- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
In a new low for Muslim-baiting, a Swedish political attack ad features a burqa-clad mob robbing money from an old lady with a walker.
Obviously, this ad is a testament to growing European fears of Muslim immigration — but it’s also a product of the global recession. As a counter shows the rapidly declining state budget, the elderly Swedish lady is overtaken by a throng of Muslim women, who are wielding baby carriages. The commercial ends ominously with one outstretched hand reaching for a lever that says "Pensioner," and another reaching for a lever that says (what Google Translate tells me is the Swedish word for) "Immigration." The clear implication is that there won’t be enough money for both.
There shouldn’t be any doubt that a dismal economic climate has exacerbated anti-Muslim sentiment in Sweden. Sweden’s far-right party secured 20 seats in the country’s parliament in general elections over the weekend, the first time ever that it had won even a single seat.