March 6, 2020
Oh, you don’t like living in an Islamic country? Maybe you should leave Sweden for a non-Islamic country.
Oh, every country is Islamic now? Maybe you should make your own country.
Oh, you can’t make your own country because there is no extra land? Maybe you should build a spaceship and colonize Mars.
Two Muslim women with opposing views on a headscarf ban in schools clashed in a fierce TV debate in Sweden. The teacher told the politician that people uncomfortable with the veil should just leave the country.
The heated exchange between Naouel Aissaoui, a school teacher in the Swedish municipality of Skurup, and local politician Loubna Stensaker Goransson was over a ban on veils in public schools, which Goransson and other council officials enacted in December. The decision angered many educators, and Aissaoui is among those leading the pushback.
“Move away if it annoys you,” Aissaoui said during a TV debate after her opponent said she disliked seeing little girls wearing the veil. “This is my country, too.”
Both women are Muslim and of immigrant background, but have opposing views on what the headscarf represents and whether it has a place in modern Sweden. During the debate, Goransson said people could not expect to “come to a country that is secular and equal and live with medieval values.” She sees the controversial piece of clothing as a tool of oppression and sexualization of little girls, and not as a symbol of purity and goodness, as Aissaoui does.
The televised clash over the Skurup controversy was a microcosm of a larger debate over immigration in Sweden. The rapid influx of migrants put a strain on the country’s welfare system and a surge in crime as ethnic gangs wedged their way into the shadow economy. There is also a strong sentiment among many Swedes that the newcomers have no intention of integrating culturally and would rather isolate themselves in their own communities than adopt the customs of their hosts.
But talking about the negative side of welcoming droves of asylum seekers is a challenge, since Sweden has long hailed its open-door policy towards refugees as a matter of national pride, which opened a window of opportunity for politicians, who previously remained on the margins.
The Skurup headscarf ban was pushed by the right-wing anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) party, which used to be a political pariah, but saw a rapid surge in popularity over the past several years. The SD has a majority in the municipality council and has found allies in people like Goransson, who is a member of the Moderates, to enact the headscarf ban.
The mere fact that they can only have the debate with two Islamic women is quite telling.
Why do you need to have an Islamic woman as your avatar against the practices of Islamic women?
It’s a sad state of affairs.
But I don’t really think there is any hope for Sweden. This is a national suicide.
Unless, of course, the Coronavirus sets us all free by bringing down the entire system.
Which is what we’re all hoping for.