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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Assyrian Christian Refugees Pursued to Sweden and Threatened by Islamic Militants

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2015 Oct 20
  • Comments

Assyrian Christian refugees who fled to Sweden to escape Islamic State violence are finding that persecution is following them.


Christian Today reports that many Assyrian Christian families who started new lives in Sweden have been followed there by Islamic radicals who have been threatening them.


Yusuf Asmar, an Assyrian Christian business owner who started a new life in Sweden said he woke up to find threats written on his family’s pizza parlor in red lettering. The threats read “convert or die.”


The local Assyrian association president in Sweden stated, "Imagine yourself having fled from persecution in a country and then to find yourself staying next door to ISIS sympathisers here in Sweden. It is everyday life for many people."


Many are comparing the Assyrian Christians’ plight to that of the Jews under the Nazis during World War II when Jews were threatened and their establishments were singled out with the Star of David.


"It feels extremely uncomfortable that this has come to Gothenburg, Sweden,” said Asmar. “There is no doubt that it is directed at me as a Christian and Assyrian... It feels like persecution of Jews in the 30s when Jews in Germany had Stars of David painted on its doors. Now it happens here."


Swedish authorities stated that there is not much they can do about the threats. Police inspector Bertil Claesson said that Gothenburg would need to establish a special task force to investigate the threats before they can be classified as hate crimes. 


"No witnesses or forensic evidence that can be traced, it is almost impossible to investigate such cases. The only possibility is if someone has seen something and we get tips from the public," Claesson said.



Publication date: October 20, 2015