Schlagwort-Archive: Lars Vilks

„…Who I Really Was“ – Tale of Stockholm Suicide Bomber

by Florian Flade


„It would have been impossible to tell you who I really was…“

– Suicide Bomber´s Martyrdom Message

Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdali had a Swedish passport. He immigrated to the Scandinavian country with his parents in 1992, shortly after the 1.US-Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. As a refugee and asylum seeker the then 10 year-old Iraqi national became a Swedish citizen. Now – three days after he carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of Sweden in the streets of Stockholm – it seems, al-Abdali might also have been the citizen of a very different nation, a fictional phantasy-state called „Islamic State of Iraq“.

Without any doubt, the bomber lived a double-life, a secret life of an Islamist fanatic who wanted to bring bloodshed to the European nation that once granted him asylum. Al-Abdali´s story just begins to unravel and could paint a disturbing picture of the young Iraqi immigrant and family father Taimour that became „Abu Amira“, a possibly al-Qaeda guided terrorist luckily failing to achieve his goal of killing innocent Westerners.

What is known about the Stockholm suicide bomber is actually very little, except from the information he himself revealed in the months and weeks prior to his deadly act of suicide on Saturday over social network Facebook and a Muslim dating website. Much remains speculation, sometimes promoted by media and news agencies.

Fact is, Taimour al-Abdali was born in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on December 12th 1981. As a family of refugees he fled with his parents and his older sister Tamarra to Sweden in 1992. Taimour became Swedish citizen the very same year he moved to his new home country. The family settled in Tranås, a town in Jönköpings Province in the South-East of Sweden.

Growing up as a immigrant-youth Taimour embraced the Western lifestyle of liberal, modern Sweden. He was wearing Western fashion, always styled his hair, loved Baskedball and began to chase girls in his teenage years. Once, a friend recalls, he even dated a Jewish girl from Israel in college. The young Iraqi would go out alot, drinking beers in his favorite Tranås bar and attend parties. Still, after a few years of struggling, he learned to adapt to school life and achieved good marks. Teachers remember him as a „quiet student“.

In 2001 after graduating Holavedskolan College, al-Abdali decided to move to Great Britain and study Sports-Therapy at Bedfordshire University. The then 19 year-old moved from small town Tranås to immigrant-flushed British town of Luton. In Luton, a city with approximately 40 Percent immigrants (15 % Muslim) among the 185,000 population, most of them of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin, Taimour al-Abdali somehow came in contact with extremist Muslim circles. The Swedish student changed his behavior, discovered the religion he was born into and embraced a very new lifestyle, that a Muslim fundamentalist.

While in Britain, al-Abdali met a Romanian Muslim woman named Mona T.. The two fell in love and married in 2004, the year in which Taimour got his Bachelors degree in Sports Therapy from Bedfordshire University. In the years to come al-Abdali worked in Luton and fostered two daughters with his wife. The couple lived the life of devout Muslims, sticking to their religion, attending mosque prayers, fasting during Ramadan. Al-Abdali´s overseas stay has turned the party-loving teenager Taimour from Sweden into a faithful Muslim worshipper.

Several times, Taimour al-Abdali, went to Luton´s Islamic Centre. The mosque´s officials and fellow worshippers remember the friendly Swedish of Iraqi origin. „At first he was very popular as he was helpful and polite. He then started preaching, though – and that’s when it went wrong. After early morning prayers he started preaching about Islamic countries that helped the West, like Saudi Arabia, and called for a revolution there“, Farasat Latif the secretary of Luton Islamic Centre tells.

„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“, Latif recalls, „He knew it was directed at him. He stormed out of the mosque. His radicalism came from certain websites that preach extremist views.“
The Islamic Centre´s chairman Qadeer Baksh says, he did not call the police because he did not want to put Taimour in danger. „The community did not know that he would take it so far as to then sow the seeds of discord and extremism“, Baksh tells British media.

Other people working in the mosque also tell about the change of al-Abdali´s behavior. One even remembers he heard, al-Abdali went to Yemen in 2007 or 2008 and stopped in other Middle Eastern countries during that trip to listen to lectures and study religion. Investigators now believe Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdali travelled to the Middle East several times, not only visiting one country but a whole range of countries.

It was also in 2007, Taimour al-Abdali returned to Sweden after being away for six years. It is unclear wether he also brought his family then. Friends and former school mates remember he was a „changed man“, had grown a full beard and talked about religion and politics. „He talked about Afghanistan and religion and did not want to hang out with his friends“, a friends says. Taimour´s parents were worried about their son´s behavior and his devout religious ambitions but in the end they thought the mid-twenty man was just going through a phase.

Al-Abdali, a studied therapist could not find a job in Sweden and worked in a plastic factory near his hometown of Tranås. It did not take long for al-Abdali to quit the job and move back to Britian. Tranås was to small for the Arabic, English and Swedish speaking family father. Taimour became depressed and announced he wants to settle in London.

Back in Britain, neighbors in Luton never noticed anything suspicious about the Muslim family al-Abdali living in three-bedroom semi-detached house. They saw Taimour play in the garden with his daughters, greeting neighbors and never behaving odd or strange. His wife worked as a beautician while Taimour was employed in a carpet shop and had some other smaller jobs helping him to support the family.

Taimour´s wish was his family to grow. So he set up a contact profile at Muslim dating website in 2009 to search for a second wife. „I want to get married again and would like to have a BIG family“, he wrote, „My wife agreed to this. I´m looking for a practicing Muslim, Sunni, love children, and wants to please Allah before me.“ Al-Abdali further states: „I can´t say I´m rich, but alhamdulillah not poor.“ In the future he would like to move to an Arabic country and settle there. „Hope you are a strong believer and strive for jannah (paradise)“, the Swedish-Iraqi wrote about his future wife, „If you have one or more the Prophet recommends please get in touch with me.“

Eventhough his strong religious belief is clearly documented by his writings and information, the pictures he uploaded to show a young man with modest beard, dressing in suite and shirt – anything but a radical Salafi look.

But on the Internet, the Iraqi immigrant son established a second life, promoting violent Jihad and spreading video material about war crimes against Muslims in the Caucasus, Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay prison. It was mainly Youtube videos al-Abdali linked to Facebook, none of them unsually outstanding or violent. His profile picture was a photoshop scene of an Islamic warrior putting the flag of the al-Qaeda organization „Islamic State of Iraq“ on a mountain, Jerusalem in the background. Al-Abdali joined some Facebook groups, including „I love my Apple iPad“, „National Geographic“ and „Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi“ (imprisoned Jordanian Jihad ideologue) and also stated he likes the „Islamic Caliphate State“. There was even other, non-Jihadi material that was set up on his Facebook site, including a video of a woman obviously behaving weird and funny after taking drugs. „I wish drugs were legal“, al-Abdali wrote.

In spring of this year, Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdali again travelled to the Middle East. He spent time in Jordan, pictures he later uploaded onto his Facebook profile show him posing with sunglasses, in the background Jordanian valley landscape near the Red Sea. What he did in Jordan is unclear at this moment.

At that time, Taimour´s wife was pregnant with her first son. The baby was born in June and given the name „Osama“. Eventhough his effort to find a second wife seemed to have failed, al-Abdali´s family grew.

About four weeks ago, end of November, Taimour Abdulwahhab made a visit to Swedish Tranås, telling his parents he wanted to celebrate his birthday on December 12th, the birthday shared by his 61 year-old father Thamer Abdulwahhab. Taimour then bought a car, a Audi 80 Avanti via on Online car trading platform and registered under his real name „Taimour Abdulwahhab“. On the morning of Saturday, December 11th, just one day before his and his father´s birthday, the Sport Therapist left the parent´s house in Tranås and drove to Stockholm.

At about 4 p.m. in the afternoon, a car bomb filled with gas cylinders detonated in the Swedish capital near the Bus station of Drottninggatan close to a busy shopping area of Stockholm. The blast injured two people on the streets and apparently also wounded a man in his late twenties, wearing a Palestinian Keffiyeh scarf and a thick jacket. Only a 300 meters away from the first explosion, a second bomb went off, this time an explosive device strapped to the man´s body. The person was killed by the blast. Police later found five further bombs on Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdali´s body that were ripped of the torso by the first explosion and did not detonate. They also found a backpack filled with shrapnel, meant to increase the harm of the exploding suicide vest.

Only minutes prior to the bomb explosions in Stockholm city, Taimour al-Abdali had sent an e-mail containing three audio files to Swedish news agency TT and Sweden´s security police SAPO via his mobile phone. The messages were recorded in Arabic, English and Swedish, containing the final statement of al-Abdali who became Sweden´s first suicide bomber. The sound quality of all three audio files is very low but from noise in the background and the ringing of a second phone close-by it is very likely the suicide bomber recorded his messages inside his car shortly before the attack.

„I´m going to keep this very short and simple“, al-Abdali says in the English version, „to Sweden and to who live in it: you have the pig Lars Vilks and yourselves to blame for these actions. Your quietness to the paintings and your support for your soldiers in Afghanistan brought you to this unpleasant situation (…) Stop your drawings of our Prophet – peace be upon him – withdraw your soldiers from Afghanistan and no more aggressions against Muslims will be tolerated (…) to my wife: Please forgive me if I lied to you, it would have been impossible to tell you who I really was. It was not easy to live the last four years with the secret of being Mujahed or as you call it „Terrorist“.“

Sweden´s First Suicide Bombing

by Florian Flade

Today would have been his 29th birthday. But instead of meeting friends and family to celebrate a new year in life, Taimour A., decided to strap explosives to his body and committed a suicide bombing in the streets of Stockholm, Sweden.

The Swedish-Iraqi man, born 1981 in Baghdad, became Sweden´s first suicide bomber last night, when he detonated a car bomb (Audi 80 Avanti, registered to a „Taimour Abdulwahab“) at 4 pm and his own suicide vest just minutes later, containing several pipes filled with explosives. Apart from the bomber himself, no other person died in the failed attacks, yet two people on the streets were injured by the explosion.

Just minutes before A. blew himself up he sent an e-mail containing two audio files, to Swedish news agency TT and the police SAPO. The files were recordings of A.´s voice, explaining in Swedish and Arabic: „Now your children, daughters and sisters will die just as our brothers, sisters and children die.“ Swedish police think the claim is credible and a proof that A. is the same person that carried out the bombing just minutes later in the streets of Swedish capital Stockholm.

„Now your children, daughters and sisters will die, just like our brothers, sisters, and children.

Our actions will speak louder than words. As long as you don’t stop your war against Islam, mocking the Prophet, and your stupid support for the Pig Vilks.

Now it’s time to strike, don’t wait any longer. Come forward with whatever you’ve got, even if it’s only a knife. I know you’ve got more coming up.

Don’t fear anybody, don’t fear anyone.

Apologies to my family: I never went to the Middle East for work or to make money. I went for jihad.“

Now the question is on how a 28-year old Swedish of Iraqi origin, a student of Sports Therapy who moved to Sweden in 1992 with his family, could turn to Jihadi violence without counter-terrorism officials noticing the change and danger emerging from the young man. A. was a husband and a father of two girls, 3-years and 1 1/2 years-old (and one son born in 2010) and wanted to get married to a second wife. „I would like to have a BIG family“, A. wrote on the internet searching for a new wife. His wish, A. states, was to move to an Arabic country in the near future. In 2004 A. lived in Luton (UK) and married there. He moved to the UK to study and gained a Bachelors degree in Physical therapy from Bedfordshire University in 2004. Swedish sources believe his family still resides in the UK.

At home in Sweden, A. was disappointed by Sweden´s involvement in Afghanistan and angry about Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who drew the Prophet Muhammad as a dog years ago. Swedish society did not apologise but on the contrary celebrated freedom-of-speech and Vilks´right to do what he did – that´s why the Swedish people deserved an attack, A. apparently decided.

Russian war crimes in the Caucasus turned A. angry and aggressive, he was spreading material- mainly Youtube videos – against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the United States, calling them war crimes. Besides that, A. loved his iPad, the Islamic Calliphate State, documentary-channel National Geographic, Jihadi cleric Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and was „Proud to be a Muslim“.

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Swedish investigators think there is probably no al-Qaeda involvement in the incident, as al-Qaeda never sent out precise warnings like A. did yesterday. The attacker seems to fit into the category of the „lone wolf“, a tactic highly promoted and encouraged by al-Qaeda. Especially the Yemeni branch of the network called for Muslims in the West to act without waiting for religious advice from the Middle East or any direct order by a Jihadi organization. Those who feel the Muslim Ummah, the religion or its prophet need to be defended in their country, are told to carry out any operation possible, al-Qaeda said.

Taimour A. is just the latest example in a long line of „lone wolves“, starting with failed Shoe-Bomber Richard Reid, the Arkansas shooter Abdulhakim, Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hassan and others. Foreign involvement is still possible as A. has visited the Middle East in March, going on vacation in Jordan. In his „martyrdom statement“ sent to Swedish news agency TT, he says he is sorry for his parents who believe he want to the Middle East to study but instead went for Jihad training.

Somalia – The Next Waziristan

by Florian Flade

„W elcome to Somalia – there are no worries“

– Al-Shabaab Chief Spokesman Sheikh Mohammed Rage says in the latest video release by the Somali Islamist movement, inviting foreign Muslims to join Al-Shabaab and fight in Somalia. This newest propaganda piece is an outstanding release of surprising quality and the clear intention to recruit Westerners or at least foreign Muslims to the Somali Jihad. The 1/2 hour tape, edited with English subtitles, features not only training camp and combat footage in Somalia, but also presents the statements of several foreign militants including Western Islamists fighting in the ranks of Al-Shabaab.

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A British-Somali man called „Abu Dujana“ is seen sitting on a hilltop, the Somali coast in the background. The British militant explains in fluent English that Jihad is a duty for every Muslim and why he came to the war-torn country at the Horn of Africa to fight for the Ummah. „I would like to use my time“, the militant explains, „to talk about the blessings of living in the land of Jihad…before we came here, we were living in a society in which people were enslaved by their desires.“

„Abu Zaid“, a militant from Sweden, is giving a statement standing in what seems to be a empty football stadium. Speaking in Swedish to the Muslims of Sweden, the masked militant says: „And I also encourage you to make hijrah to this country.“ He then goes on and threatens Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who drew some caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and received numerous death threats since. The Somali foreign fighter says: „I want to send this warning to Lars Vilks who was behind the caricatures defaming our prophet. And I say to Lars Vilks that wherever you are, if not today or tomorrow, know that we haven´t yet forgotten about you and we will get hold of you and with Allah´s permission we will get you wherever you are and in whatever hole you are hiding know what awaits for you, as it will be nothing but this: slaughter!“ To his Muslim brothers and sisters „Abu Zaid“ says: „If you can kill this dog called Lars Vilks then you will receive a great reward from Allah!“

Another masked British Jihadi appears alongside blurry masked fighters explaining to the audience: „We are here to capture and to slaughter them. That´s the only reason we are here.“

In addition, a Sudanese, a Pakistani, two Kenyan and a Tanzanian Jihadi are shown giving statements and calling Muslims to fight Jihad in Somalia.

The new Al-Shabaab video also reveals the identity of Somalia´s first foreign suicide bomber, a Kenyan militant called „Musa“ who allegedly „in 2007…carried out a Martyrdom Operation that shook the pillars of the invading Ethiopian crusaders.“

A large number of Somali men from the exile communities of Europe and North America have traveled to Somalia in the last years, joining the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab movement and fighting the Ethiopian occupation troops and later the Ugandan African Union Peacekeepers. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the UK and the Netherlands are struggling to face this new terror threat by trying to infiltrate the recruiting networks of London, Göteborg, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The „Al-Muhajiroun“ as the foreign fighters are called, have become a major concern for Western counter-terrorism agencies as some of these men are EU or American/Canadian/Australian citizens. Especially those Al-Shabaab recruits returning from the frontlines of Somalia pose a security threat. Waziristan still is the main terror training center in the world, European authorities say, but Somalia is quickly heading to become the next al-Qaeda base.

Britain´s MI5 has noticed the emerging terror potential growing in lawless, war-torn Somalia. „I am concerned that it’s only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside al-Shabaab“, MI5 Chief Jonathan Evans said back in September. „A significant number of UK residents“ were training in al-Shabaab camps to fight in the insurgency in Somalia, he added: „“Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia in Somalia, is closely aligned with al-Qaida, and Somalia shows many of the characteristics that made Afghanistan so dangerous a seedbed for terrorism in the period before the fall of the Taliban.“

About 100 UK residents are believed to have joined Al-Shabaab, including men of Somali origin, Bangladeshis, Pakistani and West-African. Some of them are University students, others worked as waiters in restaurants. One young Somali men from London carried out a suicide bombing in Somalia in 2007, giving a martyrdom statement and calling for other British jihadis to come to Africa.

Swedish security officials suggest around 20 Islamists have left the country and reached the terror camps of Somalia in recent years. Probably more or less the same numbers are given by Danish intelligence. Terror recruits from the Somali communities of Copenhagen are confirmed to have committed suicide bombings in Somalia, one occurred during the graduation ceremony of medicine students in a Mogadishu Hotel in January – Dozens died in the blast.

In Germany the recruiting network of Al-Shabaab is under intense investigation by counter-terrorism authorities after several men attended and indeed did travel to Somalia on terrorism means. One of them, a 23 year-old White convert, was arrested in Kenya on his way to Somalia. German intelligence had tipped off the Kenyan officials after the suspect´s mother found a letter written by her son stating he would „never return to Germany alive“.

Most recently German federal police discovered a recruiting and support network run by Al-Shabaab sympathizers in Western Germany. The 15-20 men group calls itself „German Shabaab“ and is promoting the Jihad of Al-Shabaab as a religious duty. Most of the men are of Somali-origin, some are Arabs and converts.

The newest Al-Shabaab propaganda video will not fail to attract more Western recruits and the likely result will be an increase in travel movement from Europe to East Africa.