CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Refugees Are Changing the Land of Ikea and Abba

The Reshaping of Sweden's Social and Political Model

Abadirh Abdi Hussein, 25, a hip hop artist known as Kadafi, watches people crossing a square following Friday prayers in Rinkeby, a largely immigrant suburb of Stockholm, Jan. 22, 2010. Hussein, a Somali immigrant, started a campaign to counter the radicalization of Somali immigrant youth by Islamic extremists. Photo by Christine Olsson/Associated Press.

“Which color?” asked the officer, who sat on the other side of the solid table.

“What?” I answered cautiously.

The state representative, whom I met on a gray February day in early 1990 at the Swedish consulate in Zurich, where I studied at that time, became louder: “What color does the toothbrush have?”

I was surprised and a little bit intimidated by this question and responded, whispering, “The color of my toothbrush?”

“No sir,” he screamed back, “the one of your girlfriend!”

I do not remember the ending of this uneven conversation …

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