Kremlin Imitates Islamophobia in Sweden

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Propaganda is trying to pit Muslims against Western countries. Recently, the Russians have become very fond of stories about the burning of the Quran in Sweden.

For example, RT and Sputnik published a series of relevant articles in Arabic.

IN FACT, back in last February, after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden resumed the operation of the Psychological Defence Agency to counter disinformation and protect against fake news. Back then, Magnus Hjort, deputy director of the agency, said that “there is no immediate threat to Sweden, but we can’t rule out that Sweden can be attacked.”

In early August, Swedes began to receive anonymous messages calling for revenge for the burning of the Quran.

Stockholm believes that this campaign was approved by the Kremlin as part of the opposition to Sweden’s accession to NATO. After publications in RT and Sputnik, about a million posts appeared on social networks in Arabic and other languages stating it was official Stockholm that supported the burning of the Quran. The country’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson provided a legal and political qualification, saying that the act of burning the Quran was “legal, but inappropriate.” That is, there was no support. 

“Russia is undoubtedly trying to use the burning of the Quran in its propaganda, which is built around the idea that Western values are false, and the West is declining. In some media, the burning of the Quran has been used as evidence that the liberal Western world has gone too far,says Valentyna Shapovalova, Ph.D.-fellow at the University of Copenhagen who studies Russian propaganda and disinformation. 

She noted that for some reason, Russia did not use similar incidents in Denmark (which is already a NATO member) to launch propaganda campaigns, just like in Sweden.

In turn, Maria Brock, a researcher at the University of Malmö, notes that Russian disinformation spreads across Swedish social networks (for example, Flashback). According to her, narratives often disseminated by the Russian media are used to spread anti-Muslim sentiments.

Therefore, Western democracies really need to unite by creating an informal alliance — the so-called Information Ramstein — so as not to lose to authoritarian regimes. After all, Russia will continue cynically using all the democratic achievements and freedoms of the Western world for its destructive plans.

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