MALMO, Sweden - Swedish
authorities in the southern city of Malmö have been busy with a sudden influx
of Muslim immigrants - 90 percent of whom are unemployed and many who are
angry and taking it out on the country that took them in.
"If we park our car it will be
damaged — so we have to go very often in two vehicles, one just to protect the
other vehicle," said Rolf Landgren, a Malmö police officer.
Fear of violence has changed the
way police, firemen and emergency workers do their jobs.
There are some neighborhoods
Swedish ambulance drivers will not go to without a police escort. Angry
crowds have threatened them, telling them which patient to take and which
ones to leave behind.
Because Sweden has some of the
most liberal asylum laws in Europe, one quarter of Malmö's 250,000
population is now Muslim, changing the face and the idea of what it means
to be Swedish. Asylum seekers may bring spouses, brothers and grandparents
with them. Civil servants say the city is swamped.
"You have 1,000 students in a
Swedish school. How many are Swedes? Two," said Lars Birgersson, principal
of the Rosengrad School.
Students arrive at age 10 or 12
from countries like Iraq, Iran and Lebanon with no knowledge of Swedish;
some have never been to school at all and many classes require interpreters.
Still, more than half won't
"They are not a part of Swedish
society, so to speak. It is difficult for them to get inside society," said
Torsten Elofsson of the Malmo Police Department.
However, they are the most
rapidly growing segment of Swedish society - outsiders who are already
inside, posing a challenge to legendary Swedish tolerance that has now been
stretched to the breaking point.
Malmö's main mosque was
recently set ablaze by arsonists. When firefighters arrived on the scene,
they were attacked by stone throwers.