“He used his own experience to understand and solve the problems that arose in the wake of large immigration flows, failed integration and a long-standing division in society”: These are the words that were used to celebrate Hamid Zafar as the headmaster of a school in Gothenburg was named “Sweden of the Year” in 2018.
Now it turns out: Zafar, who was born in Afghanistan and came to Sweden as a refugee with his parents, also used his experience for completely different purposes. For years he is said to have hounded against Jews and homosexuals – protected by the anonymity of the Internet. This is reported by the Swedish newspaper “Dagens Nyheter” (“DN”).
“Will we see you praying on your pathetic Jewish knees?”
The news causes horror in Sweden. Because Zafar is known nationwide. In a wide variety of offices and tasks, he successfully campaigned to give young people with a migration background a better start in the world of work or acted as an expert on Islamist extremism.
He could be heard on the radio and was a frequent guest in public discussions. At the same time he works as an independent expert on the integration commission of Sweden’s conservative party Moderaterna. He also headed the department for children and education matters in his home parish to this day.
However, Zafar expressed his true views under the protection of anonymity. “Zionist donkey” or “Zionist dog” are terms that he used on a Twitter account. When he argued with a former member of the Social Democrats in the Swedish Parliament about the Breivik assassination attempt, he is said to have written to the politician: “Will we see you begging and praying on your poor Jewish knees?”
Zafar secretly hunted the internet while he was the principal
Zafar is also said to have used several pseudonyms to run his own blogs in which he incited against Jews and homosexuals. There he is said to have used terms like “LGBT swamp”: LGBT is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. He also accused the Swedish Church of being steeped in “sodomy”. In fact, Zafar used to work as a religion teacher himself.
Zafar is said to have written the racist and insulting comments between 2011 and 2015. The 38-year-old said he was young, frustrated and on the lookout when he was confronted with his statements. However, at that time Zafar was the headmaster of a school.
“Destructive, completely flat and with a simplified picture of reality”
“In retrospect, I am aware that I was really destructive back then. Not just destructive, but completely flat and with a simplified picture of reality, ”explains Zafar. He is now at a distance from these views and has left them behind, he said to “DN”.
At the same time, he emphasizes that “more people than you think” would share such views. Most just wouldn’t say it. “Let those who are free from sin cast the first stone,” he quotes from the Bible.
Zafar loses almost all jobs and contracts
Zafar doesn’t get away with it that easily. Rather, contracts were terminated by various parties. A planned TV appearance was also canceled: Zafar was scheduled as a guest for the game show “På spåret”, which is popular in Sweden. The show has already been recorded and should be broadcast in the fall. But the broadcaster said in the meantime that the parts would be cut out with Zafar.
The Moderaterna’s general secretary also reacted and advised Zafar to resign from the party’s integration commission. Zafar has also lost his job as a columnist at “Göteborgs Posten”. And a podcast format for teachers that he was involved in has been discontinued.
Only his commune wanted to forgive him, it seemed: he would be allowed to keep his post as head of the children’s and training department, it was initially said. But the pressure was apparently too great – later the commune announced that there was “no other way out” than to part with Zafar.