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Sofyan Aswad: ”We are open for multiple cultures, but close the door for those who do not fit in”

Why do we always have to talk about integration in Swedish society and classify people according to how Swedish they are? The consensus culture ought not to be excluding, on the contrary it ought to be including. But in that case we must think along new lines when it comes to integration.
Sofyan AswadSkicka e-post
Kristianstad • Publicerad 12 maj 2022 • Uppdaterad 12 maj 2022
Sofyan Aswad
Detta är en personligt skriven text i Mosaik Kristianstadsbladet. Åsikter som uttrycks är skribentens egna.
Sofyan Aswad, journalist Kb Mosaik.
Sofyan Aswad, journalist Kb Mosaik.

In Sweden there is a strong consensus culture in many areas. For example many people believe that everyone, regardless of culture and religion, can be included in Swedish society. That the multicultural recipe is good. But in reality a large group is not in agreement and says it is a threat to the fabric of Swedish society. Instead of trying to fight the variation in cultures, which is fundamentally firmly anchored in the idea of being Swedish, we should learn to turn it into something positive.

Sometimes it feels as if the Swedish community behaves as though it lives alone on the planet instead of thinking, as I believe, that a community with many cultures forms a beautiful tapestry, where everyone lives in freedom and accepts the beliefs of other people.

”I believe the beauty of our society lies in the fact that we are all different, like a lovely painting with hundreds of colours”
Sofyan Aswad

When Sweden welcomed immigrants from all over the world its aim was purely humanitarian. This is something everyone ought to bear in mind, both immigrants and people who have grown up in Sweden. It is not enough to welcome someone into your home and ignore their values, customs and traditions.

What is ”Swedish”?
What is ”Swedish”?Foto: Anders Robertsson

I applied for asylum in Sweden in the autumn of 2016.I thirsted for knowledge about this society, and that is still the case. Each time I hear a new expression I try to remember it to be able to use it in my daily life.

I don't mean that I am a linguistic genius, but I really want to become integrated in this community. But not at the cost of my background.

Naturally I expect the community to accept my appearance, my language, my origins and what I believe in as well.This does not represent a threat to Swedish society or Swedish culture. I believe the beauty of our society lies in the fact that we are all different, like a lovely painting with hundreds of colours.

”That would do much more for integration the present double standards”
Sofyan Aswad

You can become part of the Swedish community. This does not mean that you must love meatballs with lingonberry jam, dance round the maypole at Midsummer or start watching Donald Duck on Christmas Eve. But you must work hard to speak good Swedish and learn how Swedes behave – such as not speaking loudly in public places, only throwing small pieces of rubbish in litter-bins, not coming late to appointments, keeping your place in the queue, to take a few everyday examples.

All of this must be included in Swedish lessons for immigrants, to set out clearly what living in Sweden implies. That would do much more for integration the present double standards. We are open for multiple cultures, but close the door for those who do not fit in.