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Hate is always local: The Swedish city that said no to neo-Nazis

Submitted by on May 2, 2019 – 6:46 amNo Comment | 191 views

On an August afternoon in 1995, John Hron, a defiant anti-racist, was tortured and beaten to death by neo-Nazi skinheads beside a picturesque lake near his home town of Kode in Kungälv, Sweden. He was 14.

Neo-Nazis were gaining a foothold in Kungälv, an industrial borough of 20,000 people on the west coast, for the first time since the second world war. Sweden’s economy had stuttered in the early 1990s after a financial crisis and its politics were in flux.

Twenty-four years later, Sweden’s neo-Nazis are again targeting Muslims and Jews, buoyed by anti-immigrant sentiment in the country that has seen the radical nationalist Sweden Democrats make electoral gains.

After terrorists attacked two mosques in New Zealand in March, killing 50, the massacre was hailed by members of the so-called Nordic Resistance Movement, an openly Nazi group.

And today, 1 May, the group is marching in uniforms through Kungälv city, which it is targeting because of its historical links to Sweden’s war-time Nazis.
But Kungälv has changed over the past two decades. Galvanised by Hron’s murder, the municipality has developed a quietly successful initiative to prevent recruitment of young people by racists.

After the tragedy, Kungälv hired Christer Mattsson, a local teacher and researcher, to plan its response. He says the problem was not Kungälv as a whole, but small parts of it: “Hate is always local.”

So he and his co-researchers created the Tolerance Project, starting with Ytterby, a large school where the neo-Nazis were very active.

Source: The Guardian, Read full story

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