• 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
Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop
File photo: Simon Cunningham/Flickr

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop

Swedish investment giant Investor on Wednesday said its first-quarter profits slumped by a quarter, underlining Sweden's vulnerability to international instability. READ () »

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
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
Advertisement:
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
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
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 »

720
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