Sweden’s first MP in a hijab challenges swing to the right

Swedes will this week be treated to a new sight: a Swedish MP giving a speech in a hijab.

Leila Ali Elmi, who arrived in the country aged two after her family fled civil war in Somalia, will make her parliamentary debut after winning a surprise victory in this autumn’s polls, promising a voice for people targeted by the groundswell of hostility to immigration.

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“My getting elected has caused a lot of reactions from the racists,” she says in the Green party offices in Stockholm. “They weren’t really ready for it, but here I am.”

Ali Elmi, 30, represents the other side of an election that was dominated by the issue of immigration and had an increase in the far-right vote. She fought on the issues closest to residents of Angered, the disadvantaged, immigrant suburb that has been her home for the past 28 years – unemployment, overcrowding, exclusion and segregation.

Source: The Guardian

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