Danish artist’s attacker ‘tried to recruit Swedes’

Young Swedes were encouraged to join the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab by the Danish-Somali man who attacked Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with an axe, according to Danish media reports.

Denmark’s Berlingske Tidende reports that the 28-year-old man currently in custody for the January 1st attack on Westergaard at his home in Århus has cooperated with some of Scandinavia’s most notorious terror suspects.

Last winter, he visited Gothenburg in western Sweden together with another Danish-Somali man who later blew himself and 23 others up in a suicide bomb attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu last month.

The man reportedly visited two Gothenburg mosques in an attempt to recruit young Swedes to al-Shabaab, the Danish news agency Ritzau reports.

According to Berlingske Tidende, a number of people in Swedish-Somali circles in Gothenburg wondered why neither the Danish or Swedish security services took action following the recruitment attempts, which frightened many due to their aggressive and violent overtones.

Westergaard was one of the Danish artists who drew cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad for Denmark’s Jyllandsposten newspaper in 2005, sparking protests from Muslim communities around the world.

Westergaard’s drawing portrayed Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

According to Swedish security service Säpo, al-Shabaab has successfully recruited around 20 young people from Sweden, some of whom who have been killed in battle.

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