Sweden raises terror threat level

In the wake of several Koran burnings in Stockholm, angry protests have broken out in Muslim-majority countries. The terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda has now called for attacks on Sweden, which raised its terror threat level to high yesterday. Commentators are at odds over the measure.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

A toxic mix of racism and useful idiots

It shouldn't have come to this, criticises Aftonbladet:

“Quran burnings should have been banned a long time ago because they are a hate crime against the Muslim minority. Now they have instead become an instrument of the far right's anti-Muslim campaigns and a way of raising the level of conflict in society. ... In this toxic mix of racism, useful idiots in Sweden and attempts by foreign powers to exploit all this to their advantage, Swedish embassies have been attacked and our interests abroad have been severely damaged.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

No concessions to fundamentalists

A ban on Koran burnings would bring other bans in its wake, Dagens Nyheter warns:

“This means that if we allow ourselves to be intimidated into silence, Sweden will have to restrict more than freedom of expression. Those who now point to Sweden as a target will not be satisfied until the rights of women and LGBTQ persons are also curtailed. A free society cannot and will not go down this path. Instead, Sweden should stand firm on the values we cherish. Sweden is - regardless of the critics' claims - one of the best and freest countries in the world for Muslims to live in. Concessions would make Sweden a less free country - also for Swedish Muslims.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Fear as a means of upping the pressure

Svenska Dagbladet puts its hopes in the competence of the security authorities:

“The problem is that the mere word 'terror' triggers something in the human brain. No matter how unlikely it is to happen, how important the democratic principles at stake, or how crucial the call for reason to prevail, it hits you right in the pit of your stomach. Fear. About what could happen and how far most of us are prepared to go to protect our loved ones. As the prime minister says, these are dangerous times. Perhaps the most reassuring aspect is the thought that the Säpo [security police] wants to send a clear signal to authorities and other businesses to take action in the face of growing threats.”