Researcher Tobias Hübinette of the foundation Multicultural Center (MKC) has incited the ire of fellow Swedes for equating Daesh* returnees with war veterans.
In a now-deleted tweet, Hübinette called a jihadi deserter arrested in connection with the deadly shooting in Örebro's "vulnerable area" of Vivalla a "Swedish war veteran." According to Sweden's national broadcaster SVT, the man previously fought in Syria for Daesh or a similar-minded terrorist organization before returning to Sweden.
"If correct, this is unfortunately not the first time that a returning Swedish war veteran who killed people in conflicts in other countries, continues with killing, even here," Hübinette tweeted.
The post sparked outrage in social media, evoking criticism from Conservative legislator Hanif Bali, among others.
"So Daesh terrorists and barbarians are apparently Swedish war veterans according to Tobias Hübinette," Bali wrote on Facebook, calling Hübinette a "race researcher" and an activist "pushing for racification of people."
Following the criticism, Hübinette published a clarification, claiming he was "completely misunderstood" and subjected to a "mini-viral hatred storm." Hübinette explained that he only meant "Daesh war volunteers" and didn't mean to equate terrorists with Swedish UN veterans or Swedish volunteers to Finland during World War II.
Jag postade idag detta inlägg här och på FB som har misstolkats helt: Jag menade bara ”krigsfrivilliga” och vill ej på något sätt jämställa IS-terroristerna med FN-veteranerna (som min egen far f ö är). Ej heller menade jag att IS-terrorister kan jämföras med finlandsfrivilliga. pic.twitter.com/xGlMnjfmQm— Tobias Hübinette (@TobiasHubinette) July 9, 2018
However, this explanation wasn't universally accepted either.
"‘Volunteers' sounds even worse. Should there be any hesitation, we're talking about people who have joined a murderous sect to steal, rape and mutilate. Then go back when the war is over. These people are gang criminals, not some kind of Star Wars rebels as you seem to believe," a user wrote on Hübinette's Facebook.
The discontent spurred Hübinette into posting yet another clarification, "fifty-eleventh" as he put it. Hübinette conceded having "dishonored and disgraced" Sweden's 80,000 UN veterans and well as the victims of Daesh and apologized.
In 2014, Sweden's then Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan of the Green Party was slammed for comparing jihadists with Swedish volunteers in the Finnish Winter War, claiming he was "misinterpreted."
South Korea-born Hübinette is associated with Uppsala University and Stockholm University and bills himself as an "activist researcher." In his early 20s, he was politically active as an anarchist and was a member of the Swedish Antifa wing. In the 1990s, he was the research director of Expo magazine, which is labeled "left-wing extremist" by Sweden's Total Defense Research Institute.
Previously, approximately 300 people left Sweden and joined various militant Islamist groups in the Middle East, making the Scandinavian country one of Europe's foremost "jihadi exporters" per capita. About half of them are estimated to have returned to Sweden, yet only a handful have been brought to justice.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia