The proposal, from the Centre Party’s Rasmus Persson, a local government commissioner in the town of Örebro, has proven controversial and has been criticised by other politicians and on social media, with many saying it would mean rewarding violent extremists who return to Sweden after fighting alongside terrorists.
However, on Sunday the Social Democrat Sahlin told newspaper Svenska Daglbadet that the proposal is a “good example”.
“First of all, not everyone who returns has committed heinous acts. Those who have should of course be punished, but others who have gone down there have perhaps more or less been tricked into something they could not have imagined beforehand. Those people return as soon as is humanly possible,” Sahlin said.
Sahlin was appointed national coordinator against violent extremism in July 2014. The job involves working to improve cooperation between authorities, municipalities and various organisations.
Today, there is no coordinated national support strategy for Swedish citizens who are about to go fight abroad or for those who return. The idea is that Muslim groups and civil society organisations should cooperate with national health care services to fill that gap.