In future, it will be forbidden in Sweden to participate in organizations that are designated as “racist”. The committee working on the issue will propose this in April, according to news outlet TT. The Prime Minister has already called the second largest opposition party, the Sweden Democrats (SD), racist.
In July 2019, the Löfven government appointed the “Committee on the Prohibition of Racist Organizations”, with the task of considering whether Swedes who participate in organizations that can be designated as “racist” should be punished. The committee will submit its final report in April 2021.
According to TT, there is now a parliamentary majority behind the proposal to “introduce criminal liability for participation in a racist organization”. Most parties support the move.
According to TT, there is still no parliamentary ban on dissolving “racist organizations” and such a decision would require a constitutional amendment. In practice, however, the difference between dissolving an organization and punishing participation in it is not so great.
As Swedish daily Nya Tider has previously reported, however, it is extremely unclear what will be counted as a “racist” organization if the government succeeds in enforcing a ban.
The government already has the right to ban associations that “involve persecution of a ethnic group due to ethnic origin, skin colour or similar circumstances”. It is then becomes absolutely crucial how one defines “persecution”, something the investigators could not explain when Nya Tiderlast spoke to a couple of them in September last year. Nor had the word “racism” been defined.
The two most important key concepts for pointing out exactly what should be banned were thus still unclear. Dag Mattsson, the special investigator who leads the work, would not respond to calls from the weekly.
However, the investigator Ida Karkiainen revealed to Nya Tider that they were primarily looking at how Finland had banned the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR). When we talked to the NMR representative Pär Öberg, however, he said that not even the banned organization itself had managed to understand exactly what it meant.
Jeff Ahl, a former member of parliament for the Sweden Democrats who now represents Alternative for Sweden, pointed out that the unclear definitions opened up a shift in meaning where one can count on more and more organizations being banned.
“Alternatives for Sweden will of course not be banned in the first wave, but the ‘blackest sheep’ instead according to the politically correct view of the matter, that is, NMR. But the goal is guaranteed to be able to ban us both as well as the Sweden Democrats and other parties. We do not need to hesitate for a second that there are people who would like to go so far that they can ban one of the larger parties in Sweden,” Jeff Ahl told Nya Tider.
The government pointed out in particular “anti-Semitic and Afrophobic messages” that need to be banned. However, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has previously said, for example, that SD was a racist party. In SVT Agenda in October 2016, he said that “Sweden Democrats are a Nazi and racist party.” But after the program he partially backed down and corrected himself: “SD is a racist party with Nazi roots.”
Even without a ban, the law on “incitement against ethnic groups” has been used by the Svea Court of Appeal to convict a 68-year-old woman for having written that all Africans should be sent home. When Nya Tider called the appellate court advisers behind the verdict, it turned out that none of them could answer how many Africans should stay in Sweden in order not to break the law.