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.

Swedes in al-Shabaab training camps

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.

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.