This weekend an explosion hit Sweden’s capital Stockholm. A suicide bomber tried to kill innocent civilians with self-made pipe bombs and a car bomb but failed because the most of the bombs did not detonate. They were badly constructed. The official response to that threat is extraordinary solid – one must admit if one compares European responses to terror threats. While other countries normally use those threats for the erosion civil liberties and the establishment of the security state, Sweden holds them high and acts as a role model for Europe.
In a letter the designated suicide bomber wrote a letter to Swedish news agencies with the following content:
He cites Sweden’s silence surrounding the cartoons by Swedish Lars Vilks which portray the prophet Mohammed as a dog, the Swedish troops in Afghanistan, saying in audio files attached to the email that “now your children, daughters and sisters die like our brothers’ and sisters’ children die”. “Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you don’t stop your war against Islam and degrading the prophet and your stupid support of that pig Vilks,” the man said. The man also urges all Muslims in Sweden to “stop sucking up to and degrading”. He concludes the message with yet another call to “all the mujahedeen in Europe and Sweden”. “Now it’s time to act, don’t wait any longer. Fear no one, don’t fear prison, don’t fear death.”
If it is true then we have a good example how religious fundamentalism can go wrong. The question is, if it was real terrorism or just a depressed single attack. If we see in it the former, we can perceive this as an attack on the open society with liberal rights such as free press. Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt commented those attack and said important things :
„It’s unacceptable because Sweden is an open society, and an open society which has shown it is willing that people with different beliefs and backgrounds and gods can live side by side with each other in an open society and democracy that functions well,“ he said. He stressed it was important not to jump to conclusions when asked about Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s comments describing the events as a „most worrying attempt at terrorist attack“ on his Twitter feed overnight before police confirmed they were investigating a terrorist crime. Reinfeldt said.„We need more facts and we need to of course discourage reactions to this until we know more,“ he added. (thelocal.se)
If we see it as a single attack of crazy maniac the message does not change: Why should we sacrifice civil liberties for the illusion of security? We have to observe if Prime Minister Reinfeldt stands to his words or if it was just rhetoric. But if I were a statesman I would do the same thing. Not jump into conclusions such as reinforcing the security state. Terrorist attacks have the aim that we are afraid and fearful and that we react irrational and demolish our democratic states from within. If we do so, they have won and we have lost. Reinfeldt presents himself as a real democrat and a defender of civil liberties by remaining calm and not willing to sacrifice freedom for security unlike German police officials and conservatives which are likely to demand the erosion of civil liberties because of an abstract insecurity. During November it was said, that there was reason to believe, that terrorists would attack Germany at the end of November but nothing concrete (when, where, who, how, why?) was said. There was no hint of a real danger. Meanwhile several conservative hardliner and police officials demanded the expansion of spying on personal computers and the unification of German police and intelligence agencies, which is against the German constitution. While Sweden faces a real threat, a real attack with a real victims, it remains calm and is not willing to sacrifice what it stands for, a free and open society with a strong connection to civil liberties, German officials shriek in danger because of an abstract threat and demand the deconstruction of the democratic state and the free society, of which our founding-fathers of the Grundgesetz in 1948 tried us to prevent from (because of the lessons of the past).
Meanwhile the social democratic party proposed to give Säpo (police) more privileges for fighting terrorism, like better surveillance capacities and access to data from Sweden’s intelligence agency…. Here we have a classical securitizing move.