Sweden refuses to investigate religiously-motivated attacks against Christian refugees, watchdog groups say

(Wikimedia Commons/Frankie Fouganthin)Refugees from Syria arrive at Stockholm Central Station by train through Denmark and Malmo in September 2015.

Many Christian refugees have complained about religiously-motivated attacks in Sweden, but the authorities are reportedly refusing to conduct a serious investigation into the matter.

In an article published by the National Review last week, Jacob Rudenstrand, the deputy general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, and Peter Paulson, the director of Open Doors Sweden, highlighted the persecution suffered by Christian asylum seekers in Sweden, which has taken in a very high number of refugees from all faiths in recent years.

Rudenstrand and Paulson had lamented that the Swedish government has not taken any action despite news reports of attacks against Christians. They went on to note there are numerous studies about hate crimes against Jews and Muslims, but very few focus on hate crimes against Christians, even though the statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention indicate that there has been an increase on the latter in recent years.

In a survey conducted by Open Doors Sweden last year, 123 Christian asylum-seekers have reported that they were victims of religiously motivated persecution. There have been 512 separate incidents of persecution, which included death threats, sexual assaults and other violent acts, with most of the victims being converts and most perpetrators being other migrants.

Christian refugees in Sweden reportedly suffered 65 violent assaults, 55 death threats and seven cases of sexual assault.

At least 53 percent of Christian asylum seekers had reported that they had been attacked at least once, while 45 percent said they had received at least one death threat.

Rudenstrand and Paulson pointed to the case of a Christian refugee from Syria, identified only by his alias "Amir," who had been attacked by a fellow refugee at a home in eastern Sweden in 2015.

The jihadist, who also hails from Syria, had threatened to "slaughter" Amir and harm his family back in Syria. "I fled the war to avoid this kind of thing," he told the police.

While the man who threatened Amir had been sentenced to probation and fined 8,000 kronor (around $900) in damages, many other victims have decided not to file reports either because they have assumed that the police would not take any action or because of their fear of reprisals, according to Rudenstrand and Paulson.

They noted that the influx of refugees in Sweden has slowed recently, but they asserted that the Scandinavian country still has to face several challenges regarding refugees.

These challenges "include ensuring that Christians who were victims of genocide — a genocide that the government has refused to recognize — are not persecuted all over again after they resettle in their new country," the two Christian leaders said.

"The evidence shows that [Christian refugees] are not safe in Sweden, which needs to take measures to improve their security, but first it must acknowledge the seriousness of the problem they face," Rudenstrand and Paulson wrote.

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