Christians and other religious minorities are being persecuted in Swedish asylum centres, and provisions must be made for their safety, campaigners say.
According to the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, one Christian refugee in Kalmar, south-eastern Sweden, was threatened with "slaughter", and having his throat cut by a man who claimed to have fought with jihadist groups in Syria. A Pakistani Christian couple moved into a church when the husband's name was sprayed on a wall near their room calling for his death. A separate group of asylum seekers in Kalmar were forced to leave their accommodation when their harassment escalated.
The Deputy secretary-general of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance [states]: "Basic protection should be provided by the state, but when the state fails to protect Christian asylum seekers, Christian organizations must take action."
In a letter dated March 14, Patriarch Ignatuis Aphrem II, Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, urged Swedish authorities to intervene:
"Christians do not live in refugee camps in the Middle East, because, there too, they are persecuted by Muslim extremists. Because of that, most of the time, they are not entitled to aid from the UN. We, the Churches and community-based organizations, are doing our best to help them.
"To witness that they are once more being persecuted at Swedish asylum accommodations make[s] us very sad. We expect the Swedish Government and the concerned authorities to immediately make sure that these people are safe.
Nuri Kino, founder of A Demand for Action (ADFA), a campaign group working for the rights of religious minorities in the Middle East, said:
"I believe it's not that the government or Migration Agency don't want to take action, it's just that it would be too much of a failure for the Swedish multicultural identity. It's too much to bear," he said.
"But until we get to grips with the situation, we need to make everyone feel safe. End of discussion. It's been debated too much, too many times, and it's enough now. We need to take action."
"It is obvious that we are not able to protect them at the existing accommodations," Kino said. "We cannot live on with the romantic idea of a harmonious mosaic of religions and ethnicity in our accommodations for asylum seekers, that time is past."
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