“They thought that it is better that their son was there than in a destructive environment here,” says Mohamed Hassan Alim, who clearly agrees. Now, it is certainly true that no good would have come from Mohamed Hassan Alim turning to a life of crime. But what is the likelihood that he will grow up to be a loyal, stable, productive member of secular Swedish society?
“Mohamed was to be ‘raised’ in Somalia – chained and beaten,” translated from “Mohamed skulle ”uppfostras” i Somalia – kedjades fast och misshandlades,” SVT, March 25, 2023:
Mohamed Hassan Alim from Rinkeby was on the way to a life of crime – then his family sent him to a notorious educational institution in Somalia. There he was chained up and subjected to abuse, he tells SVT. Despite that, he defends his parents.
“I blame my relatives, but not my parents.”
Mohamed thought he was going to stay with relatives, but when he arrived in Mogadishu, he was put into a car and driven to the detention center. The beatings began immediately.
“They hit you under the heel, they hit you in the palm of the hand, in the back of the head – at points that hurt extremely.”
According to him, he was put in chains for a year and a half. It was all about breaking down the youth who were there and through fear making them susceptible to being converted into “true” Muslims.
Known to the authorities
Mohamed is not alone in being sent abroad to get away from a backsliding existence. A recent study from the Gender Equality Authority covers roughly 140 cases of children and young adults who have been taken out of Sweden against their will in recent years. Of those abducted, around 28 percent are young men who are sent on an educational journey.
It is common for the family to want to punish the children, or it is done out of goodwill. It could be that they think the child has been “Swedish,” ended up in crime or broke the family’s rules.
“Many who are abducted have been known to several authorities. But they have been too passive and have not carried out risk assessments. Or it has not been understood what measures are required. A passive approach by authorities often leads to an active approach by family and relatives,” says Mikael Thörn, head of unit at the Equality Authority.
Defending the parents
The study is based on interviews with people who have worked with young men who have been abducted. It does not provide a national picture, because it does not cover all municipalities.
“The majority of the cases that I have encountered have been of such a caliber that they may have been locked up, beaten and subjected to torture,” says Thörn.
Despite everything Mohamed Hassan Ali was subjected to on site, he defends his parents’ decision to send him away.
“They thought that it is better that their son was there than in a destructive environment here.”