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TERRORISM

Islamic terrorism is key threat: Swedish police

Islamic terrorism remains the greatest threat to Sweden, according to Anders Danielsson, head of Sweden's Security Service (Säpo).

Islamic terrorism is key threat: Swedish police

Speaking at a seminar on Monday on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks on the US on September 11th 2001, Danielsson said that the strength of al-Qaeda had been greatly weakened in recent years.

The threat from al-Qaeda could be complicated if the organisation divides into regions, according to Malena Rembe, an analyst at Säpo.

“It doesn’t make the job easier for us,” she said.

The September 11th attacks may in retrospect be seen as a culmination of al-Qaida’s capabilities, Danielsson said.

The attack was also unique in that it coincided with the age of mass communication, and so it could be witnessed live.

“This contributed to the scare factor,” the Säpo director said.

The worldwide broadcast of the second plane crashing into Manhattan’s World Trade Centre ensured that the propaganda effect was maximised.

“However, similar attacks have not occurred is not because al-Qaeda has not tried. Counter-terrorism is difficult,” Danielsson said.

“To ward off threats takes as long as finding out whether the threats are not true.”

Säpo’s mission is furthermore to prevent terrorist crimes, Danielsson underlined.

“Our mission is not to get convictions for terrorist crimes, that is not a measure of our effectiveness,” said Danielsson.

“We can and are likely to be exposed to terrorist attacks again. But it will not destroy our democratic system. Terrorism rarely does, even though it may seem that way.”

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ISLAM

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police

The chief executive of a largely Muslim free school in Gothenburg has been placed in custody by the Swedish Migration Agency on the orders of the country's Säpo security police. It follows the arrests of other Imams in recent months.

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police
He was seized on Wednesday and taken to an immigration detention centre in the city, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported on Thursday
 
Abdel-Nasser el Nadi, chief executive of Vetenskapsskolan, is the fifth senior member of Sweden's Muslim community to be placed in custody in less than a month. 
 
Three prominent imams are now in custody: Abo Raad, imam of a mosque in Gävle, Hussein Al-Jibury, imam of a mosque in Umeå, and Fekri Hamad, imam of a mosque in Västerås. Raad's son is also being held. 
 
 
Sven-Erik Berg, the school's headmaster, told The Local that he had no idea what was behind the arrest. 
 
“We don't know anything. I don't know anything more than you,” he said. “We are doing nothing, but the school is naturally maintaining a dialogue with the Swedish School Inspectorate and their lawyers.” 
 
He said it was inaccurate to describe the school as a 'Muslim school' as it has no official confessional status. 
 
“The chief executive is a central person among Swedish Muslims, so naturally the group of people we recruit from are often those who have a relation to Islam or Sweden's Islamic associations,” he said. “But the school does not go around telling children what they should or shouldn't believe.”
 
On its website the school declares: “At our school everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic background, appearance, opinions, or abilities”. 
 
“We are one of the best schools in Gothenburg. You just have to look at the statistics,” Berg added.  
 
A spokesman for Säpo told Expressen that he could not comment on any of the five cases or on whether they were in some way linked. 
 
But according to the Swedish news site Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists, Säpo is probing whether el Nadi has any links to a network of Islamic militants.
 
In an article published last October, the site alleged that El Nadi's activism was part of the reason that so many young men from Gothenburg had travelled to fight for the terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 
 
El-Nadi was previously the school's headmaster, and the school was in 2018 criticised by the Swedish School Inspectorate for not sufficiently promoting equality between girls and boys.
 
When he was interviewed by Dagens Nyheter a year ago, he asserted his loyalty to Sweden. 
 
“I have five children, all of whom were born in Sweden, a big family, and I want to protect this society in the same way that I have protected my children,” he said.  
 
El-Nadi was born in Egypt but has lived in Sweden since 1992. He has twice applied to become a Swedish citizen, in 2007 and 2011, and twice been rejected. 
   
 
 
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