Sweden has garnered a reputation as one of the most generous countries when it comes to providing sanctuary to the world's struggling immigrant population. On a per capita basis, they welcome the highest number of refugees in all of Europe. This commitment to philanthropic pursuits is admirable, as is the multi-cultural identity they have attained as a result of these efforts, but their compassion has also inspired its fair share of drawbacks.
Hate crimes have risen in Sweden as more questionable elements have entered the country, and rival gangs fight over turf. The new documentary Salam Alaikum Sweden examines this increasingly volatile situation which has many crying foul over the country's lax immigration policies, and calling for stricter border control policies.
As grave conflicts continue to grip various regions of the globe, including the unprecedented violence inflicted by the terrorist group ISIS, the refugee crisis has only grown in severity. The film takes us through the living conditions of some of those who have found refuge in Sweden, and allows them to share stories of their near-death struggles as they fought to escape from their homeland in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
The influx of refugees has had a tremendously profound impact on the Swedish landscape. Some native residents have expressed resentment over this metamorphosis; they say that they no longer recognize their own country, and they are particularly concerned about the growing Muslim population. The issue has also become a political fireball as the two parties bicker over the barely perceptible line between goodwill and intolerance.
Indeed, the fears of many of the country's natives might be solely and selfishly based on such intolerance, but there's no doubt that the refugee crisis has altered the core identity of Sweden. Just how generous can a country afford to be when its own survival and sense of community is at stake? Smartly produced by the internationally acclaimed news organization Russia Today, Salam Alaikum Sweden offers no easy answers as it engages in an even-handed investigation of this dynamic.