The Swedish prime minister has promised to outlaw neo-Nazi groups and other racist organizations, as well as boosting security for Jewish institutions in the country and improving Holocaust education, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The organization said Stefan Lofven had made the pledge in a letter on Saturday, in response to a letter sent by WJC CEO Robert Singer on May 1.
In the letter, Lofven condemned the local neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement and its “despicable” recent marches in the cities of Kungalv and Ludvika, adding that “it is a disgrace that the scum of history is rearing its ugly head today again.”
Citing insufficient legal sanctions on racist groups, the prime minister said the government would “shortly appoint a government inquiry to look into a ban on racist organizations and the criminalization of participation in such organizations.”
“Fundamental to this issue is ensuring that hate crime is highlighted and punished, and that physical security is improved,” Lofven said, adding that he has told defense authorities to survey online extremist propaganda to “strengthen the ability of society as a whole to fight it.”
He added that his government was participating in several initiatives to “improve the conditions” for school and other visits to Holocaust memorials.
It is also boosting funding for prevention of terrorism, he said, and police have mapped hate crime groups in key regions.
Another step announced by the Swedish leader was “doubling state support” for security at faith-based facilities — including installing surveillance cameras — and broadening the support to include Jewish institutions.
Last week, the wife of the Jewish community leader in the Swedish city of Helsingborg was stabbed and critically injured, in an incident alleged by the local community to be anti-Semitic.
However, the 29-year-old suspect’s mother said it wasn’t a hate crime and that he had been “targeting her randomly amid a psychiatric crisis.”
“Jewish life is an integral part of Swedish society,” Lofven said. “Wherever and whenever it is threatened or challenges, it will be defended. Of this, I assure you, there is no doubt.”