This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Sweden shocked by arson attacks on three mosques in eight days
- Obama administration imposes additional sanctions on North Korea
Sweden shocked by arson attacks on three mosques in eight days
Scores of red paper hearts hang on the entrance to the mosque in Uppsala, as demonstrators stood outside, shouting ‘Don’t touch my mosque’ (Getty)
Over an eight-day period, mosques in cities across Sweden — Eslöv, Eskilstuna, and Uppsala — were torched in arson attacks. The words “Go home Muslim shit” were written on the main door of Uppsala’s mosque on Thursday, after someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the building. Nobody was injured.
The series of mosque attacks follows the surge in popularity of the “Sweden Democrats” party, a far-right anti-immigration party. (The phrase “far right” has different meanings in Europe and America.) The party won 13% of the vote in September elections, and recent polls put the party’s support at over 17%. In early December, the Sweden Democrats precipitated a government crisis by withdrawing its approval of the government’s proposed budget.
Prime Minister Dagens Nyheter Löfven said that:
I will never act in a way that would give power over the country’s development to a neo-fascist single issue political party that neither respects human diversity or Sweden’s democratic institutions.
Löfven called for new snap elections on March 22.
However, the three mosque attacks appear to have changed the country’s mood considerably. After the first attack, Löfven was able to reach a deal with the main opposition alliance, allowing him to avoid the snap elections without compromising with the Sweden Democrats.
The public appears to have a mixed reaction to the wave of xenophobia exposed by the arson attacks on the mosques. More than a thousand demonstrators took to the streets in Sweden on Friday to protest the spate of attacks on mosques, carrying a banner that said “Don’t touch my mosque.” On the other hand, some online forums saw some Swedes praising the arson attacks. The Local (Sweden) and AFP and Deutsche Welle
Obama administration imposes additional sanctions on North Korea
President Obama on Friday for the first time formally accused North Korea of being responsible for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures. Also, for the first time, Obama signed an executive order applying new sanctions specifically in retaliation for the cyber attack. Obama had previously promised a “proportionate response” to the attack. The executive order “is a response to the Government of North Korea’s ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment,” according to the White House.
There are already in place numerous sanctions against North Korea related to its development of nuclear weapons, and so the new sanctions are not expected to make much of a difference beyond their symbolic significance. White House and USA Today