Extreme Islamist organizations are becoming more visible in big city suburbs and are presenting a challenge to the Swedish State of Law, Svenska Dagbladet reports.
Local resistance against Islamists is growing as well: Swedish Somalis demonstrated against al-Shabab in the suburb of Rinkeby outside of Stockholm in December 2009.
The Bellevue mosque in Gothenburg has banned political discussion on the premises. The new policy states that all politics are to be kept outside of the mosque and its congregation, and that no one can stay in the mosque after a fifteen minutes period before and after prayers, to prevent “unofficial meetings and ambiguous messages.”
The mosque has been of interest since it was reported that the man who attacked Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and another Danish-Somali man, who later died in a suicide bombing in Moghadishu, visited it to recruit young men for al-Shabab.
Xasaan Xuseen, one of the organization’s spiritual leaders, allegedly promised mosque representatives and Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) that they would not discuss any political issues during the conference.
Four men have been arrested in Belgium on a Dutch warrant following their expulsion from Kenya. The men were detained last Friday at the border of Kenya and Somalia. “They are alleged to have been on their way to a jihadist training camp”, the prosecution service in the Netherlands said in a statement. An investigation has been launched in the Netherlands regarding their “possible involvement with terrorism” and connections to the group al-Shabab. Police have searched the homes of two men in the Hague, and authorities have requested their extradition to the Netherlands.
The suspects’ backgrounds remain unclear: while the Dutch foreign affairs ministry identified the suspects as three Dutch citizens and a Moroccan with residency status, the prosecutors cited by AFP identified all four as Dutch nationals. News agencies also vary in their profiles, as Dutchnews.nl “reports them to be three Dutch Moroccans and one with a Somali background; NRC Handelsblad reports ‘three Dutchmen and a
Somali with residence in the Netherlands’”. There appears to be consensus that all four are aged 21.
Two French nationals kidnapped after gunmen stormed into a hotel in Mogadishu are now being held by a Somali al-Qaeda-linked group, according to reports. The two French security advisers will be tried under Sharia law, claims an official from their captors, the Islamic al-Shabab militia. The unnamed spokesperson said they would be tried for spying and “conspiracy against Islam”.
Reuters, citing rebel sources, said the hostages were initially given to Hizbul Islam, one of the Islamist groups fighting the Somali government. They had handed one hostage over to al Shabaab earlier in the week, and the other on Thursday night. The men were abducted at the Sahafi Hotel in the capital while on a mission to train the Somali government forces that are fighting Islamist forces. Al Shabaab — which is on the United States’ terror list — wants to overthrow Somalia’s transitional government and implement a more radical version of sharia.