IS women return to Sweden

Three women and six children arrived in Sweden from IS detention centres in Syria on Monday. Two of the women were arrested upon arrival but have now been released. Terror experts warn that the returnees could become further radicalised in Sweden. The debate in the national press reflects just how thorny this issue is.

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Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

This is no longer their home

Göteborgs-Posten is against taking in more former IS women with their children:

“Before the government decides to evacuate more IS supporters, perhaps a reminder is in order. We are dealing with individuals who freely joined a terrorist sect that has massacred religious minorities and taken helpless girls as sex slaves. The help they are now calling for from their captivity was forfeited when they left our country to participate in these crimes against humanity. Sweden is quite simply no longer their home.”

Upsala Nya Tidning (SE) /

A problem for the Social Democrats

Upsala Nya Tidning believes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats will capitalise on the issue:

“The Sweden Democrats (SD) have been saying in recent days that the expulsions should not be accepted, which sounds a bit strange given that [at the same time] they are demanding that Sweden force its expellees on other countries. In any event the return of the IS women is an undesirable political situation for the [ruling] Social Democrats, because it allows the opposition to say that special treatment is being given to terrorists. This is particularly inconvenient a year before the election, with a change in party leadership [of the Social Democrats] underway and voters switching en masse to the SD.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Learn from the mistakes

Aftonbladet points out that joining a terrorist organisation has only been forbidden since 2020, and that in the future action needs to be taken earlier:

“The lack of watertight laws made it easy for IS to recruit. Sweden was ill-prepared. There were no means to prevent recruits from going over there, even though it was suspected that they were going to there to join the organisation. That's a pity, but it can't be changed. We need to focus now on preventing such things from happening again, for example, through international cooperation. Recruitment must be prevented in the future by taking action before it's too late.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Prosecute crimes consistently

Bringing the women and children to Sweden is the right thing to do despite everything, Dagens Nyheter maintains:

“Just like consistent prosecution: crimes against human rights must not become time-barred. Constitutional states should treat IS terrorists in the same way as war criminals such as Nazi guards or SS members. If it takes 50 years for new evidence to come to light, a trial is held then. Once you have joined a terrorist organisation, you can never be sure that you will escape justice.”