• 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
Sweden Democrats try to woo pensioneers
The party says the minimum pension ought to be raised by 10 percent. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Sweden’s far-right party on Saturday vowed to fight for the elderly, saying it will only support a government that is prepared to significantly hike pensions for those who struggle financially.

Swedish hikers found after missing for six days
The only trace is currently a mobile phone found in the area and which is believed to belong to one of the men. Photo: Henrik Montgomery /TT

Swedish police on Saturday found two elderly hikers who went missing in the Abisko mountain range six days ago.

Winds leave thousands of Swedes without power
The winds are also expected to blow away the warm weather that the Swedes have been blessed with in the past few days. Photo: Peter Arwidi / TT file picture

Strong gusts, forecast to reach up to 21 metres per hour, left thousands of people without power in Sweden’s northern regions on Saturday.

Migration agency ’to get rid of LGBT experts’
Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

An internal report looking at ways to make Sweden’s Migration Agency more efficient has proposed the agency gets rid of specialists dedicated to LGBT-related issues. The move has prompted the country’s main gay rights group to see red.

Sweden's Spotify hits 39 million subscribers
Spotify is gaining listeners. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Spotify has grown by nine million paying subscribers in five months, fending off competition from rivals.

Prosecutor wants asylum stabber convicted of murder
Prosecutor Linda Wiking. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The man was convicted of aggravated manslaughter for stabbing a worker to death at a home for young refugees in Sweden.

Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Hand in your invalid Swedish bills to the bank by the end of the month.

Sweden moves to battle high rate of drug deaths
Sweden has among Europe's highest drug-induced mortality rates. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/TT

Sweden has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU despite its zero-tolerance policy. The government wants to find out why.

Human skeleton found on abandoned farm in Sweden
Police at the farm in Hörby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect human remains found in a well on an abandoned farm in rural Sweden belonged to a man who was murdered.

The Local List
You'll never really be Swedish without trying this weird food
Kebab pizza. It exists. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Local's intern Saina Behnejad on her love-hate relationship with Swedish cuisine.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,370
jobs available