So far, the rioting by mostly Muslims in Stockholm and its suburbs hasn’t spread to other immigrant ghettoes in other nations of Europe.
But the longer the riots continue, and the harder the police try to crack down, the more likely it is that sympathy for the rioters will manifest itself in demonstrations and perhaps even violence in other countries where large immigrant populations remain outside of society and segregated into slums.
Friday marked the sixth day of violence in Sweden.
The unrest in poor, immigrant suburbs is the latest to break out in Europe over the past decade following riots in Paris in 2005 and in London in 2011. Analysts say they have much in common.
“The groups that are involved are some of the most economically deprived groups within society,” said Matthew Goodwin, associate professor at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.
“Whether it’s the young black males in London who suffer from the highest unemployment rates of all sections of society or the young migrants on the outskirts of Paris who again are blighted by very high levels of unemployment and very low levels of formal education, a perceived sense of injustice marked the disturbances much in the same way that riots in Los Angeles or in London were sparked by police action,” he said.
In Tensta, one of the Stockholm suburbs hit by rioting, the common complaint by young men gathered on the street was a lack of employment opportunities and activities for youth, along with police violence and racism, and a general feeling that no one cares.
“I don’t think it’s a good situation these days and it hasn’t been good for several years,” said Homa Badpa, a second-generation Swede of Iranian descent and spokesman for local organization Pantrarna. “Police are blaming groups like us for not saying ‘stop.’ But how can you say stop to the kids who protest? They are trying to make their voices heard and this is the only way to do this in Sweden right now.”
Pantrarna is an organization working with community youth that took its name from the U.S. Black Panther Party, a group known for its militancy.
“It’s bad and I’m not happy about it,” Badpa added, referring to the riots. “But the prime minister is talking about this issue (of neglect) right now, and that only started after they burned the cars.”
Some blame the violence on the Swedish government: Administrations in the past two decades have been slowly dismantling the cradle-to-grave welfare benefit system known as the “Swedish model.” As a result, rising income inequality is hitting immigrant populations hard — unemployment is running at 16% among residents of foreign origin but only 7% for the general population.
Do you buy the notion that what is driving the rioters is that there’s nothing to do and that they don’t have jobs? It is a decidedly deterministic outlook that posits that idea and it fails to recognize the psychic wounds inflicted by European society on Muslims — real or imagined.
Most Muslim immigrants come from majority Muslim societies. They see “blaspheming” all around them, not to mention the affront that a secular society gives to pious Muslims. If there is a cause of the rioting — and beyond troublemaking and incoherent rage there doesn’t seem to be one — it is that Muslims have made themselves an island, refusing to assimilate because the European model demands that they subsume their culture and beliefs while accepting the homogeneous nature of the country in which they have chosen to live.
The authorities think that treating the symptoms of the unrest will cure the patient. Instead, it will only mask the true source of the disease; a cultural virus attacking secular Europe that seeks to change the very nature of traditional societies, overwriting the structures that have endured for hundreds of years and replacing them with alien DNA.
There is no solution to this problem except waiting a few decades until Muslim become a majority in most of the countries of Europe. But in the meantime, we can expect many more examples of Muslim rage like we are seeing in Sweden today.