Al-Shabab tries to recruit young Muslims in mosques, Danish Muslims angry

A number of leaders in the Danish and Swedish Somali community are angry that al-Shabab allegedly tries to recruit young Muslims in mosques in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Göteborg. Muslim parents have temporarily stopped allowing their children to attend Qur’an classes, fearing someone will try to recruit them, a Muslim parent says.

The 28-year old Somali man who tried to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard three weeks ago and the Danish-Somali man who killed 23 people and himself in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in December 2009 were allegedly both affiliated with al-Shabab.

Mosque bans political discussion due to public fears of al-Shabab involvement

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.

Al-Shabab recruiting in Sweden

According to Swedish secret police (SÄPO) at least twenty Swedish-Somalis are suspected to be “radicalized”, and some of them are to been killed in action in Somalia.

Sydsvenska Dagbladet (independent liberal) reports that Swedish Somalis are worried about al-Shabab activity in country. The 28-year old who made an attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard two weeks ago is reported to have been in Sweden together with another Danish-Somali man who was later killed in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in December 2009. Al-Shabab is suspected to have been recruiting in Sweden’s three main cities – Malmoe, Gothenburg, and Stockholm – where the largest Somali populations are to be found.

According to Göteborgsposten (liberal) the two men visited two mosques in Gothenburg last winter, and Expressen (liberal) reports a mosque in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby has been visited by representatives from the organization. Abdi Rahman Sheik Muhjadin, Imam in a “liberal Muslim” congregation on Gothenburg, says he’s not surprised that al-Shabab has been coming to Swedish mosques and as a precaution, he continues, they won’t let their children attend Qur’an school for the time being, in fear of them being misguided.

Farah Absisamad, chairman of the Swedish Somali National Union, is calling for stricter laws against terrorism to prevent al-Shabab’s activity in Sweden.