• Sweden edition
 
MUHAMMAD CARTOON PLOT
Muslim Council head 'clueless' over terror plot

Muslim Council head 'clueless' over terror plot

Published: 10 Jan 2011 07:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2011 13:43 GMT+01:00

In late December, Munir Awad, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, is currently detained -- along with three other men, including two Swedish citizens -- on suspicion of planning a December attack on the Jyllands-Posten daily which had published caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

Awad, who has been arrested abroad under suspicious circumstances twice before, has two children with the daughter of Helena Benaouda, who heads the Muslim Council of Sweden.

In an interview with the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, Benaouda said she first learned of Awad’s arrest when she received a call from a journalist.

“I asked my daughter and when we looked for him, he wasn’t anywhere to be found,” Benaouda told the newspaper.

She said that if the suspicions against Awad prove to be true, it would be surprising that her daughter didn’t know anything.

Even though the couple don’t currently live together, they have frequent contact, she explained.

Benaouda, who has previously said she had never come across any Muslim extremists, said it was possible her daughter did not know of the plot.

But she added she should have been suspicious about her son-in-law's plans.

"Safia says 'I don't get it and I don't know what he is up to'. And I should have known myself. How is it possible to hide such things to those close to you?," she told the paper.

Awad had also shared a Stockholm-area flat with one of two Swedes of Somali origin who were sent to jail in December for "planning terrorist crimes" in Somalia.

When Awad's former flatmate was arrested in June, Benaouda told her son-in-law "that he shouldn't mix with people who get arrested. But I didn't say more, because I don't have such a close relationship to him", she told DN.

At the same time, Benaouda added that extremists often keep their plans secret from relatives.

“Men who really are extremists mistrust society and vice-versa. And at the same time women become suspected by society because everyone thinks they know something,” she said.

Benaouda admitted as well that she was “completely clueless” about the trip Awad and her daughter took to Somalia in 2007, which her daughter had described at the time as a spontaneous side trip from the couple’s Christmas break trip to Dubai.

“I don’t understand myself why someone would want to travel to Somalia,” she said.

Awad has been imprisoned on two previous occasions, once in Ethiopia in 2007 and once in Pakistan in 2009. He also has unpaid debts registered with the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden) because the Swedish foreign ministry paid for his trip home from Ethiopia following his release.

However, questions also remain as to how he paid for his trip home from Pakistan.

“I don’t have any insight into their finances. But I know that my daughter doesn’t have any money. She said that Munir paid,” said Benaouda.

Benaouda said she had received threats and not publicly spoken about her son-in-law's arrest to take the time to deal with the family crisis.

She condemned all forms of extremism in Islam, including Sweden's first suicide attack, carried out in December by an Iraqi-born Swede who killed only himself after sending a message saying he was acting in the name of Islam.

"There are no holy wars in Islam," Benaouda said.

"For me, the Stockholm suicide bomber is a criminal. I distance myself from all Islamic extremism. The use of violence is always unacceptable."

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total intelligence failure". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

Floods replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Floods replace Swedish heatwave

The Swedish summer was washed away on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm, including torrents of water flooding down stairways at metro stations. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

739
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
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se