In 2016, Sweden received 28,939 asylum seekers. Sweden is a predominantly Christian country in northern Europe, and yet most asylum seekers to Sweden came from three Muslim countries in the Middle East: Syria (5,459), Afghanistan (2,969) and Iraq (2,758). Why is it that people from these three Muslim countries choose to cross Europe to come to Sweden? What is it that Sweden offers that attracts people from the other side of the world?
It is not the major metropolises in Sweden that attract these people. 56% of Sweden’s land area is covered by forest. Besides the Swedish capital Stockholm, there is no Swedish city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Sweden’s average annual temperature is around 3°C (37.4°F), so it is not the weather that attracts tens of thousands of people from Muslim countries to Sweden.
What Sweden provides is economic and social benefits for all who come.