Sweden: Time for Far-Right Destruction | By Nikhilesh Koundinya

 Sweden: Time for Far-Right Destruction

By Nikhilesh Koundinya

The World Happiness Report, 2019 ranked Sweden at No. 7 in the list of countries considered to be the happiest in the world. But in 2020 Sweden is facing a major problem due to several protests by minorities because of one man- Rasmus Paludan. As the leader of a party named Stram Kurs he has made several remarks against Muslims and other minorities in the country, and has also publicly burnt the Quran which is the sacred book amongst the Muslims. He has also time and again reiterated for stricter immigration laws which would prevent any non-westerner from setting foot on Swedish soil. Though he has been reprimanded a number of times by the authorities and has even been jailed once, he continues to incite racial violence in the country. 

This article talks about the incident which led to widespread protests and burning of Sweden as a country. It also mentions the recent 2018 elections where the right-wing party secured 18 per cent votes, which is a matter of concern, and explains the reasons for Rasmus Paludan’s remarks and actions. It also makes a reference to the Danish Penal Code under which he must be punished and highlights what the repercussion on asylum seekers might be if right wing leaders come to power. 


This incident took place in Malmo which is located in southern Sweden. Close to 300 protestors had come onto the roads to protest against the anti-Islamic activities that had taken place earlier in the day where the Quran was set on fire and the police had also seen three men kicking the holy book. The incident led to people torching cars while chanting religious slogans. Though the police were successful in catching some of the perpetrators, such scenes are slowly increasing in Sweden due to prevalence of right-wing parties such as Stram Kurs. 

Unfortunately, this incident is not an isolated one. In the past, Rasmus Paludan burned the Quran wrapped in bacon and publicized the same on his YouTube channel. Though Islamophobia reeks from every corner of his party’s guidelines, he was very close to securing a seat in the Danish elections in 2019, only missing the mark by a tiny margin. This indicates great trouble for Sweden as such leaders can only cause further protests and injury to life and property. 


He is the man who has incited violence in Sweden against Muslims and can be pinned responsible for protests around the country. He has been convicted previously under section 66-B of the Danish Penal Code in 2019 for expressing racist views and has also been convicted in 2020 for 14 offences which involved a 3-month imprisonment, subsequently brought down to one month. Even after so many warnings, and an imprisonment term, he still practices racial violence. 

The website of the party has a section for membership requirements where under section 3 clause (2) it has been mentioned that persons must denounce Nazism, Fascism, Islam, communism and other violent ideologies. Clause (3) requires individuals not be active in any movement as mentioned under clause (2). These clauses have recently been omitted on the party page, because the leader himself is promulgating such activities within the country. These clauses clearly indicate that, at least initially, the party believed Islam to be a violent ideology. Today, however, the party is inciting violence itself.

Another major problem identified is with relation to selection of members in this party. The members are not elected by a body; it has been pointed out that, Rasmus Paludan himself nominates members. The logical problem that flow is someone who is an Islamophobe will choose and would want people who would further his objectives in the future. Though he has been banned from entering Sweden for 2 years, his party workers have incited several incidents of violence lately. 


The Sweden Democrats who are the right-wing party in Sweden won 18 per cent of the seats which was five per cent more than what they had won in 2014. This party is rooted in white supremacy and Neo-Nazi movements specifically targeting Muslims in the country. Stram Kurs also associates itself with such parties and commits acts such as burning of Quran while advocating for anti-immigration laws for anybody who is not from the Western countries. 

If such parties come into majoritarian power the constitution as a document may fail to apply to a beautiful country such as Sweden. Article 2 of the Constitution advocates for public institutions combating discrimination if persons based on religion, race or caste. It also states that religious minorities will be promoted to develop a cultural and social life, these minorities will also be given attention and their environment will be preserved. 

If right wing parties come to power such rights will be taken away from Muslims and hence the basic structure of the constitution will cease to exist. 

Stockholm, Sweden | Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
Stockholm, Sweden | Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash


The United Nations has time and again reiterated the importance of non-discrimination in society and has documented this concept under various statutes. In fact, under Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) it is mentioned that persons can enforce and avail rights irrespective of their caste, language and religion, among other factors. Article 18 also refers to freedom of religion, as well as practice and teaching of religion alone or within a community. 

In fact, Antonio Guterres has stressed that, “the right to freedom of religion or belief is firmly trenched in international human rights law and is a cornerstone for inclusive, prosperous and peaceful societies”. 

Though the actions committed by the right-wing parties are supposed to increase jobs for their own people and reduce asylum seekers dependence on government resources, this objective cannot be achieved by committing human rights violations and outwardly insulting and persecuting one religion in the country. 


Having understood the situation prevalent in Sweden and the International Human Rights violations associated these are the following recommendations for future survival of Sweden:

1) The parties standing for elections must in their manifesto and their member requirements write that their party denounces concepts such as Nazism and if parties break this promise the election commission must not allow such parties to contest elections. 

2) Section 66-B of the Danish Penal Code imposes a maximum of two years sentence on people who incite violence or pass racial remarks. The punishment must be increased to at least 5 years to act as a deterrence where people due to heightened punishment may refrain from committing such acts. Anybody found to pass such remarks or incite violence must be imprisoned for minimum one year where no suspension of sentence will be allowed. 

3) The election norms of Sweden need to be re-thought as right-wing parties have made use of loopholes to contest elections time and again. The waiting period in elections must be followed by all parties. 

4) Lastly, parties inciting racial violence must be disbanded because they are poking at the very basic structure of constitution which grants equal opportunity to all and ensures respect to minorities especially. 


The problem erupting in Sweden is just the start of the domino effect. If it isn’t dealt with the utmost urgency the entire country as we know it may be wiped out. Racial violence or anti-immigration laws is just the beginning of a long war between white supremacists and other citizens. The country needs to urgently bring about the recommendations highlighted above which will help ease the tensions between the right-wing parties and the minorities.


Author: Nikhilesh Koundinya is 3rd year law student at Symbiosis Law School Pune. He takes a keen interest in research, litigation and world politics. Over the course of his college life, he has authored several papers and articles on various legal and socio-political topics. His hobbies include participating in Model United Nation competitions (MUN) and parliamentary debates, and working out at the gym.


All views presented in the article belong solely to the writer. The editor does not support or condemn the views, and neither does The Global Telescope. The Global Telescope remains impartial and promotes every individual's right to freedom of speech and expression while not holding any responsibility for the views presented whatsoever.


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