Rumors about kidnapped children – not just in Sweden

Leksand extended the winning streak beat AIK

The still ongoing so-called LVU campaign is based on the Swedish state stealing children from their parents. The lies have spread over large parts of the world, but the seed was sown when Ali Al Sidani’s children were taken into care by social services in Gothenburg in 2021.

In an interview with SvD in mid-February 2023, Al Sidani says that he now regrets spreading the rumours.

The claims took off, and are still spreading around the Muslim world. According to Säpo, the increased threat of attacks against Sweden can be partly linked to the LVU campaign.

“Same Themes”

But other countries in the Nordics have also been affected by similar rumor spreading, according to a review carried out by the Swedish Källkritikbyrån in collaboration with, Tjekdet and Faktabaari.

“It’s been the same themes, but everything hasn’t looked the same,” says Åsa Larsson, editor and responsible publisher at Källkritikbyrån.

The review shows, among other things, that in both Finland and Denmark there have been videos online that have been widely distributed in which it is claimed that authorities in the respective countries “kidnap and sell Muslim children”. Some of the videos come from the same Egyptian blogger.

“Disinformation and the spreading of rumors in some cases come from the same direction,” says Åsa Larsson.

“Pretend to be Others”

In Norway, criticism of Barnevernet (roughly the National Board of Health and Welfare) has existed for over a decade, but in recent years it has mainly consisted of incorrect information about children who are cared for by the authority and placed in foster homes.

Among other things, the review points to a lack of fact-checking as one of the reasons for the spread of rumours.

— Keep in mind that you don’t know everything about a situation. Sometimes there is another side that you don’t know about. Some who participate in the discussions also sit outside Sweden and do not always have a good grasp of, for example, the exercise of Swedish authority. Also keep in mind that people you see on social media can lie about who they are and what their motives are, says Åsa Larsson.