12-13-2010, 02:16 PM
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Stockholm bomber seen as radical by UK Muslims
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Stockholm bomber seen as radical by UK Muslims - Yahoo! News
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Stockholm bomber seen as radical by UK Muslims
By JILL LAWLESS and MALIN RISING, Associated Press Jill Lawless And Malin Rising, Associated Press – 55 mins ago.
LONDON – At his local mosque in England, Taimour Abdulwahab alarmed elders with his extreme views on Islam. On the Internet, he posted videos of Chechen fighters and abused Iraqi prisoners.
On Saturday, officials say, he died in a botched suicide bombing in Stockholm.
Authorities are now trying to learn when he was radicalized, whether he had accomplices — and how a man whose radical views were displayed both online and in person escaped official notice.
Swedish prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said Monday that authorities are certain the suicide bomber who terrified pre-Christmas shoppers was Abdulwahab, an Iraqi-born Swede who spent much of the past decade in Britain. He said Abdulwahab was completely unknown to Swedish security police before the blasts, which killed the bomber and injured two others.
Lindstrand said officials would look into why he was not on their radar, but pointed out "that he didn't live in Sweden, he lived in the U.K., he left Sweden maybe 10 years ago."
He also said Swedish security was not "a Stasi organization" engaged in analyzing people's Facebook pages. Sweden's Department of Justice said that a team of FBI bomb experts had been dispatched to the Nordic nation to help analyze the explosives.
A British official who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his work would not comment on whether Abdulwahab had been on the radar as a suspected terrorist. But he said all threats stemming from controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad — cited by the suspect as a motive for the attack — were being closely investigated.
Lars Vilks, whose 2007 depiction of the Prophet Muhammad has drawn regular threats from extremists, told The Associated Press he was shocked that suicide bombings have come to Sweden.
"It's a little unreal that we have such a case here," he said, adding that police had increased their presence outside his home following the botched attack.
Law enforcement and intelligence agents are now poring over Abdulwahab's Facebook page, along with his profile from a Muslim dating website, for clues to his mindset and movements.
According to information on the dating website muslima.com — where Abdulwahab posted a profile saying he was looking for a second wife — he was born in Baghdad and moved to Sweden as a child in 1992. In 2001 he moved to Britain to study at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, near London. The university confirmed that a student with his name and Swedish nationality graduated with a degree in sports therapy in 2004.
What he did next is not clear, but by late 2006 or early 2007 he began attending the Luton Islamic Center, a local mosque. Its secretary, Farasat Latif, said the newcomer was "very friendly, bubbly — he was well liked."
But soon Abdulwahab began making extremist statements focused on "suicide bombings, pronouncing Muslim leaders to be disbelievers, denouncing Muslim governments."
Mosque officials confronted him about the statements, but Latif said the radicalism continued.
"One day during morning prayers in the month of Ramadan — there were about 100 people there — the chairman of the mosque stood up and exposed him, warning against terrorism, suicide bombings and so on. He knew it was directed at him. He stormed out of the mosque and was never seen again," Latif said.
He said despite Abdulwahab's extreme views "nothing pointed to the fact that he was going to do something stupid."
In an audio message he apparently recorded before the attack — sent to the Swedish security service and the TT news agency — he apologized to his family for misleading them, saying "I never went to the Middle East to work or to make money, I went for jihad."
Authorities are still investigating whether he acted alone or had ties to al-Qaida or other groups.
On Sunday, the al-Qaida affiliated Shumokh al-Islam website posted a message calling Abdulwahab a "brother" and quoting a prayer saying "God let me die as you are satisfied with me."
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