15:37 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Two policemen stand outside a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden

    Fury, Warnings Over Sweden’s Failure to Banish Dangerous Islamists for 'Humanitarian Reasons'

    © AP Photo / Anders Wiklund
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    One of the Islamist preachers allowed to walk free despite a previous expulsion decision has been identified as a key figure in Sweden's extremist environment and is known for hailing Daesh* and advocating segregation.

    A total of six hardcore Islamists of immigrant background previously labelled a “security threat” and slated for expulsion from Sweden have been released, prompting strong reactions.

    The reason for the six men, who have been in the custody of Sweden's Security Police (Säpo) since spring, to remain in Sweden despite being classified as highly dangerous is that they reportedly risk persecution in their respective home countries, such as Iraq and Egypt, the newspaper Expressen reported.

    The designated Islamists have hereby been set free “in anticipation of a change in conditions in their home countries”. While their release implies they are free to continue spreading their teachings, they are expected to be monitored by Säpo.

    Expressen described them as “a speckled group” representing the Salafist underground, united in their affirmation of violent Islamism.

    53-year-old Iraqi-born Abo Raad, who was previously identified as the leading figure in Sweden's radical Islamic environment, is known for hailing Daesh's military successes in Iraq and maintaining a tax-financed webpage that among other things advocates segregation, calling on Muslims to limit their contact with non-Muslims. His son was sentenced for death threats to the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Gefle Dagblad for its investigative publications.

    As Raad went back to Gävle Mosque, Swedish national broadcaster SVT ran a piece titled “Hug Party”, in which Raad was described as a “rock star”. The report sparked strong reactions and was later altered.

    “This article may be among the most disgusting creations I've ever seen from public service. SVT calls an Islamist whom Säpo estimated to be a threat to the security of the kingdom a “rock star” and talks about about a “hug party”.

    ​According to security expert Hans Brun, this is a dilemma between the security of citizens and the security of the to-be-expelled imams.

    “Very many countries would say that their security is more important”, Brun told Expressen.

    Eskilstuna Imam Abd al Haqq Kielan, who has long fought Islamic extremism, warned of an increased risk of radicalisation.

    “They are coming back as martyrs”, he told the newspaper Aftonbladet. “In a way, you open the gates to other like-minded people. If you are going somewhere in Europe, Sweden appears to be a good alternative. The message is 'the table is set'”, he added.

    Sweden's leading terror researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defence College called to expel the imams, as previously ordered. According to him, their release will affect Sweden's security for years to come. “Now their halos have been further refined in their environment", Ranstorp said.

    Liberal-conservative Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson called the development “a catastrophe” and blamed it on Stefan Löfven's government.

    The number of Muslims in Sweden has been estimated at 800,000, or 8 percent of the country's population of about 10 million. A recent count by the Institute for Future Studies numbered 785 Islamic extremists in Sweden, which previously emerged as one of the biggest "jihadist exporters" per capita, providing around 300 "foreign fighters" to the Middle East.

    * Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other countries

    Tags:
    Islamism, radical Islam, Scandinavia, Sweden
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