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4/12/17

Sweden: Stockholm attack puts a choke-hold on Swedish tolerance - by Johan Ahlander and Mansoor Yosufzai

Hours after the truck attack that killed four people in the heart of Stockholm, Muslim taxi driver Abdi Dahir found himself in a suffocating choke-hold from a man sitting in the back seat. Struggling to breathe, Dahir, who moved to Sweden from Somalia as a child, felt he could die too, at the hands of an angry passenger who blamed the country’s openness to Muslim immigrants for the attack that afternoon.

 “We have done everything for everyone, we have given them mosques, we have given them everything but they kill our own people. Then we’ll kill them,” the man growled at Dahir before grabbing him around the neck, according to an audio recording of the assault. Dahir, who recorded part of the conversation on his cell phone, said he had also activated a concealed alarm, prompting police to intervene. Stockholm police said they were investigating the incident. “I tried to work, but I’m too nervous to have anyone sitting behind me in the car,” said Dahir, his voice still hoarse.

Anti-Muslim anger is putting the Nordic country’s deep-rooted liberal traditions to the test, after a man hijacked a beer truck and rammed it into a busy downtown pedestrian mall. At the time of the attack, the suspect, 39-year-old Rakhmat Akilov from Uzbekistan, had applied for asylum but had been rejected and faced an expulsion order, making him one of more than 12,000 people wanted for deportation in Sweden.

In court on Tuesday his lawyer said he had confessed to a terrorist crime. Europe’s most welcoming nation to asylum seekers has tightened immigration policy in recent years and is considering new measures after Friday’s attack, including better policing of deportation orders and banning membership of terrorist groups. It is also bracing for rising intolerance and hate crimes. 

Read more: Stockholm attack puts a choke-hold on Swedish tolerance | Euronews

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