Swedish Shia Muslims Express Fear over Returning Islamic State Fighters

Islamic State flag
AFP

Members of the Swedish Shia Muslim community in the city of Örebro say they concerned for their safety if Islamic State militants return home.

The Ahl Al-Bait Cultural Centre in the Oxhagen district of Örebro say they have been forced to hire guards at their building due to the potential threats from Sunni Islamic State extremists who see them as an enemy, broadcaster SVT reports.

Omran Hashem, the chairman of the cultural centre, said that many Shia in Sweden are threatened by Sunni extremists saying that groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda “threaten us in our home countries and now also here.”

Mr Hashem also relayed a personal story from several years ago saying that following his anti-Islamic State comments in local media a man has threatened him.

“He said, ‘you don’t know me but we know you because you have said a little about us. It will come one day when we get power in all of Sweden and then you will regret it’,” Hashem said.

Speaking on the subject of returning fighters he said, “When they come back and know that there is a Shia mosque here, of course, we are afraid of it. They might come in and hurt someone.”

“We have had a lot of problems with terrorist groups in my home country and came here to live in peace, but how can we feel secure when we can be neighbours to murderers?” he added.

The fears may not be unfounded, as in the last several years there have been attacks on Shia buildings with Sunni radicals suspected to be involved in both Malmö in 2016 and in Järfälla in 2017.

While others, such as populist Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, have called for Sweden to ban Islamic State members from coming back to Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen has said the country will not strip radicals of citizenship.

Worrying reports have also revealed that returning Islamic State fighters may be recruiting in underground mosques in Malmö and a number have been either suspected or convicted of serious crimes since returning to Sweden.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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