Swedish voters have, according to exit polls, narrowly re-elected the governing center-right Alliance coalition short of a majority with 49.1 percent of the vote. The far-right Swedish Democrats—one of whose candidates stated recently that Muslims in his town should not be allowed to practice their faith; another wrote on his blog that black Africans are genetically programmed to rape women and children—were voted into parliament for the first time. With such a narrowly split house, the Swedish Democrats could be in the position of kingmaker of the next government.
Here are some of the most noteworthy stories related to these developments:
- "Sweden Democrats Fear Islamic Revolution" (The Local)
A taste of what Sweden's newest far-right nationalist party sounds like. It's all starting to sound a little too familiar.
- " Muslims Voting for Anti-Immigrant Parties by Mistake" (Islam in Europe blog)
The misunderstanding and difficulties experienced by voters in Malmö with poor Swedish language skills.
- "The Rise of the Far-Right: Europe's Worrying Trend" (Telegraph)
On the increasing presence of far-right extremist parties in mainstream politics across Europe, with its typical critique of immigration policy.
On a positive note, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life last week launched a report examining some of the oldest, largest, and most influential Islamic groups—from the Muslim Brotherhood to mystical Sufi orders and networks of religious scholars—in order to help provide a better understanding of how such movements and networks seek to influence the views and daily lives of Muslims in Western Europe. The report, titled Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe, is available on the Pew website. "Low Support for Radicalism Among European Muslims," from Reuters, looks at a few of the report's highlights.