt, krossar framtidsdrömmar, gör män till normen. Krossa patriarkatet!
* 62% av grovt kriminella har utländsk bakgrund*
— Helt ointressant. Varför ens mäta det?
"193 left-wing extremists throughout entire Sweden? Swedish Radio and SVT alone have more than 4,000 employees," the news outlet Fria Tider tweeted wryly.
According to Statistics Sweden, about a quarter of the Swedish population have foreign background.