CHARLOTTE, May 29, 2013 – Travelers who have visited Sweden know it be one of the great undiscovered secrets of Europe. It is also one of the most liberal. Now, after more than a week of rioting, Sweden’s grand experiment in multiculturalism is providing a window into what the rest of Europe, and even the United States, could expect if current immigration policies continue.
Thanks to government policies which offer new immigrants free housing and social welfare when they arrive, Sweden has long been one of the world’s most popular destination for asylum seekers.
Sweden itself is a country of emigrants. In the southern region there is even an emigrant museum which is one of the best facilities in the world for genealogy research. Combined with its progressive philosophy Sweden has long had open-door immigration policies which, until recently, have been a source of national pride.
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, many immigrants have little education and are unable to find work in an upscale highly educated society.
Even under the best of conditions, integration into another society so culturally different from their own is a difficult adjustment for any nationality.
The unrest happening today in Sweden is similar to what occurred in the past in London and Paris, though most observers say it is to a lesser degree. .
Much of Sweden’s problem is the result of ignoring immigration policies that encourage the establishment of parallel societies within the country. With such open policies, it is understandable that Sweden would have a high density of immigration from a multitude of nations
With so many cultures entering the country, especially from Africa and the Middle East, immigrant societies have become increasingly segregated from Swedish society. As a result, areas known as no-go zones have arisen that make certain areas of major cities in Sweden, and other European nations, dangerous and off-limits for natives.
Some of the Islamic no-go zones now function within their individual areas by instituting Sharia law as their source of legal authority. Consequently these sections have become virtual islands of Islam within Sweden. These microstates are often self-governing to the extent that local authorities either cannot, will not or are not allowed to provide basic benefits such as police and fire protection or ambulance services.
As immigrant populations gain strength, they are becoming increasingly emboldened by asserting special rights and privileges throughout Sweden.
Much of the shock resulting from the recent incidents in Stockholm is the previously held belief that Sweden had mastered the difficulties of immigration. Given the natural Scandinavian propensity for a laid back lifestyle, Sweden had become a model for the rest of the world
As immigrant populations grow, they continue to raise questions about individual freedoms. Muslims in particular, desire to observe their own religion in a manner similar to that afforded any other faith in Sweden. It’s a valid point, but the difficulty lies in figuring out how to weave the complex intricacies of such radically diverse belief systems into a peaceful, cohesive community.
Just three months ago in Stockholm, Muslims were granted approval from the mayor’s office to sound public calls to prayer from the minaret of a mosque in the capital city. It is the first time permission has been granted for the calls to prayer in Sweden, but, since it has been given, it will not be the last.
The question then becomes, is Sweden merely adapting to the cultural requirements of Islam or are they being politically correct to avoid future confrontation?
The corollary to that is, why should Sweden, or any other country adapt, to the cultural demands of immigrant populations? If immigrant societies want their environment to be the same as it was in their homeland, then they should return to the place of their origin.
With such large numbers of immigrants taking advantage of the Swedish buffet of benefits, many Swedes are beginning to have second-thoughts about the sustainability of such an influx of outsiders and the multiculturalism the country has exhibited in the past.
Regardless of the Swedish desire to offer acceptance to immigrant societies, the dynamics of the proposition simply cannot support the demands.
England, France, Belgium, Germany and several other European nations face similar problems in the future. Not only are the problems growing but they are becoming more visible and more difficult to control.
Sadly, the violence in Stockholm may be an indication that the point of no return has been reached. Sweden’s liberal attitudes in the past may have finally caught up with them. The tragic flaw in their thinking is that they are unable to provide a welfare state for people who make no contributions to Swedish society and ultimately become a drain on the economy of the entire country.
Does any of this sound familiar? The rest of Europe should take notice, but the United States must pay attention as well because Sweden represents an ominous omen for the future.
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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) which offers tours and travel information for people who share his wanderlust spirit.
Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@magellantravelclub.com Taylored Media produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.
As author of The Century Club, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, NC.
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