On February 21st, controversial Swedish politician Hanif Bali from the Moderate Party strongly criticized the ruling coalition for letting jihadist fighters take refuge in the country.
Bali criticized both the ruling Social Democratic Party and the Green Party for failing to produce legislation years ago which might have prevented the alleged terrorist influx.
He made his stern comments during a debate with Green Party spokesman Rasmus Ling.
“These [jihadist] trips have been happening for several years now, but you haven’t done anything,” Bali exclaimed. He also suggested that the time for action had passed and it was too late to rectify the situation.
“I believe we should make it as difficult as possible for them to come here. They have actually lost of the right to call themselves Swedes”, Bali told national broadcaster SVT.
He also put some of the blame on his own party as well, criticizing former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
“Are you ready to take responsibility?” he asked Ling.
“Sweden has become what Argentina was for the Nazis. Only, after World War II, they actually introduced retroactive legislation and got the Nazis sentenced. Had [the Swedish government] been in power then, no Nazis would have been convicted.”
He compared Sweden to the post-World War II situation in which large numbers of Nazi officials fled to Argentina to avoid prosecution. According to him, ISIS fighters were allowed to do the same in Sweden. SVT, the channel that aired the debate, also on December 18th reported that approximately 150 ISIS fighters are currently living in Sweden, none of them being sentenced.
SVT’s survey showed that Around 300 people have since 2012 traveled from Sweden to join IS or other violent Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq. Of these around 150 have returned to Sweden.
Gothenburg, Stockholm, Örebro, Malmö and Borås are among the five municipalities that have the most IS travelers and SVT conducted a survey among these municipalities to find out how many of the returnees the municipalities are familiar with.
The answer is that the municipalities only have knowledge of a maximum of 16 adults and 10 children.
In response, Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, ran an opinion piece by columnist Jonna Sima, who called Bali’s choice of words unethical and urged Sweden to “increase its support to foreign fighters” following the fall of the ISIS caliphate.
The Iranian-born MP Hanif Bali seems to be satisfied for causing a stir, as he appeared to celebrate his popularity on Twitter.
Efter varje SVT Opinion uppstår det en märklig tystnad… sen kommer reaktionerna såklart.
— Hanif Bali (@hanifbali) February 22, 2019
He has caused controversy in the past as well, after in 2016 called the prophet Mohammed with strongly derogatory terms, which may be found on his Twitter.
— Hanif Bali (@hanifbali) December 26, 2016
In August 2018, Hanif Bali declared war on Dagens Nyheter, a very popular Swedish daily media.
“Call of duty Hanif & DN at war”. Vad ska han göra med vapnen? Onödigt fientligt budskap mot media oavsett vad han tycker om dem. pic.twitter.com/rYENOp2MDT
— Elsa (@LaGirmay) August 21, 2018
“”Call of Duty Hanif & DN at War”. What should he do with the guns? Unnecessarily hostile message to the media regardless of what he thinks of them.”
The original post by Bali on his Instagram has since been deleted.
He also mocked that DN was upset about pictures of a shooting range with weapons, he also published a picture of himself with an AR-15.
Ser att DN är upprörda över att Skyttedal poserar med vapen. Tänkte ge dem en hjärtinfarkt med att posera med en AR-15. Riktigt fin skyttebana hos Högsätra skola F-9. pic.twitter.com/6odQmIVsn4
— Hanif Bali (@hanifbali) August 17, 2018
His post caused mixed responses, and he responded that he was sorry it caused such controversy, and that shooting at a shooting range is similar to football and other sports part of Swedish society’s life.
Beklagar verkligen att bilden gett sådana associationer, det ville jag verkligen inte ge. Poängen är att svensk skytte, precis som innebandy och andra sporter är en del av svenska föreningslivet. I detta fallet råkade skyttebanan ligga i källaren till gympasalen till en skola. https://t.co/CC43i4VLcx
— Hanif Bali (@hanifbali) August 20, 2018