Representing the new guy - Macleans.ca

Representing the new guy

Tarek Al-Khatib, a Swedish immigrant, has formed a political party to represent immigrants’ interests

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Representing the new guy

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In reaction to the success of the Sweden Democrats, a far-right populist political party that in last month’s federal election won 20 seats in the 349-member parliament, Tarek Al-Khatib, a Swedish immigrant, has formed a political party to represent immigrants’ interests. Known as the Svartsk­alledmokraterna, or the “Wog Democrats,” the party’s aim is to challenge the Sweden Democrats’ anti-immigrant and anti-Islam platform. “We have to defend ourselves through greater political activity,” Al-Khatib told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, adding that Sweden’s shift to the right sends a “clear warning signal” to immigrants in the Nordic country.

That Sweden needs a political party that supports foreigners’ interests may be an understatement. In recent weeks, the country has seen a rash of shootings against foreigners in Malmö, the third largest city, where almost half the population are immigrants. They were the latest in a string of shootings over the past year in Malmö: 16 in total, resulting in numerous injuries and the death of one woman. Given the atmosphere of fear, the Wog Democrats appear to be gaining momentum: since its recent inception this month, the party says more than 1,000 people have expressed interest.