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Does a 'PC culture' stop Sweden from talking about immigration-related policy issues?


STOCKHOLM (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Political correctness is nothing new.

But for some in Sweden, speaking out about certain policies can come with consequences.

Inside Your World spoke with dozens of people on the streets of Stockholm and Malmö.

The country saw a rise in asylum seekers in both 2014 and 2015 - during the height of the refugee crisis in Europe.

244,178 people applied for asylum status to live in Sweden during those two years, most of whom hailed from Muslim-majority countries according to data released by the Swedish Migration Agency.

Little over half were accepted by the government to call Sweden their new home.

Malmö, a city in the southern region, is connected to Copenhagen, Denmark by the Øresund Bridge.

The bridge, nearly 5 miles long, was used by many seeking refuge to enter into Sweden.

But by 2016, the country restricted it's borders.

Leading up to that year, stats provided by the government show a rise in violent crime.

But try to talk about those numbers, and some Swedes clam up.

Why in the last couple years has a rise in crime become an issue?

"I would like to say, but would rather not."
- woman paying respects at the Vårby gård metro station in Stockholm, where a man died after picking up an explosive device on a Sunday afternoon.
"I don't want to talk about it... people have personal issue[s] about that."
- woman living in Stockholm

Why are people hesitant to talk? Is it out of fear of being called a racist?

"Yes, they're afraid to lose their job. I can lose my job. But I am not so afraid."
- woman living in Malmö.

The idea of being politically correct makes it hard for some to express how they feel about the refugee crisis' effect on the country, and whether the increase in crime has anything to do with it.

But it's not hard for people to talk about the changes they've noticed in the past two years.

”It’s gotten tougher," noted Kirsten Smith, who lives in Malmö.

"But it has to do very much with gangs, and people who are not integrated”

Some people Inside Your World spoke with said the problem isn't about immigration, but integration of some newcomers calling Sweden home.

"There’s a problem that some people, they don’t want to integrate here from the Middle East,” said Isabella, who immigrated to the country almost 30 years ago from Romania.

Journalist Niklas Orrenius notes it's a delicate line.

"It depends on how you talk about it."

”I know there have been some, in my view unfair accusations of racism of people – who just want to bring up an important issue//but it depends. I mean if you paint all the Muslims with the same brush, of course I don’t like that either," he said.

While the Swedish government took the step to instill border checks after the influx of people into the country, most Swedes we spoke with said they want to continue their culture's rich tradition of welcoming those who need help, and a new home.

“Of course there is some problems, but they’re all welcome to Sweden"
- man living in Stockholm
"Sweden has a fantastic immigration system to receive the ppl and help them. So I am not touched in any way. I don’t see any problem honestly."
- woman living in Stockholm
"There’s an expression in Swedish, like, the middle way is the best way, and I think I’ll stick to that.”
- Man living in Stockholm

Whether or not that middle way solves the issues that some argue have come with a mass of refugees entering the country remains to be seen.

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