Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09STOCKHOLM787, SWEDEN'S PROGRAM OF PREVENTING ISLAMIST RADICALIZATION AND EXTREMISM

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09STOCKHOLM787.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STOCKHOLM787 2009-12-18 14:02 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Stockholm
Appears in these articles:
http://svtplay.se/v/2256485/dokument_inifran/de_hemliga_telegrammen
VZCZCXRO0533
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSM #0787/01 3521428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181428Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5004
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 STOCKHOLM  000787  

SIPDIS  

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2019 

TAGS: KISL PHUM PTER PINR PREL SW

SUBJECT: SWEDEN'S PROGRAM OF PREVENTING ISLAMIST  RADICALIZATION AND EXTREMISM  

REF: A. STOCKHOLM 779      
B. STOCKHOLM  784      
C. STOCKHOLM 667      
D. STOCKHOLM 327      
E. STOCKHOLM 457       
F. STATE 127215      
G. STOCKHOLM 633      
H. PARIS 1714  

Classified  By: DCM Robert Silverman for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).  

1. (C) Summary:  The Swedish Security Police (SAPO) have three specific areas of concern  when it comes to combating Islamist radicalization and violent  extremism: 
(1) individuals who travel from Sweden to Somalia,  Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq; 
(2) growing isolation and alienation  felt by some members of immigrant-dense urban communities; and, 
(3)  evidence of terrorist financing and recruiting in Sweden.  

2. (C) To  counter radicalization and violent extremism, law enforcement officials  engage in community-based policing to establish networks of trust among  community leaders and community members.  While there are no  de-radicalization programs in Sweden primarily focused on Islamist  extremists, de-radicalization of right-wing group members has been in  existence since the 1990s.  On counter-terrorism, SAPO has adopted a  more visible and public approach to disseminating information about  terrorist threats, and the government is debating proposed laws to curb  terrorist recruiting and financing in Sweden.  Post's Muslim engagement  plan calls for strengthening ties with faith-based institutions as well  as civic leaders.  

3. (C) This is the third in a three part series on  Muslim communities in Sweden.  Part one describes demographic trends in  Muslim-majority immigrant communities (ref A), and part two outlines  immigrant integration struggles in Swedish society (ref B).  End  Summary.  

------------------------------------ 
RADICALIZATION AND  VIOLENT EXTREMISM ------------------------------------  

4. (C) Radical  Islamism and violent extremism are of increasing concern in Swedish  society.  "Radicalization" is viewed as an initial step toward the ideas  and methods of extremism.  Nalin Pekgul, chair of the Social Democratic  Women's Federation and a practicing Muslim, cites harassment that some  Muslim women in Sweden experience over their choice of clothing and  anger toward Muslim youth who organize social gatherings with music as  examples of radicalization in immigrant communities.  Violent extremism  has received growing attention primarily because individuals in Sweden  have provided support for terrorism elsewhere.  

----------------- 
AREAS  OF CONCERN 
-----------------  

5. (C) At a closed conference about  countering extremism hosted by the Center for Asymmetric Treat Studies  (CATS) on October 27, SAPO spokeswoman Malena Rembe (protect) outlined  three primary areas of concern for counterterrorism experts and law  enforcement agents working to prevent violence in Sweden: individuals,  immigrant communities, and terrorist financing.  

--Individuals  

6. (C)  SAPO acknowledged that they monitor close to 20 individuals who have  traveled from Sweden to other countries including Somalia, Afghanistan,  Pakistan, and Iraq.  These individuals are suspected of traveling abroad  for possible recruitment and engagement with terrorist organizations.  While abroad, the individuals may attend Arabic language courses or  Koran schools in order to strengthen their ties to terrorist activities  in various parts of the world.  Upon return, these individuals may use  Sweden as a recruitment or logistical base, said Rembe.  

7. (C) One  example of an individual of concern is Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish national  of Algerian and Finnish decent, who was held in detention in Guantanamo  Bay from 2001-2004 (ref C).  Ghezali returned to Sweden, but in  September 2009, he traveled to Pakistan and was arrested at a checkpoint  along with three other Swedish citizens on suspicion of entering the  country illegally.  Ghezali was released in early October and returned  to Sweden with consular assistance from GOS.  He is currently living in  Sweden.   STOCKHOLM 00000787  002 OF 003   

8. (C) Malena Rembe also  discussed Abu Qaswara, also known as Mohammad Moumou, as another example  of a Swedish citizen who was under SAPO surveillance for many years.   Qaswara came to Sweden in the 1980s, became a citizen in the 1990s and  lived in Sweden until 2006.  In May 2006, he traveled to Iraq and rose  to a senior position in al Qaeda in Iraq.  In October 2008, he was  killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mosul.  He led an Islamist network  which supported terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Africa,  according to media reports by SAPO spokesperson Tina Israelsson.  SAPO  believes that Qaswara used Sweden as his base of operations.  --  Immigrant Communities  

9. (SBU) The January 2009 "Rosengard Report," a  government-funded study, found that "perceptions" of Islamic extremism  had increased in the southern tip of Sweden over a five year period.   The controversial report, which garnered a good deal of media  attention, interviewed city officials and leaders in a central district  of Malmo called Rosengard, which is home to about 22,000 of the city's  280,000 residents (ref D).  Sixty percent of Rosengard residents are  born abroad, and 26 percent of those born in Sweden have parents born  abroad.  Only 38 percent of Rosengard's residents aged 20-64 are  gainfully employed compared to the national employment rate above 70  percent.  

10. (SBU) While the Rosengard Report concluded that there were  few "radicalized people" in the area, the report suggested that radical  individuals had a relatively large influence on those around them.  The  report outlined both "external" and "internal" forces that exacerbated  radical thinking.  External forces include individuals' anger with the  war in Iraq and, more generally, what some Muslims view as an assault by  the West on their religion.  Internal forces refer to problems that  individuals encounter in their communities such as overcrowding,  segregation as well as inadequate orientation to life and customs in  Swedish society (ref B).  -- Terrorist Financing/Money Laundering  

11.  (C) According to the Swedish Financial Police, there were 13,048 cases  of suspected money laundering amounting to $1.2 billion in 2008, an  increase of 116 percent compared to 2007.  Companies in cash-intensive  industries such as auto dealerships, real estate brokers and casinos  continue to be less forthcoming with reports of suspected money  laundering. Disrupting the ability for terrorists to raise money for  terrorism is a high priority for SAPO, according to Rembe. In Sweden,  legislation focuses on monitoring money laundering through financial  institutions.  

12. (C) In early July, the visit by Xasaan Xussen, a  known spiritual leader for the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab,  to the Bellevue Mosque in Gothenburg illustrates a emerging trend in  recruitment from foreign individuals in Sweden (ref E).  Xussen, who  resides in Kenya, traveled on a Kenyan passport to Sweden, Norway and  Finland, reportedly to recruit for new members and raise funds for  al-Shabaab.  The Somali Justice Minister Abdirahman Janaqoo then visited  Sweden to speak out against such actions. (Note: The EU and UN do not  currently designate al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization.)   

------------------------- 
"PREVENTION IS PARAMOUNT"  
-------------------------  

13. (C) Prevention of radicalization forms  the basis of Sweden's public strategy for counterterrorism.  Since 2002,  Rembe stated that SAPO has worked in diaspora communities to create  networks of trust among law enforcement officials and community members  through community policing initiatives that have been called "dialogue  police."  Of particular interest is the Somali community because Somalis  make up the largest group that tend to return to fight and because  Somalis now constitute the largest group seeking asylum in Sweden (ref  A).  

14. (C) In a break with its long tradition of silence, SAPO has  gone public more and more often in recent months over its concerns about  extremists from Somali communities in Sweden (ref E).  For example,  following the visit of Xasaan Xussen to Sweden this summer, for example,  SAPO comments featured prominently into media reports.  Rembo stated  that these actions signaled a shift in SAPO operations from a highly  secretive organization to one that fosters community visibility.    STOCKHOLM 00000787  003 OF 003   

15. (SBU) More broadly, Swedish  officials have developed a coordinated approach to addressing terrorism.   "Samverkans radet mot terrorism", a high-level working group headed by  SAPO's Director General along with representatives from eleven  government agencies such as financial and criminal police entities, the  Armed Forces, the Swedish Migration Board, and customs and border  control.  The group was established in 2005.  

-----------------  
DE-RADICALIZATION 
-----------------  

16. (C) There are no  de-radicalization efforts specifically targeting Islamic extremists in  Sweden.  However, Exit Sweden is one program used to de-radicalize right  wing extremists. In operation since 1998, Exit Sweden has worked with  some 600 individuals primarily from neo-Nazi groups.  The program offers  support to individuals who want to leave or have already left radical  organizations.  Ex-activists serve as group leaders to boost credibility  of the organization, and core activities include rebuilding the  individual's interpersonal network and developing social skills for the  individual to re-enter mainstream life.  Officials admit that  de-radicalization is "very tough work" and takes a long time.   

---------- 
NEXT STEPS 
----------  

17. (C)  The Swedish approach to  political radicalization and violent activities has primarily focused on  prevention through social engagement rather than relying on the legal  force of criminal statutes.  However, in December the Ministry of  Justice submitted a proposal to the Swedish Council on Legislation that  would criminalize inciting, recruiting and training people who commit  acts of terror. This proposal would bring Swedish law in line with the  European Council's Convention on Terrorism and the existing EU framework  for combating terrorism.  Post will monitor the proposal and will  report relevant developments septel.  

18. (C) Post's Muslim engagement  plan will continue to amplify the President's program of framing the  U.S. - Muslim relationship in terms of common values, partnership, and  empowerment (ref F).  Post is currently developing contacts in support  of interfaith dialogue programs with religious leaders around Sweden,  and we will focus our public diplomacy outreach beyond religious  institutions to engage civic leaders from minority communities (ref G).   Post will also reach out to Muslim individuals beyond the Stockholm  metropolitan area through educational and cultural programs.    

---------- 
CONCLUSION 
----------  

19. (C) As in other European countries  (ref H), the major political parties in Sweden remain reluctant to  discuss Muslim immigrant integration because of the potential to inflame  xenophobic viewpoints.  This posture has allowed the Sweden Democrats, a  right-wing political party that advocates a nationalist agenda, to gain  popularity.  Recent polls suggest they will, for the first time, break  the 4% threshold necessary to take seats in the Swedish Parliament in  2010. This development would, for better or worse, put the issue high on  the domestic political agenda. SILVERMAN