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Sweden 'lacks tools' to fight extremism: Åkesson

TT/The Local/dl · 26 Jan 2011, 11:07

Published: 26 Jan 2011 11:07 GMT+01:00

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Åkesson argued that the attack in Stockholm wasn't a one-off event, pointing to the Swedes suspected of planning a terror attack on a Danish newspaper, as well as two Swedes of Somali descent who were convicted in Gothenburg of planning terror crimes.

According to Åkesson, the debate in Sweden about Islamic extremism has been infected by a fear of saying the wrong things.

"One has to be able to discuss rather than simply cast blame on one another," he said.

Justice minister Beatrice Ask countered by warning that people shouldn't draw too many conclusions from the Stockholm suicide bombing.

She argued that Sweden is a tolerant country where people accept one another despite their differences.

"Sweden is an open society where people can have different backgrounds and religious convictions and live side by side," she said.

She admitted, however, that not everyone is accepting of Swedish society.

"There are people who refuse to accept the foundations of our society and who are ready to hurt others to have their way," she said.

She added that the government was currently reviewing its strategy for how best to prevent extremism from taking root in Sweden.

"I believe, personally, that a lack of hope and belief in the future, due to actual or perceived injustices, is primarily what attracts certain men to extremist movements (Swedish security service) Säpo has said that early measures must be implemented to stop social exclusion," said Ask.

Åkesson responded by pointing out that Sweden still lacked a national action plan for fighting terrorism, arguing for laws that prohibited people from traveling abroad to participate in terrorist training camps.

"We can say that today we don't have the tools," he said.

He also called for a closer examination of young people's attitudes toward Islamism, arguing that Islamism as a political ideology must be surveyed and combated.

Sven-Erik Österberg, the head of the Social Democrats' parliamentary group, said his party wants to cooperate broadly with Muslims in Sweden and that there is a problem with "Muslim extremism" in Sweden today.

"The problem shouldn’t be overstated, but it shouldn't be ignored either. Those who take up the fight against extremism need our support against all forms of extremism," he said.

Österberg also argued that the government ought to implement tighter controls over publicly financed and privately operated religious free schools.

The Green Party's Maria Ferm warned against increased control and surveillance in society.

"If we give up a little of our freedom for a little more security, we risk losing both," she said.

Ferm warned as well against placing collective guilt on Muslims for Islamic terror attacks.

"Jimmie Åkesson tries to connect the typical image of a terrorist to a Muslim man," she said.

She then cited statistics that only 0.34 percent of European terror attacks are carried out by Islamic extremists and that left-wing and right-wing extremists are responsible for the lion's share of political violence in Sweden.

Johan Pehrsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) argued that there was an "uncomfortably high level of extremist violence in Sweden, not only among groups on the extreme right and left."

"There is burning, bombing, assault, threat and sabotage," he said, arguing for better measures for helping young people who want to leave extremist groups.

The Left Party's Lena Olsson criticised the Sweden Democrats' approach to the debate.

"Listening to the Sweden Democrats and their xenophobic solutions is like listening to a guitar with only one string," she said.

Story continues below…

Taking the podium once again, Ask claimed that Sweden does have an action plan against terrorism and chastised Åkesson for his party’s refusal to participate in discussions about fighting terrorism in the Riksdag’s Committee on the European Union.

"Don't come and say that you care about fighting extremism when you don't understand that that work must be carried out within the framework of the EU," said Ask.

“It doesn’t work to just say no if at the same time you want to uphold freedom and democracy in Sweden.”

Åkesson went on to question how prepared Säpo was for combating terrorism.

“I question whether Säpo has everything under control. It doesn’t inspire confidence that they didn’t know about the suicide bomber in Stockholm,” he said.

He also rejected arguments in favour of fighting extremism by creating a more unified and equal society, as well as claims that most terror attacks in Europe have not been carried out by Islamic extremists.

“You can’t compare militant vegetarians from Umeå with jihadists,” he said.

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

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Your comments about this article

11:29 January 26, 2011 by theTRUTH4u
To make a long story short; SHIP ALL THE MUSLIMS HOME!

No more waste of tax money to support any of their refuge! IT IS OVER! Time to go home!

Last tax money spent is on the last trip home!

Don't you politicians get it! THE PEOPLE HAVE NO SYMPATHY and is fed up with their intrusions!

Ban all the moscs and tear them down - send them home in loads - END THE PROGRAMS OF SYMPATHY!
11:31 January 26, 2011 by BrittInSweden
He was on the BBC yesterday - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9372832.stm
11:37 January 26, 2011 by Streja
Why does he want to import more extremists?
12:05 January 26, 2011 by Kalyissa
In my opinion if religion was banned, it would stop a whole lot of the extremism. Since people would stop acting like they belong in mental hospitals :x I mean come on, nowadays if people say they hear the word of "god" we would sling them in a mental hospital. Shame they didn't do the same in the past 3 thousand years.

I'm not only talking about Muslims here, Christians, Jewish etc have been just as bad in the past)
12:06 January 26, 2011 by mir81

Why do you have such a negative thinking ?
12:12 January 26, 2011 by RobinHood
"Only 0.34 percent of European terror attacks are carried out by Islamic extremists" Maria Ferm, Green Party

What a disgusting manipulation of the statistics. What a disgraceful insult to the 191 people killed and 1 800 injured in Madrid in 2004. The 334 killed (including 186 children) and thousands injured in Beslan in 2004. The 56 people killed and the 700 injured in London in 2005. The 39 killed and 64 wounded in Moscow 2010, the so far undetermined number of people killed and injured in Moscow this week.

How many innocent people must die or be maimed, according to Marie Ferm, until terror attacks in Europe by male Islamic extremists become relevant to her? With people like her in the Swedish Parliament, there is absolutely no chance of any sensible debate about Sweden's significant contribution to Islamic extremism.

Any future Green Party voters reading this; take note what kind of people you are voting for. Do you really share Maria Ferm's values?
12:23 January 26, 2011 by calebian22
"Within the framework of the EU?"

Sweden prides itself on being the example to the world regarding green technology for example, but on this issue it wants to follow after other EU countries? How very PC.
12:34 January 26, 2011 by Rishonim
In part old boy Jimmie is right regarding Swedish approach to dealing with extremist. They know who they are so why the hell don't they send them away. Are we waiting for the scumbags to carry out more attacks? Stop the excuses and deal with the cancer before it is too bloody late. If they need help I am sure they can seek assistance from France etc.
12:38 January 26, 2011 by Åskar
Åkesson should know. After all he's both a tool and an extremist.
12:43 January 26, 2011 by Nemesis
I used to love going to Malmö. I am getting more wary each time I am down there. There is only a few bars I goto now in malmö.

People claim Rosengård is an arabic, middle eastern area. It is not. I can not find a really good market or bizarre, as I would find in Istanbul, Amman, Damascus, Alexandria or Cairo, so it is obvious those there are not as Middle Eastern as claimed to me.

A few weeks back I was harassed by some guy looking for money for another ship to Gaza. Firstly I would not fund it anyway, as no one in Gaza would get it except extremists and secondly when carrying eight shopping bags, it really is not practical to stop and have a conversation in the middle of Gustav Adolfs Torg.

I just smiled and tried to walk on. It was the first time I have been referred to as 'judiska avskum' and I think the other statement was something like gå tillbaka till go kameren'. I still don't know what the last one mean't or if I picked it up right. Thing is, I am from Northern Ireland where Jews are as rare as hens teeth and I am an atheist to top it of and definitely not Jewish. On the basis of that, I will make a point of openly calling for people to raise money for a torpedo for the Israeli's to sink the next Gaza ship, just to annoy bigots like those I encountered in Gustav Adolfs Torget.

My opinion of Gaza is that it is a mess and has been so for 150 years. Under the Turks, the British, Egyptians, Israeli's and now Palestinians it has always been a mess. The calmest Gaza ever was actually under the Egyptians and Israeli's. The ordinary people there, I feel sorry for, as I know they are used as shields by extremists lunatics who have no feelings for them at all and they are caught between the extremists and Israeli's. They are used as fodder, nothing else.

As for Gaza and Jews. Gaza was the city in which Jews have lived continuously in the longest. They lived there until the last big pogrom against them in 1929, which left only a handful in the city who had to leave in 1948. Gaza was a Jewish city for 3000 years which is conveniently forgotten by people at present in Gaza and activists in Europe.

I have noticed the rise in anti-Semitism in Malmö. The posters by the Left party are bad enough, in there calls for a boycott of Israel and quite often thinly veiled anti-Semitism. However listen to the political people and you will overhear them eventually talking about Jews bringing problems to Malmö. Jews have lived in Malmö for hundreds of years and brought nothing but business and jobs. I have never heard of a Jew causing a problem anywhere in Skåne, let alone Malmö.

Malmö really needs police officers brought in from countries like Poland, Finland, Germany, etc, to police it, as it is clear the Swedish have no intention of ever policing Malmö.
13:05 January 26, 2011 by Roy E
@Kalyissa - 'In my opinion if religion was banned, it would stop a whole lot of the extremism.'

And just how would you enforce your idea?

Would your model be Soviet and Chinese re-education camps and gulags?

Actually the only tool Sweden is missing is basic common sense. It's drunk on utopian wishful thinking.
13:19 January 26, 2011 by Jools33
The problem is extremism on all sides of the political spectrum - to solve the problem of extremism Jamie Åkesson can take a good look at himself and his party to start with.
13:32 January 26, 2011 by Rishonim
Jimmie Åkesson has his opinions and he exudes them and noone need to agree with him. Yet, I rather have extremist like him 100 times rather than those that go out and blow up inocent people.
13:42 January 26, 2011 by Chickybee
@ Nemesis: You are 100% right. Some Muslims coming to Malmö think they 'own' the city and the disgusting actions of its left wing council is not only apathetic but downright racist and anti-semitic.

It sickens me that so called asylum seekers can turn into tyrants and haters of other minorities (Jews, Arab Christians, gays, etc) who have been in Sweden with more justification and have never caused Sweden any harm.

My family is from Ystad but I am now living in Luxembourg. I'm only 31 but Skane has changed for the worse thanks to Muslim immigrants - they have not enriched Sweden just bled it dry and treated it with contempt.

No wonder the patience of tolernace for Islam is becoming non-existant - just look at the Muslim world - it's all about chaos, violence and death - something Sweden has not known for many hundreds of years.
14:44 January 26, 2011 by Syftfel
Of course Åkesson is correct here. Österberg, as usual, is speaking with a forked tongue and can not be trusted. He is after all a socialist, none of whom can be trusted. Ask is hopelessly naive and only dabbling in the customary, pre-scripted, politically correct, drivel. Not only does Sweden lack the tools to fight [islamic] extremism, she has been so indoctrinated by decades of liberal-social democrat rappakalja that many Swedes are no longer able to think for themselves. Big Brother knows best. Olsson's contribution to the debate are pathetic, and is best ignored. She's part and parcel of the surreptitious open-borders riff-raff, lacks any credibility, and is only looking for votes. Most decent Swedes think that tough measures are needed, even measures that fly in the face of traditional liberalism/socialism, and soon. - And before you nasty lefties accuse me of being a racist, like I've stated before in this forum, my life partner is three quarters meztizo indian and one quarter black, and of Honduran decent. I'm a racist???
15:04 January 26, 2011 by technoviking
The typical Swedish solution is to look the other way and pretend everything is fine while the seeds grow that will crumble the country from within in a few decades.

It's shameful that Åkesson is assaulted for simply pointing out what is obviously a problem in the early stages.

This is not extremism. It's addressing that there is a problem with the immigration status quo and growing religious extremism in Sweden. This is UNDENIABLE for those who choose NOT to simply look away.

3 terrorist plots in a year, rampant immigrant related crime, a disdain for Sweden and it's culture, a drain of resources from the Swedish social system, the importation mysoginistic archaic attitudes from dark centuries past... This must be addressed and thankfully someone is doing it. The alternative is the end of Sweden as it currently exists.
15:15 January 26, 2011 by Rishonim
Seems the editors of TL are acting like the Egyptians and Chinese censoring what people can or cannot say.
15:27 January 26, 2011 by Great Scott
"Justice minister Beatrice Ask countered by warning that people shouldn't draw too many conclusions from the Stockholm suicide bombing."

Just how naive can you get, what is her next statement when many are killed?

I am afraid Jimmy, no one is listening. Remember to be grateful, you only have your job because of extremism.


You are right, I have seen this happen many times, have you also noticed some reports you cannot comment on as well.
15:48 January 26, 2011 by Kevin Harris
I think it's safe to assume that Ask, Österberg, Pehrsson, Olsson and Ferm were not shopping in Stocholm town center on the evening of 11 December.

In any event, they would not be able to say what they say now if Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, hadn't messed up his detonators. It's only a matter of time before an Islamist male gets his tackle in order. Why do we have to wait for that to happen before our politicians do their duty?
16:02 January 26, 2011 by jimmy1988
They have to discuss more about imigration, people are being foolled by the government , there is no interest in solving the question. Let´s see if the Local is going to reject my comment because this that I just write.
16:08 January 26, 2011 by truthworthy
"Listening to the Sweden Democrats and their xenophobic solutions is like listening to a guitar with only one string,"

very well said.
16:10 January 26, 2011 by Uncle
Nemesis - you are absolutely correct.

Wierd story supporting your opinion of the Swedish skewed behavior. Remember all the screams both here and in Aftonbladet about Israel stealing organs of palestinians? The muslim squad here was blaring in horns and vuvuzelas? And then apparently the journalist who wrote it actually admitted his error and apologized? The family that blamed rejected any connection and just pointed that their family member had post mortem procedure to identify the cause of death without their written consent?

Le Guardian reports that UN has undeniable proof that about 200 serb prisoners in Kosovo were killed and sold for organs by muslims back in the end of 90's.

Where is Aftonbladet? Where is The Local with unending forums? Where are all the shocked and awed islamic brothers on these forums, who are so fast to generalise usually?

Oh, don't want to insult the muslim population? Don't want to "provoke" more understanding what this "peaceful and loving" religion is standing for?

Was it easier to trash Jews, who do not explode on the streets when they are insulted?

I am tired of this nation's behavior towards Islam. It reminds me behavior with a violent challenged person. People just accept when he attacks and does his thing on the floor and pretend not to notice the disgusting behavior. On a contrary - people want to protect him "because we should know better".
16:35 January 26, 2011 by ilan
-Zuheir Mohsen (Arabic: زهير محسن)-

"The "Palestinian people" does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a "Palestinian people".."
16:40 January 26, 2011 by ilan
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:03 January 26, 2011 by calebian22

Yes, it is a one stringed guitar, but that string is capable of well tuned notes.
17:15 January 26, 2011 by Dave N
"Listening to the Sweden Democrats and their xenophobic solutions is like listening to a guitar with only one string,"

You actually can play a tune on a guitar with one string. At least the Sweden Democrats have a guitar. The other parties have nothing at all. Surrender-monkeys, quislings and traitors - each and every one.
18:48 January 26, 2011 by saraswed
well, all i can say is lets listen to jimmy,he is an extremist in his own accord,i guess he would come with up with a solution.young and and dangerous jimmy.may
19:31 January 26, 2011 by Iraniboy
Nice discussion! Actually all problems come from extremists of any group or thinking ideology who alwasy try to remove other groups rather than dealing with them in a human way. It can Islamic extremists to far-right extremism to left wing extremism. Sadly Mr Jimmy, you're part of the problem not the solution!
19:40 January 26, 2011 by mojofat
"Åkesson responded by pointing out that Sweden still lacked a national action plan for fighting terrorism, arguing for laws that prohibited people from traveling abroad to participate in terrorist training camps."

I'm not a swedish citizen and do not know much about the various political parties here, but I have to say that as an outsider reading the above quote...it seems pretty reasonable to pass a law against traveling abroad to participate in terrorist training camps. That doesn't really come across as an extremist position to take...in my mind anyway.
19:44 January 26, 2011 by skatty
"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr
19:44 January 26, 2011 by miss79
well sadly to say people who voted for change, this is wat u guys get..i hope the swedish are happy with this..truth does hurts
20:07 January 26, 2011 by zircon
Hardtalk? You need a strong definition of your politics/ party then.
20:12 January 26, 2011 by Syftfel
@Iraniboy. Recent events, and all in the West accepted behavioral norms, prove empirically that islam is by definition an "extremist" political movement. To compare it to "left wing extremism" or to "far right extremism" would be an insult to the social democrats and Folkpartiet. I'm not sure where you've fetched your reference points, but it can't be from democratic pinciples. Perhaps you were weened in Busher or Natanz?
20:12 January 26, 2011 by svenne101
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:12 January 26, 2011 by technoviking
Well, at least a real dialogue has begun about the empirical problems related to immigration.

Plus, Mona the has-been, extreme tolerance idiot was voted out.

The winds of change are clearly blowing.

Ideally, an honest discussion will ensue in government rather than Mona's ignorant and simplistic name calling towards anyone wanting to address a real problem.

Hopefully, the next generation won't live in a Sweden that foreigners view as a bunch of suckers they can take advantage of.
22:34 January 26, 2011 by Ravioli
Comparing Sverigedemokraterna to Islamic extremeism is just idiocy. Give me a break. Another Muslim trying to make an excuse for the actions of a good number of his people rather than face the facts. It's hilarious. Tell me the last time the SD murdered someone in the name of thier cause.
01:08 January 27, 2011 by svenne101
mona muslim and her socialbidrag party will get less than 20 % votes and SD will increase much in 2014.
01:10 January 27, 2011 by Nilspet
Isn't Jimmie Åkersson an extremist?
01:15 January 27, 2011 by skatty
"Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty."

Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father
01:40 January 27, 2011 by samwise
Kalyissa "In my opinion if religion was banned, it would stop a whole lot of the extremism."

your opinion is not unique, you may want to consult Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao for details.

don't you think your thinking is kind of "extreme"?
03:40 January 27, 2011 by svenne101
muslims are ugly people with weak brains. thats why we never see many muslim people in professional jobs according to their population and in noble price takers.

they just use some ugly tactics like using women as child bearing machines without any job or education.

the duty of muslim women (WITH BURQUA)is to have as many children as possible by sitting at home for future jihad on non muslims.
06:04 January 27, 2011 by Marc the Texan
"I believe, personally, that a lack of hope and belief in the future, due to actual or perceived injustices, is primarily what attracts certain men to extremist movements (Swedish security service) Säpo has said that early measures must be implemented to stop social exclusion," said Ask.

Obviously Swedish politicians suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. This country is just asking for more terrorist attacks. And I'm sure they will get them.
07:48 January 27, 2011 by johngr
Was it easier to trash Jews, who do not explode on the streets when they are insulted?

No, they just nearly to a man and through extensive media control and cultural and political gatekeeping support Europe becoming more multiculti, facilitating Europeans getting blown up in the street and eventually (as part of Tikkun Olam?) amalgamizing with the third world youtube dot com/watch?v=nhlPrLXn2Ns
19:50 January 27, 2011 by zircon
Additional: not only do you need a clear definition on how your party/ politics can ascend into mainstream politics (not proletarian), but also how this should be done according to what society is today in Sweden. And again, according to Swedish scholars, society today is science. (Not found anywhere else in the 'primitive' world.) Please, don't derail off into political analysis. Many know that political analysis is for the economy.
19:55 January 27, 2011 by Iraniboy

I was very kind to compare right-wing extremism which led to millions of poeple dead in WW2 and left wing extremism who were making people slaves for decades in Soviet Union with so-called Islamic extremist that has called far less casualities.

Bushehr and Natanz?! How uneducated you are to make this comparison. I don't need to explain to you that planst like them exist in any developed country but Iran is developing country that why it is bothering you ;)
02:08 January 28, 2011 by beefinswede
By far the easiest thing for akesson to do if he really wanted to reduce extremist scumbags in Sweden would be to disband his party and leave the country.
04:28 January 28, 2011 by Ravioli
Yeah, then there would be absolutely no one left in Sweden to prevent the government from destroying the country. A little fact, SD's results in each election have doubled in every election year. It's time to wake up and deal with reality.
11:48 January 28, 2011 by flintis
@Robin Hood:- leave the green fantasist alone, they're not in touch with reality so haven't got a clue.

Unfortunately banning religion would just force it underground as in the good old USSR.

Malmö, is that ghetto still in Sweden, should sell it off to Danmark, at least they have an immigration policy.

Åkesson maybe be a right winger but he does have a valid point.

@iraniboy:- If you look up historical facts you'll find that the Communist left extremist (Stalin) murdered a few million more than Adolf
19:54 January 28, 2011 by james_g
Excellent points from RobinHood #5 and Nemesis #9, and quite a few others too.

A couple of points from me - 'I believe, personally, that a lack of hope and belief in the future, due to actual or perceived injustices, is primarily what attracts certain men to extremist movements (Swedish security service) Säpo has said that early measures must be implemented to stop social exclusion," said Ask.' The extremism of extremists is overwhelmingly down to religion, whether that religion is Islam, Christianity, Judaism, pseudo-Communism, or greed. The problem with the fanatics is that they are NOT rational; it is not possible to reason with them; no compromise. Blind hatred for 'the enemy'. In passing, I haven't read, seen or heard anything about the Sweden Democrats or Åkesson that puts them or him into the same category, or anything like it.

The other point, following on from Maria Ferm's 'left-wing and right-wing extremists are responsible for the lion's share of political violence in Sweden' - 'Johan Pehrsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) argued that there was an "uncomfortably high level of extremist violence in Sweden, not only among groups on the extreme right and left. There is burning, bombing, assault, threat and sabotage..." Is Sweden a fully fledged war zone already? I know there is a fair amount of mindless destruction in certain areas, but...
03:48 January 30, 2011 by dan_sparrow
mmm too much propaganda...
18:27 January 31, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush
"Sweden 'lacks tools' to fight extremism"?

This is a real news flash?

Gee, I thought Sweden was a fantasyland, with little trolls, elves, and unicorns : )

Keep up the Good work people.

Proud Supporter of the SD party !!!
01:02 February 4, 2011 by alecLoTh
Sweden has the world's most intrusive electronic snooping laws on earth. What else do they want? They can already intercept all web, mobile, fax, encrypted or unencrypted traffic - in realtime, with no motivation and pre-emptively.

Other governments are giddy at the prospects of such power...yet with all this mass invasion of privacy, one guy slipped through even after writing wierd stuff on facebook......

Its all a sham...surveillance is the goal, society the target, extremism the means
13:32 February 7, 2011 by maakm
How many of you heard this story.


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