Top Sweden Democrat: Rape is "rooted in Islam"

"Rape is deeply rooted in Muslim culture," Michael Hess, vice president of the Sweden Democrats in Karlskrona in southern Sweden, wrote in a Facebook post.

In July, Hess wrote: "When are you journalists going to realise that raping and assaulting women who do not adjust to Islamic teachings is deeply rooted in Muslim culture? There is a clear connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA [Middle East and North Africa] countries."

The statement is not racist but factual, said Linus Bylund, press secretary to Sweden Democrat Party leader Jimme Åkesson.

"It says in the Koran that rape can be used against women who have been unfaithful," Bylund told local newspaper Blekinge Läns Tidning, adding that there is nothing wrong with using facts in a statement.

However, Jan Hjärpe an Islamologist at the University of Lund, told the newspaper that there is no such line in the Koran. "It's a myth, almost like a fable, which emerged in the Medieval period," he said.

Today, because of the internet, such myths spread faster and more systematically and efficiently than in the past, Hjärpe said.

"There is a danger here that people who don't know any better take these myths to be true," Hjärpe warned.

On Wednesday, Bylund told news agency TT that he had been quoted incorrectly.

"I think it's naive to believe that this [rape] does not happen as a punishment in Muslim countries, but whether or not it says so in the Koran does not interest me at all," Bylund said, adding that he has not read the Koran himself.