Trigger Warning: A Story Not Quite True

swede burka smallSo the Swedish government is arranging courses on sniping for its young Islamic  arrivals, to help them mingle on the range with locals and boost their Swedish language skills. This is the story doing the rounds on the blogophere. True? False? Crazy nonsense? You be the judge. Please remember Quadrant Online always provides nuanced coverage and does not regurgitate internet hoaxes.

The original story about the sniper-training is a nicely-illustrated spread in the Swedish newspaper  Allehanda. This is a real newspaper, circulation around 70,000. It previously gained some éclat in the West for publishing a cartoon of  Mohammad as a “roundabout dog”, a form of public art which Swedes seem to enjoy. This caused much Islamic offence and the standard reaction of Religion of Peace adherents: protests, threats, bombings, attempted assassination of the artist etc.

sniper storyThe Allehanda story (right) about the “sniper training” for happy-go-lucky Islamic teens is dated June 2, 2013. It’s  an oddity that it laid doggo (no pun) all this time. The headline is “Laddade för prickskytte”, the first word google-translating as “charged (up)” and the third word, “sniping”. It is more precise than the word for “shooting”  (skytte) or “target practice” (tävlingsskytt).

But because of the recent fuss, the Allehanda news editor has now issued this clarification:

“Because of the recent international citations of the 2013 Allehanda article ‘Laddad för prickskytte’, I as News Editor feel that a few clarifications are in order. Several websites refers to the immigration project in Sollefteå as ‘sniper training’. This is not a correct description. The word sniper training implies military combat education which is something completely different from this.

Although the refugees in the pictures can be seen holding what looks like sniper rifles, it is in fact biathlon sports equipment. Biathlon is since the 1960s recognised as an Olympic discipline, and the Sollefteå Ski High School runs an international upper secondary school programme for elite competitors. This is where the refugees were invited to try rifle shooting, the only element of biathlon possible in the summer. It was done by the authorities as part of their work with local immigration. I hope this clarifies the circumstances surrounding this article.”

So really, the Swedish government has only been training young Muslims to aim well at inanimate targets and miss as few times as possible. This is not the same as actually training them to be military-grade snipers a la Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame.

By now you’re wanting to know how the newspaper’s body (no pun) text runs. Here goes, via google translate:

 “It began on a small scale in the fall. But in the spring, interest exploded. Now more than 50 immigrant youths shoot dot [target] on the biathlon course in Sollefteå. [Central Sweden]

Maria Ibrahim loading rifle and lies down on the green rubber mat. She is aiming carefully and long before she pushes against the classical target of five black dots.

The white caps fall into place one by one. Five hits out of five possible.

– ‘I think this is a good activity,’ she says.

– ‘It’s fun to learn how to shoot, and we have fun together. We laugh a lot. If this continues into the fall, I will certainly be with [it]!’

Over 50 young immigrants have found the biathlon track at Hallstaberget. His Nauclér, which holds the course together with Björn Lindblom and Birgit Höglin, is very satisfied.

– Already at the sample meeting in March, more than 50 young people from all over the world – Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, South America. And it has persisted. They are interested and very talented, and some come from war-torn areas [but have?] never been a problem.

All the young people go to the individual program in upper secondary school, focusing on languages. Teacher Birgit Höglin points out several advantages.

– ‘It’s much more than the sport itself,’ she says.

– ‘Here they talk Swedish in other social contexts, meet new people and hang out in other forms. It is good especially for the vocabulary. Moreover, it is sure discipline and security, and is also a useful experience.’

His Nauclér agrees.

–   ‘Safety is very important. We take that very seriously, he says.”

It is heart-warming to think of how interested and talented these teens are in putting bullets into targets as a purely sporting recreation, learning Swedish phrases like, “Bang on, good show!”

The course – which may or may not be   on-going – is/was funded by Sweden’s Migration Agency. There are no details of subsequent careers of the shooting-course graduates. Leftist bloggers pooh-pooh the implications of the story.  As one Lev Raphael put it on HuffPost,

It does not mean learning to be assassins, snipers or terrorists. I’ve taken target practice and that’s hugely different from training to be a sniper, which is immensely more complicated and involves a lot more than aiming at a paper target.

Would a story like this be kept quiet by the major European media? Not one European news site like Der Spiegel, Le Monde, or The Guardian has reported it.

Because it’s bogus… that, of course, isn’t dramatic or scary at all.”

Given that the German press, for example, could avert its eyes from 500 sexual and other assaults on Cologne’s New Year’s Eve, I don’t think the mainstream media’s avoidance of the sharp-shooting training story is all that remarkable.

The internet is riddled with illogical, crazy material that sane person would believe for one instant. However, sometimes this stuff is true.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here, I Hope

[i] Roundabout dogs, involving some sort of Swedish pun, are improvised and vaguely ironic  dog sculptures that Swedes like to decorate roundabouts with.


  • Rob Brighton

    Just read Steyn’s book America alone apparently written in 2006 it looks like he has Nostradamus covered, pity those from the regressive left don’t seem to see it.

  • ken.harris@exemail.com.au

    Mr Raphael is correct, of course. Just because someone can hit a square of paper 500 metres away doesn’t mean they have the ability to walk up to people strolling through that nice little rosenbadsparken in central Stockholm and gun them down. As he says, the training requirements are different. That’s just common sense.

    The reason that Australian soldiers have such high levels of marksmanship in battle is that they train on live targets. How else can they learn?

    • Jody

      Now, that IS a tempting thought!!!

  • ian.macdougall

    Bomb making and remote detonation would be a useful follow-on activity. Lev Raphael might shortly say:

    It does not mean learning to be jihadists, IED planters or terrorists. I’ve taken bomb making and that’s hugely different from training to be a jihadist, which is immensely more complicated and involves a lot more than just letting off an experimental blast.

    Yeah, right.

  • gardner.peter.d

    ‘Moreover, it is sure discipline and security, and is also a useful experience.’’

    Very useful, as the terrorists who trained as pilots in the USA and were subsequently responsible for 9/11, would no doubt attest.

    I was, once upon a time, a marksman with a variety of weapons. It doesn’t matter much with which one you start. An air rifle or compressed gas rifle is as good as anything to learn the basics. If you have the basic skills right you can then go on to more specialist areas and greater capabilities.

  • en passant

    Sometimes I wonder at the mindset of my fellow commenters. Let’s say 100 of these nice people learn to shoot a paper target, but only x% go on to use that skill in killing strangers. Well, the commentariat cry, it just goes to show that 100-x% did not murder us therefore the programme was a success and it just goes to show that we can expect no more than (pick a number) of us to be randomly killed by a stranger calling out that their sociopathic god is the greatest. How good can the news get?
    My question is: of all the activities available, why is it necessary, advisable or even a good thing to teach these people to shoot at all? Would they not be better learning how to compute, work with wood, read, play football, cook, speak the language of their country, behead sheep or other fun activity.
    Just think how much better the Parramatta scumbag could have performed if he had just had a few lessons on pistol-shooting accuracy? He would not have had to approach so closely for a shot in the back of an innocent stranger’s head. Instead, it was the policeman who had just requalified on the range who achieved the better outcome and sent him to his grave.
    Encouraging a potentially dangerous element of society shooting skills is simply madness. If not, why have we not made such training available to criminal prisoners, bikies, migrants and asylum inmates? Shotgun modification and conversion courses would be very popular, especially if subsidized by the taxpayer. Mugging for Beginners & the Etiquette King-hitting would round off the degree of criminals before release and greatly improve their inclusion in society.
    Ken’s comment I accept was just a complete joke as he could not possibly mean what he said.

    • ken.harris@exemail.com.au

      Oh, but I did mean it, en passant. irony should give the reader a choice of meanings. My attempt has failed. Mea culpa.

  • en passant

    Australian soldiers are trained on paper or wood targets. The first time they see a live target is when they are in a war zone. This is why I knew you were just joking

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