A top Swedish government official is under fire for referring to the 9/11 attacks as “accidents” in a live TV interview Tuesday.
Environment Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson, of the Green Party, made the comment while talking about fellow party member Mehmet Kaplan’s resignation as housing minister a day earlier.
Romson said when Kaplan was the chairman of a Muslim youth organization he faced difficult situations “like the Sept. 11 accidents and such.” Romson was talking on SVT’s show “Gomorron Sverige” (“Good Morning Sweden”), according to the Local.
Kaplan resigned Monday after comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi oppression of Jews.
Romson was quickly scrutinized for her words.
“Did Romson just call 9/11 ‘the September 11th accidents’ on SVT?? In that case, talk about reducing (the significance) of one of the world’s biggest terror attacks,” tweeted defense expert Johanne Hildebrandt, according to the New York Post.
Asked to explain her choice of words, Romson condemned the attacks and told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet she meant they brought misfortune to Swedish Muslims.
The word for misfortune and accident is the same in Swedish.
“Let there be no doubt: the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11 2001 were one of the most vile acts of terror and disastrous violations of the open, free and democratic society in modern history,” she said. “The tragedy for the world and the families of the almost 3,000 human beings who perished as a result of the attack cannot be overstated.”
Romson's word choices have raised eyebrows before, including when she compared the Mediterranean migrant crisis to the Auschwitz death camp.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.