Many towns in Sweden will not have any Christmas lights this year. The Swedish Transport Administration – which owns most of the street-light poles that Christmas lights are usually hung from, has banned local councils from hanging Christmas decorations on them this year citing “security” concerns.
Officially, the head of the Transport Administration has claimed this is because “the poles are not designed for the weight of Christmas lights” – although that has never prevented Christmas lights before – nor does there appear to be any evidence that “the weight” of Christmas lights has ever caused a problem for the street lights before – still less “security” concerns!
It appears more likely that the “security” issues relate to the violence that Sweden has experienced this year from radical Islamists and is an attempt to appease them. If so, this is a very dangerous strategy. It directly follows the actions of oppressive countries in the Islamic world which seek to ban Christian celebrations. For example, last year Barnabas Fund reported that Brunei, where nine percent of the population are Christians and which had only the previous year introduced sharia enforcement, banned any public celebration of Christmas with the threat of five years’ imprisonment for any violation. This was followed a few days later by Somalia also banning Christmas. While even in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, the Palestinian Authority instructed Christians that there should be a “certain decrease” in public celebration of Christmas.
The banning of Christmas lights is also symptomatic of a wider problem in Sweden. This is the deliberate downplaying of the country’s Christian heritage alongside a desire to avoid “offending” the large number of Muslim migrants who have recently arrived in Sweden. Disturbingly, this policy has created a culture that attempts to silence those who speak about the persecution of Christians, particularly where it is driven by Islamic ideology. This is something which, as we have previously reported, even the Swedish state church has been guilty of. However, its most disturbing aspect has been the refusal of the Swedish government to even recognise, still less act to prevent, the widespread persecution of Christian refugees from the Middle East that is taking place in Swedish refugee shelters.