According to the Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, there are several “fundamentalist Muslim networks” operating in Swedish prisons, of which the largest is known as ‘Asir’.
The paper speculated that it is named after “Osama bin Laden’s home province, known as a recruiting base for militant Muslims who want to fight the Jihad.”
The general director of the prison service, Lars Nylén, confirmed that authorities are working to map out the group’s activities.
“We have got the details of this network through monitoring telephone conversations, postal controls and from information direct from members,” he told Aftonbladet.
While there is no direct terrorist threat to Sweden, the authorities are anxious not to appear complacent.
Following the bombs in London eleven days ago, the work to trace the development of the group increased in intensity and a message went out to all Swedish prisons urging staff to increase their vigilance.
“There are a number of active people in Sweden and they are both inside and ouside the [prison] walls,” said the head of Säpo, Klas Bergenstrand.
“The recruitment is not on a large scale but it exists. Those who are caught up in it are often young people who lack roots,” he said.