Tag Archives: integration

It is not the immigrants who should integrate… the church should integrate in society!

A lot can be said about McDonalds… In Sweden we have this love-hate relationship with this hamburger giant. There are voices about their products, their environmental involvement, their low-wages, their franchising, you name it and we will have something to say about it. At the same time there are a few things to be learned from this company. In an article in SVD Raymond Mankowitz, the director of communication of McDonalds said: It is not the immigrants who should integrate but the companies have to integrate into society. Quite a powerful statement! He addressed the inability of Swedish companies to integrate into the reality of the Swedish society which happens to be a multi-cultural society!

If companies have an issue in this regard… so much more has the Church in Sweden! Our middle class “Svensson churches” have a real problem to adjust to the reality of the 21st century and the society we live in… not only in regards to the questions it tries to answer and the issues it tries to address, but especially also in regards to be relevant to a multi-cultural society and context. Our churches as a whole, need to be integrated to the reality of our society… With this I DO NOT MEAN to compromise and to bring a watered down Gospel as a political correct ingredient of multiculturalism (which is very different from being multi-cultural!).

My prayer is that the 11.00 am Sunday morning segregation will be replaced by a multi-cultural in-depth integrated community of believers who celebrate the fact that Jesus broke down all the barriers between us and His heavenly Father and each other in a true spirit of togetherness!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

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Let’s secularize the Muslims! – Another way to meet the challenges of multi-cultural Sweden

Dagen and Svenska Dagbladet report about the new initiative of Lars Leijenborg, the minister responsible for college and university education in Sweden. The challenges in regard to integration of the Muslim citizens are growing and obviously there is a tremendous need to deal with these aspects of society as segregation continues grows in our nation.

The imams which are employed by the Muslim community are often schooled and supported by more traditional wings of Muslim believers, and are not always good examples of integration as they lack the ability to communicate in Swedish and show little interest in Sweden as a potential “home country”.

From a perspective of a practicing Muslim this is rather understandable; the far gone secularization within our society and the (in their eyes) normless and valueless way of life are truly a threat to the way of life as taught by them.

“The goal is not to have a reform of Islam” says Leijenborg, but let’s be honest, one way to steer away these groups from the feared radicalization of Islam is to secularize them! In the same way as our theological education has been influenced and adjusted to a politically correct perspective, so also will a state led imam education lead to a secularization of Islam.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not a supporter of Islam and its spread in our nation! But, we have to be realistic as we are a multi-cultural society; we have to give room for people and their beliefs as a consequence of their presence here.

If I were to name one of the strongest aspects of Swedish today’s society it is its ability to secularize everything and everyone! That’s not so strange… Some time ago I wrote a blog on a world values survey where Sweden ranked highest in these aspects. READ>

For now, I will not be fighting against the secularization of Islam, but will do everything in my power to remove the entanglements of secularization on the Church, the Body of Christ!

That’s the Way I see it!

John




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 »

Is Europe becoming a fortress of luxury protected by a silver curtain instead of an iron curtain?”

Years ago Lech Walesa former president of Poland and the winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Peace said “Europe could become a fortress of luxury protected by a silver curtain in place of an iron curtain.” Now many years later his prediction (prophecy) might come to pass as we start to see a sharpening of the immigration laws in the EU.

The public opinion in Sweden is slowly turning; the Sverige Demokraterna a party bringing together the people dissatisfied with the way things go in our nation and who are focusing on the closing of our borders for immigrants and to give support to those immigrants who want to leave, have for the first time in the polls passed the 4% vote barrier to be able to enter the national political scene.

As the statistics below show, for the first time we are approaching the 50% level where we conclude that it is better to have fewer immigrants in our nation!

In the proposals for immigration we are willing to open the borders for well educated people who are able to make themselves a living as they are offered a job. Notice that we say well educated people!

Sweden has in an agreement with the United Nations declared to be willing to receive a number of the most exposed and needy refugees in the world (1700 individuals’ theses are figures of 2005). However, in those days only 1200 of these were welcomed by Migrationsverket. (I cannot find the figures of the agreement of Sweden and the UNHCR for this year). Hundreds of families and individuals who have been proposed by UNHCR (UN’s refugee organization) have been declined. Notice that these people have gone through a screening process by workers of UNHCR who live on site!
Sweden has however increased its 2008 pledge to SEK 564,000,000 or approximately USD 89 million to support the work among refugees through the UNHCR, which is a 6% increase from last year.

My question however is: “Are we trying to buy off our responsibility by sending more funds to the UNHCR to take care of the unwanted, (read uneducated) refugees, while we as nation will welcome “the cream” of the crop?!

Integration potential…
Back to the most needy and exposed refugees….hundreds of the ones who were proposed by the NHCR were left behind because of tough Swedish requirements which are criticized by the UN and Amnesty. What are these tough requirements?

The whole idea of the UN is to have quotes in different countries to welcome those and give help to those who are in the greatest needs. Instead of looking at the greatest needs and follow the direction of the experts in the camp (who after all work with these refugees day after day), we find that some representatives evaluate people on basis of education, cultural adjustment, language ability, family circumstances and other unclear criteria. It is almost like a recruitment tour where the best potential refugees are picked out from the masses…

Who are the ones whom will be the greatest assets to us? Who will be able to integrate friction-free? Who will be able to be least of a burden to society? It is the survival of the fittest!

We show how inhuman our approach is to human life and human potential… Can human potential only be measured in economics? Can human potential only be measured in terms of strength and abilities and perspectives of integration potential?

We, together with the other countries in Europe are quick in developing our silver curtain to control and hinder the arrival of “Unwanted subjects”… Sad to say that we are rather advanced in our efforts to reduce the painful process of facilitating hurting people.

That’s the Way I see it!

John

The Swedish people’s attitude towards immigrants and racism 1993 – 2007 (percentage)

I agree completely or mostly with the statement below:

1993

1997

1999

2004

2007

There are too many immigrants in Sweden

52

48

40

42

39

Immigrants in Sweden should be able to freely practice their faith in this nation

41

39

41

40

37

I can think of being part of an organization which works against racism and enmity against immigrants

40

44

49

47

39

I would not like an immigrant from another part of the world to become married to one of our children

25

18

17

15

14

Another question was asked in the survey done among 3400 people, “Is it good to receive fewer refugees in Sweden?” 40% said it was good to have fewer, 29% thought this was a bad idea.



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