Calls for tougher refugee rules following Stockholm terror attack

World Today

Sweden

Swedes are returning to work after a weekend of mourning. Parliament observed a moment-of-silence in memory of the victims of last week’s terrorist attack. But will Sweden reconsider its liberal immigration policy?

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

Calls for tougher refugee programs following Stockholm terror attack

Swedes are returning to work after a weekend of mourning. Parliament observed a moment-of-silence in memory of the victims of last week's terrorist attack. But will Sweden reconsider its liberal immigration policy? CGTN's Guy Henderson reports.

Work has begun to move on from this attack.

Emotions are still raw, but even those nearly caught in the attack show little anger.

Police said the prime suspect is a failed asylum seeker – named by Swedish media as 39-year-old Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov.

There seems little appetite in government to react too strongly to that news.

“We mourn with you and for all victims of this tragic attack but we make this pledge: we will never give into violence, we will never let terror prevail. Stockholm will remain an open and tolerant city,” Karin Vanngard, Stockholm Mayor said.

But calls for a tougher approach have been gaining traction in a country that’s welcomed more refugees per capita than any other European country.

A poll in late March showed the right-wing Swedish Democrats as the country’s most popular party.

“One part of us wants to be angry and bitter, and say: didn’t we say this? Didn’t we warn you? Why haven’t you listened to us? Why have you treated us in this way? But that won’t help anyone to just go on like that. I think what we need now is to say: please, let us come together; let us fight the real enemy. We are not the enemy of Sweden,” said Julia Kronlid of the Swedish Democrats.

Some experts see a possible priority.

“It’s still not illegal to belong to a terrorist organization. That should have been remedied years ago. It’s a shame that it hasn’t yet,” Magnus Norell, a terror expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said.

Sweden had already begun to turn its back on some of its most welcoming asylum policies.

The response of one of Europe’s most liberal countries to these attacks is bound to bear influence on a continent-wide debate about how best to protect citizens, while also safeguarding the rights of those genuinely in need of help.