Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson has apologised after calling 2001's September 11 attacks on the US "accidents." Romson was speaking at a press conference about the resignation of housing minister Mehmet Kaplan, who had compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Kaplan, she said "has been chairman of Young Muslims in tough situations like the September 11 accidents."
Later Romson sought to clarify the comment, saying she had been referring to how Muslims had been affected in the aftermath of September 11 in which almost 3,000 people died rather than the attacks themselves. "Let there be no doubt: the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th, 2001, were one of the most vile acts of terror and disastrous violations of the open, free and democratic society in modern history," said Romson.
However, she added: "We refuse to let terror set the agenda. Not then, not now. We must not let extremism cloud our judgement or fall to the low point where immigrants or Muslims are collectively blamed as a result of the acts of extremists."
Despite her apology, Romson was deluged with criticism on social media. One Tweet said: "So @asaromson has gone from incompetent to down right despicable and insulting. My dead American relatives and countrymen says hi."
This wasn't the first time the Green Party politician has made controversial comments. In 2015 Romson compared the situation for migrants to Europe as "the new Auschwitz," referring to the Nazi concentration camp in which millions were killed. Hours after the Paris attacks in November 2015 she tweeted: "The very serious events in Paris right now can obstruct the climate change summit in December when more than 100 heads of state have planned on taking part."
Romson's fellow MP Kaplan resigned after a video from 2009 was broadcast in which he said: "Israelis treat Palestinians in a way that is very like that in which Jews were treated during Germany in the 1930s." Kaplan has been linked to Islamist groups in Turkey and was part of a flotilla which attempted to take humanitarian cargo to Palestine in 2010. Nine died when Israel raided the flotilla.