Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson
Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson

Greater Gothenberg Police Chief Erik Nord’s suggestion to deport migrants who support ISIS was rebuffed by Sweden’s Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, who referred to “freedom of speech” and the likelihood that the deported refugees would be persecuted in their native countries if sent back. He also ordered Nord to “explain” himself.

Two days following the deadly terror attack in Stockholm that killed four and injured several people, the police chief wrote: “Not because it would have prevented Friday’s attack but surely we should be able to withdraw Swedish residency rights from people who support violent extremism.”

Johansson, however, criticized Nord’s suggestion as “problematic” and demanded for the police official to “explain himself”

The minister explained: “We have freedom of speech in Sweden. This means people have the right to hold repulsive opinions here. But there are always limits… For example when it comes to hate speech.”

He stressed that migrants who were issued residence permits are in the country because they require protection. Johansson, who belongs to Sweden’s Social Democratic Party, cautioned that  “there is a risk [migrants who support violent extremism] could face persecution if they were sent back”.

“We should be able to tell non-citizens who are going around proposing the nation become a totalitarian state, be it political or religious, that they have to go back home where they belong,” Nord said during an interview with the Gothenburg Post Sunday.

Greater Gothenberg Police Chief Erik Nord
Greater Gothenberg Police Chief Erik Nord

He mentioned how the government, at present, can only expel people who conduct or finance terror activities. Nord maintained that Sweden needs to be able to deport individuals who declare their support for violent extremist organizations.

“Sure there are going to be people who say ISIS is great and that religious extremism is fantastic,” he told the newspaper. “But then I don’t think these people should be allowed to stay in Sweden where they are bankrolled and have their lifestyles paid for by the government.”

He added, “Islam itself is not extreme, but there are forms of Islamism and jihad which are causing problems.  At this point in time, we know that there are many people going around and giving lectures in support of this sort of extremism. I just don’t think it’s fair.”

The police chief said further, that his agency receives information about Islamic preachers “all the time”.

Nord continued: “It’s disgusting that we allow bad people to canvass here, waving ISIS flags. It’s an insult to those who have fled from Islamic State.”

Explaining his standpoint, he stated to Expressen: “I realise that the things I’m saying here could be read as political statements. But we’re living in a new reality now in which, sometimes, it’s important that we be allowed to talk about things we observe.”