Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Liberal what now?

On the one hand, I’m glad to see that the US isn’t the only country going nuts trying to protect itself from terrorism. On the other hand, the more I learn about the Liberal Party of Sweden, the less I understand—they won’t let you say neger on the radio, but they want teachers to rat out students to the secret police.

Säpo (the Swedish Security Service) to track schoolchildren.
Tracking of young Muslims who admire suicide bombers.
Teachers are going to be spies for Säpo in the hunt for Muslim extremists. That is the proposal of the Folk Party (aka The Liberal Party of Sweden).
The plan is being roundly criticized by teachers and the Minister of Education Ibrahim Baylan.
“It’s a completely absurd idea to have teachers spy on pupils” he says.
The controversial plan to have Säpo and teachers in Stockholm work together will be discussed at the Board of Undergraduate Studies next week, but the Board of Education has already “opened discussions” with Säpo.
“That the board is taking this step shows that it is obvious we were right: Muslim extremism is a threat to some students in Stockholm’s schools today,” says Lotta Edholm (fp).
Want to “map out the breeding ground”

The background to the proposal, which Edholm put forward together with her colleague Jan Björklund, is the terrorist attacks in London this summer where the perpetrators were very young. According to Lotta Edholm, there has also been evidence “for many years” that there are young Swedish Muslims who look up to and honor the suicide bombers.
According to Lotta Edholm and Jan Björklund, the aim of having Säpo and schools cooperate is “to map out the breeding ground for extremism.”
“We have imagined a form of information exchange: Säpo can alert the teachers about these groups. But the school should also be able to give Säpo important information about how young people think” says Lotta Edholm.
The Minister of Education, Ibrahim Baylan, is very critical of the proposal.
“This proposal is an example of the increasingly extreme school policy the fp is pursuing. Schools serve a democratic purpose and that requires trust. To force teachers to report on students doesn’t build any kind of trust” he says.
The proposal has also been criticized by both of the teachers’ unions.
“If it’s a question of a crime, that’s a police issue. It’s not the role of the teacher to be an informer and investigate students in one way or another” says Eva-Lis Preisz, the spokesperson for the Swedish Teacher’s Union.
Metta Fjelkner, spokesperson for the National Union of Teachers in Sweden, says that she is surprised by and upset about the proposal.
“I would not want to go around being suspicious that students are terrorists. If one suspects students based on shaky evidence and then adds in what Säpo has said, it can of course have lasting, devastating consequences for the individual student if you make a mistake” she says.
She is upset that the teachers were not consulted first.
“How can you just come up with this without talking to the professionals? It’s micromanagement for them to come in and say ‘now you’re going to do this’.”
Aftonbladet has been unable to reach the Director of Säpo, Klas Bergenstrand for comment.

1 comment:

boredoom said...

Now I'm wishing they lived up to their Swedish name "The Folk Party," and were more Guantanamera, less Guantanamo.

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