Report: One in Seven Extremists In Sweden Are Women

Syrians wait for departure as another group of Syrian families is released from the Kurdis

A study conducted by the Swedish Institute for Future Studies has revealed that women are far more active in extremists groups than previously thought, with women making up one in seven extremists in the country.

The study found that women make up around 15 per cent of those actively involved in various extremist groups from the far right, far left, and radical Islam. Women also are highly active within the groups, though their roles are varied depending on which variety of extremist group they are a part of.

Amir Rostami, associate professor of criminology, helped author the report and spoke to Swedish broadcaster SVT, saying: “In left-wing extremism, it seems very equal. In Islamism, women are also included – but they do not have the same central role.”

The study, which looked into 200 extremist women identified by the Swedish security service Sapo, noted that far-left extremist women were the most likely to commit crimes and also be the organisers of criminality.

According to Rostami, there are probably significantly more female extremists in Sweden than the 200 women who were studied in the report. “The darkness is also due to the prejudices we have about women and the bias that then becomes when authorities and others seek information,” Rostami said.

Female Islamic extremists, particularly those who left Sweden to join the Islamic State, have been the subject of debate in Sweden over the last several months.

Many of the women, some with children, reside in the al-Hol prison camp in Syria and have asked to be able to return to Sweden.

Swedish terror expert Magnus Ranstorp has spoken out against allowing the women to return, saying that Sweden’s terror laws are not robust enough to properly prosecute them for potential crimes committed overseas.

Ranstorp noted in December that investigations were particularly difficult, saying of one recently returned Islamic State woman: “If you don’t have digital tracks or testimonies, it’s very difficult to get her convicted of anything.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.