• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden to search for Syrian art stolen by Isis

TT/The Local · 15 Jul 2015, 17:36

Published: 15 Jul 2015 17:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2015 17:36 GMT+02:00

Isis — also known as Islamic State and IS — already has a reputation for funding its activities by trading stolen goods and although Sweden is not thought to be a key hotbed for art and antiques sourced in the Middle East, police say they have growing concerns about the problem.
 
"There are indications that objects IS stole in Syria are in Sweden, and we have received tips that should be followed up," police superintendent Kenneth Mandergrehn told  Swedish newswire TT on Wednesday.
 
"We are not the biggest market for stolen items if you look at other countries in Europe or North America, but we must expect that they will show up here," he said, adding that "precious metals that are thousands of years old" were among some of the expensive items making their way to Scandinavia.
 
Mandergrehn explained that Swedish police planned to set up a new national task force to investigate the trade of stolen cultural artifacts in Sweden as the war in Syria continues. The move comes amid evidence that growing numbers of Swedes are fighting alongside Isis and travelling between the two countries.
 
"To sell stolen artifacts is a meal ticket for IS," he added.
 
"This type of crime has not previously been prioritized and the group will work at a national level," he said. Recruitment for the task force is scheduled to begin in August.
 
Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism researcher at the Swedish National Defence College confirmed to TT that Syria had been hit hard by looting over the past few years.
 
"It is about selling oil, confiscating the resources of the cities they take over... selling various art objects and antiques which they plunder," he said of Isis' activities in the Middle East.
 
Mandergrehn added: "I would say that the theft of cultural goods is a big problem, and it can involve churches and homesteads being rid of items that may not have a purely economic  value, but which have a great historical value. It is about our heritage."
 
 
At least 150 Swedish residents are known to have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for Isis or other extremist groups, according to Sweden's security service Säpo, with intelligence suggesting that at least 35 have been killed.
 
Story continues below…
More than 215,000 people have died in Syria's four-year war, which is increasingly dominated by violent jihadist groups such as Isis, who want to rid the country of western influence and build a state based on radical Islamist ideology.
 
Last month Sweden's government said it was considering drafting new legislation that would ban its nationals from fighting in armed conflicts for terrorist organizations such as Isis.
 
"It is completely unacceptable that Swedish citizens are travelling to [join] IS, financing the organization, or fighting for it," Justice Minister Morgan Johansson and Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman wrote in a joint article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
 
"We have a responsibility for what our citizens do both here at home and in other countries," they added.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Poll: Sweden still wants to stay in EU after Brexit vote
The poll also suggests most Swedes don't want a referendum on EU membership. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The majority of Swedes would still vote to stay in the EU, a post-Brexit poll shows.

My Swedish Career
'I was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months'
Dan Paech, the founder of Run With Me Stockholm. Photo: Private

Meet Dan Paech, 31, the Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm.

Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Brexit vote
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Anna Kinberg Batra, of the largest opposition party, the Moderates. Photo: TT

"This is a sad day for the British and for Europe."

Brexit vote
Swedish PM swats aside calls for EU renegotiation
"Sweden will now lose an important partner in the EU," Löfven said. Photo: TT

Left Party calls "totally irresponsible."

Brexit vote
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote

Expat Brits in Sweden have reacted with shock, despair and uncertainty to the result of the EU referendum in the UK which was won 52-48 by the Leave campaign.

Brexit vote
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Photo: TT

The former Swedish EU minister, Birgitta Ohlsson declared that it was 'a morning of sorrow', after British voters opted to leave the European Union on Thursday.

The Local Recipes
How to make Karin's delicious Midsummer cake
Karin's cake. Photo: swedishfood.com

"We are very tolerant of other cultures except when it comes to strawberries."

Sweden named the world's 'most reputable' country
The flag of the world's most reputable country – at least according to one report. Photo: Fredrik Sanberg/TT

Sweden has been ranked as the most reputable country in the world by a new report. Find out why.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
The Local Voices
Why an Iraqi who won Swedish lottery won't quit his restaurant job
Gallery
People-watching: Midweek revellers
National
Why this pizzeria is giving elderly Swedes free meatballs
3,307
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se