Monday, September 3, 2007

The Valhalla Exchange, Part I

I have begun a new series of posts exploring the jihad and counterjihad in Sweden. The series is based on interviews with people who currently reside or have recently resided in Sweden, and so have first-hand knowledge of the situation. The posts will be found under the new label , which comes from the title of the first multipart article in the series.

This post is the first of a multipart article where I interview a subject named "Reinhard". Reinhard is a member of FOMI - Svenska Forum Mot Islamisering (information in English; FOMI in English), and his command of English is excellent; consequently, I have done essentially no editing of the interview. The questions are as I emailed them to Reinhard, and the answers are as Reinhard emailed them back. The
very few grammatical and spelling errors that Reinhard makes should serve to emphasize how well he commands English, a command which, in turn, gives an indication of his intelligence and education.

Questions are numbered and in italics, and Reinhard's responses are in
plain text:

1) What country are you native to?


2) What country do you live in now?


3) Do you live in a large city, small city, town, or rural area?

Small city.

4) How is Christianity treated publicly, for example, in the media, in the country where you live? (If you are from a country other than the one where you now live, please compare and contrast the situation in the country where you now live with the situation in the country you are from. Please do so throughout.)

Sweden is to a great extent a secular country. Christianity sometimes comes under attack from the more aggressive part of the secular movement, which is mainly organized by a group called Humanisterna (Humanists). There have also been instances of public debate about certain works of art which were seen as provocative towards Christian beliefs. However, no one ever tried to get such works banned, and the public debate which followed was healthy.

There is not much interest in Christianity, Swedes are either atheists/agnostics or simply not interested in religion. Official representatives of Christianity sometimes take part in debates, but almost all of them belong to the mainstream of the Swedish church, which tries to be as inclusive as possible. Christianity in Sweden is not conservative, with the exception of a few evangelical preachers. One of those once criticized Muhammed and called him a pedophile; another called homosexuals a cancer on society. Both of those were condemned by the media, public and other Christians, showing that Christians who do not share the liberal values of Swedish society can be stigmatized.

5) How is Judaism treated publicly in your country?

There have never been many Jews in Sweden. Jews, and especially Jewish sionists, tend to keep a low profile, and most Jews do not wear religious symbols openly. There is an unfortunate blending of anti-Israelism and anti-semitism. One example of this was when anti-semitic cassettes sold at Stockholm’s largest mosque were reported to the government, which declined to act against it, stating that it had to do with the conflict in Israel and not with anti-semitism. There have been reports of growing Muslim anti-semitism, but news of this is usually quieted down so as to not offend the ideology of multiculturalism.

6) How is Islam treated publicly in your country?

Because our politicians and media have decided that Sweden is to be a multicultural society, and since anyone who questions this is labeled a racist, there is seldom any public debate about Islam which is critical of either Islam or of Muslim immigrants. Defenders of Islam, Muslim or non-Muslim, are given every opportunity to engage in apologetics.

Critics of Islam often face everything from ridicule to death threats. The tone is, however, changing, and with every new attempt at Islamization and jihadist terror attack, more people are starting to question the place of Islam in Swedish society. The debate is slowly but perceptibly starting to shift to the viewpoint of the critics of Islam.

7) How are other religions (Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, etc.) treated publicly in your country?

The only religions with a strong presence in Sweden are the three monotheistic religions. The others are rarely a topic of discussion.

8) How would you characterize the government in your country? Officially: a) Is it religious? b) Does it guarantee freedom of religion? c) Does it guarantee freedom of speech and of the press? d) How does this compare with actual practice?

The government is not very religious, only one party has a religious profile (Kristdemokraterna, Christian Democrats). The government guarantees freedom of religion, speech and the press. In practice, these freedoms are respected. The great threat today comes from Muslim groups who are trying to put limitations on the freedom of speech because of their religious sensibilities.

9) Is there a political elite in your country? Is there a wealthy class that has more power, or is there a religious class that holds more power? Is there a royal family? Does the royal family hold real political power, or is it more of a ceremonial figurehead?

The political elite is the social democratic party, which has been in power since the early 1900’s, with a few exceptions. It lost the last election because it was seen as having become corrupted from having been in power for too long. Wealth and religious affiliation don’t matter that much in Sweden, which prides itself on being an egalitarian country. The royal family has no political power.

10) Please characterize the majority political views of those in power. How do they relate to religion and freedoms addressed above?

The social democrats tend to focus on issues relating to worker rights, with attention also being given to womens’ rights and immigration, which is seen as a good thing. The social democrats are to the left on the political scale, and often form governments with the Green party (Miljopartiet) and the Leftist party (Vansterpartiet, which was formerly known as the Left party/Communists). Their official policy is that they are protecting the Swedish welfare state, but during the past decade or so they have started privatizing infrastructure and have gravitated towards the right, while the right have moved to the left. The main challenger to the political establishment comes from the Swedish democratic party (Sverigedemokraterna), who are opposed to the current immigration policies. All political parties, except for the right- and left-wing fringe extremists, subscribe to the principles of democracy and the freedoms associated with liberal democracy.

11) Please characterize the people you interact with on a daily basis. Are they citizens of your country, whose families have been there for generations? Or, are they citizens who have recently arrive and obtained their citizenship? Or, are they newly-arrived immigrants, who have not yet obtained citizenship? If immigrants, are they generally legal immigrants, or illegal immigrants?

Sweden is a segregated society. Ethnic Swedes and first generation immigrants do not socialize often; the rule of thumb is that you are only welcome into society if you are perceived as being a part of Swedish ”culture”. I only socialize with ethnic and cultural Swedes, and have no friends who can be defined as being immigrants.

12) Based on your experience interacting with other people in your country, do the policies of those who govern reflect the desires of those who are governed? Please describe the means by which the people can influence their government. Comment both on how it is supposed to work officially, and how it works in practice.

My opinion is that most Swedes feel that we have welcomed too many immigrants, and that this has caused problems both for the Swedish economy and for the lives of ordinary citizens. The successes of Sverigedemokraterna points to Swedes being tired of the multiculturalist ideology, which is seen as promoting immigration at the expense of Swedish culture and national identity. Immigration is the single most divisive issue being debated in Sweden today, but it is in a sense not really being debated, since the politically correct media does its best to shun dissidents. People have few means of influencing government; we have no culture of demonstration comparable with for instance France. We choose our government every four years, and in the period between elections, the people can do very little to change current policies. This is the natural state for our democratic system, which has no counterpart to the Swiss concept of direct democracy.

13) Please offer any other comments that you feel appropriate; for example, you may wish to expound upon an answer above, or address a question that was not brought up.

The question of Islam’s role in Swedish society is connected with most of the questions above. Muslims who are unable or unwilling to integrate into Swedish society and who cannot accept the Swedish system of secularism and liberal democracy, are polarizing Swedes and are seen as undermining the Swedish way of life, which includes values and political systems which are deemed incompatible with Islam. Islam is fast becoming the most discussed topic in the public debate in Sweden, and there is a noticeable shift towards suspicion of both Islam and Muslims in general. This shift does not bode well for the future.

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest for subsequent parts of the interview with Reinhard, which will be under the title "The Valhalla Exchange".


Aurora said...

Yankee, excellent and original idea for a post. I like the questions you've asked. This comment is very telling:
Islam is fast becoming the most discussed topic in the public debate in Sweden, and there is a noticeable shift towards suspicion of both Islam and Muslims in general. This shift does not bode well for the future.
The socialist secularization of Sweden evidenced in his earlier answers gives the reasons for the current Islamist problem. Deal with that and stop trying to starve the people's spirituality and they'll strengthen again as a nation.
I look forward to your following posts.

Yankee Doodle said...

Riddle me this, Aurora!

Christian, then secular, now Islam grows;
Of beliefs we have covered a full range.
Why does a series about Swedish woes
Appear under the title
The Valhalla Exchange?

anticant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anticant said...

Sorry to disagree, Aurora, but the problem is religious [primarily Muslim] intolerance - not secularism. Secularism - as your own Founding Fathers were wise enough to realise - is the necessary basis for a free, tolerant society. People should be free to believe what they wish about religion, but not to impose their beliefs upon others through politics or the State.

The seemingly insoluble problem with Islam as regards its incursion into Western society is that doctrinally, Islam is a pure theocracy, recognising no distinction between presumed laws of Allah and human law. Islam is utterly intolerant of 'infidels'.

Any religion that is intolerant of non-believers is a threat to freedom.

I am not sure it is right to say that growing suspicion of Islam does not bode well for the future. It is the current lack of suspicion, and of appropriate restraining action, that bodes ill for the future.

Bar Kochba said...

Islam's growth in Sweden, and in the rest of the West, is connected to the lack of Christianity and Western self-loathing

Bar Kochba said...

P.S. Stroll over to my place and discover the lastest attack on the Jewish connection to Israel.

anticant said...

"Western self-loathing"? Please explain!

USpace said...

This should help keep the Eurabia debate alive in Sweden...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
countries have NO rights

global village idiots
must control the debate

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
hate living in peaceful lands

destroy your new homes
make them like ones you fled