Racist arsonists make the case in Sweden : Hossam Shaker

Racist arsonists make the case in Sweden : Hossam Shaker The campaign to burn the Qur’an in Sweden is a knitted provocation that seeks political gains, ignites community explosions, stigmatizes densely Muslim residential neighborhoods with violence and riots, isolates them from society, and notifies their residents of exclusion from universal citizenship.   The extremist activist who advocates ethnic cleansing against Muslims carefully crafted the event, wanting it to be extremely shocking and provocative. He burned copies of the Noble Qur’an in public squares, and he did so in the month of Ramadan in particular, and he chose neighborhoods with a densely Muslim population to be a scene of hatred and direct incitement.  The Danish-Swedish Rasmus Paludan began burning the Koran in public places in Denmark in 2019 as part of his election campaign at the time. Then his provocative attempts spread to Sweden, and in 2020, the authorities banned him from organizing events there because he represented "a threat to the basic interests of Swedish society."  This time, Baludan was given an official license, and put the Swedish authorities in an awkward position. His campaign of deliberate provocation and blatant incitement in April 2022 was protected by the police, which the youths of the neighborhoods targeted for incitement considered standing in the trench of the racist arsonists. Paludan set fire to volatile environments, and the authorities gave him the opportunity to practice his favorite populist hobby of spreading hatred in areas that had previously witnessed tensions and conflicts between organized crime gangs, within the manifestations of the faltering Swedish cultural and social policies.  Rasmus did not descend from another planet, as he is an aggravating case of the woven school of provocation, which investigates the programming of reactions hoped for by its opponents, and moves in a political environment in which racist far-right parties have taken root in Denmark and then in Sweden, accompanied by network polarization.  The hate cartoon crisis in Denmark (2005) inspired populists and racists across Europe, when they discovered that the brush of an obscure painter could ignite cross-border cultural fires, that the instigator would then be glorified and protected, and that the ideal recipe for covering hate speech and racist content is freedom of expression.  The planned acts of provocation drive wedges within European societies on a religious and ethnic basis, and provoke angry youthful reactions calculated on Muslims at home and abroad that will not seem intelligible to the whole of society.  The applications that were inspired by this model were many, and those who aspired to political ascendancy engaged in it, as did the extremist Dutchman Geert Wilders, who took his seat in Parliament through tireless attempts to create events that provoke Muslims and gained international fame through this.  The experience of European Muslims in dealing with this trend and missing the opportunity for it has developed, after they realized that it was an elaborate attempt to elicit certain responses from them.  But things do not always go with the new generations according to the traditions of civil discipline and legal opposition advocated by Muslim institutions, especially since Rasmus Baludan chose to escalate the provocation to an unprecedented level and proceeded to transfer it from the political and media platforms to the open public squares, bearing in his head the ideas of ethnic cleansing.  Baludan remains a marginal element in political life, despite his ability to create resounding events beyond his small party. But the campaign of hatred that it inflames does a great service to the right-wing and far-right parties, without a political front forming to boldly confront this absurdity.  Attempting to divide society and program reckless reactions in neighborhoods that count on cultural diversity, is exactly what parties that invest in crises for electoral goals need.  Baludan ignites the premeditated community bombing, and seeks to stigmatize the residential neighborhoods it targets with the imprint of violence and riots in a generalized and unfair manner, isolating them from the wider community and making their residents feel that they do not belong to the comprehensive national identity. The mission was accomplished successfully, or in the words of Swedish Finance Minister Michael Dampieri, "the provocateurs of the extreme right achieved exactly what they wanted and succeeded in creating an atmosphere of riots."  These developments pressure the local Muslim community in the Scandinavian countries doubly, as the campaign of incitement and provocation is doing its work in causing moral harm, complicating the issue of identity among the rising Muslim generations and fueling the tendencies of rebellion and extremism in their ranks.  Street unrest encourages negative generalized impressions of the revival of cultural diversity, and leads to the predominance of the logic of the crisis in the relationship of the authorities with the residents of those areas, in addition to the crude political and partisan exploitation of this file in electoral seasons.  Paludan made the event in the shadows of a political life preoccupied with controversy over rising inflation, the repercussions of the Ukraine war, and the option to join NATO, while Swedish civil society slumbers on Easter. Nor should the (center-left) minority government, which is anxiously awaiting the elections next September, show boldness in confronting the open play with fire in the societal space.  This time, the Swedish police got involved in a situation that showed them in the form of protecting extremist racist behavior, and the event revealed that the neighborhood youths targeted by the hate campaign had a severe crisis of confidence with the police, who became the target of their anger.  They saw a racist fire being lit in public squares with the protection and permission of the police, and they sensed the severe insult that targeted them directly by burning the Qur’an in front of them, and this sparked a massive response that sent fire on police cars and public vehicles. It is the disturbances that Balodan carefully programmed and emerged in the position of the rhythm regulator without being intercepted by anyone in the Swedish state this time.  Then police spokesmen disavowed responsibility for what happened. The police say that they allowed these demonstrations of hatred and the burning of the Koran, because they fall under “freedom of expression,” and that they can only protect this campaign from “rioters.” The police blamed themselves, arguing that they did not have the right to withhold permission for these racist demonstrations because Swedish law "does not criminalize burning religious books", and that those who object should turn to the legislators, not the police.  This discourse transcends the priority of protecting civil peace when granting licenses, the importance of understanding with the local community fed up with provocations, and the need to address the anger of school-age boys. The police leadership adhered to an abstract procedural logic that ignores the "hard-line" approach adopted by the racist arsonists in society, and overlooks that Sweden did not witness the burning of any other religious books in the squares except the Koran. The police dismissed the significance of inflicting such a severe insult on constituents of the population by blatantly insulting their sanctities and beliefs with inflammatory acts and blatant hate speech.  It is not Sweden that it was. This northern country was known for its moral commitment, its political openness, its welcome for diversity and the vitality of its civil society. Swedish wisdom has passed critical tests in the past, as when anti-Islam hate cartoons crept into Swedish media in 2006 after they were published in neighboring Denmark. At that time, the Swedish government, along with Islamic institutions, was able to isolate the offenses, cut off the tension, and pass the test ably.  Then the Swedish political scene turned. The political center parties withered, the far right rose steadily, its headlines and banners multiplied, and its speeches dominated the scene after the traditional Nazi groups reproduced themselves. The public's fears and obsessions about the multiple transformations in reality and society have had their effect in exacerbating the situation in which populist discourses dominate, the like of which was unimaginable in Sweden.  The major election seasons became stations for clever racist charging and igniting hidden hate speech. Then, a hard-line party launched its election campaign in public squares by burning copies of the Holy Qur’an and igniting community fires that may not be easy to put out, with the permission of the police and under their guard.

The campaign to burn the Qur’an in Sweden is a knitted provocation that seeks political gains, ignites community explosions, stigmatizes densely Muslim residential neighborhoods with violence and riots, isolates them from society, and notifies their residents of exclusion from universal citizenship.

The extremist activist who advocates ethnic cleansing against Muslims carefully crafted the event, wanting it to be extremely shocking and provocative. He burned copies of the Noble Qur’an in public squares, and he did so in the month of Ramadan in particular, and he chose neighborhoods with a densely Muslim population to be a scene of hatred and direct incitement.

The Danish-Swedish Rasmus Paludan began burning the Koran in public places in Denmark in 2019 as part of his election campaign at the time. Then his provocative attempts spread to Sweden, and in 2020, the authorities banned him from organizing events there because he represented "a threat to the basic interests of Swedish society."

This time, Baludan was given an official license, and put the Swedish authorities in an awkward position. His campaign of deliberate provocation and blatant incitement in April 2022 was protected by the police, which the youths of the neighborhoods targeted for incitement considered standing in the trench of the racist arsonists. Paludan set fire to volatile environments, and the authorities gave him the opportunity to practice his favorite populist hobby of spreading hatred in areas that had previously witnessed tensions and conflicts between organized crime gangs, within the manifestations of the faltering Swedish cultural and social policies.

Rasmus did not descend from another planet, as he is an aggravating case of the woven school of provocation, which investigates the programming of reactions hoped for by its opponents, and moves in a political environment in which racist far-right parties have taken root in Denmark and then in Sweden, accompanied by network polarization.

The hate cartoon crisis in Denmark (2005) inspired populists and racists across Europe, when they discovered that the brush of an obscure painter could ignite cross-border cultural fires, that the instigator would then be glorified and protected, and that the ideal recipe for covering hate speech and racist content is freedom of expression.

The planned acts of provocation drive wedges within European societies on a religious and ethnic basis, and provoke angry youthful reactions calculated on Muslims at home and abroad that will not seem intelligible to the whole of society.

The applications that were inspired by this model were many, and those who aspired to political ascendancy engaged in it, as did the extremist Dutchman Geert Wilders, who took his seat in Parliament through tireless attempts to create events that provoke Muslims and gained international fame through this.

The experience of European Muslims in dealing with this trend and missing the opportunity for it has developed, after they realized that it was an elaborate attempt to elicit certain responses from them.

But things do not always go with the new generations according to the traditions of civil discipline and legal opposition advocated by Muslim institutions, especially since Rasmus Baludan chose to escalate the provocation to an unprecedented level and proceeded to transfer it from the political and media platforms to the open public squares, bearing in his head the ideas of ethnic cleansing.

Baludan remains a marginal element in political life, despite his ability to create resounding events beyond his small party. But the campaign of hatred that it inflames does a great service to the right-wing and far-right parties, without a political front forming to boldly confront this absurdity.

Attempting to divide society and program reckless reactions in neighborhoods that count on cultural diversity, is exactly what parties that invest in crises for electoral goals need.

Baludan ignites the premeditated community bombing, and seeks to stigmatize the residential neighborhoods it targets with the imprint of violence and riots in a generalized and unfair manner, isolating them from the wider community and making their residents feel that they do not belong to the comprehensive national identity. The mission was accomplished successfully, or in the words of Swedish Finance Minister Michael Dampieri, "the provocateurs of the extreme right achieved exactly what they wanted and succeeded in creating an atmosphere of riots."

These developments pressure the local Muslim community in the Scandinavian countries doubly, as the campaign of incitement and provocation is doing its work in causing moral harm, complicating the issue of identity among the rising Muslim generations and fueling the tendencies of rebellion and extremism in their ranks.

Street unrest encourages negative generalized impressions of the revival of cultural diversity, and leads to the predominance of the logic of the crisis in the relationship of the authorities with the residents of those areas, in addition to the crude political and partisan exploitation of this file in electoral seasons.

Paludan made the event in the shadows of a political life preoccupied with controversy over rising inflation, the repercussions of the Ukraine war, and the option to join NATO, while Swedish civil society slumbers on Easter. Nor should the (center-left) minority government, which is anxiously awaiting the elections next September, show boldness in confronting the open play with fire in the societal space.

This time, the Swedish police got involved in a situation that showed them in the form of protecting extremist racist behavior, and the event revealed that the neighborhood youths targeted by the hate campaign had a severe crisis of confidence with the police, who became the target of their anger.

They saw a racist fire being lit in public squares with the protection and permission of the police, and they sensed the severe insult that targeted them directly by burning the Qur’an in front of them, and this sparked a massive response that sent fire on police cars and public vehicles. It is the disturbances that Balodan carefully programmed and emerged in the position of the rhythm regulator without being intercepted by anyone in the Swedish state this time.

Then police spokesmen disavowed responsibility for what happened. The police say that they allowed these demonstrations of hatred and the burning of the Koran, because they fall under “freedom of expression,” and that they can only protect this campaign from “rioters.” The police blamed themselves, arguing that they did not have the right to withhold permission for these racist demonstrations because Swedish law "does not criminalize burning religious books", and that those who object should turn to the legislators, not the police.

This discourse transcends the priority of protecting civil peace when granting licenses, the importance of understanding with the local community fed up with provocations, and the need to address the anger of school-age boys. The police leadership adhered to an abstract procedural logic that ignores the "hard-line" approach adopted by the racist arsonists in society, and overlooks that Sweden did not witness the burning of any other religious books in the squares except the Koran. The police dismissed the significance of inflicting such a severe insult on constituents of the population by blatantly insulting their sanctities and beliefs with inflammatory acts and blatant hate speech.

It is not Sweden that it was. This northern country was known for its moral commitment, its political openness, its welcome for diversity and the vitality of its civil society. Swedish wisdom has passed critical tests in the past, as when anti-Islam hate cartoons crept into Swedish media in 2006 after they were published in neighboring Denmark. At that time, the Swedish government, along with Islamic institutions, was able to isolate the offenses, cut off the tension, and pass the test ably.

Then the Swedish political scene turned. The political center parties withered, the far right rose steadily, its headlines and banners multiplied, and its speeches dominated the scene after the traditional Nazi groups reproduced themselves. The public's fears and obsessions about the multiple transformations in reality and society have had their effect in exacerbating the situation in which populist discourses dominate, the like of which was unimaginable in Sweden.

The major election seasons became stations for clever racist charging and igniting hidden hate speech. Then, a hard-line party launched its election campaign in public squares by burning copies of the Holy Qur’an and igniting community fires that may not be easy to put out, with the permission of the police and under their guard.
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