The Swedish Handball Federation is releasing a new pamphlet teaching Arabic migrants how to play the game in order to attract more of them into a sport dominated by native Swedes.
The Handball Federation is working to encourage new migrants who speak Arabic to get into the sport, which they say will aid in the process of integration. The organisation said in a press release Monday that by releasing the rules in Arabic, now the second most spoken language in Sweden due to the massive influx of migrants, the game will become more accessible to non-native Swedes.
The initiative is part of a 64 million Swedish Kroner (£5.5 million) programme the government has paid to the Swedish Sports Confederation to get more asylum seekers and migrants involved in Swedish sports.
Marketing manager for the European handball championships in 2016 Matilda Boson said: “We want to influence society positively and show a big heart and hands are all that is needed to play handball. The material in Arabic will live on after the championship and lowers the thresholds for a large group of newcomers to discover handball.”
Last year, 162,877 people made asylum applications in Sweden and the question of how to integrate the new migrants has been a difficult one for Swedish lawmakers. In migrant-dominated suburbs like Rinkeby television crews and other journalists have been attacked in broad daylight by migrants who police admit are out of control.
Police now say that there are over 55 “no-go” areas in which they feel they have lost control over basic security and many of the police have said they are unable to properly execute their jobs in these areas. Many police officers have already quit due to mismanagement and issues with wages and overtime hours while some reports say that up to 80 per cent of the police force are considering changing their careers.
In an opinion piece published by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, the organisers, along with a representative from the pro-migrant “Refugees Welcome” organisation, say the Swedish government shouldn’t just focus on jobs for migrants and language courses. They say that the Arabic booklet will “break down language barriers”; though, aside from the introduction, the booklet itself contains no Swedish.
The organisers hope to translate the rule book into many more languages in the near future including Somali as Sweden is home to one of the largest Somali populations in Europe.
The move to translate the rule book comes after an article penned by a teenage Syrian migrant in Germany that demanded Europe should also put all signs – from traffic signs to food labels – in Arabic to help new migrants. Teenager Aras Bacho said that migrants would have a much easier time learning laws and customs in Germany if Germans simply started writing and speaking Arabic.