by Pete Norman
The ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement was called to the attention of a Seminar on Wednesday about the Government’s action plan against extremism, attended by the Minister for Democracy, Birgitta Ohlsson, and the Security Police’s (SÄPO) top analysts. Ohlsson wants to have increased knowledge of it. SÄPO describe the movement as a new potential threat.
“We need a deeper understanding of the Counter-Jihad movement. It’s definitely one of my priorities within my portfolio. A lot’s happened in that environment the last couple of years.” Said Ohlsson.
Six months ago, the Government presented it’s action plan against violent extremism. The plan covers White Power, Anarchist and violent Islamist circles, but both SÄPO and the Minister for Democracy, Birgitta Ohlsson (Liberal), point out that it is important to watch the Counter-Jihad movement.
“We’re looking at Counter-Jihad as a new potential threat”, Jonathon Peste, SÄPO’s Chief Analyst for Counter-Terrorism, told Expo today.
“We’ve been watching the movement for a couple of years now. I should point out that amongst other things, Anders Behring Breivik followed the Counter-Jihad discourse. But his ideological mixture had more components. He saw himself as a modern Crusader, amongst other things.”
Peste won’t go into exact detail about how SÄPO work, but the internet is one place SÄPO pay attention to.
“We look at material on the internet to a certain degree, but there’s no comprehensive scanning. It wouldn’t be meaningful. The internet is one environment – and it’s quite a large environment – where at least the ideological basis for Counter-Jihad is transmitted.
Expo; “Are there any specific groups you’re looking at, like, for example, the English Defence League (EDL)?”
Peste; “The English Defence League is certainly something we’re watching, and we’re investigating whether equivalent Swedish Groups have been formed.”
Expo; “Are there people in Sweden that you’re keeping an eye on?”
Peste; “I can’t go into detail about how we work, but we’re well informed of the situation”.
In August, influential representatives of the Counter-Jihad movement will be demonstrating in Stockholm. American ideologues such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer will be participating, and the English Defence League’s spokesman, Tommy Robinson, has been announced as one of the speakers. Several of the EDL’s sister organisations from different countries will be participating. Jonathon Peste chooses not to comment on how he views the demonstration.
Daniel Vergara for Expo