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Sweden Vows To Bar Neo-Nazis From Schools

Swedish neo-Nazi activists will not gain access to schools, the country’s education minister said amid a public debate on a far-right party’s request to expose pupils to its materials.

Minister Jan Bjorklund said on June 11 that “we all agree, that to let pure Nazi parties meet with our young people will not happen,” during an interview for Sveriges Radio.

Last month the Simon Wiesenthal Center joined other groups in appealing to the Swedish education ministry to block the participation of Svenskarnas Parti, which is widely viewed as a neo-Nazi movement, in a school civics program that teaches youths about the local political system.

The issue became a major point of contention in Sweden after the Swedish government’s National Agency for Education reportedly decided last month to approve the application of the party –- which has no lawmakers in parliament –- to participate.

In a letter to the minister, Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, urged Bjorklund to “prevent the Nazification of Sweden’s school system” and block the party’s access to schools where it would “endanger immigrant, Muslim, Roma, homosexual and Jewish students” with its “racist platform and discourse.”

On Friday, Bjorklund convened a meeting between political party representatives, Sweden’s parliamentary ombudsman and the country’s chancellor of justice to discuss way to block the party from schools, Elin Boberg, a ministry spokesperson, told JTA.

The minister, she said, “announced that the government will appoint a commission on political parties’ access to the school.”

The commission is to lead an “inquiry is to conduct an analysis of the rules and regulations schools should approach when it comes to inviting political parties to schools. It should be considered whether the school should be able to limit the number of political parties that the school receives for objective reasons, such as to apply to those portions which are still represented in parliament.”

She added: “Time does not permit law changes for 2014 elections. The inquiry will be added shortly and headed by a lawyer.”

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