13:15 GMT16 January 2021
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    Europe's Refugee and Migrant Crisis (200)

    The recent wave of asylum immigration from Muslim countries to Sweden has coincided with a tenfold increase in Islamist extremists identified by the country's security forces.

    Sweden's Security Police SÄPO have so far identified 200 people among "new arrivals" who can pose a threat to the Scandinavian country. This discovery is based on automatic data obtained from the Swedish Migration Board, Swedish Radio reported.

    Since July 2017, the Swedish Migration Board has been automatically forwarding certain data, including names, citizenship and date of birth, on all immigrants seeking residence permits in Sweden to SÄPO. The idea of this automatic procedure is to find individuals who could pose a threat to the country. By the end of May 2018, SÄPO had received data on 190,000 individuals.

    "The focus right now, and especially with the applicant groups we have, is on counter-terrorism, so it's about people who have manifested or have been suspected to manifest any threat of political violence in different ways," Oskar Ekblad, the head of information analysis at the Swedish Migration Board told Swedish Radio.

    The Swedish Migration Board also performs in-depth investigations its own, where newly arrived immigrants are asked questions about military service and political activity.

    READ MORE: Sweden Pulls the Plug on Extremism Hotline Despite Reports of Rising Islamism

    Since the beginning of 2017, the Swedish Migration Board has forwarded about 1,500 such cases to the Swedish Security Service. These investigations, however, tend to take place at a later stage and the automatic controls are therefore considered an important vehicle for detecting threats at an earlier stage.

    Sweden previously ran into problems in the European Court of Justice, which ruled it wrong to expel suspected terrorists. Sweden had tried to expel a Moroccan identified by the Security Police as a threat to the national security.

    In April 2018, SÄPO admitted that every other day, new alarms about terrorist attack plans against Sweden appear. Fredrik Hallström, deputy director of the SÄPO unit for ideologically motivated actors, said that about 6,000 intelligence pieces are handled each month, and stressed that it is far from guaranteed that no terrorist attacks will hit the Scandinavian country, national broadcaster SVT reported.

    READ MORE: Swedish Researcher Triggers Outrage by Labeling Jihadis 'War Veterans'

    A 2017 report by SÄPO estimated the number of violent extremists in the Scandinavian country of 10 million at some 3,000, two thirds of them allegedly driven by Islamist motives. By contrast, a similar SÄPO report from 2010, that is less than a decade ago, estimated the number of Islamist extremists at only 200, a tenth their estimated current number.

    Recently, reports of an increasing Salafist presence and the activity of radical Islamist networks' such as the Muslim Brotherhood* have also emerged.

    Since 2015, the peak year of Europe's migrant crisis, Sweden has taken in over 200,000 asylum seekers, predominantly from Islamic countries.

    READ MORE: Swedish Researcher Triggers Outrage by Labeling Jihadis 'War Veterans'

    * The Muslim Brotherhood (also known as the Society of the Muslim Brothers) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Europe's Refugee and Migrant Crisis (200)


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    terrorism threat, extremism, Swedish Security Service Säpo, Scandinavia, Sweden
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