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Perceptions of Sweden in International Lens: Survey by Swedish Institute

The Swedish Image Abroad: A Closer Look

Ever wondered how the world sees Sweden? The recent survey results by the Swedish Institute may surprise you! Despite incidents of Quran burnings and allegation campaigns casting a shadow, the Swedish image, overall, remains positive in North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Why the Survey Matters

The Swedish Institute conducted the survey to assess Sweden’s image in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia more specifically in nine countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Roughly, a thousand folks in each country were asked about their perception of Sweden.

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Interestingly, an increasing number of respondents held a slightly negative view, with intolerance towards Muslims cited as the prime reason by half who had a worsened image of the country. Despite this, a majority were still positive about Sweden. Aiming to build relationships and improve understanding, such surveys help us know where we stand and how to improve.

Digging into the Details

Quran burning and influence campaigns indeed shaped the image, but they didn’t seem to be the definitive factor. Ironically, even Egypt where the influence campaign was widely spread, maintained a positive outlook on Sweden.

The most negativity towards Sweden came from Saudi Arabia and Iran, with 20% harboring a negative attitude. However, these are also the countries with the least knowledge about Sweden, indicating that learning and awareness can change perceptions.

The main cause for negative attitudes towards Sweden, according the survey, is the individual’s attitude towards the West and secular values. On the other hand, the nature, Sweden’s environmental commitment, and quality of life have been considered the country’s strengths.

Impact of Quran Burnings on Sweden’s Image:

– 33% have heard or read about Quran burnings in Sweden.
– 20% have heard or read about alleged child kidnappings in Sweden.
– 10% associate Quran burnings and alleged child kidnappings as their first connection to Sweden.
– 50% of those with a worsened image of Sweden cite intolerance, particularly towards Muslims, as the reason.

Interestingly, 75% of those who heard or read about Quran burnings and influence campaigns did not change their image of Sweden. Yet, this doesn’t mean it didn’t have any impact at all.

Worsened images could endanger Sweden’s economic and political security relations with other countries, the Swedish Institute’s general director Madeleine admits, leading to work on trust-building.

In surprising stats, the percentage with a negative view of Sweden per country was: Saudi Arabia- 20%, Iran- 20%, Iraq- 15%, Turkey- 15%, Pakistan- 15%, Morocco- 15%, Egypt- 10%, India- 10%, and Indonesia- 10%.

Remember, this investigation is critical for all of us expats in Sweden! Understanding these attitudes can help us foster better international relations. So let’s play our part, focus on the positive and spread the good vibes about this lovely country!

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