Tag Archives: immigrants

The path to diversity is rarely smooth! – News and views on immigration

I have been writing in my blogs about integration, immigration, assimilation and many other issues which have to do with the multi-cultural aspects of life in Sweden and the reality of the Church in Sweden.

Below you will find articles and links that will help you get some understanding from a secular perspective as I browsed through many articles of “The Local” which is an English edition of Swedish news. As you will notice, the path to diversity is rarely smooth! So here we go:

It’s as if we immigrants stink of rotten fish” When deciding where in the world to study and work, Nabeel Shehzad, an engineer from Pakistan, thought Sweden seemed like the perfect place. But that was before he began to encounter discrimination on a regular basis. READ »

Parents to face jail for child marriages. Parents who allow children under the age of 16 to get married in another country could face up to two years in jail. READ »

Sweden shutting door on refugees: critics. Recent decisions by Sweden to send refugees back to Baghdad and other war-ravaged areas have tarnished its reputation for welcoming victims of conflict, critics say. READ »

Immigration agreement for Greens and government. The Swedish government and the Green Party are to present a joint proposal on Thursday for new rules governing labour force immigration. READ »

Asylum system ‘stuck in Stone Age’. The Swedish Migration Board has proposed changing the “stone age” regulations for asylum seekers who have started families with Swedish nationals. READ »

The path to Swedish asylum: A smuggler speaks. Rami Abdelrahman travels to Jordan and tracks down the first link in the chain of an underground operation involved in the smuggling of Iraqi refugees to Sweden. READ »

UNHCR criticizes Sweden’s Iraqi refugee policy. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has criticized Sweden’s policy of deporting rejected Iraqi asylum seekers to the southern and central regions of their home country. READ »

Dutch ditching dykes for Dalarna. Hundreds of Dutch want to move to Dalarna and the county is using some innovative methods to assist in the process. READ »

Liberals call for compulsory citizenship classes. The Liberal Party has said it wants to introduce a mandatory course for all immigrants seeking Swedish citizenship. READ »

Immigrant girls and sex education – who knows best? Parents, students, or the state: who knows best? David Landes looks at the thorny issue of sex education and editorial reactions to a Liberal Party proposal aiming to bar parents from exempting their children, particularly girls, from classes. READ »

My views on sex and laws: READ

Foreigners can’t bank on Swedish ID. Foreign students continue to feel marginalized by Swedish society as a result of confusion regarding the issuing of Swedish identity cards. READ »

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We thank them that they came to Gnosjö! Will we, and the Sverige Demokraterna learn a lesson from this?

Yes will we learn from this? With the Sverige Demokraterna passing the 4% of votes which would give them a place in Riksdag after next election we don’t know what will happen with our nation, and our asylum- and integration politics.

Yesterday I wrote a blog about “Is Sunday morning 11.00 am the most segregated hour of the week among Christians?” and I addressed the way I have experienced the different Swedish and ethnic churches in our country who stay away from each other adding even more fire to the segregation issue.

Fokus magazine did a great job for the second year in a row to map out the reality of our integration praxis and politics. The sunshine story of the Gnosjö municipality is worth to be copied throughout our nation and SVD’s Per Gudmundson continues his thoughts on this. Of course we have to realize that the sheer demand of workers in the different industries in Småland adds to the openness of integration and hopefully assimilation. It would be interesting to hear from some of the Småländare how the assimilation process in regards to relationships, friendships, participation in church and other associations is going. Maybe we could even learn more from them!

A few questions to my readers:

  1. Personally I am very interested in hearing how church life looks like; is it as I described it and have experienced in the largest part of Sweden? And is it unjust to say that also in Småland there is segregation in the churches… I don’t know, please help me by responding!
  2. In regards to the situation in Botkyrka I wonder if integration is only measured by being part of the work force or is there true integration and assimilation besides the work place as well in new social networks with Swedes and new-Swedes?

To finish things of; the attitude as expressed by Lars Åke Magnusson as he received a diploma and flowers on behalf of the community from Fokus chief editor Karin Pettersson says it all: We want to them that they came to Gnosjö!

What a welcome to many of those who for many different, social, political religious and economical reasons have searched for a haven. By the way let’s not forget that between 1865 and 1914 over 1.2 million people (almost 20% of the Swedish population) left Sweden as emigrants to search for a better future and economical possibilities. Most of them; people between the ages of 15 and 35, crossed the ocean to the USA and there many were able to create for themselves new opportunities and a new future, many of these came actually from Småland… Life is interesting isn’t it? This is what we might call: life revisited!

That’s what I have for now, and this is the Way I see it!

John


Churches and Christianity bad examples of integration. Is Sunday morning 11.00 am the most segregated hour of the week among Christians?

I could not resist responding to the articles about Gnosjö, the municipality in Sweden which is best at integrating immigrants. See Dagen, Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and Fokus.

Every fourth citizen in that municipality is of foreign decent and employment rate among them is 62%, to be compared with the 42,7% average in the nation.

As I read the articles of the different papers reporting about this phenomenon I was reminded of the rather scaring reality of lack of integration as is found in the Christian Church in Sweden.

Most probably we find that 11.00 am is the most segregated hour of the week among Christians. With the rapid changes in our society and the influx of immigrants among us, many Christians from a number of African, Eastern Europe, Asian and South American nations have established themselves in our nations and have started many different ethnic churches to worship together and to meet the needs of fellowship they were (are) experiencing. While many of them (like in Gnosjö) are integrated in society, through jobs, schooling, and other social networks we find that, most often, the Swedish churches seemed to be places where time has stood still. The “middle class traditional Svensson church” which is still living in the midst of last century is still the face of Christianity to the outside world while our society has changed drastically!

My inner conviction is that the Church has to reflect the reality of society in which it is established. If there is one place where the walls between peoples and cultures could (should) be eliminated it should be the Church! If there is one place in our nation where bridges could be build between peoples and cultures it should be the Church! Jesus Christ has broken down the walls between us and God and us and each other, yet, so many of us Christians, all in our little groups and too often on the fringes of society seem to huddle together in search for security and cultural oneness instead of exposing ourselves to the tremendous manifold wisdom and diversity of God as expressed to the people whom He created in His image!

A church which does not reflect that reality and diversity is for me not a trustworthy church (unless located in places where there is no cultural diversity, or, when as exception if there is no opportunity to relate in each others language which can be the case with first generation immigrants).

In the Focus article mentioned above, the heading expresses it so well: “All are needed in Gnosjö”! If we in the Christian Church only understood the importance of this and were more inclusive and inviting to brothers and sisters and non-Christian friends from different nations we would not only help to create a home and haven for many people. We would (finally) become that colorful reflection and expression of God’s image and purpose where everyone is needed instead of being a bleak, pale and predictable religious entity un-relevant to the people in Sweden today!

That’s the Way I see it, what do you see?

John

PS The lack of integration goes both ways, but as inviting nation I think we should extend the hand of welcome, expand our hearts to them and open our homes! DS

The Jesusmanifestation which was held last Saturday on May 3 was one way to include them, a good start, but only the small beginning!