The Stockholm suicide bomber
It is a grave and fatal error of judgement to believe that if extremist Islam and terrorist Muslim movements continue to threaten the west there will be no reaction. Driven to the wall all societies fight back for their survival. I cannot rule out the return of racism, fascism and religious extremism in the west.
Sweden is in a state of shock if not exactly trauma since December 11, 2010 when a young man, Taimour Abdulwahab alAbdaly, 29, married and with three children, blew himself up accidently before he could get to his target: Christmas shoppers in the most crowded parts of central Stockholm. As a result, instead of hundreds of innocent people being killed, the culprit only managed to extinguish his own life. His stomach was torn apart; nerves, intestines and burnt flesh lay all around. It was a revolting sight. A bomb had also gone off in his car parked close by. Two persons were injured slightly.
Minutes before the bomb blasts took place he had sent a message to the Swedish intelligence agency, SAPO, warning them that this attack was just the beginning. He promised that more such attacks would follow because Sweden had sent 500 soldiers to Afghanistan and the Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, had drawn a derogatory cartoon of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). He announced that just as Muslim men, women and children were being killed in Afghanistan, Swedish men, women and children would also be killed. Immediately afterwards, extremist Islamist websites affiliated to al Qaeda backed his threat, saying that Sweden would pay a heavy price.
Taimour Abdulwahab alAbdaly arrived in Sweden as a child in 1991 from war-ravaged Iraq along with his parents who sought asylum in Sweden. He went to school in a small Swedish town, and then studied at a British university. His wife and children are still living in Luton, outside London. He left a message for his wife begging her for forgiveness and imploring her to tell their children that he loved them very much. He had been socialising with local Muslims in Luton, attending a mosque for prayers. Some of them remembered that he held extremist views, but they did not report him to the police. It is important to point out that Luton has gained considerable notoriety for being a stronghold of extremist Muslims - most of them of Pakistani or Azad Kashmiri origin. The five individuals from northern England who carried out suicide terrorist attacks on the London underground and buses in July 2005 had links with extremists in Luton. The police are now working on the theory that he had at least one accomplice with him with whom he was in communication on a walkie-talkie. The interesting thing is that the culprit was not in the list of extremist Muslims of either the Swedish or the British police. The Swedish police believe that at least 200 Muslims, half of them in Stockholm, harbour al Qaeda sympathies.
The Swedish government and administration have responded in a most restrained and calm manner. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt emphasised the need to maintain an open, tolerant society and not to blame a whole community for the misdeeds of one malevolent individual. Other ministers and public figures emphasised that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Sweden were law abiding and peaceful individuals.
Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, however, was visibly puzzled and saddened. She said Sweden had accepted the largest number of refugees from Iraq. To find someone from that group involved in a terrorist attack in a country that gave him protection was tragic.
Representatives of the Islamic Council of Sweden and the head Imam of the main mosque in Stockholm condemned the terrorist attack as un-Islamic, cowardly and deeply inhuman. Other Imams and Islamic figures also issued similar statements on the radio, television and in the press. A representative body of Iraqi refugees took out a demonstration condemning the criminal act of Taimour Abdulwahab alAbdaly. Some Muslims, interviewed on television, expressed shame but also fear as to how their Swedish neighbours and workmates would treat them from now onwards.
The rightwing, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim Sweden Democratic Party will be the main beneficiary. It won 20 seats in the Swedish parliament in the September 2010 elections on an anti-immigration and antiMuslim campaign. All mainstream democratic parties announced that they would not seek the parliamentary support of the Sweden Democrats because they are racially oriented and demonise Islam and Muslims. Now, voters who feel that the mainstream parties have trivialised the threat that extremist Muslims pose to Sweden are likely to flock to the Sweden Democrats.
Already a major change has taken place. The Swedish Social Democratic Party was previously opposed to the government's intention of giving greater powers to the police and intelligence agencies to tap telephones, bank accounts and other such private matters of individuals. Immediately after the terrorist attack, it changed its stand and came out in support of greater surveillance of the private affairs of people. Thus civil liberties and freedoms that Sweden is traditionally famous for are likely to be curtailed in the interests of security. Extremist Islam's spearhead, al Qaeda, seems determined to subvert the post-World War II liberal immigration regime in the west. Ironically, at the end of the 15th century, Muslims were expelled from Spain, Italy and other parts of Western Europe by a revivalist, nationalist-fundamentalist movement headed by Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.