The Stock­holm sui­cide bomber

The Pak Banker - - Editorial - Ish­tiaq Ahmed

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.

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