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Säpo to cut jobs due to ‘financial strain’

Swedish security service Säpo will be making major staff cutbacks due to “economic strain”, news that comes shortly after revelations of their 5.3 million kronor ($802,500) James Bond-themed party last year.

Säpo to cut jobs due to 'financial strain'

One in ten staff members will lose their jobs as a result of the “tough economic times” for the agency, wrote the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN) on Wednesday.

“People will go on their pension earlier, they will be offered special pensions, but a further 100 will finish here, and there will be no further recruitment,” said one source to the paper.

“How can someone in such a situation let the money flow as if it was unlimited?”

Pelle Dahlqvist of the Swedish Police Union (Polisförbundet) explained that the economic difficulties were centred around next year’s budget.

“There are signals from the government and the ministry that there will be a reduced appropriation in the 2013 budget,” he told DN.

“One has to take measures to stick to the budget.”

Säpo head Anders Thornberg refused to comment on the revelations, but explained to the paper on Friday that the organization was experiencing tough times.

The service came under fire last week after revelations that a James Bond-themed party in 2011 cost 5.3 million kronor to organize – a contract that was not put out to tender.

Furthermore, the service erroneously claimed close to one million kronor back in value added tax (moms), roughly ten percent of which they had to pay back to the tax agency.

The party was allegedly a gala event including a big band, blackjack tables, and silhouetted performing artists dancing to the music from the popular films.

In a nationwide survey in June, Säpo was rated to be the 7th most trusted state institution in Sweden, with 45 percent of the respondents saying they had ”great confidence’ in it.

The service currently has roughly 1,000 employees.

TT/The Local/og

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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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