Swedish Church Hires Imam

18 March 2011
The Swedish Church has hired an Imam – Othman Al-Tawalbeh – to work with interreligious dialogue. The decision has been debated during the last week, especially amongst members of the church, but also in Muslim communities. While some are positive towards the collaboration, some Muslims have criticized as well the church as Al-Tawalbeh. The most critical voice comes from another Swedish Imam, Mahmoud Aldebe, who commented on the issue in Arabic media earlier this week. Tawalbeh felt Aldebe’s critique was formulated in such a way that it could create a threatening situation for him, and there has been rumors of Aldebe trying to get a fatwa against Tawalbeh from Jordan, his country of origin. Swedish Secret Police has been talking to Tawalbeh and is investigating whether or not there is a threat against him.
Othman Al-Tawalbeh is fairly well known in Sweden. He has been working in different dialogue projects for years. Also Aldebe is well known to the Swedish public, especially for his 2006 letter to the Swedish government asking for adaptations of the Swedish law in issues concerning the Muslim minorities.

Swedish suicide bomber trained in Iraq?

In an interview in the TV channel al-Arabiya, based in the United Arab Emirates, General Zia Kanani, head of the Iraqi anti-terrorism unit, said the Swedish suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab was trained in Iraq for three months preceding the bombing in Stockholm in December 2010.

Kanani said this information was obtained from a detained Islamist and that the anti-terrorist unit had warned US intelligence of a possible attack in the United States, Europe or Britain.”

In Abdulwahab’s alleged will, posted on an Islamist website shortly after the attack, he announces the Al-Qaeda front group in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, and says he “has fulfilled what it promised you.”
The Swedish Secret Police say they are aware of this information being spread in Arabic media, but have got no further comments.

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.

Swedish Secret Police Publishes Report on Islamism in Sweden

December 15, 2010

In the beginning of 2010, the Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) was assigned by the Swedish government to investigate and describe “violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden, discernable processes of radicalization in violence inclined Islamist environments in Sweden, and tools and strategies to be used in obstructing radicalization.”

The report was finally published December 15, just four days after the suicide bombing – classed as a terrorist crime – in downtown Stockholm. In the report “violence inclined Islamist extremism” is defined as “activities threatening security which are Islamistically motivated, and which aims at changing the society in a non-democratic direction by the use of violence or threat of violence.” Radicalization, further, is defined as: “the process leading to a person, or a group, supporting or exercising, ideologically motivated violence to support a case.”

The report is the result of a systematic adaptation and analysis of already existing material gathered by Säpo, and it is focusing on last year (2009). But one has also made use of other publically available sources, such as other authority reports and research articles.

According to the report there are approximately 200 individuals engaged in violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden – even though this activity mainly pursue to support or aid terrorism in other countries, such as Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and North Africa. The only somewhat common denominator for radicalization amongst these individuals seems to be that the majority consists of men in between 15-30 years of age. Out of these 200 individuals SÄPO estimates 80 percent to have friendly bonds or other connections to each other. Not surprisingly Internet seems to be the common ground for these individuals and groups.

In the report SÄPO states that “the threat from violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden is currently not a threat against fundamental societal structures or the Swedish form of government.” The greatest potential threat towards Sweden, SÄPO concludes, is the long term effects of individuals travelling abroad to affiliate with violence inclined Islamist organizations.

The general conclusions of the report are that violence inclined Islamist extremism and radicalization is a reality in Sweden and must be seen as a potential threat. Presently, however, this is to be considered a limited phenomenon which is to be met with general crime preventive measures, already conducted in Sweden.

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.

Swedish Secret Police to investigate Islamism in Sweden

The Swedish government have asked Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) for a report on radical Islamism in Sweden. “There are indications coming from SÄPO”, says Minister of Integration Nyamko Sabuni, “that violent, radical Islamism is recruiting in Sweden. Even if this is not a big problem, it can have grave consequences for some individuals.”

The report is to be turned in December 15, 2010.