A Sweden Democrat member of parliament has escaped censure from the party hierarchy despite linking the crime of group rape to men with foreign backgrounds.
Thoralf Alfsson, from Kalmar in southern Sweden, used his blog to write:
"With regards to group rape, it almost exclusively refers to offenders with immigrant or foreign origin."
Alfsson's blog post refers to the trial of three men suspected of aggravated rape in Västervik in June 2009.
In his post Alfsson, who is one of 20 Sweden Democrat members of Sweden's Riksdag, continues by way of explanation:
"In order to commit these crimes the perpetrator's view of humanity and attitudes to women must almost constitute an illness. This is found very rarely among ethnic Swedes, but is much more common in men from some other cultures where gender equality does not exist."
Since the election the Sweden Democrats have had to deal with a raft of cases of party bloggers and online forum posters who express personal views that differ from official party policy.
In recent months one party member courted controversy by claiming that "Africans have a 'child rape gene'", while another grabbed headlines for admitting that he is against "race mixing" and describing Islam as "a violent pedophile cult".
The party typically responds to each incident with protestations the comments do not reflect party policy and that they reject accusations of a racism. In the two cases mentioned above the members were removed from their positions of responsibility.
But in the case of Thoralf Alfsson, party secretary Björn Söder has limited his criticism to one point made by his colleague:
"There is a clear majority of foreigners who commit group rapes, but to say that it is exclusively foreign men is taking things a bit far."
Söder told Sveriges Television (SVT) that the party hierarchy does not plan to review Alfsson's blog post, nor take any measures against the MP. He furthermore registered an objection against SVT's description of Alfsson's words as "racism".
"He has done nothing wrong," Söder said.
According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå), there are no current statistics charting ethnicity or origin and crime. Neither do they distinguish group rape from the broader classification of aggravated rape or other crime statistics.
The most recent Brå report on the issue was published in 2005 and is an update of a report first published in 1996 and is based on surveys of registered suspects of a crime from 1997-2001 and does not cover convictions.
Brå figures from the 1980s indicate that those with foreign backgrounds are over-represented in crime statistics, but show that 80 percent of all suspects are people born in the country with two Swedish parents.
Therefore those classified as immigrant men account for one fifth of all criminal suspects in Sweden, with half of those coming from other Scandinavian countries.
According to Statistics Sweden (SCB) figures for 2011 14.3 percent of Sweden's residents are foreign-born.
With regards to rape, Swedish born men with two Swedish parents account for 60 percent of all those suspected.
Men classified as immigrants thus account for 40 percent of all those registered as suspected of rape in Sweden - around 500 people.
There were 648,426 overseas-born males registered as resident in Sweden in 2009 of a population of 9.34 million.
According to Brå statistics men as a group account for 98 percent of all rapes in Sweden.
The 2005 report concluded that no significant changes had occurred in the situation since the 1980s. (The Local)