Islamic influencers and radical imams are blamed for fake news campaign as Swedish authorities are forced to deny they are ‘kidnapping’ Muslim children

From the Daily Mail

Islamic influences and radical imams have been blamed for a fake news campaign in Sweden where authorities have been forced to deny they are ‘kidnapping’ Muslim children and forcing them to eat pork.

Videos began appearing on Arabic-language social media sites in late 2021 of real interventions by child welfare services, showing crying children being separated from distraught parents.

With limited context about the situations portrayed, the videos accuse Sweden of being a fascist state where social services place Muslim children in Christian homes with paedophiles or where they are forced to drink alcohol and eat pork.

After Mideastern media outlets reported on the claims, Swedish government officials and social services have come out in force to deny the allegations.

‘We absolutely do not do that,’ Migration and Integration Minister Anders Ygeman said, stressing the main goal was to support families. Ygeman said the campaign was being fuelled in part by ‘frustrated parents who have failed in their parenting’ and were projecting their anger at authorities. ‘There are also malevolent forces that want to exploit these parents’ frustration to spread mistrust and division,’

Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish Defence University, said the campaign was primarily based on a Facebook group called ‘Barnens Rattigheter Mina Rattigheter’ (Children’s Rights My Rights), where parents share experiences of having their children ‘unfairly’ removed from their care. Ranstorp said that while there may be some legitimate criticism against social services, the harsh rhetoric in the media posts was ‘inciting’.

Julia Agha, head of the Arabic-language news outlet Alkompis based in Stockholm, has followed the campaign closely. ‘Starting out, it was probably intended as a campaign where families of those whose children have been taken into custody have felt unjustly treated and wanted to criticise social services,’ she said. ‘What’s happened is that this campaign has ended up in the hands of forces abroad that have put a religious filter over it and are spreading disinformation, which now looks more like a hate campaign against Sweden and Swedish society.’

She said many immigrants struggle to learn Swedish, live in areas where they only interact with other immigrants, and don’t feel a part of Swedish society.

The wealthy country of 10.4 million granted asylum and family reunifications to more than 400,000 people from 2010 to 2019 – more per capita than any other European country.


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