April 11th, 2014
The Swedish government has ordered an inquiry into hate assaults and vandalism following an intensification of neo-Nazi attacks on Jewish and Muslim targets.
The announcement came after a series of defacings, including at the part-Jewish Vasa Real high school in central Stockholm where pupils found Nazi symbols and antisemitic slurs such as “Jew swine” spray-painted in pink and blue on the walls.
The findings of the inquiry, which will focus on attacks on Jewish and Muslim individuals and buildings, will be presented at a conference in October 2014.
“We must stand up for an open and tolerant society and for everyone’s equal worth,” Sweden’s Minister of Integration, Erik Ullenhag, and the Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Stefan Attefall, wrote in an op-ed.
“When a young Muslim woman has her headscarf torn off, when the rabbi in Malmö experiences blatant antisemitism and when converts are assaulted because they carry a christening certificate in their bag, society must react,” the ministers wrote.
On Friday, pupils, staff and parents from Vasa Real organised a demonstration against racism. Addressing the crowds, Willy Silberstein, president of Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism, said: “In 2014, swastikas are yet again being painted on walls and the word ‘Jew’ is being used as a slur in schools.”
In a report published in March, anti-racist foundation Expo claimed that Nazi groups in Sweden were stepping up activities ahead of the September general election.