The Swedish Suicide Bomber might have had a Collaborator

23 December, 2010

The recording sent out to police and media 10 minutes before the Suicide bombing in Stockholm December 11 suggests that the perpetrator was not alone. After analyzing the tape, Swedish media have reported that what might be a second man can be heard in the background. Pictures from the crime scene also show what some speculate to be a walkie-talkie next to the body.

The Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) – according to the paper edition of Dagens nyheter 231210 – won’t, as for now, disclose anything about their investigation.

Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Extremist Preacher

19 December 2010

The website of the British mosque where the Stockholm bomber worshipped carries links to comments used to justify suicide attacks, and material expounding antisemitism and homophobia.

Preachers at the Luton Islamic Centre told last week how they had tackled Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, 28, the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Stockholm last weekend, over his extremist views.

However, the centre’s website carries a link to a lecture by Dr Bilal Philips, a Muslim preacher who was barred from entering Britain by the home secretary in July because of his extremist views.

Philips’s speech includes a passage during which he says that a person who kills him or herself is motivated by different instincts to those of a suicide bomber. “When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it’s a different intention altogether,” he says. Suicide is generally considered to be against Islamic law.

Other contentious material found on the Luton Islamic Centre’s site includes one publication on its website last week called “gay history and gay pride” that expounded homophobic views such as “sodomy is one of the most repulsive acts, even observed among beasts”, and said homosexuals should be executed.

Another was called “the prophesy of the utter destruction of the yahood [Jews] will only occur at the hands of the true worshippers of Allaah” in which Jews who try to make peace are portrayed as deceivers.

Stockholm Suicide Bombing

On the afternoon of December 11, 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up in downtown Stockholm. The fatal blast occurred 10 minutes after a car exploded and injured two persons on a nearby street. The bombing has been defined as a terror crime by Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO).

The Suicide bomber was later identified as Taimour Abdulwahab, a 29-year old Swede of Iraqi origin who was raised in the little town of Tranås in the south of Sweden. He is married and a father of three children and had been living with his wife and three children in a house in Luton, just north of London, as recently as three weeks ago. Abdulwahab came to Sweden in 1992 and became a citizen in 1998. Since 2001 he was living in Luton, UK where he had studied to become a physical therapist and some reports suggests he became radicalized through contacts with Hizb ut-Tahrir representatives in a local mosque there. Lately he also seems to have spent some time in the Middle East – possibly Jordan – where he, according to a letter he sent out before the suicide attack – was engaged in Jihad.

He had been in Sweden for about four weeks before the bombing. The first explosion, sending two people to the hospital was set of in a car, filled with canisters of liquefied petroleum gas and fireworks. Minutes later came the other explosion on a side street, parallel to one of the main shopping streets in Stockholm. Abdulwahab had straped six bombs to his body, and was carrying a backpack filled with nails. It seems one of the bombs went off prematurely, before he was able to reach his destination (which is unknown), killing Abdulwahab himself without setting the other bombs off or injuring anyone else.

Roughly ten minutes before the explosions, Abdulwahab is to have sent an e-mail to the Swedish news agency TT and the Security Service in which he referred to the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and the Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ drawing of Muhammad as a roundabout dog. The letter furthermore said: “Now will your children, daughters and sisters die the same way our brothers and sisters die? Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you don’t end your war against Islam and degradation against the prophet and your foolish support for the pig Vilks.” The message ended with a call to “all Muhajedin in Europe and Sweden. Now is the time to strike, wait no longer. Go forward with whatever you have, even if it is a knife, and I know you have more than a knife. Fear no one, don’t fear prison, and don’t fear death.”

Monday 13 SÄPO held a press conference where they reported that the police are interviewing witnesses, conducting forensic investigations of the explosives and collecting CCTV footage from businesses in the area and from roads leading into and out of the area. Police are also processing a substantial amount of information from the general public.

“We are working around the clock. The Stockholm County Police and the National Bureau of Investigation are assisting us in this work, and we are also cooperating with British police authorities” said Anders Thornberg, head of security measures at the Swedish Security Service.

According to Chief Public Prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand at the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm, Abdulwahab has not previously come to the attention of the Security Service.

Based on what the police currently know, SÄPO believes that the man acted alone. “That said, we know from previous experience that this type of crime usually involves more than one individual. The attack appears to have been well-planned, and we assume that the suicide bomber had accomplices,” said Tomas Lindstrand.
However, no one else is presently suspected of any involvement in the attack.

According to Anders Thornberg, warnings similar to that sent to the Security Service and the Swedish news agency TT shortly before the attack are received by the Service almost on a daily basis. Based on current circumstances, the Security Service is not making any changes to the present terrorist threat level, which remains elevated. Threat levels are assessed on an hourly basis.

Even so Magnus Ranstorp, a security expert from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan), says: “Based on my experience, it’s one thing if it’s just a car fire. But to go and put together pipe bombs and sacrifice your life – I’d be very surprised if he didn’t have contact with other individuals.” Ranstorp cautioned, however, that it was too early to say whether the man who apparently blew himself up in Stockholm on Saturday has ties to any established terrorist networks.

SÄPO has received help from FBI bomb experts in their investigations. Despite the suicide attack, SÄPO has no plans to heighten Sweden’s threat level.

A number of Muslim representatives in Sweden have condemned the attack in Media. For example Imam Abd al-Haww Kielan, chairman of the Swedish Islamic Communion, said this is an act totally against Islam. Also Hassan Moussa, Imam in the central Mosque in Stockholm, condemns it is as a criminal act of terror. The organization; Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice organized a demonstration against violence in Stockholm Sunday.

There were also reactions of another kind. Alexandra Brunell, secretary to the far-right wing Sweden Democrat wrote “Is it now one can say ‘what was it we said’’ on her twitter, ending the tweet with the word “Finally”.

Also the Sweden Democrat William Petzäll was tweeting on Sunday evening: “I hate to say this, but what was it that we said?”

Tuesday the Sweden Democrats demanded a debate in Sweden’s parliament on Islamic extremism. “There is today a large public interest in a debate around these questions. People want to know how we as politicians look at Islamic extremism and what the preventive work looks like,” Party leader Jimmie Åkesson said in a statement.

Wednesday December 15 SÄPO published a report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden. The report was ordered by the government in 2010. On their homepage they conclude:
Violence-promoting Islamist extremism and radicalisation do exist in Sweden and should not be underestimated as potential threats. However, the currently limited occurrences of these phenomena should be countered mainly by an increased focus on preventive measures. These are the main conclusions of the report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden presented to Government today.

In February 2010, the Security Service was commissioned by the Government to put together an official report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism. The report contains a description of violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden, discernible radicalization processes and tools and strategies for use in countering radicalization. The overall purpose of the report is to facilitate a more balanced and informed debate on these issues.

Focus on other countries:
According to the report, there are a number of networks based on a violence-promoting Islamist extremist ideology that are currently active in Sweden. Most of these networks focus on action and propaganda against foreign troops in Muslim countries and against governments they see as corrupt and not representing what the networks consider to be the only true interpretation of Islam. Individual who are active in these networks engage in activities aiming to support and facilitate terrorist offenses mainly in other countries.
Relatively limited number of people.

The report also shows that the threat from violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden is currently not a threat to the fundamental structures of society, Sweden´s democratic system or Central Government. This form of extremism may however constitute a threat to both individuals and groups.

Only a relatively limited number of people are involved in violence-promoting Islamist extremism, and the group of active members on whose actions the descriptions in this report are based consists of just under 200 individuals. There is nothing to indicate that the number of people radicalized in Sweden is growing.
The importance of preventive measures:

Violence-promoting Islamist extremism and radicalization should be countered mainly by an increasing focus on preventive measures. Given the substantial similarities in terms of how and why people radicalize, regardless of ideological affiliation, it should be possible to better coordinate preventive efforts and countermeasures targeting various extremist groups.

Experiences and knowledge gained from crime prevention initiatives in general should also play a more prominent role. Preventive work should be engaged in by actors on all levels of society — nationally, regionally as well as locally.

The whole report is possible to download (in Swedish, without an English summary) from SÄPO’s homepage:

Sweden Suicide Bomber: Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly was living in Britain

12 December 2010

Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly tried to set off a car bomb packed with gas canisters in a busy shopping street in Stockholm. The car caught fire and the bomber fled the scene before blowing himself up 300yd away 15 minutes later, injuring two bystanders.
It emerged last night that Abdulwahab, who was due to turn 29 yesterday, is a former physical therapy student at Bedfordshire University in Luton, and that his wife and three young children still live in the town.
MI5 is now investigating possible links with extremists in Luton, whether the bomber was radicalised at the university and claims that he was helped by an extremist group in Yemen, the base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Against Swedish Law to Ban Student for Wearing Niqab

January 12, 2010

According to a verdict presented this week by the Swedish discrimination ombudsman, Katri Linna, it’s wrong to ban a student from class for wearing a niqab.
The decision stems from an incident in January 2009 when a Muslim woman, wearing niqab, was asked to take the face veil of if she wanted to continue her training to become a pediatric nurse at an adult education center in Spånga, west of Stockholm.
The student reported the matter to the ombudsman, as an act of religious discrimination. Almost two years later – when the student has graduated from the education – the ombudsman presented her verdict. Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsman has criticised Linna for taking nearly two years to rule on the case.
Linna said her office has no plans to take the woman’s case to court because the she had been able to finish her studies with solid marks. This fact, the discrimination ombudsman says, has proven that her headscarf didn’t present an obstacle to attending lectures. Nor were there any problems related to her interactions with teachers or other students.
From the now ongoing debate over the verdict, we can tell the last word is not yet said in this issue.

Sweden’s young muslims cancel visit by criticized imam

Sweden’s Young Muslims (SUM) is hosting a conference in Stockholm this weekend where the North-American imam Abdullah Hakim Quick were supposed to talk about the future of young Muslims in the west. According to different sources the imam has been rallying against homosexuals and Jews in earlier speeches – and after a week of massive protests SUM decided to cancel Quick’s lecture.

Sweden’s got the “Stockholm Syndrome”?

Sunday January 31 the right-wing populist party Sverigedemokraterna (SD) hosted a conference in Stockholm entitled “Non-Muslims under Islam”. Helsingborgs dagblad (independent) published a report from the conference. First speaker, out of three, was Christian-Sudanese Kuel Jok, who presented a set of personal pictures from Sudan while talking about Muslim aggressions towards Christians in the country. ”God is great” is the slogan of the oppression, according to Jok, who concluded: “If you say the God that murdered my countrymen and relatives is great, we can’t talk about the same God.”

Kuel Jok was followed by exiled Iranian Farshad Kholghi who claimed that “Sweden is suffering from the Stockholm syndrome” (identifying with it’s kidnappers, e.g. the Muslims) and has developed into a “politically correct dictatorship”. As a word of warning he then continued by telling how his own native country Iran used to offer a life of “passion, pork, and wine, which has been erased by Shari’a laws.”

Last to enter the pulpit was the Danish psychologist and politician Nicolai Sennels (Dansk Folkeparti) who asked for a stricter treatment of [Muslim] immigrants – out of love and concern for their well being. In a colonial manner he compared the relationship between the Danish majority and the immigrant minorites to the that between parents and their children, saying “If our children is misbehaving, we must dare to correct them.”

Extreme Islamism challenges Swedish State of Law

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.

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.