The firebombing of a synagogue in Gothenburg thrust Sweden’s anti-Semitism crisis into global headlines. For years, Swedish Jews have lived in fear of such violence, which is almost always perpetrated by the country’s large and ill-assimilated Muslim minority. According to a 2013 European Union study, four out of five Jews decline to publicly identify themselves as Jewish in Sweden–a damning indictment of a country that likes to portray itself as one of the Continent’s most tolerant.
As if dodging Molotov cocktails and mobs chanting “we will shoot the Jews”weren’t enough, the reigning secularism also squeezes Swedish Jews. The Swedish state is full of solicitude for Jewish citizens in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks. But it also seeks to limit their freedom to practice their faith.