Sweden alarmed by series of racist shootings

A string of 19 unsolved shootings – all of which appear to be racially motivated – are sending shockwaves through Sweden’s immigrant population.

Bejzat Becirov points to a large hole in the bottom corner of a window at the Islamic Centre, Malmo’s largest mosque. “It was last year,” he said, “New Year’s Eve, and there were people in there, drinking tea and writing greetings cards. Then one of them felt a kind of rush of air, and splinters of glass on the back of his neck. The police later found a bullet embedded in a piece of furniture.”

This is not the worst thing that has happened at the mosque. Mr Becirov, its director, also remembers an arson attack that caused severe damage in 2003. But the shot fired at the mosque late last year is now being re-evaluated. Could it form part of a wider series of unexplained attacks that the police in Malmo are now hoping the public can help solve?

The announcement last week by police that a string of unsolved shootings might be connected is causing deep concern in this city, where almost half the population has an immigrant background. The attacks that police are investigating have all taken place in the past year and have all been aimed at people who look as though they might be immigrants. Of those 19 shootings, one person has been killed and eight have been injured.

BBC News, 28 October 2010