In several terrorist attacks performed across Europe, a connection between the perpetrators and Sweden has been established. Jihadist recruitment in the Nordic country has been made possible by politicians’ reluctance to address the problem for fear of being labeled “racist,” Swedish Defense College researcher Peder Hyllengren argued.
While Sweden, compared with other European countries, has been more or less spared from acts of terrorism (bar the recent vicious Stockholm attack and a suicide bombing in 2010), it has nevertheless functioned as a base camp for recruiting extremists, who have participated in or have been suspected of terrorist attacks abroad, National Defense College researcher Peder Hyllengren told broadcaster SVT.
In Hyllengren’s own words, Sweden “sticks out” in terms of the presence of homegrown jihadists in international terrorist networks. Sweden, a nation of 10 million, has produced around 300 jihadists, which is second most in the EU in relation to the population. Additionally, hundreds of Swedes have built up contacts with violent jihadists from other countries and entered into various terrorist cells that have committed attacks around Europe.