Friday, May 14, 2010

Migration Minister Admits Major Malmö Problems

In an op-ed from May 9th, 2010 Sweden’s Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, Tobias Billström (Moderate) argues that Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, has failed in its attempt “to be a city for all”.
It was not long ago that Migration Minister Tobias Billström visited both the Islamic Center as well as the Jewish Community in Malmö. In a recent op-ed in the southern local newspaper, Skånskan, the minister states that Malmö today is a city which faces many problems. Billström especially notes that the lives of Malmö‘s citizens are strained by threats, fear and prejudice, something that the Swedish civil society has failed to deal with.

In order for a society to function, Billström argues, it is necessary to keep an open dialogue as opposed to have individuals working against each other. He further argues that the citizens of Malmö have the right to feel safe in the streets, something that is far from the current situation in Malmö today. Much of the blame for this can also be put on the long-standing mayor of the city—Social Democrat Ilmar Reepalu.

Malmö’s motto has for long been “a city for all”, but many more Jewish individuals are leaving the city as a result of increasing violence and hate crime directed towards Jews in the city. As the authorities in Reepalu’s administration fail to control dangerous levels of ethnic violence, it has become quite clear that Malmö’s motto is only a hollow slogan.

The current government has adapted some reforms to counter the problems that exist in the country today. Yet Malmö’s problems will take more than one term of office to deal with. The first steps the current government decided to take are only being seen now; soon reinforcements to the current police force will be deployed in Malmö and other cities to make sure that law and order is kept in the streets.

What is further worrying is that no political leader from the opposition parties has come to the same conclusions as minister Billström, at least not in public.

Malmö has been under Social Democratic rule for the past 15 years and the results of this are what we see today—burgeoning hate-crime, arson, and uncontrolled rioting. If the Moderates stay in office following the upcoming fall elections the current national government will keep working towards a safer Malmö for all citizens. On the other hand, it’s fairly certain that the situation in Malmö will become increasingly worse if the Swedes vote in a Social Democrat, Green, Left government this fall.

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