Sweden’s long history of generous immigration policies is increasingly becoming a violent issue for the current government as well as its people.
In what is being called an attack by anti-immigration arsonists, a mosque in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna broke out in flames, injuring five people.
Around 20 people were attending midday prayers in the mosque, located in the ground floor of a residential building, when the fire broke out.
"A witness saw somebody throw an object through the window of the building, which serves as a mosque, after which a violent fire began," Lars Franzell, a police spokesman told Reuters.
Reports suggest the attack on the mosque could intensify tensions over immigration in the country.
Sweden is often ranked as one of the most peaceful countries in the world – and why not. After all, it has not actively taken part in a war since 1814 (breaking even Switzerland's record for peace). It also came in sixth place in the Good Country Index this year – a new survey which compares contributions to the planet and humanity from 125 countries.
But the fact that it welcomes a large number of immigrants and asylum-seekers than most developed countries in the world is what makes Sweden an exemplary democratic state.
As of 2013, Sweden is by far the largest recipient of asylum seekers in the 34-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Swedish population saw the biggest yearly increase in 70 years last year, thanks to a record-high level of immigration.
However, racial discrimination towards immigrants – especially Muslims coming in from Eritrea, Somalia, and Syria – is taking hold in the Scandinavian country, fueled by the rise of the nationalist political party Sweden Democrats and neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement.
For now, the Swedish government is torn between maintaining its reputation as a welfare state known for its respect for individual rights and the increasingly growing anti-immigration sentiment amongst its citizens which is gradually becoming more violent in nature – the mosque attack being just one example of it.