Sweden and immigrants mostly get on well

Opinion piece by Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson in Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2017.

Jimmie Akesson and Mattias Karlsson of the Sweden Democrats Party inaccurately paint a picture of Sweden as a country with a particularly high rate of violent crime, which they claim is due to the number of asylum seekers that Sweden has taken in ("Trump Is Right: Sweden's Embrace of Refugees Isn't Working," op-ed, Feb. 23). The Sweden Democrats are an extreme right-wing, racist party with Nazi roots.

Like all countries, Sweden has problems with violent crime. The government is taking measures to fight such crime and its causes. But the idea that the situation is worse in our country is entirely erroneous. The risk of falling victim to lethal violence in Sweden is very low by international standards and has declined overall in the last 20 years, despite our high levels of asylum immigration.

The claim that Sweden welcomes terrorists "with open arms" is completely false. On the contrary, we have tightened our anti-terrorism legislation. The phenomenon of individuals travelling to the Middle East to fight for Daesh has more or less ceased completely.

Sweden has given protection to 143,000 Syrian men, women and children since 2011. We are proud of that, because many of these people might otherwise have perished in Homs or Aleppo. Now these people must get a good start in Sweden. The number of jobs has increased by more than 150,000 since 2014. Unemployment has fallen, growth is high and our public finances are sound.

Members of Muslim faith communities make up approximately 1.5% of the Swedish population. Laying the blame for every problem with this small minority is absurd and dangerous. Baseless accusations against ethnic and religious minorities must not be allowed to dominate the political conversation.