In early June, a public debate began on the oppression of women in the Muslim-dominated suburbs of Sweden.
Zeliha Dagli, who labels herself a secular feminist, wrote in an article in the newspaper Aftonbladet that she fled Turkey 30 years ago, but now wants to seek asylum "again" -- in Sweden. Dagli lives in Husby, the Stockholm suburb that made headlines around the world in the summer of 2013, when it was plagued by massive immigrant riots.
Dagli says these suburbs are no longer a part of Sweden, but, rather, redolent of the Middle East. She writes that her everyday life is being more and more influenced by suburban fundamentalists:
"I want a safe haven and I want to be able to drink a glass of beer with my friends Lars, Hassan, Maria, Osman, Ayse and others. I want to go to the Senior Citizens Association and listen to jazz and dance the twist. I want to grow vegetables in the garden and wear short pants, and go to the bathhouse in a bikini. In my neighborhood, I want to escape the judgmental looks of men staring at me. I want to bring home whomever I like, but I can't do these things today because my rights are limited and controlled in my neighborhood. These bearded 'shadows' frighten me."
In a televised debate, Mona Sahlin, Sweden's "national coordinator of the struggle against violent extremists," was forced to admit that the situation in the suburbs is a "disaster for Sweden." Ironically, Sahlin herself has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for contempt against Swedish culture, by saying in reply to a question about what Swedish culture is:
"I've been asked that a lot, but I can't put my finger on what Swedish culture might be. I think that might be the reason many Swedes envy the immigrants. You have a culture, an identity, a history, something that binds you together. And what do we have? We have Midsummer's Eve and 'corny' things like that."
On June 8, a Norwegian teenager was apprehended at Gothenburg's Landvetter Airport by the Swedish Security Service. The young man was on his way to join ISIS; the arrest was made thanks to Norwegian authorities, who had put out a warrant for him. The remarkable thing is that if the 18-year-old had been a Swedish citizen, nobody would have been able to stop him from going: it is not yet illegal in Sweden to travel to join ISIS or any other terror group. The Security Service would have had to be content with seeing him off, and perhaps politely asking for an interview if and when he came back.
On June 10, the alternative online newspaper Fria Tider noted that an 18-year-old Somali man had been taken into custody, suspected of robbing a pawnshop in Västerås. Last summer, the same man had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the brutal rape of a woman who had a gun shoved up her vagina. He was not, however, convicted of this rape. Ironically, in April of last year, he was honored by the police as a role model for his commitment to the "Tro, hopp och kärlek" [Faith, hope and love] Association in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby. The police posted photos on their website, showing him meeting the then Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask -- even though he had already been convicted of unlawful threats, drug-related offenses and driving without a license. After Fria Tider's article, police removed the photos from their website.
On June 12, blogger Torbjörn Jerlerup revealed that a Swedish-Norwegian convert to Islam, Mikael Skråmo, is urging Muslims to commit terrorist acts in Sweden. Skråmo wrote on his Facebook page:
"Muslims in Sweden will become more and more degraded ... so instead of putting on a T-shirt and going to the most hated place for Allah, just to stand there and do dawah [missionize] you should go there with a bomb instead. ... Download Inspire Magazine, start making bombs from simple stuff you can buy at whatever Ica and Coop [stores], you choose. Now is the time to show who the earth belongs to!!!"
According to the journalist Per Gudmundson, this is the first time a Swedish ISIS-jihadi has promoted terror on Swedish soil. Skråmo also urged his brethren to kill the artist Lars Vilks and stressed that Islam sanctions the killing of infidels. "He who kills a kafir [infidel] will never go to the same place as he in hell. Save yourself from narr [hellfire] by killing a kafir."
Skråmo, born in Sweden to Norwegian parents, used to be known as a preacher in radical Muslim circles. Gudmundson writes: "He used to give lectures, for example, for United Muslims of Sweden [Sveriges Förenade Muslimer], and they recently received a 300,000 kronor [about $33,000 USD] subsidy from the Authority for Youth -- and civil society issues, to fight "intolerance." United Muslims of Sweden is a part of the dawah-movement -- and a radical awakening among Swedish Muslims.
Mikael Skråmo, a Swedish convert and ISIS jihadist, brought his family to Syria. Now he is urging Muslims in Sweden to bomb their workplaces.
Also on June 12, journalist Per Gudmundson wrote that the well-known hate preacher Kamal El-Mekki is going to visit Rinkeby Folkets Hus [a community center in a Stockholm suburb] and the Stockholm mosque. "El-Mekki," he wrote, "is an advocate of Saudi criminal laws -- such as mutilation and beheading -- in the West. He is an advocate of capital punishment for those who leave Islam. He also promotes slavery in our time, and thinks that the celebration of Christmas and other non-Muslim holidays is 'evil'."
Three days later, Rinkeby Folkets Hus announced that they had cancelled the meeting with El-Mekki: "In accordance with our policy, we have decided that the preacher Kamal El-Mekki, who was scheduled to attend a meeting at Folkets Hus, is no longer welcome, due to expressing undemocratic views. He has also expressed contempt against women and homosexuals. To lend our facilities to Kamal El-Mekki would be a breach against our policy regarding all men being equal."
On June 15, Mona Walter was also stopped from speaking at Rinkeby Folkets Hus. Walter, a native of Somalia and a convert to Christianity, was scheduled to speak on democracy and freedom of religion. She lives under constant threat for having left Islam, and for travelling around Sweden talking about Islam. Unlike the Islamist Kamal El-Mekki, who was cancelled after Mona Walter, she has never spread hate or undemocratic views. Exactly why she wasn't allowed to speak at Rinkeby Folkets Hus is unclear. Walter herself said that she was sure it was due to Muslims in the area signing petitions against her. In an interview with Christian paper Dagen, she said:
"I've wanted to come to Rinkeby for a long time, to talk to my fellow Somalis, about freedom of religion, about the fact that there are Christian Somalis and that their numbers are increasing, and about Jesus working miracles. Many of the Somali converts from Islam are threatened, and in some cases beaten, so they keep their conversions on Christianity to themselves. But I want to tell them that we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech in Sweden, and it's important to tell it like it is – that not all Somalis are Muslims."
Mona Walter has not given up on Rinkeby. She is determined, she says, to go there one day, "with Bible in one hand and the Quran in the other, and say that you Somalis have freedom of choice to believe anything you like. I have chosen Jesus, and so can you."
On June 17, Sweden's government presented its fast-tracked investigation into how terrorist travel can be made illegal. The members suggested that travelling to commit, or conspiring to commit, terrorist acts should be punishable by up to two years in prison. Financing terrorist activities should also be made illegal. "There is no excuse for these people [ISIS fighters]," said Morgan Johansson, the Minister of Justice, at the press conference. "They can't say afterwards that they didn't know what it was all about. They go with their eyes open."
The changes in the law are now up for review and may come into force around April 1, 2016. Ironically, no suggestion has yet been put forth to criminalize the act of fighting for a terror organization. The government has started a separate inquiry, expected to conclude in June of next year, into this matter.
On June 21, the Israeli human rights organization Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center demanded that the Swedish bank, SE-Banken, stop offering its services to the Free Gaza Movement and "Ship to Gaza," both of which provide ships to try to break the legal Israeli naval blockade, established to prevent weapons, intended to kill Israelis, from being smuggled into the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip. For the last few years, Shurat HaDin has been successful, on behalf of the victims' families, in suing terrorists who have murdered many people. Shurat HaDin found that SE-Banken had a mortgage on the fishing trawler Marianne av Göteborg, named after Marianne Skoog, who passed away in May 2014 and was said to have been a veteran within the Swedish "solidarity movement with Palestine." Shurat HaDin wrote:
"You are placed on formal notice that Mr. Charles Bertel Andreasson, to whom SEB provided a mortgage to finance the purchase of the Marianne Av Goteborg intends to attempt to breach the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) coastal blockade of the Gaza Strip and enter into a violent confrontation with the Israeli armed forces. He has publicly announced he is seeking to smuggle contraband to the terrorist Hamas controlled enclave in violation of international law."
But the letter to SEB CEO Annika Falkengren does not seem to have had any effect. The trawler cast off and headed for the Gaza Strip; it was boarded by the Israeli navy, and all aboard were deported to Sweden. According to the passengers on Marianne, the trawler was in international waters when it was boarded. Sweden therefore filed an official protest against Israel. When the Gaza-bound travellers came back to Sweden on July 6, the Swedish media greeted them as heroes. But sailor Charlie Andreasson has now lost all his licenses and certificates.
On June 22, several alternative media sites commemorated five years since Jennifer Lindström's suicide. On June 6, 2008, 15-year-old Jennifer was subjected to a brutal gang rape, during which several immigrant boys dragged her off to a wooded area. The police found DNA evidence, but the suspects did not have prior criminal records, so police decided not to arrest them. When the inquiry was dropped after a year, Jennifer tried to commit suicide by slashing her wrists. She was saved that time, but two years after the gang rape, she killed herself by jumping in front of a train. A year later, a suspect was apprehended after he had attacked and beaten two girls. His DNA revealed that he had also been one of Jennifer's rapists. Another youth was also later arrested. The sentences were lenient: Abdirahaman Abdullahi Yusuf, a Somali, was sentenced to five months in juvenile detention, and Granit Nito Rashica served six months in prison.
On June 26, Swedish Public Radio [Sveriges Radio] interviewed Magnus Sandelin, a journalist and author of the book Jihad-svenskarna i de islamistiska terrornätverken ["Jihadi Swedes in the Islamist Terrorist Networks"]. The book details the power struggle going on in Eskilstuna for the city's mosques. Muslim groups have tried to take over the city's biggest mosque, run by convert Leif Karlsson, also known as Abd al Haqq Kielan. Karlsson is considered by many to be not radical enough in his struggle to Islamize Sweden, thus, more fervent believers have tried to outmaneuver him through bribes and negative campaigns.
Sandelin says it has been hard discussing these problems in Sweden. One reason is that all criticism of immigrants' culture and religion is thought to favor the Sweden Democrats Party (Sverigedemokraterna). Critics also runs the risk of being labeled racists, and having their lives threatened. Sandelin has had several death threats, just for pointing out some of the problems.
On June 27, the day after the world was shocked by three bloody global Islamist terror acts that took at least 200 lives, the church bells rang in the grand 12th century church of St. Petri in Malmö. They were not ringing to commemorate the victims of Islamist terror, but rather to support Islam. Officially, the bells tolled "in solidarity for the city's diversity," and in protest against the Pegida movement, which had held a meeting nearby criticizing Islam.
In a press release from the church, Vicar Anders Ekhem said he invited Rabbi Rebecca Lillian and Imam Salahuddin Barakat from the Islamic Academy. The goal of the gathering was said to be "to unite for an open and democratic society against antisemitism and Islamophobia".
Immediately after the Pegida meeting, artist Dan Park was reported to the police for breaching hate speech laws. He had held up a banner equating Islam with fascism. Park has been convicted of the same crime before, in connection with an exhibition at a Malmö art gallery.
Also on June 27, the daily tabloid Aftonbladet revealed that their reporters had connected with ISIS recruiters on Facebook. A woman calling herself Umm G is recruiting girls to join the ISIS jihadists in Syria. One of the girls lured into going is 15-year-old "Anna." Three weeks before Aftonbladet met her, she said goodbye to her mother, supposedly to go to school, but instead took a train to Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, where she boarded a plane bound for Istanbul. No one in her family had any idea where she was going, they told the paper, even though "Anna" had started using full-cover clothing and had even shown ISIS videos to the family. Nobody in the family could imagine she would really go, not even when social services showed up in response to an anonymous tip that "Anna" might try to run away to Syria.
She had formed a connection with an 18-year-old man, who told her about life in Syria, describing it as a paradise of money and wealth, where women are free because of how they dress -- full niqab face-covering, long black robes and black gloves.
"He said it's good down there, it's not war everywhere. It's freedom to cover your face," Anna told Aftonbladet.
A friend notified the police, so the 15-year-old girl could be stopped by Turkish police at Istanbul Airport. She was put on a plane back to Copenhagen, where her family came and got her. The International Prosecutor's Office in Malmö has opened an investigation concerning human trafficking.
On June 28, poet and social commentator Mohamed Omar warned about the danger of the Salafists, now beheading people in Europe. Mohamed Omar, who has a Swedish mother and an Iranian father, has a colorful past. As a 16-year-old, he converted to Islam, then debuted as a poet. He won cultural awards and became editor of Minaret magazine. In 2009, he suddenly declared himself an Islamist, praised Iran and explained on Swedish Public Television that "the great threat against society are the Zionists."
Last year, Omar once again changed his stance and wrote a couple of books on why he since left Islamism. Omar is still a Muslim, but now he warns about the Salafists in particular, whom he feels have gained too much influence in Sweden. In an article on the debate website Det goda samhället ["The good society"], Omar wrote:
"But why are these attacks happening during Ramadan? A month of fasting, prayer and stillness? It's because the jihadis don't view the violence as something unholy. If the violence is happening for God's sake and according to the rules Islam is perceived to decree, it is in fact a holy action. To the jihadis, this type of holy violence is more meritorious in God's eyes than fasting, prayer and charity. They rely on the hadith, statements supposedly uttered by the prophet Muhammad himself, that praise jihad and make it a religious duty. In the hadith, jihad in the month of Ramadan is portrayed as giving extra glory."
On June 29, the foundation Tryggare Sverige ["Safer Sweden"] reported that only one in five rape cases in Sweden are "resolved" by the police and judiciary, meaning that most rapists are either not arrested, not prosecuted, or not convicted. During the last five years, some 31,600 rapes or attempted rapes have been reported to the police. Of these, 6,235, or about 20% percent, have been "resolved." Peter Strandell, of Tryggare Sverige, says that no one knows what to do about this problem -- disastrous in a country with the second-highest number of reported rapes in the world.
"There are no surveys indicating what should be done," Strandell says. "Instead, we're in a deadlocked discussion about education and resources. That may be right. But as long as we don't know the requisites, we don't know what we need to do."
Tryggare Sverige now demands vigorous efforts to increase the clearance rate, and suggests that the government should set up an expert team to review how the police and the prosecutors work.
 Interview, Euroturk magazine, 2002