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Iraqis in Sweden
Total population
est. 70,000+ [1]
Regions with significant populations
Primarily in Stockholm, Södertälje and Malmö[2]

Swedish, Iraqi Arabic, Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic (incl. Mandaic), Turkmen


Predominantly Christianity (Syriac Christianity and Eastern Catholic) and significant Muslim minority (Shia and Sunni). Sweden also has one of the biggest Mandaean communities in the world.

Related ethnic groups

Iraqi diaspora

Iraqis in Sweden numbered over 70,000,[1] are one of the largest ethnic groups living in Sweden as of 2005, second to Swedes and Finns.[3] The mass influx of Iraqi refugees has increased dramatically during the last years, with up to 40,000 Iraqis expected to seek asylum in 2007.[4] Some sources claim there to be around 80,000 Iraqis living in Sweden with Swedish citizenship, along with hundreds of new applications for asylum from Iraqis every month.[3]


Migration history

Many Iraqis fled to Sweden during the 1990s as well, due to the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf War. Christian Iraqis, fearing persecution in their homeland, make up a large part of that influx.[1] Sweden is particularly attractive due to its generous policies towards refugees.[4]


Iraq war refugees

Sweden accepts more than half of all asylum applications from Iraqis in Europe. In 2006, more than 9,000 Iraqis fled their country and came to Sweden seeking shelter, a four-fold increase over 2005.[4] Despite Sweden's generosity towards Iraq's refugees, they have called for assistance from other European Union countries in resettling the population.

Sweden's response to the Iraqi refugee crisis has been unique due to its exceptional generosity. In 2006 it granted protection status to more Iraqis than in all other EU states combined. However, Sweden received very little support from fellow European states. In 2005 only 0.1 percent of Iraqis were recognised as refugees, but the total recognition rate including those granted complementary protection was a relatively high 24 per cent. In the year 2006 however, recognition rates leapt to a total of 91 per cent.[2]

The Swedish Migration Board decided in early 2006 that all Iraqi asylum-seekers from Central and Southern Iraq whose claims had been rejected as part of the normal status determination process would nevertheless receive a permanent residence permit, allowing the majority of Iraqis in Sweden to begin the process of fully integrating into Swedish society with a secure legal status.

In the context of the generally low recognition rates for Iraqis in other EU states, Sweden’s generosity led to a surge in the number of applications received from Iraqis. Figures increased from 2,330 in 2005 to 8,951 the following year, with a further 1,500 new arrivals per month in the first half of 2007. Most of these persons have joined the existing Iraqi community in Sweden in municipalities such as Malmö and Södertälje, with the scale of the influx to these areas forcing newcomers to live in very poor conditions. Speaking in June 2007, Södertälje’s mayor Anders Lago described the situation as being close to breaking point, with the authorities barely able to provide basic services and many newcomers sharing apartments with up to fifteen people.[2]

It is now expected that Sweden will again receive half of the 40,000 Iraqis expected to seek asylum in the EU in 2007. In the absence of internal EU border controls, Iraqis have understandably chosen to head to the country which was the most sensitive to their protection needs.

Notable people

See also

Abdukmnam S. Kadhim a Senior lecturer in sociology and socialpsychology at Umeå university- Sweden


External links


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