In an effort to keep Muslims from moving to their town, a politician joined forces with local farmers to hatch an incredibly contentious plot that they believe is sure to keep Muslims from moving to their city. Does this go too far?
Europe has exceeded the initial projected estimate of migrants they expected to resettle from Middle Eastern countries. Since most of these immigrants are from Muslim-majority countries, a clash of values has ensued in many of these once culturally homogeneous nations. Subsequently, some Europeans are responding by taking extreme measures.
In the rural Swedish town of Gullberg, citizens took notice of the immigration policies of their urban neighbors. Deciding that they didn’t want to emulate the vast majority of heavily populated Swedish cities by welcoming in throngs of mostly Muslim immigrants, the town’s leadership conspired with concerned locals, concocting an unconventional plan to ensure that not one Islamic immigrant would want to settle in their municipality.
According to The Local, anti-immigration protesters have joined forces with politician Henry Sandahl of the Countryside Party (Markbygdspartiet) to deter Muslim migrants from settling in their town by incentivizing pig breeding on local farms. Not only are residents encouraged to raise swine but also Sandahl has supported a plan to build a pig farm next to an asylum center in a desperate attempt to convince Muslim refugees from staying in Gullberg.
“You know that Muslims are not friends with pigs,” Henry Sandahl said.
Although the city had planned to build a new immigration center, it has been met with strong opposition from angry residents. In a letter to the Swedish Migration Board, some citizens have threatened to begin breeding the animals near establishments that house Muslim migrants.
The note, signed by what described itself as the “interest group for Gullberg’s survival” said that it was trying to create a “probably impossible situation for some religious people, especially Muslims,” according to Sveriges Radio.
However, Swedish religious experts have denounced Sandahl’s claim as well as the protesters’ vows, suggesting that this deterrent is likely to backfire.
“This is nonsense and shows just how very little they know about Islam,” said Åke Sander, Professor of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg.
“It is one thing when Muslims try to stay away from pork, alcohol or gambling but there is nothing [in the Koran] that says you cannot be near pigs. This is a last-ditch effort when they [the campaigners] have no arguments left,” he told the TT news agency.
Others opposed to the campaign not only voiced their outrage but devised their own plan against the protesters. Former Moderate Party politician Carl Göransson suggested producing “a gigantic garbage dump” next to the asylum center in order to create foul-smelling winds, which would apparently blow in the direction of angry citizens.
Despite the citizens of Gullberg fighting the influx of refugees, the Swedish Migration Board has announced that it will more than triple the maximum number of residents settled in immigration centers from 200 to 650. Swedes also do not expect the inflow of migrants to ebb anytime soon.
Sweden is widely divided on the subject of immigration. Until politicians can cross the aisle to formulate a resolution that works for everyone, it is likely to remain as such.