Swedish police investigate mosque attack as hate crime

ANADOLU AGENCY
STOCKHOLM
Published

Swedish police said Monday that they are investigating a homemade bomb attack on a mosque as a hate crime. The attack on the Islamic Cultural Center in Saffle, Sweden, a town 45 kilometers (28 miles) southwest of Karsltad, left ball-bearings lodged in the walls of the center's prayer room.

Broadcaster SVT reported that police had completed a preliminary investigation and were treating the attack as a hate crime.

"Windows were broken and the walls were hit by explosives reinforced with BB pellets," center Chairman Abdihakem Adan said. "An average of 100 people come to the mosque and pray every day."

Sweden is a strong draw for many migrants and about 15 percent of its population was born abroad. An estimated 100,000 ethnic Turks live in the Nordic country.

Sweden has seen a spate of attacks against mosques and refugee centers in recent years, as the country has taken in record numbers of refugees, 245,000 in 2014 and 2015.

In November 2016, at a Stockholm mosque just after morning prayers on Saturday, unidentified attackers burst into the building, spray painting swastikas and hate speech on the walls and throwing firecrackers, police said.

All of the worshippers had left the mosque at the time of the attack except one, and he was shaken but unharmed, mosque officials told Swedish news agency TT.

In October 2016, police suspected arson was behind a fire that damaged a Muslim prayer room in Malmo in southern Sweden.

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