Taimour Abdulwahab was an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen, who lived in Sweden after graduating from a British university. He had a wife and three children. He was cruising Muslim dating websites, looking for a second wife. Last Saturday, he covered himself with bombs, stuffed more into a backpack, and headed for a population center. Something went wrong, and one of his bombs went off prematurely, not far from a crowded shopping area in Stockholm, making him the only victim of his aborted jihad attack.
What set Taimour off? Well, it was probably an incorrectly set detonator. Those homemade bombs are touchy. Wait, you probably want to know what set him off on his path to jihadist glory. He was upset about the Swedish presence in Afghanistan, which the government recently announced plans to increase from 390 to 500. The very mountains of Mazar-e-Sharif will tremble beneath the mighty tread of their boots.
Maybe the Swedes could prevent jihad attacks by pulling their troops out of Afghanistan. It wouldn’t be hard to do. Based on my personal experience, Delta Airlines can pack five hundred guys into one fairly small airplane. But wait… there’s more! Abdulwahab also detonated because of the infamous Mohammed cartoons, specifically mentioning cartoonist Lars Vilks in the audio file he emailed to authorities:
“Now, your children – daughters and sisters – will die like our brothers and sisters and children die. Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you do not end your war against Islam and the insult against the prophet and your stupid support for that pig Vilks.”
One of the “likes” on Abdulwahab’s Facebook page was “the Islamic caliphate.” That caliphate extends even unto the shopping centers of tolerant Sweden. Some entertain a dangerous fantasy that jihadi rage would dissipate if the West abandoned the embryonic democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Abdulwahab’s botched suicide bombing is a stark reminder that the jihad has demands far beyond the absence of foreign troops from “sacred” soil. Those demands are wholly incompatible with the concept of free speech and democracy.
Some Swedish politicians and writers have expressed surprise that anyone would try to bomb Stockholm. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Taimour Abdulwahab wasn’t impressed by Swedish “tolerance.” He had a very specific list of things he required them to be absolutely intolerant of, and the penalty for refusal was the murder of innocents. Appeasement of brutality is fundamentally incompatible with true “tolerance,” because the goal of fanatics is transformation. No one can claim to have an “open society” unless they’re prepared to fight for it. The Swedes should get in touch with a jihadist imam and ask if he could show them “the Islamic caliphate” on a map.
It’s a holiday miracle that Abdulwahab had no victims besides himself. The authorities didn’t stop him. The BBC has a story that he was expelled from a mosque in Luton, during his university days in Britain, for “pushing across the ideas that most violent radical Muslims hold,” according to the mosque’s financial director. The chairman of the mosque is said to have “exposed” and denounced him before a hundred witnesses, causing him to storm out of the Islamic center for good. Was this incident reported to the authorities? Did British police share this intelligence with their Swedish counterparts?
If Sweden wants to keep its society open and tolerant, it needs to carefully identify and monitor people like Abdulwahab, which is going to involve an awful lot of distasteful “profiling.” They might also consider contacting the FBI Fake Bomb Sales Department and asking it to open a branch office in Stockholm. Muhammad Hussein, the would-be bomber of a Baltimore Armed Forces recruiting station, was said to be “grinning from ear to ear” when he tried to detonate his FBI-issued phony weapon. Taimour Abdulwahab would have been wearing the same expression, if he could have reached that Stockholm street full of Christmas shoppers before he exploded.