Racism behind attacks on immigrants in Sweden

By Krisztian Gal

SWEDEN. A person hunting immigrants has been caught by the police in Sweden, further fueling the debates on the liberal immigration policy.

There were two reasons to celebrate on the streets of Malmö over the weekend in the beginning of November, since the local football team, Malmö FF reached its 16th league title and the police caught the perpatrator who is suspected to have held the city in tensions for more than a year. The leading Swedish tabloid, Expressen had the suspect’s  name and photo on its front page, which is very unusual for Swedish media and rejected by the police, thus it will not provide any further information. What we know is that Peter Mangs has no criminal record.

Frontpage news @Älskad & hatad av alla

Though according to experts the police is facing with a crime that was committed by many „lonely murderers”, the 38-year-old man is officially accused of one murder and five murder attempts, though he might have some connection with another murder back in 2003. In the latter case one of the victims got threatening phone calls from a shooting club where Mangs up till now holds a membership. Mangs has a legal gun license, at his flat other two guns were found.

This year alone some fifty gun-related crimes have been committed in Malmö, but the case of Mangs is special because all his victims – except for one – or their relatives were immigrants. Mangs’ father told one of the biggest dailies Aftonbladet that his son „is afraid, that immigrants will take over the Swedish society”.

Malmö is the country’s third biggest city with its 290 thousand inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom are first and second generation immigrants according to estimates, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, but many found a new home also hiding from the Balkan wars. Among the racist-based attacks a woman was killed in her car (while she was with her immigrant boyfriend), another time there was a shot through a window of a gym, but there were also actions in bus stops, and an attack against African young men in front of a swimming pool.

John Ausonius aka Laserman @Nyheter 24

The press has started to write about the new laser murderer, referring to a case that caused panic in Sweden earlier. Between 1991 and 1992 a lonely murderer, with a laserpointed gun was terrorizing Stockholm and the whole country. One of his victims died and many were heavily wounded. About John Ausonius – who is spending his life-time sentence in prison since 1994 – a journalist, Gellert Tamas originally of Hungarian origin, now living in Sweden wrote a book in 2002. „Lasermannen” (The laser man) is a best-seller book that is examining the background of the attacks and now can be read in 12 languages.

Gellert Tamas @Wikipedia

„The attacker – the author shared the talks he had with the killer with HVG – felt that he got the permission to his actions from the then extreme right parliamentary party New Democracy, but as long as they were only talking, he wanted to do something”.

Ilmar Reepalu, mayor of Malmö, who rejects the criticism of the liberal Swedish immigrant policy, said to HVG: „To have an open society is theonly way to treat this type of xenophobic activities”. Xenophobia is becoming bigger in the Swedish society. Many say that the 8.4 percent unemployment and a slow economic growth have contributed to that during the elections this fall when the anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats got 20 seats out of 349 in the parliament with the “Keep Sweden Swedish” slogan. (Read more in If Zlatan is not Swedish, what am I?)

A few days before catching Mangs, authorities of Malmö asked the immigrants to be careful, in the Rosengard district where criminal groups voluntarily signed up for the task to defend the locals. In that area immigrants are overrepresented, burning trash bins and cars is not rare and many times even the firemen can only enter with police escort. But there is no need for panicking.

“I was never afraid during the night in Malmö, and I won’t be either. I am still saying that despite the fact the suspected man harmed two victims in my street. My colleagues with foreign background were more stressed, they preferred taking the bus everywhere” – shared his experiences Freddy Svensson, a the chief for logistics at a local company, Fruktbudet. Despite all the debates majority still does not consider the Swedish welfare state and the liberal immigrant policy to be in crisis. Also true that many recently have been calling for a stricter gun license law.

The article has been originally published in Hungarian in Heti Világgazdaság (World Economy Weekly – HVG), courtesy of HVG.

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