Interior Minister Morgan Johansson has ruled out the possibility of stripping Islamic State fighters of their Swedish citizenship, saying the government refuses to make anyone stateless.
Interior Minister Johansson made the comments after a statement in late July by the Chief of the Police in Greater Gothenburg Erik Nord who said the government should be able to strip Islamic State fighters of their Swedish citizenship.
“We can not make people stateless,” Johansson said, adding: “If you have become a citizen in Sweden, that is governed by the legislation we have,” Svenska Dagbladet reports.
Police chief Nord argued that Sweden should follow the British example in dealing with citizens who have gone to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State.
“If the terrorist attacks continue, my view is that Sweden and other Western European countries must take the same actions they are now practising in Britain,” he told Göteborgs-Posten.
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“England has suffered from the Islamic terror several times this year, and therefore action is being taken,” Nord said. So far, the UK government has stipped 40 Islamic radicals of their passports this year so far, most coming after the terror attack that occurred in London in March.
“We have had a terrorist attack this year, but much has changed since then. I do not think it will be long before we can remove citizenship as well as residence permits from people trying to break the liberal democracy we have here in Western Europe,” Nord said.
The number of radical Islamists in Sweden has soared in recent years with the Swedish Security Service (SAPO) claiming there are at least 2,000 violent jihadists in the country. Less than a decade ago, the number amounted to only 200.
Nord said that Islamic State is not like previous terror groups like the IRA who could be negotiated with.
“I think we will still live with the threat of jihadism in the future. If the terrorist attacks continue to target us in Western Europe, more people will think about doing things like what England does. We can not have people here who propagate to overthrow democracy in a society that has been so generous and welcoming,” he said.
Swedish security expert Magnus Ranstorp has also been critical of the government’s response to radical Islamic terrorism saying that officials do not take the threat seriously enough. He has also slammed the government for lack of funding for police in migrant populated no go zones saying that the closure of the last police station in Järva is a “disaster”.