When the news first came out that there was a violent and deadly attack on a school in Trollhattan, Sweden Thursday, the neo-Nazi website Stormfront immediately began to suggest that since there were no pictures of the victims or suspect at the time, the attacker was more than likely Muslim, poster “SouthernCornbread” noting that “It sounds like something you hear about in the Middle East of Pakistan. Oh that’s right. Sweden has a lot of crap like that on its shoes.”
When it finally came out however that the attacker was a 21-year-old White Swede that targeted persons of color in particular, poster “laidbackguy71”, who initially posted that his first guess was that a Muslim, was the assailant. “I heard the ones he attacked were all non whites,” he wrote. “So it seems he was defending Sweden and gave his life up for the cause.”
Indeed, police are investigating the attack where Anton Lundin-Pettersson stabbed and killed two and injuring two others before being shot and killed by police as a hate crime, noting how he selected his victims based on race and items police found in his apartment. Media reports that looked at his social network accounts noted that he “liked” pages on Facebook related to Adolf Hitler and supported a call to stop immigration to Sweden. “We are convinced that the culprit was driven by racist motives,” officer Niklas Hallgren said on Swedish Radio.
Racial tensions had already been rising in this industrial town reportedly known for its right-wing extremists when local resident Lundin-Pettersson walked into the Kronan School and attacked students and teachers with a sword while wearing a Darth Vader mask. There was so much confusion during the attack, some students thought he was someone putting on a prank and he even stopped to pose for a picture with some of them, holding the sword he had just used to kill one of their teachers, Lavin Eskandar. The 20-year-old is being remembered as a hero for trying to protect students at the school during the attack before being killed while trying to overpower Lundin-Pettersson. Also killed was Ahmed Hassan, 15, who was born in Somalia and moved to Sweden three years ago with his family. A 41-year-old teacher and a 15-year-old boy are in serious but stable condition.
The attack comes after Sweden announced that they would be working to accommodate as many as 190,000 refugees this year, many of whom are fleeing war-torn countries like Syria. Over the past seven months there has been a number of arson attacks on asylum centers in Sweden in response to the asylum-seekers. The attack on the Kronan School, the students ranging in age from to 6 to 15 and foreign-born, punctuated even further how hatemongers in the country have attempted to intensify racial discontent, and the Stormfront page is not the only place online they will find support. Prior to the news of the attack, visitors to the White supremacist website American Renaissance could hardly contain their glee over the possibility of violent reaction to immigrants in Sweden. Some of the comments to a story posted Friday about the refugee estimates there ironically said it would be the newly-arrived who would initiate a criminal act of violence that would spark a civil war, one poster saying, “Blood in the street is better than the country submitting to dhimmitude without a fight.”
But the response to the school attack suggests that there will be pushback to such attempts. Before a candlelight vigil to remember the victims, a few hundred participated in an anti-racist protest held at the school, some attendees carrying banners with the words “No to racism, no to hatred” and “Why?” Sabri Al Harbiti, chairman of the Muslim Organization of Trollhattan, condemned the recent fires, calling them attempted murder. “People that act like this are not just racists, they are criminals, and they need to be brought to justice,” he said.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Prime Minister Stefan Lofven visited the school to express the nation’s grief over the attack and spoke to reporters there. “This is a black day for Sweden,” he said. “It is a tragedy that hits the entire country.”