Christian asylum seekers in Sweden, including those who have converted, are falling victim to violent attacks and the government there is failing to investigate, according to leading figures at the Swedish Evangelical Alliance and the anti-persecution watchdog Open Doors.
The plight of Christian refugees – attacked mainly by Islamist extremists – is highlighted in an article for the Assyrian International News Agency by Jacob Rudenstrand, the deputy general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance and Peter Paulsson, director of Open Doors Sweden.
In it, they compare Sweden to Germany, which reportedly saw nearly 100 anti-Christian attacks in 2017.
They write: 'A similar pattern of violence against Christian refugees afflicts Sweden, our own country. Compared with other European nations during the ongoing migrant crisis, Sweden, like Germany, has taken in a disproportionately high number of refugees of all faiths.
'While that is laudable, it has led to many violent incidents, as the hatred against religious minorities in, for example, Syria and Iraq has now migrated to Sweden.'
They point to examples reported in the Swedish press, including that of an asylum-seeker who had converted from Islam and was attacked when leaving a Pentecostal church in Karlstad on Sunday, February 11.
Another example is a Christian refugee from Syria who in 2015 lived at a refugee home in eastern Sweden. According to a local newspaper, a 26 year-old jihadist who was also from Syria and lived in the same refugee home, threatened to 'slaughter' the refugee and cut his throat and harm his family back in Syria. 'I fled the war to avoid this kind of thing,' he told police when they responded to the emergency call.
The man who threatened him was eventually sentenced to probation and fined 8,000 kronor (around £700) in damages.
However, the authors write: 'Despite news reports of such attacks against Christians, Sweden's government has launched no serious investigation.'
They point out: 'There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.'
The writers point to an Open Doors Sweden survey last year of persecuted Christian asylum-seekers nationwide. Some 123 reported that they had been subject to religiously motivated persecution. The 512 separate incidents recorded included death threats, sexual assaults, and other acts of violence. Most of the victims were converts and did not file police reports, while most of the perpetrators were other migrants.
The victims said they feared reprisals or assumed that the police wouldn't take any action.
More than half of all participants in that survey – 53 per cent – reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith, while almost half, 45 per cent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and six per cent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.
The articles states: 'The reaction both in the media and from government officials has been cool. The experiences that Christians have had with Sweden's migration officials have been far from positive.'