Islamophobia in Sweden: Muslim Advocacy and Hate-Crime Statistics

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Like elsewhere in Europe, Sweden suffers from under-reporting and methodological problems when it comes to recording, countering and defining Islamophobic and other hate-crimes that target religious groups. Statistics on the self-reported targeting of Islamophobic hate-crimes indicate much higher numbers than those reported to the police. This chapter provides an accessible overview to the existing data on Islamophobia in Sweden, contrasting official data with how Muslims in Sweden perceive their situation. The official data come from annual reports on hate-crimes and National Safety Surveys collected by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) from 2006 to 2012. To include Muslim perceptions we have primarily used the Swedish Muslims in Cooperation Network Alternative Report (SMCNAR). The latter provides information on how many Muslims perceive Islamophobia, inequalities and discrimination in contemporary Sweden. This chapter finds that it is necessary to pay close attention to the problem of how to define and measure Islamophobia in explaining the differences between the sources of data. While the official records seem to indicate that Islamophobia is a relatively minor problem, the SMCNAR paints a different picture. No matter how we analyse existing records, the fact that there is a gap between how minorities perceive the level of hate-crimes and how this problem is shown in the official records constitutes a problem. Without better correspondence between official records and the perceptions of a minority, the ability of government bodies to tackle the problem of hate-crimes in society becomes seriously limited.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoundaries of Religious Freedom : Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies
Number of pages14
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
SeriesBoundaries of Religious Freedom : Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
important example of how Islamophobic incidents can trigger support and a willingness to show solidarity with minorities and more vulnerable groups in society (Borell and Gerdner 2010). After the above incidents the Islamic Council for Cooperation 1 started a project funded by the Swedish Commission for Government Support to Faith Communities (SST) that, among other things, recorded and collected data on Islamophobia in Sweden targeting Muslims and Islamic institutions. The results of this internal documentation of Islamophobia, which includes information from the six largest Muslim umbrella organisations in Sweden, were published in 2014. 2

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

    Research areas

  • Brå, Hate-crimes, Islamophobia, Methodological analysis differences, Swedish Muslims

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