While Swedish researchers have brushed aside the idea of an Islamic takeover despite a dramatic demographic change, they admitted the rise of Islamist indoctrination and increasing tensions.
Among Iraqi Christians there is a widespread belief that many European countries, such as Sweden and France, have “naively” received too many Muslims from the Middle East and now risk an increased Islamic influence to the point of Islamist rule, the Christian magazine Världen Idag reported.
“You lose control”, church worker Layla (a pseudonym for security reasons) from Iraqi Kurdistan told the magazine. Among Christian Iraqis like herself, she said, there is a belief that Sweden will turn Islamist in the future, because of the large immigration from Muslim countries.
“We who have grown up here know what Islam is. It is not the people, the Muslims, that I warn about, but the ideology”, she said. “Although most Muslims don’t believe in jihad, they believe in Mohammad. They believe that all peoples should become Muslims and that there is a reward in heaven for those who bring people to Islam”. Layla urged European churches to “wake up”.
“If Islamists gain power, they will not treat you according to human rights, but according to Sharia law”, she stressed. “Love the Muslims, but be aware. Jesus says we should be cunning as snakes and innocent as doves”, she concluded, urging not to yield to any pressure. Pastor Basil (also a pseudonym), who has met thousands of Yazidis and Christians fleeing from Daesh*, recalled the Muslim concept of taqiya, a precautionary dissimulation or denial of religious belief. According to him, it is frequently utilised by radical Muslims as well to hide their true intent.
“This means that radicals ‘lie low’ and adapt to a more non-religious society to gain power”, he said, warning of sleeper cells ready for action, while acting to “take over” once a parliamentary majority is in place. According to Islamologist Rickard Lagervall of Lund University and Jönköping University, it is unlikely that Islamists would take over in Sweden any time soon, since they are a minority. Another reason is that Islamists are a divided group that includes not only Daesh sympathisers and jihadists, but also “puritan” Salafists who, he suggested, avoid politics. In addition, “ordinary” Muslims are a fragmented group as well, he stressed.
“Within the Muslim background group, many are not necessarily Muslim practitioners”, he stressed.
At the same time, Lagervall admitted that radical Muslims try to influence moderate Muslims to become more devoted.
The number of Muslims in Sweden has spiked dramatically in a matter of decades. In 1950, there were merely 500 Muslims in the Scandinavian country. Today, their share is estimated to have exceeded 800,000, amounting to 8.1 percent of the population, according to the Pew Research Centre.
A 2018 survey by the very same institution expected the number of Muslims in Sweden to reach 4.5 million, by way of demographics and immigration, prompting the Christian newspaper Dagen to ask whether the Swedish cross will be replaced by a crescent.
Aje Carlbom, associate professor of social anthropology at Malmö University, ventured it was an exaggeration that Islam will take over Europe. He stressed that many Muslims become secularised and thus have fewer children. At the same time, he envisioned clear tensions between Swedes and Muslim communities, especially radical ones.