Indignation over Swedish minister wearing veil

Photos of Trade Minister Ann Linde wearing a veil during the signing of a trade agreement in Tehran have sparked a fierce debate in Sweden. Critics see Linde's compliance with Iranian law as unworthy. Swedish media, however, recommend a more nuanced approach.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Better to put your foot down at home

The fight for equal rights for women didn't have to be the government's top priority during its delegation's visit to Iran, Dagens Nyheter argues:

“Women should not be forced to wear any given piece of clothing. ... It's as simple as that. So what should the delegation to Tehran do? Show its opposition with bareheaded women? In that case there could have been no agreement or dialogue whatsoever. The laws of the host country are to be followed, whether you like it or not. ... Nevertheless there are many other forums in which the government can and must show its abhorrence of the gender apartheid in countries like Iran. Even here at home there is much to be done, not the least in the spreading 'suburb caliphates' where local patriarchs and fundamentalists oppress women.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Xenophobics faking feminism

The right-wing parties are using the justified criticism of Iran's gender apartheid as a cover for their own Islamophobia, Aftonbladet is convinced:

“Most of the attacks against Ann Linde have been shoddily disguised as feminist outrage. … But the driving force behind them seems to be hatred of Muslims. The story and the pictures [of the minister wearing a veil] are being circulated outside Sweden and incorporated into the fiction about the 'Islamisation' of Western Europe. It is sad to see these xenophobic groups which are usually brimming with misogyny trying to use feminism as a weapon. It's so dishonest that it's just embarrassing.”