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.
According to the publication Dagens Nyheter, phone threats to artist Lars Vilks – who in 2007 drew a picture of Muhammad as a dog – came from al-Shabab in Somalia.
Representatives from al-Shabab have been in Sweden to recruit and collect money in mosques in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmoe. Swedish secret police (SÄPO) claim about twenty Swedish-Somalis have traveled to Somalia; some have died and at least ten are participating in al-Shabab camps and in military battles in Somalia.
Swedish-Somalia spokespersons say about 80 percent of Sweden’s Somali population is against al-Shabab, but are afraid to be open about their critique. Last week Swedish-Somali spokespersons asked for help to deal with extremist Islamist forces within the Somali group.