Authorities have yet to determine if a device found in the truck pulled from a storefront in Stockholm is an explosive or an incendiary device. The driver has been arrested, a 39 year old from Uzbekistan, who killed 4 people and sent 15 others to the hospital. He used the hijacked beer truck to target pedestrians before plowing into a department store.
The attack took place very close to the location of a 2010 suicide bomb attack, and it follows riots which erupted in immigrant suburbs this past February. Terrorists targeting European cities for violence is not new. That such attacks and uprisings would take place in Sweden however is a point of interest, and a point that means any time immigration policy is discussed it should serve as an exemplar.
For decades Sweden has not only boldly proclaimed it has an open border policy, in recent years the country has seen a spike in arrivals, with hundreds of thousands of new migrants crossing in annually. The country has put out the welcome mat, and the key to the front door is underneath. This has led to strife within the Swedish immigrant community — why?
There are two items that make Sweden unique among the European countries which have endured targeted attacks by Muslim extremists. The first is that Sweden does not partake in military actions in the Middle East. The country is not a member of NATO. The lone military obligations surround being a member of the European Union. This means the country cannot be accused of sending any occupational forces into Muslim nations, so that can not be cited as a justifiable retribution.
The second is that Sweden has led the nations of Europe in its policies towards incoming immigrants. The country paints itself as something of a “moral superpower” in this regard, lecturing other countries by example how they should treat the influx of new arrivals from Middle Eastern nations. The Scandinavian nation does go out of its way to comfort and aid those who enter from abroad, even if it is to the detriment of the country.
Sweden takes in more migrants per capita than any European country, and pays out billions annually in support programs for new refugees. Refugees can receive living allowances, work training, language classes and more. Another drain on the government is the mass of arrivals over the years means a lack of housing in certain cities that have struggled to keep pace with construction. The open-door policies have created a stress on the government programs.
And still Sweden has been the target of immigrant strife. This defies many of the lectures that we receive on the subject and what the proper actions towards refugees should be. The nation cannot be cited as a hostile combatant in Islamic territories, and so it cannot be called a target for reprisals on that matter.
Then on the social issues often trotted out as potentially divisive Sweden should also be cleared of negativity. We are frequently told on the subject to follow the European examples. When the US is told what the nation should do on behalf of incoming refugees there is always the dangle that lack of action, or lack of assistance offered, could become an inspiration for those refugees to become radicalized. Then how to explain the nation, held up as the prime example of proper refugee treatment, has been receiving violent actions from same?
For many of the issues on refugee situations there are preset talking points and firm directives delivered. It is time to start a rebuttal to these with a simple question: “Then what about Sweden?”