Sweden expels imams and associates, citing radicalisation concerns

It is not clear that the men will be deported as they risk persecution in their home countries

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, right, attends parliament during a vote of confidence in the Swedish Parliament Riksdagen, Tuesday Sept. 25, 2018. The prime minister lost a vote of confidence in parliament, meaning he will have to step down. He will continue as caretaker prime minister until a new government can be formed. (Anders Wiklund/TT via AP)
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Sweden has decided to expel six detained Muslim extremists from the Scandinavian country who “contribute to Islamist radicalisation and pose threats to the security of the kingdom”.

The six men, who are described by the government as central figures in the radical Islamist environment, were taken into custody during the Security Police offensive last spring.

They include Gävle mosque’s imam Abo Raad and his 34-year-old son Raad Al-Duhan, as well as four others with connection to the imam have been detained for six months. Both are Iraqi and immigrated to Sweden 1997 and 1998 respectively.

They also include an Iraqi Imam in the eastern city of Umeå, who immigrated to Sweden in 1998 and a Russian resident of Gävle, who according to his own information, was former imam in his home country before he immigrated to Sweden in 2011.

Among the expelled included an Imam in Västerås city, who is stateless amd immigrated to Sweden in 2001 and a school leader in Western Sweden, an Egyptian citizen who immigrated to the country in 1998.

"We hope he can come back in his role as an imam," says Nizam Hindi, Gävle mosque's spokesperson, to Swedish radio show P4 Gävleborg.

Säpo, the Swedish Security Service, will reportedly still keep six men under surveillance. Säpo declined to comment more on the details of the case when contacted by The National.

The authority, supported by the Special Aliens Control Act, requested the men to be expelled, but the decision had been appealed to the government.

The government made its decision for five of the men on Thursday and the school leader two weeks ago, according to Swedish media reports.

"After reviewing the Security Police's documentation and what the parties have stated, the government has decided to expel six people who constitute qualified security threats," Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said.

But it is uncertain if any of the men will be able to be deported because they risk persecution in their home country.

The Migration Tribunal has found that there are currently obstacles to enforcing the deportation decisions, the TT news agency reported. But the Swedish government said it was actively working to remove the obstacles.

The school leader has already been released and the other five are due to be released too, the news agency said.

According to Fredrik Åkerblom, lawyer for Raad Al-Duhan, said his client will be released today, adding that he thought the decision to expel him was “completely wrong”.

Over the past few years, the extremist movements in Sweden have seen a significant growth and the number of individuals affiliated with violence-promoting extremism has risen from a few hundred to several thousand.