The claim that the Swedish government is covering up immigrant crimes or Islamic crimes has appeared now and again in foreign media, from Fox News commentary on Ami Horowitz documentary to “comedians” like Pat Condell.
Pat Condell, in his video “Bye, Bye Sweden” states that the Swedish government covers up Islamic crimes, because there are no stats on the religious affiliation of criminals, and American commentators are baffled to learn that there is also no documentation of ethnicity, or as they like to call it, race, in crime reports or crime statistics.
Side note: Pat Condell, claims that Sweden is the “rape capital of Europe.” He may be right in the sense that Swedish women are much more likely to report sexual assaults, and that the definition of rape is so wide it might even classify Donald Trump as a rapist! The Local answers the question of if Sweden is the “rape capital” of Europe, or not.
You may already have understood why we don’t register religious affiliation or ethnicity in Swedish crime statistics, but if not, here’s a quick fresher on basic democratic rights:
Sweden has freedom of religion. This means that registering a person’s religious affiliation can only serve one purpose: infringing on that freedom in some way.
Swedish police should not care if a person is a Jew, Christian or Moslem. They should book the person, investigate them and if a crime can be proven, that person should face the Swedish court, which also should not care if the person is this or that religion.
The question of ethnicity is a bit more infested…
Slavery was formally abolished in Sweden in 1335, although there have been periods of slavery after that date. This means we don’t have the same kind of ethnicity based discussions some countries still have. We don’t think of people as this or that “race”. In other places where slavery is more recent, a neglect to keep ethnicity at the center of discussions of discrimination might be seen as a sign of discrimination in itself.
Even if Sweden has a substantial immigrant population, these people come from all over the world, from Chile and Turkey in the 70ies, to the former Yugoslavia in the 90ies, to Syrians, Afghans, and Sudanese people nowadays. Just to mention the major immigrant populations.
Further taking into consideration that, with family immigration, there is a spread in age, and that a single country can never be homogenous so a few people from all over that country will say very little about the population in said country. The statistical foundation simply becomes shoddy at best.
Having a representative sample when performing statistics are fundamental if any conclusions or other extrapolations from said statistics is ever going to be meaningful or significant.
Using an insufficient number of individuals to represent a whole nation is probably the very definition of insular bigotry and racism.
So we don’t do it.
Having a government that registers its citizens’ ethnicity or religious affiliation is a much, much larger problem than not having access to substandard statistics.
After all, justice is supposed to be blind. It goes for ethnicity and religious beliefs just as much as anything else.