A prominent organization representing Assyrian Christians in Sweden has warned that “civil war” is looming, citing increasing threats from Muslim migrants vowing to continue their persecution of the endangered group in Scandinavia.
Sputnik News At about 120,000, Assyrian Christians are one of Sweden’s largest population groups. While many of them fled genocide in the Middle East, attacks against their churches and threats against their organisations are still not uncommon.
Following repeated threats, the Syriac National Federation in Sweden has stepped up security measures, from camera surveillance to its own security guards, the news outlet Samhällsnytt reported.
A recent Facebook post by the Syriac National Federation has detailed expletive-loaded threats it received from speakers of Arabic. After the conversation, the association reportedly contacted the police. The police, however, chose not to investigate the matter, explaining that obscene language was not illegal.
According to the federation’s coordinator, this is not the first time such an incident has occurred. Most often, he said, the callers speak either Swedish with a thick Middle Eastern accent or even Arabic.“As soon as something happens in the Middle East or we are somehow visible in the media, we get these threatening calls, so we are used to this”, he told the news outlet Samhällsnytt.
According to the coordinator, “At one point they say they will do the same to us in Sweden as they did in the Middle East. A genocide has been carried out in the Middle East against Christians. We have fled these groupings to Sweden, but they have caught up with us here,“ the coordinator told Samhällsnytt.
The Syriac National Federation has repeatedly turned to the authorities, but found no help, except among the Christian Democrats. When asked why, the coordinator ventured “I don’t really know, it’s maybe fear of being labeled Islamophobic,” the coordinator ventured.
According to Samhällsnytt, there is a widespread feeling of resignation among Assyian Christians in Sweden amid concerns over the future of the rule of law and the state’s ability to protect people and prosecute crimes.
“We expect some f*****g civil war between different groups unless someone puts their foot down. The people who did terrible acts in the Middle East, they are here now… and no one seems to care,” the coordinator concluded.
The incident has caused strong reactions in the Syriac circles. While some argued that the time was ripe to leave Sweden if the state is unable to protect all its citizens, others suggested to get “a police force of our own” in the comments.
Syrian Christian churches in Sweden have witnessed a series of bomb and arson attacks, such as the Saint Afrem church in Södertälje and the Saint Mary church in Norrköping.
In Sweden, Christians fleeing persecution from Muslims face the same kind of Islamic violence all over again.
National Review Christian daily Världen idag reported that an asylum-seeker who had converted from Islam was attacked when exiting a Pentecostal church in Karlstad on Sunday, February 11. The church is now taking safety precautions for its other converts.
Or take the example of Amir, a Christian refugee from Syria. In 2015, he lived at a refugee home in eastern Sweden. According to a local newspaper, a 26 year-old, a jihadist who was also from Syria and lived in the same refugee home, threatened to “slaughter” Amir and cut his throat and harm his family back in Syria. “I fled the war to avoid this kind of thing,” Amir told police when they responded to the emergency call. The man who threatened him was eventually sentenced to probation and fined 8,000 kronor (around $900) in damages.
Despite news reports of such attacks against Christians, Sweden’s government has launched no serious investigation. There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years. In Europe, “Christian refugees routinely suffer religiously motivated persecution,” the European Parliament states in its annual report on human rights and democracy for 2015.
Last year Open Doors Sweden conducted its own survey of persecuted Christian asylum-seekers nationwide. Some 123 reported that they had been subject to religiously motivated persecution. The 512 separate incidents included death threats, sexual assaults, and other acts of violence. Most of the victims were converts, and most perpetrators were other migrants. Most victims did not file police reports. They feared reprisals or assumed that the police wouldn’t take any action.
More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.
“One time they told my daughter that she was not allowed to eat in the canteen without wearing a headscarf, if she wanted to keep her head,” one of the survey participants told Open Doors. “Another time, they told my son that he was not allowed to have a visible cross around his neck if he wanted to remain in one piece.”
More than one-third of the survey participants mentioned incidents whose perpetrators had been hired by the Swedish Migration Agency or the refugee home. One Christian reported:
When only the Muslim staff was working at the refugee shelter, they looked at me strangely, treated me unfairly, spread lies, mocked me, and excluded me. They had a changeable and unpredictable behavior. Sometimes they were kind to me and sometimes they were mean. This spread to the entire staff. Even the manager of the refugee shelter was one of those who bullied me.