SWEDEN: Christians and Muslims headed for civil war?

Sweden’s famous ‘welfare state’ has attracted hordes of Muslim immigrants from third world countries and native Swedes are getting sick of paying their way and getting nothing but soaring rape and crime rates in return for their famous Swedish hospitality.

MSNBC –MALMO, Sweden  — The bullet exploded through the mosque’s window, sending glass splinters hurtling into the office worker’s neck. Frantically abandoning their New Year’s Eve chatter and coffee cups, worshippers rushed to the bloodied victim’s aid. The bullet had missed his head by inches; the sniper’s target would survive.

Police allege the shooting at Malmo’s Islamic center — Sweden’s largest mosque — was not random. Investigators say it was one of ten attempted murders and at least one killing perpetrated by a gunman whose objective was to “shoot at immigrants.”

The apparent bid to kill a Muslim in a place of worship provoked much soul-searching in Sweden, long regarded as one of Europe’s most liberal and welcoming societies.

But only nine months later, hundreds of thousands would cast ballots for the far-right Sweden Democrats . The party warned of “the dangers of Islamization” and ran a controversial campaign ad showing a gang of burqa-clad women overtaking a senior citizen in a race for benefits.

The election result grabbed headlines across Europe. “Anti-immigration party formed from skinhead movement seizes balance of power in Sweden” was the take of Britain’s Daily MailGermany’s Der Spiegel magazine noted that the showing had “shocked a world so used to viewing Sweden as an open-doored bastion of tolerance.”

The Sweden Democrats’ success was another sign that a mix of immigration, economic woes and the threat of Islamist extremism has swirled into a perfect storm of problems in Europe. Story: Islamists raise fears of violent ‘clash of cultures’ in Europe

Far-right parties in Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland have all made significant gains in recent years.

Some have pushed for caps on immigration. Other measures – such as France’s ban on face veils and Switzerland’s moratorium on minaret construction – have directly affected Muslims.

And the reverberations of radical Islam have been felt widely with security services thwarting many terrorist plots on the continent since 9/11. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and controversy over Muhammad cartoons have made some Muslims feel the West is at war with Islam. (We ARE)

“We can’t deny that today Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans,” said Professor Anne Sofie Roald of Malmo University’s Department of International Migration and Ethnic Relations. “People are perceiving it as a threat because they feel that the minority is growing.”

It’s then that the symbols, such as minarets and veils, become important, she said. “It always comes back to that people are afraid of Muslims taking over their countries.” An Iraqi-born bomber who blew himself up before he could set off several devices along a busy Stockholm street before Christmas damaged relations further.

However, the Sweden Democrats’ upward trajectory began long before the botched attack. About a decade after its birth, the party earned fewer than 20,000 votes — less than half a percent of the ballots cast — at the 1998 national elections. But under fresh-faced leader Jimmie Akesson, the Sweden Democrats’ enthusiastic support for the cradle-to-grave welfare state — reinforced by a message of nationalistic pride and a vow to dramatically reduce immigration — struck a chord.

In September, the Sweden Democrats captured nearly 340,000 votes (about six percent of the total) and claimed 20 seats in 349-member parliament — helping to prevent any party from being able to govern on its own. They were not invited to join the ruling coalition.

The 31-year-old Akesson and his colleagues received a frosty welcome when they moved into the Riksdag — with other lawmakers refusing to even share a photocopier with them.

At the party’s waterside offices in Stockholm, Akesson told msnbc.com that he believes that his country is under siege due to an “extreme immigration policy.”

Surrounded by leftover campaign posters, a Swedish flag and a banner emblazoned with the party’s “Security and Tradition” motto, Akesson says the government should focus its resources on upholding the welfare system.

He alleges that many immigrants live in “parallel societies” – segregated neighborhoods where they speak their native languages and often only socialize with each other. “They will never become a part of the Swedish society,” Akesson said.

An estimated 44 million Muslims live in Europe – about six percent of the continent’s total population — and the figure is expected to grow to 58 million by 2030, according to The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.