"We can't deny that today Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans," said Professor Anne Sofie Roald of Malmo University's Department of International Migration and Ethnic Relations. "People are perceiving it as a threat because they feel that the minority is growing."
It's then that the symbols, such as minarets and veils, become important, she said.
"It always comes back to that people are afraid of Muslims taking over their countries."
An Iraqi-born bomber who blew himself up before he could set off several devices along a busy Stockholm street before Christmas damaged relations further.