Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson slammed a Muslim-led disinformation campaign that has claimed Swedish social services are kidnapping children from Muslim parents.
The campaign, which has been going on since late 2021, claims that children are being forcibly taken from Muslim families in Sweden and has spread across social media channels.
“What we have now seen is an extensive disinformation campaign against Swedish social services. It is systematized. It began in 2021 and is often about families who spread and receive help to spread films and images that claim that social services in Sweden kidnap children of Muslim origin in Sweden,” Prime Minister Kristersson said Friday, newspaper Aftonbladet reports.
“This reaches many other countries and spreads the impression that Sweden systematically discriminates against families. This campaign has now taken off again,” he said.
The ongoing campaign, which took off on platforms like the Chinese-woned Tik Tok, has led to threats against Swedish social services workers, with cities like Gothenburg taking the threats seriously.
In at least one TikTok video on the subject, Islamic jihad and martyrdom were mentioned, with the video maker stating: “We talk from sharia. You have to secure, whether you want to or not, you have to secure your wife and your daughter somewhere. Then return here. Look, either you take your children back or die as a martyr.”
“It’s a threat to democracy,” Ing-Marie Larsson, head of the Nordost social administration in Gothenburg, said in November. “I’d say it’s really serious.”
Prime Minister Kristersson said that his government would look to increase penalties for threats and violence against public officials
“Sweden and social services do not kidnap children, neither Muslim nor other children. On the contrary, I am afraid that there are children who receive less support and help than they need,” he insisted.
The Swedish government has also proposed additional resources for the National Board of Health and Welfare to combat the disinformation campaign, as well better protecting the personal information of public sector employees.