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From Sweden to Macedonia: Radical Islam Continues Probing Europe
by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz
This past weekend Sweden became the latest country in Western Europe to suffer from radical Islamist terrorism. As reported by Swedish papers, Iraqi-born Taimur Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, aged 28, who blew up a car and then himself in downtown Stockholm, had been granted Swedish citizenship in 1992. But he then went to Britain to study, and UK media say he was radicalized over the last decade in the town of Luton, north of London.
Al-Abdaly was thrown out of the Islamic Centre of Luton, also known as the Al-Ghurabaa or "Strangers'" mosque, for preaching jihad. The mosque is considered a center of radical ideology, even as it repudiates violence. Leaders at the Luton mosque are visibly oriented toward Saudi-style Wahhabism, with a history of linkage to the extremist Al-Muhajiroun, or "Religious Refugees," led by jihadist preacher Omar Bakri Muhammad. The latter has been expelled from Britain. At the Luton mosque, men typically grow long beards, women are cloaked in full-length covering and face veils, and congregants are taught to eschew music – all of which are signifiers of Wahhabism.
In May 2010 Luton attracted attention and outrage across Britain when sympathizers of Al-Muhajiroun demonstrated there against British soldiers returning from Iraq. The extremists carried inflammatory placards and shouted accusations that the veterans were "the Butchers of Basra," "murderers," and "baby-killers." In the ensuing uproar, the Al-Ghurabaa mosque was firebombed, and its leaders publicly declared that while they adhered to fundamentalism, they did not tolerate radical agitation in their midst. It is therefore unsurprising that the Luton mosque rid itself of Al-Abdaly as early as 2007.
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