The report below (including a translation) was prepared by our Swedish correspondent CB. It offers a wealth of background on Safia Benaouda and the “Swedes” of Al Qaeda:
This is an update to the Mehdi Ghezali story, and it sure is like Gudmundson says: What a story!- - - - - - - - -
Per Gudmundson, an expert about Islamic terrorism and an editorialist at the major conservative newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, gives us this interesting update about the Ghezali case. I think he’s correct in asking questions about one of the central persons in this, Helena Benaouda, the leader of the Muslim Council of Sweden and a Swedish convert to Islam.
First some brief background on Safia Benaouda.
She is the daughter of the powerful president of the Muslim Council of Sweden, and in the 2007 Christmas break from school, she and her husband traveled to Dubai and then to Somalia — to experience an authentic Muslim country. This authentic Muslim country was at the time ruled by the Muslim courts, whose youth organization is the infamous al-Shabab that is terrorizing Somalia today.
One might wonder why young Swedish Muslims travel to such a country. It might be that the kids just were naïve enough to think this was an Islamic paradise, and got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. But Safia’s husband is said to have been recruiting jihadists in Denmark prior to this trip. And they were traveling with the American wife of the confessed terrorist Daniel Maldonado (a.k.a. Daniel Aljughaifi), guilty of training with al-Qaeda in Somalia.
So it might be understandable why the Ethiopians and Americans had an interest in these young people. Note that Helena Benaouda claimed that Safia was kidnapped in Somalia and was totally innocent. Is she “innocent” this time as well?
The Muslim Council of Sweden has close ties to both the Swedish Social Democrats and the Muslim Brotherhood and Yusuf Qaradawi. It was only recently (February 2009) that one of the main figures in the council, Mahmoud Aldebe, distanced himself from Qaradawi when the latter said that Allah sent Hitler to punish the Jews. Aldebe said, “Qaradawi’s statement doesn’t really help our [the Muslims’] cause.”
Qaradawi’s hatred against Jews was not a new thing for the Muslim Council of Sweden, but with Hitler on the table things probably got a little to hot to handle. The Muslim Council was also instrumental in inviting Tariq Ramadan in 2006 to a joint appearance with the Social Democrats’ “Christian” wing, where Ramadan and Helena Benaouda spoke about the Muslims’ place in Europe. And this is the same “Christian” Social Democrats who are fostering closer ties with Hamas. All admittedly to win more Muslim votes in the upcoming election (the elections of 2006). Some of the leaders of the council have tried to get the Swedish government to give legal status to shari’a laws regarding family rights.
Helena Benaouda, the present president of the Muslim Council of Sweden, has argued strongly in public many times against Islamic marriage practices in Sweden, and that Muslims should abide by Swedish law in this instance. But she has also defended the infamous Cherin Awad, the program leader of Halal TV on Swedish public TV, and claimed that Awad was a good spokesperson for Muslims.
This is the Awad who claimed that stoning for marital infidelity was the correct method of handling things — until the public heat became too embarrassing for her and Muslims in Sweden. This is the Islamic ruling on family matters, and Benaouda thinks that ideas like this are representative of Swedish Muslims.
Benaouda has also written an article in which she claimed that the Muslims should make contacts with the Jews to learn how to avoid the next holocaust — this time a holocaust of the Muslims in Sweden and perhaps Europe, one has to assume. This is a tactic used by Muslims in different European countries, like the Muslim Council of Britain, to silence criticism of the religiously-motivated violence committed by their co-religionists.
This tells us that there is plenty to investigate about when it comes to who Benaouda is, and what her views and allegiances really are.
Gudmundson is correct in his wish that there should be probes into what the basic political and religious views of Benaouda and her relatives are.
Why did Benaouda defend her underage daughter’s travels to a Somalia ruled by the Islamic courts? I know that they claim Safia went without Mrs. Benaouda’s knowledge, and that Safia’s husband is the one who must have been pulling the strings — but the mother is the leader of one of the most powerful Muslim organizations in Sweden, with a lot of political clout.
Who believes that a devout underage Muslim woman doesn’t tell her mother such a thing? Will Helena Benaouda claim that her daughter was on vacation this time, too, to explore the mountains in North West Pakistan — and, as last time, that she was kidnapped?
There are some questions to be asked of the Muslim Council of Sweden and their president. And there should be hard questions asked of the Social Democrats, too, about their strange bedfellows.
And now CB’s translation of Gudmundson’s post:
Crazy Inga now in Pakistan
[“Crazy Inga” is the name fellow prisoners gave to Safia Benaouda in the Ethiopian prison in 2007]
TV4 [one of the major TV channels in Sweden] was first with the news that the Swedish woman who was apprehended together with Mehdi Ghezali is said to be a 19-year-old Swedish woman who was previously arrested “two years ago in Somalia, and also at that time there were suspicions about terrorism”.
What a story!
The unobtrusive Mehdi Ghezali from Örebro, on a joint expedition with the Stockholm resident Safia Benaouda. Dare one to guess that the third Swede is her husband? At least, I have a source that claims that this has been stated in Pakistan.
Not only was Safia Benaouda arrested before, on the run from Somalia, when the Ethiopian forces overthrew the Islamic courts. She is also the daughter of the president of Sweden’s Muslim Council.
The last time the Muslim leader Helena Benaouda maintained that the daughter “was kidnapped and incarcerated in January 2007, when she had traveled to Somalia during her vacation.” What she didn’t speak loudly about was that her daughter was apprehended together with the wife of Daniel Maldonado — a convicted terrorist.
This time she will have to explain how it is that her daughter is traveling with a former Guantanamo inmate and declared religious fundamentalist in Pakistan. One can only hope that the discussion will zoom in on the political and religious viewpoint which led them there — and whether that viewpoint has anything in common with Helena Benaouda’s own.