On May 2, journalist Per Gudmundson revealed in his blog, where he monitors violent Islamists, that a Swedish-Iraqi named Jasim al Tib was killed in combat against ISIS. The man apparently fought for al-Hashd al-Shaabi (People's Mobilization), an umbrella organization mainly for Shiite militia groups. The group was founded in June 2014 by the Iraqi government. Its forces are said to number about 100,000 men, and its purpose is apparently to fight the Islamic State.
On May 5, Haras Rafiq, president of the Quilliam Foundation, a British think tank that tries to stop young Muslims from becoming radicalized, aimed harsh criticism at the Swedish government's indulgence of Islamists: "Sweden, to a much larger extent than other countries, allows hate preachers to enter the country and give lectures to spread their message. Sweden should deal with this."
Rafiq pointed out that Islamism is tantamount to fascism, the only difference being that one puts God on top, the other the state. Muslim hate preachers, he said, are regularly invited to speak in Sweden by groups such as Young Muslims of Sweden, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. "These people believe that anyone who lives in a Muslim state and doesn't follow their Islam should be killed," Rafiq continued. "Why doesn't Sweden offer greater resistance?"
On May 8, a symposium on jihadism took place at the Foreign Policy Institute in Stockholm. During the symposium, the Swedish Security Service revealed that the recruitment of Swedish youths to violent jihadism threatens to overwhelm the security service.
"I've worked for the Security Service for 30 years and as a police officer for 35 years," said Swedish Security Service chief Anders Thornberg, "and I've never seen anything as inherently forceful as this. The pressure on the Security Service is huge. The recruitment of more and more people cannot go on. Eventually we will not be able to handle it."
Swedish Security Service chief Anders Thornberg revealed that the recruitment of Swedish youths to violent Islamism threatens to overwhelm the security service.
Security Service officials claim they "pretty much" know the identities of the approximately 300 individuals who have traveled to Syria and Iraq over the last 2.5 years, including the 35-40 who were killed and the more than 100 who have returned to Sweden -- some of whom have been instructed to carry out terrorist acts in Sweden and other countries.
The Security Service also admitted great concern over the possibility that foreign jihadis might take advantage of the Swedish asylum system -- through which more than 90% of refugee claimants gain permanent residency status, despite lacking passports or identifying documents -- by "hiding among the refugees."
On May 8, the public broadcaster Swedish Radio (Sveriges Radio) reported on a group of residents of Gullberg, a small village in western Sweden, who are trying to thwart government plans to construct a housing project for asylum seekers in a renovated school in their village. Sweden's Immigration Service (Migrationsverket) is now buying old schools, hotels and other large buildings in the Swedish countryside at a record pace, and renovating them to accommodate asylum seekers. Most of the people living nearby are unaware of the plans until it is too late to protest. Many locals have, after the fact, given testimony that they were completely deprived of all sense of security.
In addition, every week, incidents occur at asylum-seeker facilities around the country. Often these take the form of violence between residents or are directed at the staff. When, due to massive theft, a town's only grocery store is forced to shut, the villagers suffer. Some residents of Gullberg, who were apparently frustrated, sent an anonymous letter to politicians stating that they intended to stop the plans by setting up a pig farm nearby. It would, they wrote, have "only an electrical fence between the animals and the school. Probably an electrical fence covering the entire back of the school. About 200 meters. Probably an impossible situation for some religions. Above all, Muslims."
On May 9, Björn Norström, a columnist at Avpixlat, the largest alternative news website in Sweden, received an answer from Sweden's Foreign Ministry, to a question he submitted to them: "In what way has Islam since medieval times contributed to civilization when it comes to human rights, science, industry, democracy and government, i.e. that which by definition constitutes civilization?" Norström asked this question in reaction to a statement about the Saudi crisis by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.
After first calling the Saudi justice system medieval (regarding the sentence of 1000 lashes for the blogger Raif Badawi), Wallström did a complete u-turn and expressed the "utmost respect for Islam as a world religion and for its contribution to our joint civilization."
When the answer to Norström's question finally came in early May, it contained but a few examples of Islamic contributions to science before medieval times. Björn Norström notes that Sweden's Foreign Ministry obviously has problems supporting the claim of Islamic contributions to civilization, for which Wallström says she has the "utmost respect."
On May 12, two Somali-Swedes, Mohamed Yusuf and Ali Yasin Ahmed, also known as the Djibouti-Swedes, admitted their guilt in fighting for al-Shabaab in Somalia. One of the two is a Swedish citizen, who joined the terror group years ago. In 2010, Mohamed Yusuf, who appeared in a propaganda video for al-Shabaab in Somalia, urged Muslims in Sweden to join the holy war. He also seized the opportunity to threaten the life of the artist, Lars Vilks.
In 2012, both men were arrested on their way to Yemen, and eventually taken into custody by the FBI. In August 2014, there were organized protests by the Muslim Human Rights Committee and Charta 2008 (which Sweden's current Minister of Housing Mehmet Kaplan used to chair) outside the U.S. embassy in Stockholm. The groups demanded that the terrorists be freed, and called Sweden's failure to act on the matter a "scandal."
The admissions of guilt by Yusuf and Ahmed, made in front of Judge John Gleeson in New York, resulted in the Somali-Swedes facing up to 15 years in prison and deportation from the United States.
On May 14, Arabic television channel Al Aan revealed that the Islamic Stats (ISIS) has acquired a vast number of Western passports, including Swedish ones. These are used to allow passport owner "lookalikes" unrestricted travel throughout the world. A spokesperson for the Swedish police, Stephan Ray, explained why Swedish passports are extremely attractive:
"Most countries don't have visa restrictions for Swedish citizens, so the passports generate quite a lot of money if you sell them to organized crime, for example. That is why Swedish passports keep showing up in all kinds of contexts. The Security Service has noted that there are Swedes traveling to places such as Syria, so that is one explanation as to how the passports end up there."
Every year, about 60,000 Swedish passports are reported stolen or lost. About a year ago, police estimated that approximately 180,000 Swedish passports are touring the world. On the black market, a Swedish passport costs about 80,000 kronor ($9,000 USD). There are examples of people who have "lost" up to 20 passports, yet have had no problems acquiring new ones. Last year, the government decided to appoint a commission to try and stop the abuse of Swedish passports. The daily Dagens Nyheter wrote:
"The police have also seen that the real owner of the passport refrains from filing a complaint right away, enabling another person to use it. An example of use is for human trafficking. A refugee who wants to enter the Schengen area can, for a price, gain access to travel documents that will be accepted by the border control. In spite of strong suspicions that the lost passports are being used by organized crime, there's very little the police can do about it today."
The investigating commission stated in March 2015:
"Sweden, within the EU, should promote that an inspection of biometric information in passports be implemented on the outer borders of the entire Schengen area. Pending joint rules for the Schengen area, obligatory fingerprint inspection should be implemented upon entry from third countries into Sweden. The control should encompass the passports of Swedish citizens as well as foreign nationals. In the long term, such a control should be considered when exiting the country, as well. The investigator further proposes that Swedish citizens, as a rule, should be entitled to only three standard passports during a five-year period, after which only provisional passports for particular travel will be issued. Further, the expiry date for passports for children under the age of six should be limited to two years; and for children between the ages of six and twelve should be limited to three years. Also, a valid passport issued to someone who gets a provisional passport should then be revoked.
We recommend that the proposition regarding inspection of biometric information in passports be implemented on the day of the government's decision. We suggest other changes come into force July 1 2016."
One cannot but wonder why people should be allowed to have three passports issued over a five-year period; why not just one?
On May 15, Aje Carlbom, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at Malmö College, wrote in the magazine Dagens Samhälle that since the 1970's, Saudi Arabia has actively spread its Wahhabi/Salafi interpretation of Islam in Sweden. The Swedish Quran translation "Message of the Quran," for example, was partly financed by Saudi money. The first big mosque built in Sweden was the Islamic Center in Malmö. It was completed in the early 1980's, after being financed by Saudi Arabia and Libya.
"Young people active in Salafist groups view the surrounding society as a place to Islamize. Swedish United Dawa Center (SUDC) preaches on the streets as well as on the internet. They urge prospective followers to spread Islam by learning a specific 'sales technique' aimed at 'controlling the conversation and avoiding difficult situations.'
"Globalization has made Islamism a part of the political reality in the secular national state. International as well as national organizations vie for influence by spreading their ideas among non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Surprisingly, this phenomenon is almost completely devoid of media coverage. It is high time to change that if we want to understand the social and political processes at work in Salafist- and Islamist inspired Swedish youths."
On May 17, journalist Per Gudmundson wrote on his blog that a 17-year old preacher and nasheed singer by the name of Mustafa Abu Aaliyah has joined the Islamic State. On May 10, he published a video from the caliphate, in which he sings a hymn and poses with automatic weapons. About his life in the Islamic State, he writes:
"I only want to say that I wish you all could be here with me. It is just as perfect and wonderful as I expected. I bear witness that the law here is only for Allah and the understanding is on the methodology of Salaf."
Abu Aaliyah's real name is Mustafa Suldan. His father is from Somalia and his mother is a Swedish convert to Islam, who, among other activities, founded the Islamic Scouts of Lund, a university town in southern Sweden. Earlier this year, the 17-year old disappeared from his high school in Lund, from where police suspect another man, a 21-year-old, also traveled to join the Islamic State.
On May 18, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) released a report entitled "Is the PA lying to Western donors?", which shows that Sweden and other countries may have been fooled into thinking that aid money to the Palestinian Authority (PA) no longer funds terrorism. While PMW has been invited to the parliaments of Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands to talk about the swindle, the Swedish government keeps lavishing taxpayer money on the Palestinian Authority. In June, the PA will receive 40 million kronor ($4.5 million USD) to pay wages and pensions, and 30 million kroner for "efforts in Eastern Jerusalem and exposed communities on the West Bank."
Despite Foreign Minister Margot Wallström's promises, when Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine, assuring everyone this would give Sweden more leverage to make demands on the Palestinians, Sweden continues to throw money their way with no strings attached.
On May 19, the Stockholm municipal government's strategy against violent extremism was ratified by the Social Welfare Board. The plan focuses on the alleged need for social support to homecoming jihadis. Stockholm's politicians want to "include" homecoming jihadis into Sweden's "infidel" society by giving them health care, jobs, welfare benefits and housing.
The document states:
"... when a person wants to leave a violent extremist group or comes home from fighting abroad, it is imperative to offer suitable inclusive efforts. When it comes to persons who have been in combat, health care is most likely of the essence. Therefore, coordination is important between social services' social psychiatry and addiction units, health centers and psychiatry (PTSD, trauma etc)."
As the journalist Per Gudmundson notes on his blog,
"These suggestions are on par with what Swedish experts recommend. However, Stockholm officials will have a hard time explaining to ordinary Stockholmians why homecoming jihadis should get aid in acquiring housing, jobs, health care and benefits especially since the strategy doesn't mention the jihadists' victims with one single word, and they're not likely to get the same concern as the jihadis."
Gudmundson also notes that Stockholm advocates co-operation with local Islamic groups, such as Islamiska förbundet (Islamic League):
"Another communicative challenge will be to justify how the Islamic League, widely considered the Swedish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is fit to fight jihadism. The Muslim Brotherhood motto is 'Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.' The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood fights in coalition with Jabhat al-Nusrah, the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda."
The city's conservative opposition voted No to the "inclusive measures package," with (opposition) Deputy Mayor Lotta Edholm saying that "people who come back after committing genocide should not get housing and jobs; they should be put on trial."
On May 19, Sweden asked Turkey for assistance in apprehending three Swedish Muslims, believed to be on their way to join ISIS. They are Mohamed Qadar, Yasmin Said Ahmet and Abdelmoumenne Amin Ghezali, residents of the city of Örebro. Ghezali is a familiar name to Swedes -- his elder brother, Medhi Ghezali, was imprisoned for two and a half years at the American military base in Guantanamo Bay, suspected of "posing a threat to United States security," but, after assurances from Sweden, was released. In the summer of 2009, he was arrested again, this time in Pakistan, on suspicion of terror-related crimes, and was once more released. Last year, he was sentenced to ten months in prison for aggravated fraud, and now his younger brother is wanted in Turkey. Abdelmoumenne Amin Ghezali, 20, has several convictions, and has served 20 months in prison for drug-related crimes and attempting to attack two Swedes.
Also on May 19, Sweden's official statistics office, Statistiska Centralbyrån (SCB), released a report showing that by the year 2060, Sweden's population will increase by three million. SCB estimates that next year, the population will hit the ten million mark -- all due to the mass immigration, consisting largely of Muslims from Syria. Presently, the immigration influx is 150,000 annually.
In 1975, the year Swedish parliament decided the country should transform from being homogeneously Swedish to a multicultural country, the population was about eight million -- virtually all ethnic Swedes. In 15 years from now, a third of the population aged 25-64 is predicted to be people born abroad.
On May 20, a 15-year old girl from Örebro tried to leave the country to join the Islamic State. She was stopped in Turkey after her parents contacted the police, and is now back in Sweden. Fredrik Malm, a local policeman in the Muslim-dominated area of Vivalla, told a radio station in Örebro that life as a married woman in Syria can be an attractive alternative for Muslim girls living in strong "honor households." The limited freedom they have in Sweden can lure them to Syria, where they are promised status and honor as married women. According to the police, "Of course there's money involved, someone is chipping in or at least offering a ride to the airport. But we don't have a clear picture of who's financing this."
Also on May 20, the daily Svenska Dagbladet reported that a Swedish trader, who earned millions on the Stockholm stock exchange, has sponsored three Kurdish men from Sweden to go to Syrian Kurdistan and fight ISIS. The trader said he contributed 100,000 kronor ($11,000 USD) so the Kurdish-Swedes could buy clothes, helmets and laser sights, but not weapons. Swedish citizens have been fighting for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) guerillas, who are connected to the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- considered by many people a terrorist organization. One of the three men being sponsored, Rafael Kardari, explained to the newspaper that he has already fought with YPG twice, and now looks forward to the final battle of the oil-rich area of Rojava.
Additionally on May 20, journalist Per Gudmundson revealed that Iraqi imam Ali Kamal Berzengi, a resident of the Stockholm suburb, Rinkeby, is required to report to the police five days a week. In October 2005, Berzengi was sentenced to five years in prison for preparing to commit terrorist acts. He was paroled in April 2007, but was immediately retaken into custody, as the Swedish government can do, at their discretion, when they cannot deport someone. In 2008, the government decided Berzengi should report to the police five days a week, an arrangement that came to an end in June 2011.
Until now, Berzengi had been considered harmless, and current Minister of Housing, Mehmet Kaplan, has campaigned for pardoning Berzengi, giving him a new trial and granting him permanent residency status. In early 2015, however, the Security Service suddenly requested that the imam should again start reporting to the police, a request now approved by two court decisions. The court stated that Berzengi "maintains contact with persons who are suspected to be connected with terrorist networks and organizations" and that there is "a palpable danger" of terrorist crimes or crimes against national security, which is why the court feels that the Security Service's request should be granted, as it is "necessary for security reasons."
On May 22, the Tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet revealed that Billé Ilias Mohamed, a Somali-Swede, is reported to be the brain behind a recruitment base for jihadis in northern Stockholm. The 30-year old has supposedly enabled at least 14 young men and women to join the Islamic State in Syria. Aftonbladet wrote:
"Billé Ilias Mohamed is well known in jihadist circles and by the Swedish justice system. In the fall of 2010, he and another man were convicted of conspiring to commit terrorist acts by the municipal court in Gothenburg. According to the court, the 30-year old was trained by the terror group al-Shabaab in Somalia between 2007 and 2009. When he was arrested, he was, according to the prosecutor, planning a suicide attack in Somalia."
Mohamed appealed the verdict and in 2011, the Court of Appeals decided that the evidence against him was insufficient. Thus, Billé Ilias Mohamed was acquitted and able to step up his terrorist activity.
On May 26, Ulf Boström, a police officer responsible for "integration," went on the attack in the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten against the Swedish justice system, for neglecting to prosecute homecoming ISIS-warriors for terrorist crimes. He noted that at least 50 Swedish jihadis, perhaps as many as 100, have returned to Sweden -- and not one has been prosecuted under the laws related to terrorist crimes. Boström, who for many years moved in religious circles, said:
"It is incomprehensible. Here we have the names and social security numbers of people who travel to Syria to fight and we know about it. Some come home and when they do, they can get health care and help, and then go right back down there again. Sweden is one of the few countries, if not the only one, where it is possible to travel in and out like this. The Danes cannot go, so they use Swedish airports instead."
Ingrid Carlqvist is editor-in-chief of Dispatch International.