Study Finds Migrant Voices

SWEDEN. A new study from the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm have been released. 6 516 persons in 54 municipalities participated.

One purpose was to explore how non-European migrants view integration and another was to find out the values of migrants depending on their country of origin and other background factors. The entire report can be read here in Swedish and World Values Survey has summarised it here in English. Bi Puranen, the leader of the project, has focused on that many immigrants are proud of being Swedish when interviewed by the media. But every time she failed to mention the comment about this result in the study: in some cultures it’s polite to answer yes to a question like that as to not offend the host.

The study shows that it’s important for immigrants to make their parents proud which affects their lifechoices, something that isn’t the case for the majority of Swedes. The same goes for how important you find religion. 88% of the Somali respondents said it was very important while only 8% of Swedes were of the same opinion. Or that 13% of Iraqis didn’t agree that men should have priority when it comes to work when the unemployment is large compared to 93,6% of Swedes.

Sweden are way up to the right, alone as our views are far from mainstream. Those who immigrate here are from the other side of the map.

And the differences in opinions are just as big when it comes to homosexuality, divorce, abortion, sex before marriage, men doing housework and more. When it comes to honour culture it was the respondents from Somalia, Afghanistan and Eritrea that accepted it most. 19% of the men and 18% of the woman agree completely that when a mother has a job the children suffers. As many as 29% of both sexes agree! About 10% of those who lacked education agreed totally that one should get to beat ones wife and children, but a huge number didn’t know what they thought. It’s easy to see how these differences can cause conflicts.

But what I found telling was the short interviews with immigrants in the study. This quote comes from a 47-year old Somali woman.

I haven’t got an education, but I have the strenght and I want to work. I could take care of children, work with cleaning – I know that. Or help old people at home. But I have no education. I learned to read here in Sweden.

When she gets old she want to return to Somalia as she find Sweden too cold. So why not return now and find a job there? Why wait 15 years? The Somali politicians are urging their citizens to return and rebuild the country. She also express the kind of naivity which I suspect is quite common among immigrants: that the constraints to get a job is low or even non-existent. But the truth is that she would need years of education to be allowed to do anything but cleaning.

And this is what a 31-year old Somali woman answered to the question what she would think if one of her children dated a Swede:

It might work if he or she is Swedish Muslim. But I would get disappointed if it is a Swede who doesn’t believe in religion or a Swede who isn’t a believer. But I might accept if my children would choose a Swede anyway.

Imagine if an ethnic Swede and/or Christian expressed views like that!

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