Serial hatred

By Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

The Swedish police recently managed to capture the so-called “lone gunman” who terrorized the immigrant community of the city of Malmö over the past year. Allegedly, in separate incidents, he shot to death one and wounded half a dozen other persons, all of whom were ethnically not Swedish. With the “lone gunman” off the streets, can immigrants be now safe in Malmö?

Regardless of whether or not the court finds any mitigating circumstances, on their face the gunman´s actions constitute a hate crime, by far not a new phenomenon in most societies. In hate crimes, victims are selected on the basis of their real or perceived membership in a certain (racial, ethnic or religious) group.

Judging by ever more intolerant rhetoric of even mainstream politicians, in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe, judging by the recent election success of the right-wing Democratic party in Sweden, it appears that the conditions for intolerance and hatred of others, especially against people perceived as alien to the society, are ripe. And with the capture of the alleged perpetrator, the phenomenon of hate crime is still on the loose. And so the question should be asked: can the immigrants still be safe, and very importantly welcome in Sweden? And the answer to that, unfortunately, is not so straightforward.