Anna Carlstedt, 45, went on Swedish Radio merely hours after being appointed as the co-ordinator against violent extremism at the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
Responding to a question about why she thought the country had the most jihadists per capita travelling to the Middle East to fight with the terrorist cause, she replied: “I think there are several different types of hotbeds of extremism. What we see is that there is an interaction between them.
“It is true that Islamic extremism is growing, but this also results from the extreme right-wing white power movement.” She added that “there is an interaction between these two movements because society is becoming more and more polarised”.
Ms Carlsted went on to link Islamist terror with Swedes who are unhappy with politicians in the country. She said: “As I said earlier, we are seeing increased extremism and we see a lot of threats and hatred of elected representatives, officials and others.
“It is something that exists in Sweden and we see it in many other countries.” She added: “It is very important to take advantage of the good forces [‘civil society’] and not let fear and darkness win.”
Ms Carlstedt has also come under fire as the former President of the Swedish Red Cross had no experience in the field of terrorism or extremism before her appointment. Before joining the Red Cross she had been the Chairwoman for the Forum for voluntary work and had sat on the board of the Cancer Fund.
She wrote her 2005 PhD on the writings of Nostradamus. Ms Carlstedt replaced Hillevi Engström who left the post on September 22.