Sweden has for a long time looked the other way when it comes to extremist Islamism, according to Tore Bjørgo, Professor of Police Science at the Police Academy in Oslo. He observes there are no concrete Swedish initiatives to prevent a violent radicalization.
Whereas in Norway and Denmark there are national plans for the purpose of preventing a violent radicalization, there are no concrete Swedish initiatives. According to an article in daily Dagens Nyheter, politicians in both Denmark and Norway have worked out national strategies against extremism, why not so in Sweden then?
Says Tore Bjørgo, Professor of Police Science at the Police Academy in Oslo, it has to do with the “withdrawn stance” in Sweden. Bjørgo has done research into several forms of terrorism and right-wing extremism in the Nordic countries.
“Sweden doesn’t want to point out the religious extremism and radicalization as a problem,” he says. “Focus has been on preventing left- as well as right wing extremism instead. According to Bjørgo, Denmark has had a “brutally open” discussion about militant islamists. In Sweden, the relationship is the opposite: focus is on militant new Nazis.
“My impression is that Sweden suffers from anxiety about touching this matter. Swedes don’t want to put the problem on the map. Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister of Democracy, said in November this year that “today we lack an operation with specific focus in how to meet and handle violent Islamic extremism.”
Denmark invests greatly in de-radicalization in the shape of local initiatives, mentorship and other projects aimed at creating a flip side to the extreme. “These countries differ on the inside, says terrorist expert Magnus Ranstorp. “In Sweden we still don’t know what to do about the problem. Sweden hasn’t focused either thought or resources when it comes to how to work locally to prevent extremism and alienation in the long run.”
The FBI assists Sweden in bomb investigation Seven bomb experts from the FBI have been flown in to Sweden to assist in the investigation of the bombs used for this Saturday’s suicide bombing. FBI contacted their Swedish colleagues after the bombing to offer their support. Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask says that this is a good example of international police cooperation and that Sweden does not have all this specific skill domestically.
Professor of Police Science at the Police Academy in Oslo, Tore Bjørgo, says Sweden has a "withdrawn stance" and that that's why there are no strategies against extremism - like there are in Norway and Denmark. Photo: Gunnar Mjaugedal / forskningsradet.no