08 September 2018

Sweden 'naive' about integration: ex-Peshmerga Swedish MP

Sweden's "naive" approach to integrating asylum seekers has opened the door to the far-right, an outspoken lawmaker told AFP ahead of elections expected to see the country's once-marginal anti-immigration party make gains.

Amineh Kakabaveh is an Iranian Kurdish ex-peshmerga fighter who sought asylum herself in Sweden in the 1990s and has been a member of parliament since 2008.

She has been a vocal critic of Sweden's handling of the 400,000 asylum seekers taken in since 2012, including 160,000 in 2015 alone, the highest number in Europe per capita.

Sweden is "increasingly divided", said the 40-year-old politician, whose views have earned her enemies among her own formerly-communist Left Party who accuse her of stigmatising immigrants.

Yet Kakabaveh is ruthless in her criticism of Sweden's shortcomings on integrating immigrants, giving it a failing grade.

"We have been naive. We have not been brave. We had no plan," she said, adding that this has enabled a rise in "fundamentalism" in Sweden's suburbs that has fuelled the far-right. [AFP] Read more