- Stockholm train station is where a ‘group of neo-Nazis attacked refugees’
- Around the same time as woman, 22, was allegedly murdered by migrant
- Despite reports no migrants have told police they were assaulted at station
- If exaggerated, it could have made Swedes less ready to voice their worries
Stockholm railway station isn’t a nice place at nine on a winter evening. Smart young Swedes run to catch trains to the suburbs watched by groups of men in hoodies leaning against pillars in the shadows as they swap plastic bags of cannabis or heroin for wads of krona, the national currency.
Occasionally, police in twos and threes patrol through this scene of Nordic Noir as chimes ring from the nearby 16th century St Clare’s Lutheran church, with spires piercing the dark sky.
Yet the police rarely stop and no one takes much notice of them anyway. ‘I am here to buy cannabis with my friends,’ Mustapha Drummeh, a 31-year-old Ghanaian who came to Sweden seven years ago told me, as he hung around the station amid other African and Arab migrants.
Suddenly, his friend, a 43-year-old Eritrean called Mahoud, darts off to dance a circle round two Swedish women in their early twenties, walking briskly by us towards the trains.
The girls, who show no surprise, sidestep him neatly as he tries to pat their bottoms. ‘The Swedish women, they’re nice,’ says smiling Mahoud on his return, unabashed by the rebuff. ‘People here are kind to us, but it’s difficult without a job, nothing to do, and more migrants arriving all the time.’
Stockholm station is, remember, where a disturbing event happened a few weeks ago. According to Left-wing Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, there was a violent, unprovoked rampage by a masked mob of neo-Nazis and football hooligans who were targeting migrants, including north African street children. Aftonbladet’s reports, based on police information, made newspaper and TV headlines around the world.
It followed another tragic event which also seized international attention. A 22-year-old woman social worker had been murdered at a home for underage migrant boys near the country’s second city of Gothenburg. She was said to have been knifed by a 15-year-old Somalian migrant, who has since appeared in court charged with her killing.
The murder put ultra-liberal Sweden’s controversial open-door policy under scrutiny. It boosted the popularity of both the Right-wing Sweden Democrats party (SD), which wants to stop the flow of migrants, and also the middle of the road Moderates’ Party, which is campaigning for a temporary break on arrivals.
Last year, 163,000 from the war-torn Middle East and poverty-stricken Africa came to this country of 9.8million people. This is the highest per capita ratio in any EU nation – easily topping even Angela Merkel’s Germany. Sweden has accepted about one in seven of all the migrants entering Europe.
A huge number – 33,000 last year – were unaccompanied minors. The Somalian accused of the social worker’s murder claimed to be one. They are attracted by Sweden’s fast-tracked asylum decisions and free housing for under-18s, as well as a government promise that those permitted to stay (and the majority are) can later bring in their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
The Swedish were told in Aftonbladet’s report that anti-migrant leaflets declaring ‘Enough Now’ were handed out by the Stockholm mob. The newspaper posted online a video of men in dark clothes milling about in the station as evidence of the riot.
A lone migrant witness called Christian, 16, was photographed afterwards by the paper, saying he had been slapped in the face by a man during the fracas, although he admitted he had not contacted the police about it.
Indeed, Stockholm Police confirmed to the Mail this week that since the ‘neo-Nazi’ station disturbance, no migrants – underage or otherwise – have reported any assaults on them that evening.
This raises the disturbing question as to whether the anti-migrant rampage ever took place in the way described. A local newspaper said in the aftermath that the video showed nothing more than police chasing away the leaflet distributors. The footage has no images of child refugees – and the only sign of violence appears to involve a policeman waving a baton.
For their part, the police say that a handful of the apparent protagonists were interviewed over various offences, including drunken disorder, an assault on a policeman with a bottle, and the possession of a knuckle-duster.
What is worrying is that if the Stockholm station story has been blown out of proportion, it could have artificially fuelled pro-migrant sentiment and made ordinary Swedes less ready to voice their worries about mass migration.
Fears of a cover-up have been fuelled by an investigation published by a flourishing online Swedish news outlet Nyheter Idag, showing that Swedish authorities hid from the public sexual assaults by immigrant gangs on scores of teenage girls at a popular Stockholm music festival both last year and in 2014.
The Swedish police and a national newspaper were accused of hiding the truth deliberately because the perpetrators were migrants.
Astonishingly, Stockholm police chief Peter Agren – in charge of the 2014 festival – admitted later: ‘Sometimes we dare not tell how it is because we think it plays into the hands of the Sweden Democrats.’
A group of security guards in the south-eastern city of Kalmar last week claimed a ‘riot’ and attack on a police officer involving migrants outside an Irish bar was covered up.
A local newspaper which interviewed the security men was, apparently, asked by police to remove a quote from one of the guards which read: ‘We need to be talking about what’s happening … it’s not about racism.’ For their part, the police said they did not consider the bar brouhaha last Sunday night newsworthy.
Sweden’s recent story of migration dates back to 1975 when the national parliament decided that the country should become multi-cultural. At the time, the population stood at eight million – virtually all indigenous Swedes – and they had a proud history of offering help to outsiders.
The immigration policy was pursued relentlessly by the ruling Left-wing Social Democrats for the next four decades.
The Swedish government seized the moral high-ground in Europe by offering shelter to almost anyone who knocked. Those who criticised the radical plan were condemned as racist in what has become the EU’s citadel of political correctness. By last year, 16 per cent of Sweden’s population was foreign-born – many of them from Muslim countries. As the migration crisis has escalated, any citizen who questioned whether the country could afford such largesse and expressed concerns about its changing culture has been accused of bigotry.
As Ivar Arpi, a respected Swedish columnist, said in the pages of the Spectator magazine recently: ‘Immigration cannot be discussed frankly in Sweden. If you mention anything negative about refugees … you’re accused of playing into the hands of the reviled far-Right. As a result even those with legitimate concerns are silenced or labelled xenophobic.’
A British writer, Iain Channing, who worked in Sweden in the 1980s and returned there recently to report for the Right-leaning publication Dispatch International, went further.
‘Overall, the media aroused in me a new emotion towards Sweden … contempt,’ he wrote. Referring to the crackdown on free speech by the Stasi secret police in East Germany in Communist times, he continued: ‘Things aren’t quite so bad as East Germany, as dissident Swedes are wont to say. But this country no longer has full freedom of speech.
‘The Left – that is to say the Swedish media and establishment – is not interested in debating mass immigration. They are ideologically committed to imposing it come what may, for the greater good, and anybody who disagrees is a fascist, a Nazi, or a racist.’
Fed up with the mainstream Press (for example, the Aftonbladet newspaper has even warned that reporting offensive migrants’ behaviour is bowing to Right-wing extremism), Swedes have turned to social media and independent internet sites where they believe information is unbiased and where they have their own say. Every week they post thousands of comments on what was, until recently, the taboo topic of migration. Their comments accuse the Government of turning a blind eye as the police fight a losing battle against street crime and assaults in migrant hostels.
Meanwhile, the Gatestone Institute, an American think-tank, said the country’s over-crowded hostels (where migrants are housed) are in a state of anarchy.
It cited the example of a terrifying brawl last month when ten policeman arrived at a hostel in the small city of Vasteras in central Sweden, after the repeated rape of a ten-year-old immigrant boy.
The policemen were confronted by a mob, shouting and shaking their fists. ‘The officers were forced to flee for their lives,’ reports the Gatestone account. ‘One of the officers later wrote in his report that it is only due to the presence of a police dog-handler that he and his colleagues were able to escape. He said he was “mentally prepared to fight for his life”.’
Vasteras was also the scene of a double murder at an Ikea store last year. The victims were ethnic Swedes, 55-year-old Carola Herlin and her 28-year-old son, Emil. Their attacker was an Eritrean migrant, aged 36, who confessed to the random killings, apparently carried out with knives seized from the store’s kitchen department.
Swedish voters’ growing concern is clear. If there was an election tomorrow, polls suggest that the Eurosceptic Sweden Democrats would get nearly one in five votes. From small roots, it is now the third-largest party in the parliament. Support for the architects of mass immigration, the ruling Social Democrats, is at its lowest for 50 years.
As one seasoned Swedish journalist explained to me this week in Stockholm: ‘The other parties to the Left say Sweden Democrats is racist to try to put off Swedish voters from supporting them.
‘In reality, the party is conservative, equivalent to the Republicans in America.’
Perhaps in response to the anti-migrant sentiment, the government has announced plans to deport 80,000 migrants if their asylum requests are rejected.
Yet there is no indication of how this would be done – or indeed where they would be deported to, since many deliberately destroy their identification papers so they appear stateless and thus cannot be sent anywhere.
An indication of the Sweden Democrats’ stance came last autumn when it distributed leaflets on the Greek islands where thousands of migrants wait to travel to mainland Europe.
‘Our previously safe country is not safe any more,’ the leaflets warned: ‘Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after Lesotho in Africa.’
Fierce, populist rhetoric, perhaps. But these are serious issues that are now worrying ethnic Swedes, as the authorities say they are preparing for another 140,000 migrants to arrive this year, 27,000 of them underage and most of them male.
No-go areas have sprung up in cities where, unless police units have a back-up team to guard them, it is dangerous to attend crime scenes because Molotov cocktails are hurled at them by migrants, according to one senior inspector this week.
And there have been a spate of swimming pool attacks reported across the country, apparently by young male migrants overcome by the sight of female bathers.
This week it emerged that an all-girl bikini-clad group of vigilantes is now monitoring the swimming baths at Kalmar, which has 36,000 residents, but where 34 migrant hostels have opened. They want to stop women being molested by young foreign men who it has been reported have grabbed their breasts and genitals in the pool or near changing rooms.
Siri Bernhardsson, a 24-year-old assistant nurse who is a member of ‘Groping Guards’ vigilantes, said: ‘Swimming pools have become prime hunting grounds for gangs of men looking to prey on vulnerable women.
‘Loads of women here say they have been touched. We are tired of men thinking they can come to Sweden and molest women. We want to teach these boys how to behave and be left in peace to swim without being felt up.’
She added: ‘It happens in train stations and in swimming pools. This should not be the case in 2016 in Sweden.’
The women are not alone in being alarmed. I recently received an email from a 37-year-old engineer and father of a seven-year-old girl. He and his family live near Gothenburg, an area that has taken in more migrants, particularly underage men, than almost anywhere else in Sweden. Last autumn, thousands of under-18s were arriving there every month.
This man is not a political activist, indeed he described himself as a ‘Swedish family man who is ill at ease’.
It was obvious Sweden should help those in the world who were in need, he said. But the question was, how to do it in the best way.
‘The familiar image of people coming here is of young men, young men and young men,’ he wrote. ‘Where are all the women?
‘In January, there were reports of sexual abuse of young girls during the Stockholm festival. One of the most famous Swedish newspapers is accused of covering up what happened…
‘The police, and also a number of journalists, have since admitted they got management orders to scale down reports on criminal activities involving non-Swedish people.
‘When is our mainstream media going to report what actually happens regarding the sexual abuse by boys and men of certain cultures here in Sweden? How is Sweden to prevent this male perpetuated behaviour tearing our girls apart?
‘We have discovered only recently that murders, rape and abuse are happening in migrant hostels. Stockholm and Gothenburg are tormented by criminal gangs, while sexual abuse of young girls is occurring in public swimming pools.
‘The Left-wing has fooled almost all politicians and journalists to view themselves as racists or bad people if they do not say what is politically correct on migration. Sweden is in a terrible situation.’
He ended his letter with the sad words: ‘I have a seven-year-old daughter. What will the future be like for her? I am frightened for my child, and scared for Sweden.’
Back at Stockholm’s sombre station, I ask the Ghanian Mustapha what he has heard of the mob attack on migrants, in particular the child refugees who mill about during the day and sleep in the nearby St Clare’s churchyard at night.
‘I know what goes on here,’ he said with certainty. ‘None of them, young or old, have mentioned being attacked or hurt by any gang of Swedish men.’