Swedish police have walked back on comments made about the prevalence of religious extremism in “vulnerable areas” across the country, suggesting that there may have been a problem with radical Christian extremism.
The initial comments were made on broadcaster Sveriges Radio by Mats Löfving, head of the National Operational Department (NOA), in response to a question on whether or not Islamic extremism was specifically an issue in the “vulnerable areas” that are often referred to as no-go areas, Nyheter Idag reports.
Löfving suggested that the problem was not with Islamic extremism in particular but with extremists of all religions.
When the Sveriges Radio reporter asked if that included Christians, Buddhists, and others, Löfving said: “Yes exactly. Together with the security police, we see that different forms of recruitment, different forms of bringing young people towards extremist views are stronger in vulnerable areas than generally in society.”
Christian newspaper Dagen confronted the police over the comments and received a statement from press officer Katarina Friskman who walked back on the comments saying: “There is no direct Christian extremism to speak of.”
Swedish Moderate Party Calls for Arrests of ‘Morality Police’ in No-Go Zones https://t.co/vzp1Qui9lj
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Islamic radicalism in no-go areas has been highlighted by both politicians and residents of the areas alike. Last year, the Moderate Party even pushed for the criminalisation of so-called “morality police” operating in no-go areas, arguing that religious radicals were committing an “unlawful restriction of freedom” against women and others.
In 2017, several outspoken feminists in the Swedish capital of Stockholm complained of the influence of Islamic radicals in no-go areas like Tensta and Husby.
Nalin Pekgul, a feminist and former member of the Social Democrats, claimed that radical religious men had taken over public spaces and said she no longer went to the centre of the suburb saying: “In Tensta I am a known face and I have no desire to stir up trouble when I get harassed.”