“The elephant in the room usually centres around Israel”

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: The Master’s thesis deals with the topic of antisemitism in Sweden and, as an aspect of that, focuses on antisemitic attitudes among Muslims. Antisemitism, the hostility towards Jews, has changed its forms of manifestation throughout history, but persists to the current day. In Sweden, research on antisemitism remains limited, especially with focus on antisemitic attitudes among Muslims. This study seeks to contribute to a more detailed understanding of antisemitism in Sweden.The aim of the study was to describe and analyse how different institutional and organisational actors approach the topic of antisemitism and how they represent strategies to deal with antisemitism in general and/or among Muslims (specifically or in line with other forms of discrimination). Thereby, a social constructionist perspective was applied throughout the research. The interview material consists of eight semi-structured interviews with representatives of seven different organisations and projects, with the following research questions: How do the organisations construct antisemitism? How do the organisations represent their work and strategies to tackle antisemitism among Muslims? What discourses do the organisations draw on to construct the basis for their work?To answer these questions, a semi-structured interview guide served as framework for conducting the interviews. Subsequently, the transcribed interview material was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings, organised in themes and sub-themes, indicate that most interviewees regard personal encounters between members of Muslim and Jewish communities and individuals as a key factor for tackling antisemitism, followed by the importance of education on both antisemitism and Islamophobia in society. Furthermore, it appeared that both interfaith and educational work play a significant role in the actors’ work. The conclusion of the thesis points at the necessity for further research on antisemitism in the Swedish context as well as on Islamophobia in Sweden.

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