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Sweden to deport Iraqi imam: Reports

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Stockholm, Sweden   /   Thu, June 13, 2019   /   10:20 am
Sweden to deport Iraqi imam: Reports People form a symbolic protective ring around a Stockholm mosque during Friday prayers on March 22, 2019 to show their solidarity with the Muslim community, a week after the Christchurch twin mosques attacks claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand. (AFP/Henrik Montgomery / TT NEWS AGENCY)

Sweden is to deport three foreigners including an Iraqi imam suspected of playing a central role in an Islamist movement, media reports said Wednesday, quoting the Swedish migration office.

Counter-terrorism police arrested Abu Raad, the imam of a mosque in the eastern city of Gavle, along with his son in late April.

Public radio Sveriges said the third person was another imam, from the northern city of Umea.

Abu Raad, 53, whose real name is Riyad Abdulkarim Jassim, has been on the police radar for several years because of his purported influence within Salafist circles.

The daily Expressen said he posted a message of congratulations on his Facebook page in 2014 after the Islamic State group captured Mosul, making the Iraqi city its headquarters.

Swedish law allows for the deportation of people deemed a threat to national security or susceptible of "committing a terrorist act or taking part in one".

The men may appeal the decision, and if it is reversed they may still be placed under strict judicial control.

Swedish media reported that Abu Raad and his family fled Iraq in 1991, initially to Saudi Arabia.

He and his son obtained a residency permit in Sweden in 1998, but they have failed to obtain Swedish nationality.

The anti-terrorism police, in a rare public statement, said Tuesday that religious extremism was on the rise in Sweden.

"The number of individuals in extremist circles advocating violence has grown from several hundred to several thousand in recent years," the statement said.