Trump’s puzzling Sweden remarks linked to controversial documentary

Click to play video: 'Trump appears to suggest terror incident in Sweden'
Trump appears to suggest terror incident in Sweden
WATCH ABOVE: Trump appears to suggest terror incident in Sweden – Feb 19, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump‘s bizarre comments Saturday regarding events in Sweden have been linked to a controversial documentary titled Stockholm Syndrome, which explores the impact of immigration on the country.

“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden?” Trump told the crowd at a Florida rally, as he discussed the need for a travel ban.

“They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s ‘last night in Sweden’ comments prompt mockery

Trump’s comments pointing to terror activity in Sweden the night before prompted much confusion, considering no such events had been reported.

The president later said on Twitter he was referring to a Fox News report concerning immigration in the country. On Friday, the broadcaster aired a segment titled, What the US could learn from Sweden’s refugee crisis.

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Filmmaker Ami Horowitz appeared on the program to discuss his project, Stockholm Syndrome. The synopsis for the short documentary, which can be found on YouTube, reads:

“Rape and violence has exploded across Sweden due its immigration policies. Watch to see what Sweden has done to itself.”

WATCH: Swedish PM ‘surprised’ by Trump’s crime comment

Click to play video: 'Swedish PM ‘surprised’ by Trump’s crime comment'
Swedish PM ‘surprised’ by Trump’s crime comment

In the documentary, Horowitz states the sexual assault rate in Sweden has skyrocketed over the past five years and correlates with the influx of “refugees from Islamic countries.”

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Horowitz also includes audio – but no video – of himself allegedly being attacked by people speaking Arabic.

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READ MORE: Quarter of Canadians support Trump-style ban on Syrian refugees: poll

He quotes an unidentified police officer — who does not appear in the documentary — saying that people are reporting more sexual assaults and that the “majority” of people being arrested are from “Islamic backgrounds.”

The documentary points to a BBC report saying the Sweden rape rate is under the spotlight.

However, the 2012 article largely debunks the theory that Sweden is experiencing a spike in sexual assaults. For one thing, police in Sweden have a unique way of documenting rapes that could account for the country’s high numbers: If a woman tells police her partner raped her every day for two weeks, it would be recorded as 14 rapes.

The article also noted that shifting attitudes have resulted in more women going to police after an assault.

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Gun crime and riots have also plagued the country, Horowitz’s documentary states. According to the most recent statistics available from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, there has been little change in crime rates since 2005. Sexual offences, according to those statistics, have increased 0.1 per cent since 2005.

“Several offences of the same kind against a single victim will be counted in some countries as a single crime,” the council states. “By contrast, in Swedish crime statistics every offence occurring under these circumstances is counted separately.”

According to the U.S. government’s Overseas Security Advisory Council, Sweden has a lower crime rate than the U.S.

READ MORE: Sweden’s deputy prime minister takes jab at Trump with all-female photo

Two police officers who appear in Stockholm Syndrome have since said the documentary showed their comments out of context, and that they were speaking about crime generally and not in relation to immigration.

The documentary ends with Horowitz interviewing Swedes who overwhelmingly respond that they don’t see a link between sexual assault and cultural background.

In a Twitter post, Horowitz defended Trump and his documentary.

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In 2015 alone Sweden received more than 160,000 applications for asylum. The influx stressed the country’s support systems, prompting the country of about 10 million to announce it would scale back its open-door policy.

Meanwhile, recent data cited by Bloomberg suggested immigration has helped fuel an economic boom in Sweden.

Since Trump’s remarks, Swedish officials said there is no current cause for concern in the country.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said that the government wasn’t aware of any “terror-linked major incidents.” Sweden’s Security Police said it had no reason to change the terror threat level.

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“Nothing has occurred which would cause us to raise that level,” agency spokesman Karl Melin said.

Axelsson told The Associated Press that the Swedish Embassy in Washington contacted the State Department on Sunday to request clarification of Trump’s remarks.

With files from The Associated Press

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