THE BLOG
01/13/2016 01:04 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2017

Refugees Fear Rising Anti-Muslim Backlash In Europe

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Gilad Shiloach and Vladi Vovcuk

After allegations that recent migrants assaulted young women at a Swedish music festival -- and that Swedish police covered it up -- Swedish asylum seekers are sharing fears of a backlash.

Hundreds of worried Syrian migrants residing in Sweden took to Facebook this week, to express their concerns over a growing anti-migrants backlash in Europe -- and worries that the new reports will make things worse.

Read More: Syrians Call On Asylum Seekers To Denounce Sexual Harassment

"After the sexual harassment cases in Germany, the police re-opened sexual harassment cases from two years ago. It looks like the Syrian refugee will suffer no matter where he goes," wrote Abdullah Miri, a Syrian living in the Swedish city of Sundbyberg. "This is another way the media will cause us misery, my Syrian refugee brothers," he wrote, fearing that reports of the assault would lead to violence.

"These are so-called refugee youths, specifically from Afghanistan. Several of the gang were arrested for sexual molestation," wrote a police memo after the 2014 We Are Stockholm festival. No reports of assault or molestation had been made public until recently. The Swedish Prime Minister apologized for the attacks and the cover-up on Monday.

Another incident, the murder of a 15-year-old teenager in the city of Borby, is also causing panic among refugees. Users on Facebook groups for Syrian asylum seekers are saying the murderer was actually a 14-year-old Syrian refuge.

"Something happened today and it might seriously shock Sweden. A Syrian 14-year-old refuge stabbed to death his 15-year-old Serbian schoolmate in Broby. I have this information from a teacher in that school. It's good that so far the nationalities have not been mentioned by the media," user Wasim from the Swedish town of Frillesas wrote. The post drew hundreds of worried comments hoping the suspected killer was not, in fact, Syrian. "My son is from the same school, and I'm worried [the alleged murderer] was indeed Syrian," one of the commenters responded, worrying that there would be reprisals.

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven ordered police to re-open and investigate how they handled previous cases of alleged sexual harassment by migrants, following reports about possible cover-ups.

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