Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
The Swedes are fed up with the "Muslim invasion" in their country and have fought back with fire, according to a news account on Facebook.
"Civil war erupts in Sweden as irate Swedes burn nine Muslim refugee centers to the ground," states the headline in Pipo News, which linked to a similar 2015 article in JewsNews, a fake news website. We found no contact information on the Pipo News website.
Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news. The story and the photo are misleading. However, Muslim refugees have been the targets of suspected arson attacks in Sweden in recent years.
Pipo News states that the multiple arsons have been at facilities that house or are slated to house immigrants.
Pipo News cites arson incidents at a children’s summer camp in the Swedish town of Eskilstuna that planned to host asylum seekers and in a refugee center in the town of Munkedal.
Fires did occur in those two towns, according to credible news articles.
On Christmas Day in 2014, five people were injured in a fire in a mosque in Eskilstuna, near Stockholm, which the authorities also suspect may have been arson, the New York Times reported. (Nothing in the New York Times stated that the site was a children’s camp.)
Reuters reported in November 2015 that in the town of Munkedal, a center housing 14 asylum seekers went up in flames.
"The Munkedal blaze was just one of more than a dozen at centers across Sweden in the past month -- some confirmed as arson attacks and others suspected as such -- that the police are struggling to solve as the country expects to take in up to a record 190,000 asylum seekers this year," Reuters reported.
The fires occurred while a far-right anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, was gaining more traction, the New York Times wrote in 2015. Sweden had previously been known as a welcoming country for refugees, but that philosophy was tested as an influx of refugees strained government services.
Omar Mustafa, president of the Islamic Association of Sweden, told the New York Times in January 2015 that the fires at mosques followed a year of rising anti-Islamic attacks which included vandalism of mosques.
''It is a scary development in Swedish society,'' Mustafa said. ''It is a big movement that is moving from the Internet to the real world.''
While the Pipo News article gives the impression that Muslim immigration has led to civil war, Reuters reported in 2015 that opinion polls showed most Swedes supported welcoming refugees.
Pew Research Center surveyed European views of refugees in 2016 and found that in Sweden 57 percent were concerned that refugees would increase terrorism in their country, slightly above the median among the 10 countries surveyed.
But of the 10 countries, Sweden had the lowest percentage that viewed refugees from Syria and Iraq as a major threat.
Pipo News’ headline states "civil war erupts in Sweden as irate Swedes burn nine Muslim refugee centers to the ground."
The story uses a misleading photo of an unrelated fire and portrays the situation in Sweden as a war, which is a gross exaggeration. There have been multiple fires at Muslim sites, but there is no evidence that a civil war has erupted as nine Muslim refugee centers burned to the ground.
We rate this headline as False.
Pipo News, "Civil war erupts in Sweden as irate Swedes burn nine Muslim refugee centers to the ground," Nov. 11, 2017
Jews News, "A CIVIL WAR ERUPTS: Irate and fed up Swedes are now setting muslim ‘refugee’ centers on fire," Oct. 30, 2015
New York Times, "Fire Damages Another Islamic Site in Sweden," Dec. 29, 2014
New York Times, "In Sweden, the Land of the Open Door, Anti-Muslim Sentiment Finds a Foothold," Jan. 2, 2015
Le Local, "Sweden probes 'arson attack' on nation's largest Shiite mosque," May 1, 2017
Snopes, "Swedish Heat Brawls," Nov. 5, 2015
Reuters, "After escaping war, asylum seekers in Sweden now face arson attacks," Nov. 2, 2015
Getty Images, Photo of fire, June 27, 2013
Pew, "European opinions of the refugee crisis in 5 charts," Sept. 16, 2016
Fox News, "Sweden investigates mosque fire as arson," Sept. 26, 2017
Daily Mail," Torn apart," (Accessed in Nexis) Nov. 14, 2015
PolitiFact, "Donald Trump in Florida laments 'what's happening last night in Sweden.' But nothing happened," Feb. 19, 2017
PolitiFact, "PolitiFact's guide to fake news websites and what they peddle," April 20, 2017
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.