On Sunday, the notorious Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda released a statement via its media channel calling for attacks on targets in Sweden and Denmark. All faithful Muslims have a “duty” to avenge the Koran burnings, the group declared.
Tore Refslund Hamming, a researcher focusing on militant Islamism, tells the Bonnier newspaper Expressen that the terrorist group’s message is clear – they are trying to portray the recent high-profile Koran burnings as a coordinated attack by citizens and governments in Sweden and Denmark against the world’s Muslims.
🚨Alright, ny og temmelig voldsom udmelding fra al-Qaida, der blev udsendt i går på baggrund af koranafbrændingerne i Sverige og Danmark.
Kort fortalt så er beskeden, at nu er der krig og dette skal hævnes.
En kort 🧵 her pic.twitter.com/scsOA8Y5hc
— Tore Refslund Hamming (@ToreRHamming) August 14, 2023
Furthermore, the terrorist group claims that the Nordic countries have not learned anything from Charlie Hebdo – the French satirical magazine that was the target of an Islamist terrorist attack in 2015 that left 12 people dead and 11 injured.
“Sweden and Denmark are two small, despicable countries that constitute no more than two small dots on the world map, and their population is not even a tenth of the population of our nation”, the terror group writes.
According to Refslund Hamming, al-Qaeda calls for attacks against Swedish and Danish targets and their interests – and especially against their diplomats.
“People of Islam in Sweden, Denmark and all of Europe – the duty of revenge has been laid upon you”, the message concludes.
Swedish terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp calls the message “extremely violent” and “worrying” – but says it is far from certain that they will succeed in finding people who are actually willing to commit terrorist acts in Sweden and Denmark.
– ‘It’s hard to tell. But the more you talk about Sweden and the frequency of Koran burnings, the more negative the image of Sweden becomes, the more likely it is that something could happen. But it is impossible to say what.
Al-Qaeda:s central kommitté genom as-Sahab (deras media organ) uppmanar till terrorattacker mot Sverige och Danmark.
Man menar våra länder har inte lärt sig lärdomen från Charlie Hebdo som de nämner som inspiration. Man hyllar terroristerna – Kouachi bröderna och deras… https://t.co/0fmz7TDP4A
— Magnus Ranstorp (@MagnusRanstorp) August 14, 2023
Even though, according to Ranstorp, Sweden is in “one of the most serious terrorist situations we have had for a long time”, Swedes should not be afraid but continue to live their lives as usual.
– People should act normally. It is good to know about this, the threat has been made aware, but we should not be alarmist, he says.
The name 'Al-Qaeda' was coined by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when it equipped Islamist groups, also known as mujahideen, to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The programme was known as 'Operation Cyclone' and is one of the most expensive in CIA history.
Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden, whom the US official line is that he was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001, was one of the leading figures in these groups.