In a latest attempt to dissuade migrants and refugees from settling in the Scandinavian countries, a Swedish national broadcaster has raised the challenges posed by frigid, dark weather conditions for dark-skinned people and Muslim women.
The darkness of the Nordic countries during the winter can lead to Vitamin D deficiencies for people with dark skin and "Muslim women who wear all-covering clothing," according to national broadcaster STV, as reported by the Sputnik International. The number of Muslims living in Sweden has been estimated at around 800,000 or roughly 8 percent of the country's population. At over 90,000, the Somalis are the largest population group from Africa living in Sweden.
Sweden, one of Europe's most liberal countries, took in more asylum seekers than any other European country per capita in 2015. Since then, worries over immigration have grown in the country, as it explains some of the Sweden Democrat's gains in the latest elections.
The rising anti-immigrant hatred has boosted Swedish far-right for elections. The Sweden Democrats, a party with white supremacist roots, won 17.6 percent, about 5 percentage points more than four years ago. It was the biggest gain made by any party. The Sweden Democrats' success follows a rise in popularity of other far-right parties in Europe amid growing anxiety over national identity, the effects of globalization and fears over immigration boosted by conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Tough measures against immigrants go against the grain for many in Sweden, a country of 10 million which once called itself "a humanitarian superpower" that generously welcomed migrants fleeing conflict.
The Sept. 9 election produced a hung parliament with the left-leaning side and the center-right bloc each securing about 40 percent, leading to months of complex coalition talks. Unless parties on the center-left and center-right break rank with their blocs, it is likely to be impossible to form a stable government without some kind of support from the Sweden Democrats, who want the country to leave the EU and freeze immigration. All attempts at forming a government have been without the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats. Other parties have refused to cooperate with the party despite its increased vote in the election.