Green Party politician Leila Ali Elmi, who last year sensationally entered the Swedish parliament, urged to map the Swedish population by race, which she herself called "equality data", the newspaper Expressen reported.
By her own admission, Elmi's top priority is to fight structural racism. Sweden, she admitted, has come a long way in gender equality owing to sex statistics. Therefore, she would like to see a similar solution to the racial discrimination problem.
"I am positive towards introducing equality data, that is mapping people by race. It can be used in the wrong way, but do an investigation first and check if that system is something that can actually work in Sweden. Instead of saying that racism does not exist and that Sweden is colour-blind, it no longer holds water", Elmi said.
Elmi provided no details on how such a system would work, instead leaving it for experts to decide. However, she made it clear that her "equality data" would also include religion, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation.
Centre Party gender equality spokeswoman Annika Qarlsson argued that the proposal was ill-advised. While the need for a structured work to combat discrimination was indisputable, racial profiling posed too many risks, she argued.
"If we look at history, we can see terrible abuses linked to different types of registries", Qarlsson told the daily newspaper Expressen warning of a slippery slope.
The same concern was shared in a more explicit way by blogger and writer Katerina Janouch.
"Feel the reek of the 1930s, registering people by race, sexual orientation, disability. It all starts well for the Green Party's Leila Ali Elmi", she smirked.
"It seems that Leila Ali Elmi has been inspired by Nazi Germany from the 1930s and 40s", another user tweeted.
Another user suggested that Elmi's suggestions bears witness to the Swedish media's bias.
"The fact this did not create an outcry in MSM says everything about the way the way it arbitrarily handles statements depending on who says it. Just think if Jimmie Åkesson made a similar statement", a user tweeted, implying that right-wing Sweden Democrat leader doesn't get the same treatment from the media.
Att inte detta skapat ramaskri hos MSM än säger allt om diktaturmedias hantering av uttalanden beroende på vem som säger det.. Tänk, bara tänk om JÅ gjort ett liknande uttalande..— Emoll (@Emollpolitik) 16 марта 2019 г.
https://t.co/RWemnt75QJ #Expressen via @Expressen
Yet another common theme was that of Elmi's own career, and making it into the parliament as a black Muslim woman in particular, effectively disproved her racism accusations.
Green Party press secretary Sofia Guerrero made it clear that the racial profiling proposal was Elmi's own initiative and not the entire party's.
However, this is not the first time racial profiling has sprung up in Swedish political debate.
Last winter, Left Party members Daniel Riazat, Momodou Malcolm Jallow and Rossana Dinamarca called for their party to drive home mapping their compatriots by "ethnicity, national origin, skin colour, religion, or other beliefs" in a bid to combat inequality and discrimination. Incidentally, their proposal was also called "equality data".
Despite being little-known even within her own party, Leila Ali Elmi was sensationally voted into the Swedish parliament owing to a clever campaign aimed at fellow Somalis in their own language. Elmi's rise to prominence sparked a heated debate on "clan voting" and tribalism. Columnist Ivar Arpi even called her a "Somali voice in the Swedish parliament".