Islamic State returnees allegedly recruiting in Sweden
Affected Countries: sweden;
According to the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), around 150 out of a total of 300 Islamic State supporters and fighters have returned to Sweden. It is believed that some of those returning fighters have begun recruiting new extremists in Malmö, many of them young people, TV4 Nyheterna reports.
“They can be seen as heroes for young people who are at risk and radicalised. It increases concern, of course, and creates instability. People are worried about their children,” said anti-violent extremism activist Michael Helders.
A mother in the heavily migrant-populated suburb of Rosengård, which is often referred to as a no-go suburb, who works against the growing influence of jihadists said, “The situation here in Rosengård is really bad.”
The Swedish National Defence College claims that around 20 Islamic State members currently live in Malmö.
This comes after a previous survey released in December showed that few municipalities across the country knew of the whereabouts of the returned fighters.
The local government of Stockholm was only able to identify one out of a possible 35 to 40 fighters who had returned and that individual turned out to live in another municipality entirely.
So far, Sweden has not prosecuted a single returned Islamic State member, although in a recent interview with broadcaster SVT, prosecutor Karolina Wieslander claimed that there were opportunities to put returning fighters on trial.
When asked why none had so far been taken to court, Wieslander claimed that “long-term” thinking was required saying, “You can’t see this as if it’s just a matter of punishment. We have to work broadly with these individuals. If they return to Sweden, they must be given the opportunity to return to Swedish society.”
The problem of radical Islamic extremism has been growing in Sweden in recent years with Peder Hyllengren of the Swedish Defence University claiming the country has become a hub of international Islamic extremism.