Sweden’s intelligence service, Säpo, is investigating reports that some of the nation’s immigrant resettlement assistants were recruiting arriving immigrants for Muslim terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. The entire network of immigrant assistants was fired. According to Mikael Sjöberg, who leads the resettlement agency, “We have received indication that there have been instances of recruitment attempts or contact-making situations related to various militant fighting groups.”
Sweden’s resettlement assistants help new immigrants find work by assisting them with government paperwork and documentation, as well as language issues. According to the Swedish tabloid, Expressen, some of the assistants are suspected of fraud and bribery schemes. “It has to do with loans or gifts, like tablets, mobile phones and sometimes cash, in order to get connected to a specific assistant,” said Sjöberg to Expressen on February 20.
Sweden's immigration resettlement assistants have been providing assistance to immigrants since 2010, ostensibly to help with their assimilation into Swedish society and culture. The assistants have been working for private contractors attached to Sweden's job agency. Currently, about 32,000 unemployed are assigned a job coach under the program.
Sjoberg's decision to terminate the resettlement assistant program came after there had been a notable increase of complaints among job-seekers.
'This is not a common way of recruiting for travels that proclaim violence,' Säpo spokesperson Sirpa Franzén told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. 'What we have seen in the past is that recruitment takes place in social situations and via social media.'
Interest in the multi-national Muslim immigrant community living in Sweden was piqued in January 2014 when Säpo confirmed that at least 100 Swedish nationals are fighting among the ranks of Muslim combatants in Iraq and Syria.