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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Observing Sweden - News Update

A 17-year-old Swedish girl arrested - Update.
Swedish Isis seeking girl comes home.

The Austrians are were more forgiving I thought, or maybe just happy to get her out of Austria. She will be turning over a new leaf now. No more videos of chopping heads off. She will feel a loving kindness towards Jews and Buddhists, Protestants, and white people who destroyed her homeland - them and the Taliban, and Isis.

She will not do prison time which is perhaps a good thing. What might she have learned in prison in the company of others who held similar intentions?

One has to admire Sweden for the efforts they are making with the thousands who are coming in. 100,000 more expected next year.

"I am happy that my client is free, that was the goal,” her lawyer said. “My client is happy to leave Austria." Wolfgang Blaschitz argued that his client was not guilty, and suggested she ran away from home because she was "naive" and unhappy, and had no final destination in mind.” Ah, these lawyers.

Elisabeth Gustafsson, who chairs the city's social welfare committee told the TT news agency that she would also be helped by local authorities following her return to Sweden. "Social services will give her the support and help we can give. What we wish is that she can come home as quickly as possible after this, and there is good preparation for that as well.”
Under Swedish law preparing for a trip to join the jihad is not currently a criminal offense.

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There are also problems with young boys. We hear about the incidents and at the Cologne New Year, and Sweden’s Summer Music Festival celebration. But these incidents - most often committed by refugees and teens arriving in Sweden alone - continue at other times and places to small to make news, or ignored in favor of political correctness. It has happened here, in this small town I live in. The gym I go to has a swimming pool where girls have also been harassed - more than once.
The Swedish government is considering launching a nationwide course on gender equality, directed at the Nordic country's record-large group of refugees and minors arriving in the country alone.
Integration has become an increasingly thorny issue in Sweden, a country famed for its openness and gender equality, but which has struggled to accommodate a record number of asylum seekers in the past six months.

“In some countries where unaccompanied children are from, I know that you perhaps have an upbringing that is gender segregated, where girls and boys hardly ever meet each other,” Sweden's children and equality minister Åsa Regnér told the TV4 broadcaster.
“It is clear that you then need knowledge about how Sweden works,” she said and added that the government would discuss the idea further later this spring.

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In A Small Swedish Town, Residents Welcome Migrants
Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

Zahra Jafari and her 4-year-old daughter arrived in Sweden after fleeing Afghanistan on foot. Their lives were threatened by the Taliban and ISIS. "I came here for my daughter," Jafari says.
Temperatures hover around freezing outside, but it's warm inside this university building that now serves as a migrant reception center in the southern Swedish town of Ronneby. Migrants come in out of the cold to join Swedish volunteers, who show up twice a week to help them fill out forms or study the language.

One of those volunteers is 77-year-old Mia Gustafsson. She says the migrants are very eager to learn, and the experience is rewarding.

"Here in Ronneby, we have a very old population and it's very stimulating to get to know other cultures," she says.

In the past three years, her town of 30,000 people have taken in nearly 2,500 migrants — including 200 unaccompanied minors. Refugees now make up nearly 12 percent of the population of this 18th century spa town, known for its mineral waters and baths. It also has a university and strong IT sector.

Per capita, Sweden has taken in more migrants than any other country in Europe. It accepted 160,000 refugees in 2015. With a population of only 10 million, that's the equivalent of the U.S. taking in around 5 million migrants. Because of this, the Parliament recently enacted a law mandating that all municipalities take in their share of migrants.

In Ronneby, two families are gathered around the table learning Swedish words with Gustafsson. They're from Afghanistan's Bamyan province. Twenty-seven-year-old Zahra Jafari arrived in Sweden seven months ago with her 4-year-old daughter — on foot.

"We walking in Afghanistan, next Turkiya [Turkey], next Yunan [Greece], next Autriche [Austria], next Denmark. One month — one month walking," she says. Jafari says she had no choice. Her life was threatened by the Taliban and ISIS. She says she decided to come to Sweden for her child's future. "People say Sweden is very good for children. I'm coming to Sweden just for my daughter."

Sweden has long had a generous refugee policy, which includes a vast network of welfare benefits for asylum seekers. But many say the recent numbers are straining the system. The far right has surged in the polls. And for the first time, Swedish officials talk about setting a limit.
These mirror feelings in Germany, which has taken in the most number of total migrants. Sexual assaults, suspected to have been carried out by foreigners and perhaps migrants over the new year, further dampened German enthusiasm for migrants.

Some people in Ronneby get upset by the number of migrants coming. People get scared and worried and think that it will be — that it will influence their life. Sweden has always absorbed its newcomers. But Waldolf admits this time, things may be more difficult — especially with the hundreds of unaccompanied minors. She says some people fear an increase in crime.

"Youngsters who arrive here, they have been brought up with no parents, maybe. They are kind of street children," she says. "Wild. And that can be difficult. Make problems."
Kent Norman, a retired Swedish engineer, is helping Syrian teenager Mohamed Obai with language study. "They're here now," he says, "so the only thing you can do is to help them."
"They are here now," he says. "So the only thing you can do is to help them. And I have a lot of time to do it. That's why I'm sitting here."

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Swedish PMs to be called to scrutiny committee
Published: 30 Jan 2016 15:29 GMT+01:00

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven and his centre-right predecessor Fredrik Reinfeldt will be called before a scrutiny committee to explain their handling of the refugee influx of recent years, a committee member said on Saturday.

Jonas Millard, an MP for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats and member of the Constitutional Committee (KU), confirmed the plans as he announced that his party would report both men to the committee.

“In a sense it is both the present and the previous government who bear responsibility for the situation that has arisen,” he said.

“We will send a battery of questions to both the current and previous governments," he told the Dagens Industri newspaper. "Ultimately, it may also be the case that we call both Stefan Löfven and Fredrik Reinfeldt to hearings. We may also request documents which are not public."
The Sweden Democrats’ move follows similar actions from the centre-right Moderate Party, whose parliamentary leader Jessica Polfjärd, on Friday morning reported Stefan Löfven and a several other government ministers to be investigated.

The Sweden Democrat's referral came as party activists organized a street protest in central Stockholm where they called on the government to resign over its handling of last year’s refugee crisis. The so-called “People’s Demonstration”, was organized by Sweden Democrat activists Johan Widen and Therese Larsson. According to Expressen newspaper several demonstrators were restrained by handcuffs, and ten police vans and a police helicopter were present to monitor the protest. .

Speakers at the demonstration included Gothenburg priest Axel W Karlsson, who was in 2014 expelled from the Sweden Democrats for his articles in the far Right Nya Tider magazine, and Hans Erling Jensen, who was expelled from the party for his extreme views on Islam.

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