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Sweden's rising Muslim tide

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Such suspicions may be pushing even mainstream Swedish Muslims toward radical street preachers, especially in the nearby suburb of Rosengaard where Muslim immigrants form a substantial majority.

"These neighborhoods are hunting grounds for Islamists but how many and how organized [they are] it's impossible to say," says Aje Carlbom, a Malmo University researcher who began studying Rosengaard society nearly ten years ago.

"Twenty years ago when the mosque was established they [its founders] had some political problems and pushed the different factions out," Carlbom explains. "These small factions established their own mosques in basements."

It is a pattern echoed across Europe. While moderate Muslims may disown extremists and bar them from mosques, they do little to challenge extremist ideologies and the radical preachers merely regroup elsewhere, out of sight of both mainstream Muslims and the authorities.

"I know for a fact that there are small extremist groups in Malmo," says Arjumand Carlstein, a social worker at Malmo Islamic Centre, attached to the mosque. "And apart from the organized groups, you also have the Internet and extremists can easily communicate with each other in other parts of the world."

This global phenomenon appears to be spreading to Sweden. In August, several short video clips appeared on the Internet purporting to show experimental detonations of explosives in a wooded valley, supposedly in Sweden.

In September, another Islamist website claiming to speak for Ansar Al-Sunna, the Iraqi terrorist group, said the group had established "a small isolated training camp in southern Sweden."

"We wish to inform the Ummah," said the website, referring to the global Islamic community, "that the Army of Ansar Al-Sunnah in Sweden are well-trained to defend our holy countries ... having established a Mujahideen training camp, located in Skane [the region in southern Sweden that includes Malmo] ... with the help from Allah."

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