Muslim groups complained about the government’s implementation of anti-terrorism laws.
In February the Swedish Muslim Organizations network complained the government did not take discrimination against Muslims seriously. The organization submitted a report to the UN Racial Discrimination Committee with examples of acts of intolerance against Muslims related to anti-terrorism laws and misperceptions of some Muslim religious practices. The examples included a ban on newscasters wearing headscarves on public television and religious-racial profiling in the application of anti-terrorism laws. The Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag, previously had commented that lack of knowledge by the social services sometimes led to possible discrimination, and the government took any discrimination against Muslims seriously.
In April law enforcement officials granted permission for a mosque to make a public call to prayer from its minaret. This was the first time a mosque was granted permission to do so.
The Malmo police hot line for victims of hate crimes, established the previous year, continued to operate. Several local police authorities provided training aimed at detecting hate crimes when complaints were filed. Representatives from the hate crime unit visited high schools to raise awareness of hate crimes and how to report them, and encouraged more victims to report abuse. Information for victims of hate crimes was available in several languages, and local authorities provided interpreters to facilitate reporting. Unit representatives noted that many victims chose not to report incidents due to privacy concerns, however. In January a man in Malmo was convicted of a hate speech crime for giving a Nazi salute in a public park. This was the first time in three years that a Malmo resident was convicted of a hate crime.
In June the Supreme Court passed down guidance to lower courts about implementation of a clause in the education law specifically stating religious reasons were not valid justification for granting permission to home-school children. This was triggered by a 2012 appellate court decision approving a permit for an Orthodox Jewish family to home-school their children based on social reasons. The Supreme Court ruled the stated social reasons were not enough to grant a continued permit.
In March public prosecutors announced they had stopped investigating the September 2012 attack against the Jewish Community Center in Malmo, stating there was no evidence to consider it a hate crime or related to anti-Semitism.
On August 27, the country celebrated the first Raoul Wallenberg Day in memory of the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from being sent to concentration camps during the Second World War. A young Iranian Swede from Malmo, Siavosh Derakhti, who started the movement called “Young Muslims against anti-Semitism,” received the first Raoul Wallenberg Prize, awarded for combating racism and increasing understanding among different groups.
School sponsored visits to Holocaust sites such as Auschwitz were common educational tools. Students participated in such trips regardless of religious background. The Living History Forum, a government agency, estimated that 10 percent of all primary and secondary school students had visited a Holocaust site as part of their education.
The Living History Forum, together with the Association for the Survivors of the Holocaust, continued its Tell the Future project, which aimed to carry on the memory of the Holocaust by having survivors tell their stories to people between the ages of 17 and 35. The forum prepared a project for teachers based on Raoul Wallenberg’s story.
The Muslim community remained divided over whether certain anesthetic methods of stunning animals before slaughter required by the law conflicted with halal requirements. The Jewish community reported that the strict laws effectively prevented the production of kosher meat. Most halal and kosher meat was imported.
Some Jews and Muslims stated that the law on male circumcision interfered with their religious traditions.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency cooperated with religious communities on a national level to promote dialogue and prevent conflicts leading to anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic incidents. Several seminars and inter-religious dialogues, took place throughout the country.
In September the government announced a 10.5 million Swedish kroner (SEK) ($1.6 million) increase in funding to religious communities for 2014-2016. The extra funds were intended to support increased venue costs and faith-related services in the health care system. In 2012, 60 million SEK ($9.4 million) were distributed to religious communities.