• Sweden edition
 
STOCKHOLM SUICIDE BOMBING
Sweden bomber 'friendly' immigrant turned radical

Sweden bomber 'friendly' immigrant turned radical

Published: 13 Dec 2010 15:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Dec 2010 08:00 GMT+01:00

The man suspected of being the suicide bomber behind two bombing">Stockholm bombings on Saturday was described on Monday as an ordinary friendly young immigrant to Sweden who drastically changed after moving to the UK to study.

Sweden's top prosecutor "confirmed 98 percent" that "the man who blew himself up" in a busy pedestrian quarter of the Swedish capital following a car explosion, was Taimour Abdulwahab.

The Al-Qaeda-linked website Shumukh al-Islam on Sunday had named him as the bomber. Media reports said that Abdulwahab, who was born in Iraq but became a Swedish citizen in 1992, staged the attack on the eve of his 29th birthday.

He had lived in Britain for a number of years, prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said, adding that his wife and three children still lived there.

Reports in Britain said his wife is called Umm Amira, known as Mona, and runs a company called Amira Makeup and Hair, which offers services including bridal make-up and hair styling.

When he was about 10, Wahab and his family reportedly fled war-torn Iraq to settle in Tranås, population 18,000, some 200 kilometres south of Stockholm.

"From Tranås to Jihad," said Monday's Expressen tabloid, which published a full-page photo of a young, smiling Abdulwahab wearing a typical Swedish high school graduation cap.

It said Abdulwahab had grown up in "a light red house" in Tranås with his mother, father and two sisters, adding that the family had no problems adjusting to life in Sweden.

"He was just like any other young man. He loved life, he had lots of friends and was out and partied just like anyone else," acquaintance and Tranås resident Jean Jalabian told Expressen.

"He drank alcohol and had girlfriends. It's really strange that he would do something like that," Jalabian said.

Meanwhile, rival tabloid Aftonbladet described "the terrorist from Tranås" as a family-oriented basketball player with a lot of friends beneath a smiling school picture of him.

A former teacher told Aftonbladet the young man spoke excellent Swedish and was "an honest, friendly person with many friends."

However, Abdulwahab drastically changed when he left Sweden in 2001 to complete a bachelor's degree in sports physiotherapy at the University of Luton -- now the University of Bedfordshre, from which he graduated in 2004.

Abdulwahab became interested in radical Islam in the town just north of London, where he met his wife, reportedly the same age as him and also a Swedish citizen.

"He got to know an Egyptian imman at the mosque in Luton," a friend of the family told Expressen, adding that during his time there "he became another person. It's hard to say how. He changed and became more restrictive."

When he returned to Sweden in 2005, he had a beard, cut contact with his old friends and led a withdrawn life. He never settled back into Swedish life and went back to Britain, only sporadically visiting his family in Tranås.

The chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre told AFP Monday that he had met many times with Abdulwahab to confront his extreme views and that his behaviour had alarmed fellow worshippers.

Abdulwahab was "a bubbly character who was quite respected, but that was before I knew what he was up to," said Qadeer Baksh.

He had been known for his hardline views before he "stormed out" for good when tackled about them in 2007.

"I had to confront him three or four times because his views were so extreme," said Baksh.

Aftonbladet said he showed his new opinions online, posting radical religious view on the war on Iraq and calling for a boycott of Denmark on his Facebook page in Arabic.

His status updates were often prayers and he had uploaded videos with Islamist messages to his page, the tabloid said.

He was also searching for a new wife "who accepts Allah's religion and who is not against me having another wife" on a Muslim contact website, Expressen wrote.

In November, he bought the car which he blew up on Saturday, slightly injuring two people, investigators said, after returning to Sweden a few weeks before.

In a threat he sent Swedish news agency TT and intelligence agency Säpo, Abdel Wahab asked his family for forgiveness for lying to them.

"I never went to the Middle East to work or make money. "I went there for jihad. It wouldn't have been possible to tell you who I really was. It wasn't very easy to live the last four years with the secret of being...as you call it, a terrorist," he said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

738
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com