While reading about refugee children in Sweden, I came across a study by Ann Runfors which looked at the way that schools on the multicultural margins of Swedish society instil identity in those they teach. What Runfors found was that while the schools she visited worked hard to avoid emphasising the differences between people, with… Continue reading How anti-racism strategies can backfire
A short time ago I visited a Syrian family with a friend of mine. My friend is an engineer and had decided to help this family’s two sons with their maths homework. Our time with the family was lovely. We got there and the two sons were ready to get started right away. They started… Continue reading Sweden’s new class system
I grew up thinking that universities were places where ideas could be discussed, challenged, contested, and ultimately improved. I thought that they were places where anyone was welcome and where rigour of thought and evidence were valued more highly than political biases. In this marketplace of debates, I assumed that populism and partisanship would be… Continue reading Why silencing Jordan B. Peterson does little for our public debate
One of the interesting factors in the immigration debates that take place around Europe is how common it is that we end up making identity seem like something that is set in stone. Whoever you ask what it means to be Muslim, or what it means to be Swedish, they will usually describe something that… Continue reading Is identity fixed?
In my last post I mentioned the young men I spoke to who had converted to Christianity within the Church of Sweden. What I failed to mention was one young man, Amir*, who converted to Christianity, was then deported, but returned to Sweden a second time in order to seek asylum. Amir had lived in… Continue reading The one who got sent back
A recent op-ed by a theologian in one of Sweden’s largest newspapers describes the “religious illiteracy” with which the migration office here addresses the cases of asylum seekers who have changed religion since arriving in Sweden. He argues that as a country which has religious freedom enshrined in its laws, and a high value for… Continue reading Why are our migration officers “religiously illiterate”?
I wrote previously about two narratives that undermine the way in which we look at refugees: that they deserve help because they might be the next Steve Jobs, and that they should be viewed primarily as victims. In this post I will point out why recognising and celebrating the agency of refugees could be beneficial… Continue reading The agency of refugees
I found this video earlier today that tells the story of Habib, an unaccompanied refugee minor from Afghanistan who now lives in Britain. It reminds me of some of the young men I had the privilege of getting to know during the research for my master’s thesis. Many have experienced great loss, risked everything, and… Continue reading Dear Habib
There’s a lot of talk these days about belonging: who’s in and who’s out. Everyone seems to have an opinion. No one really knows who gets to decide. For some, it’s the immigrants who don’t belong. They’re the outsiders who should go back to where they come from. For others it’s the racists who don’t… Continue reading What does it mean to belong?
In his wonderful book, You Are What You Love, James K. A. Smith encourages us to reflect on the religious nature of the shopping experience by describing the shopping mall as a place of worship: The layout of this temple has architectural echoes that harken back to medieval cathedrals – mammoth religious spaces designed to… Continue reading Are you a ________ or merely a consumer of ________ artifacts?