In a video that has been widely circulated, a father stands in the snow and shouts for his children outside a social services office in northern Sweden. He says that the children have been taken away from him for no reason.
Youtuber and barber George Touma recorded the video and published it on his channels in mid-January. It quickly became part of a campaign against Swedish social services that is now spreading internationally.
George Touma in Gothenburg has become internationally known for his instructional videos on shaving and cutting and has over a million followers on social media. He says that he wanted to help the father in northern Sweden. In the video, the father claims that his children were taken into care on false grounds, but according to a court decision there had been domestic violence and the parents had declined voluntary efforts that they had been offered.
George Touma says he is critical of the video being used for a hate campaign against Sweden – but that he still supports the father and wants to keep pushing for the father’s right to see his children.
But isn’t it your responsibility as an influencer to provide the whole picture and not just the father’s version of events?
– I just acted according to my gut feeling. I don’t have the time to read up on how this develops, he says.
Kidnapping Muslim children
One notion being spread is the one that Swedish authorities are kidnapping Muslim children in order to secularize them. The Doku foundation have reported that this is being propagated by people who are said to be well-known Islamists.
Among those who have taken an interest in the matter are persons from known criminal networks. But George Touma does not agree with the hateful view of Sweden.
– I did something good for one individual. But all those who claim that they hate Sweden – they’re in the wrong. This is our country, George Touma says.
Afraid to have children
He feels that children are too often taken into care, and he wants to spark a debate about the Swedish social services.
But while he does feel that his aims with the video have been misrepresented, he remains critical of how much power the authorities have.
– I’ve become afraid of having children of my own. If a child says in school that his father beats him, they’ll take the child. That makes me livid, he says to SVT.