Muslim immigrant families protest Swedish agency for taking their children

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STOCKHOLM

Muslim immigrant families in western Sweden protested on Sunday against state social services for allegedly unfairly removing their children from their homes.

Protesters holding pictures of their children gathered in Gothenburg’s Gustaf Adolf Torg square and chanted slogans such as “Give us back our children”, “Our children have been taken from us, we have been victims of injustice” and “We want justice”.

Swedish authorities say children are removed from their families in certain circumstances, but have denied allegations of “kidnapping” and child abuse.

Mikail Yuksel, leader of Sweden’s Nuance (Partiet Nyans) party, told Anadolu Agency that he supported the protest and sympathized with the families whose children had been taken from their families, calling it a tragedy.

Yuksel said many people have asked for his help to have their rights protected by state social services. While dismissing reports on social media that Muslim children were taken away and given to Christian families as “rumours”, he said discrimination played a part in the process.

“The social services agency’s rationale for removing a child from a Swedish family is not the same as the reason for removing a child from a Muslim and immigrant family. Tremendous biases come into play for Muslim and immigrant families,” he explained.

A report has been prepared by the country’s Discrimination Bureau showing discrimination against immigrant families whose children have been abducted, he said.

Violence, abuse found, but state denies ‘kidnapping’, other allegations

Anders Ygeman, the minister for migration and integration, also said they were discussing the issue through dialogue with Muslim NGOs.

Ygeman also denied reports that Muslim children in Sweden had been “taken” from their families.

Sunday’s protest followed a protest last week outside Stockholm’s parliament in which Muslim families whose children had been abducted by social services accused her of mistreatment and abuse.

Separately, the city of Falkoping in western Sweden announced that it had terminated a contract with a company that provides childcare services and is responsible for removing children from their families, state radio SR reported.

The Swedish Health and Care Inspectorate said in a statement that it had uncovered alleged violence and sexual abuse associated with the company’s work.

Last Thursday, the Swedish Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, denied allegations of mistreatment and abuse of Muslim children by social services.

“A very aggressive rumor campaign is currently underway on various social media – in Sweden and abroad – alleging that Swedish social services are kidnapping, imprisoning and sexually exploiting Muslim children. This information is, of course, seriously misleading and the sole purpose is to create tension and spread distrust,” he said in a statement.

The statement adds: “The activities of Swedish social services are governed primarily by the Social Services Act, which is based on the principle of voluntary service. However, additional provisions of the Youth Protection Act make it possible in certain cases to decide on measures even without consent.

*Written by Merve Aydogan

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