Christian migrants harassed, threatened in Swedish asylum centers

From Christian Daily

By Lorraine Caballero

Christians and other religious minorities are reportedly being harassed and threatened by Muslims in Swedish asylum centers, and campaigners are now calling for protection for the persecuted refugees.

The Swedish Evangelical Alliance revealed that a Christian refugee in Kalmar, southeastern Sweden, said one man claiming to have fought with jihadists in Syria threatened to slit the refugee's throat and slaughter him. The group also says some of the refugees are forced to move out because of the harassment, like a Pakistani Christian couple who sought shelter in a church after the husband received a death threat, Christian Today relays.

Refugees sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center for asylum seekers at Jagersro in Malmo, Sweden, last year.

Refugees sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center for asylum seekers at Jagersro in Malmo, Sweden, last year.

Jacob Rudolfsson, the deputy secretary-general of the Swedish Evangelical Aliance, has called for an urgent action on the situation. He urged the state to provide protection for Christian asylum seekers, and told Christian organizations to also move if the government fails to do so.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, wrote a letter on March 14 echoing Rudolfsson's request. He spoke of how fleeing Christians in the Middle East refuse to stay in refugee camps because of the persecution that awaits them there. Because of their situation, they cannot receive help from the United Nations, so churches step in and try to help them, Christians in Pakistan reports.

In response to Aphrem's letter, Swedish Migration Board director general Anders Danielsson acknowledged the problem, but said segregation would go against Sweden's principles and values. He said the board is working on a plan to improve the living conditions of asylum seekers and to move those who are being harassed.

Nuri Kino, founder of the campaign group A Demand for Action (ADFA), says the Swedish government has not yet done enough for the refugees persecuted by extremists. He told Christian Today about two women who are being threatened to convert to Islam and said the state still has not implemented concrete plans. However, he also said there are those working in the shelters who are doing something to address the problem in their own ways.

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