Shadow Government

A front-row seat to the Republicans' debate over foreign policy, including their critique of the Biden administration.

Lessons from the Swedish suicide bombing

Some quick thoughts on the bombing in Stockholm last weekend that injured two and killed the suicide bomber: First, this attack, like so many that have occurred over the past two years, shows the interconnectedness of the Salafi jihadist groups. The Stockholm bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, was radicalized in Britain; almost certainly travelled to Iraq ...

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

Some quick thoughts on the bombing in Stockholm last weekend that injured two and killed the suicide bomber:

First, this attack, like so many that have occurred over the past two years, shows the interconnectedness of the Salafi jihadist groups. The Stockholm bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, was radicalized in Britain; almost certainly travelled to Iraq and Jordan for jihad training; explicitly carried out his attack in the name of the Islamic State (of Iraq); and was encouraged to do so by a Swedish jihadist in Somalia.

Second, the radicalization of Abdaly confirms that Britain's reputation for creating extremists is well-deserved. Before 2001, al-Abdaly had led the normal life of a Swedish young man -- his friends commented on his Israeli girlfriend, his beer-drinking, and his partying while in high school. All this changed once he arrived in Luton, Britain, which has become infamous as a center for radical Islam. Abdaly was transformed into an extremist over the course of the next few years, perhaps by the preaching of al-Muhajiroun, a radical group whose former leader, Anjem Choudary, has said that the suicide bombing should be seen as a "severe warning" and "should not come as a surprise."

Some quick thoughts on the bombing in Stockholm last weekend that injured two and killed the suicide bomber:

First, this attack, like so many that have occurred over the past two years, shows the interconnectedness of the Salafi jihadist groups. The Stockholm bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, was radicalized in Britain; almost certainly travelled to Iraq and Jordan for jihad training; explicitly carried out his attack in the name of the Islamic State (of Iraq); and was encouraged to do so by a Swedish jihadist in Somalia.

Second, the radicalization of Abdaly confirms that Britain’s reputation for creating extremists is well-deserved. Before 2001, al-Abdaly had led the normal life of a Swedish young man — his friends commented on his Israeli girlfriend, his beer-drinking, and his partying while in high school. All this changed once he arrived in Luton, Britain, which has become infamous as a center for radical Islam. Abdaly was transformed into an extremist over the course of the next few years, perhaps by the preaching of al-Muhajiroun, a radical group whose former leader, Anjem Choudary, has said that the suicide bombing should be seen as a "severe warning" and "should not come as a surprise."

Third, arguments that involvement in the Iraq war or the fighting in Afghanistan is what truly angers the extremists no longer ring true. In his martyrdom statement sent to Swedish law enforcement and media, Abdaly accused the Swedes of failing to sufficiently condemn the drawings of Lars Vilks and of having any presence at all in Afghanistan (however peaceful their participation). If ordinary Swedes can be singled out as worthy of death for these policies, then no one is safe from suicide bombing.

Finally, Iraqi officials have just warned that more attacks are on the way: Abdaly’s attempt, captured insurgents have said, is just the first of many more plots planned for the Christmas season in both Europe and the United States.

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