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Denial About Stockholm
by Bruce Bawer
Why are leading conservative magazines buying into the lie that the Swedish riots have nothing to do with Islam?
The June 4 issue of National Review contained a piece entitled "Torching Utopia" and subtitled "Sweden's problem is not Islam, it's multiculturalism." Its author, Tino Sanandaji, an Iranian Kurd who has lived in Sweden for many years and who studied economics in the U.S., had one principal point to make: that there does exist a "fierce hostility toward Swedish culture" in Sweden, but that it originates not with Muslim immigrants but with Swedish elites. To support this claim, he cited one Swedish politician's declaration, some years ago, that "Swedes are jealous of immigrants" because the latter "have a culture, an identity, a history, something that binds you together," while Swedes have only "Midsummer's Eve and other lame things." What Sanandaji chose not to point out was that the politician who made that statement, Mona Sahlin, made it while addressing an audience of Muslims in a mosque; and she didn't say that Swedes were jealous of immigrants generally – she said that they were jealous of Muslims, because Islamic culture is wonderful and manifestly superior to Swedish culture.
Yes, Swedish elites hold Swedish culture in contempt. But so do Muslim immigrants – in the same way that they hold the local culture in contempt in every non-Muslim country in which they reside. Yes, the Swedish elites' contempt for their own culture has made it easier for Muslims to express their contempt – but the Muslims would feel that contempt anyway. And it's the palpable contempt of Muslims in Sweden for Swedish culture that has motivated the Swedish elite – in a perverse, pathetic, and increasingly desperate attempt to please and pacify the Muslims among them – to express their own contempt for Swedish society so openly.
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