09/02/2014 03:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

It's Not a Competition of Suffering


I had just spoken with "abu-Ali" in IS to try to grasp their way of thinking. Why do they kidnap children? He replied that they don't kidnap children, they save them and steer them toward the true faith. And such was the theme throughout our entire conversation. Anything that IS does is justified by their interpretation of the Quran. Their injustices towards other Muslims and non-Muslims, are based on their eagerness to save their own soul. Is that strange? If they do not try to convince us all to follow their world view, they will face the wrath of God. They are obliged to impose their atrocities on us to avoid being punished themselves.

That same evening, I was attended a dinner party in one of Stockholm's upscale restaurants. I wanted to take a break from covering the mass murder of Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, and to get away from all the horrific images. We were six people eating together. Everyone was polite, social and we had a good time. One of the members in our party asked me what I'm working on at the moment. I answered, the genocide of non-Muslims and moderate Muslims in the Middle East. And also that I, someone who has always supported the right of asylum, have been hiding refugees and tried to help them in other ways, have recently developed a fear for them. Many are fleeing Bashar al-Assad's army and there might be members of the al-Nusra brigade and IS among them. I told him that the majority of the refugees coming to Sweden are missing proper identification and the fact that we don't really know who they are, under the current circumstances, worries me.

He became furious and started shouting that it's people like me who are ruining Sweden and that I'm distorting things. That we, Per Gudmundsson of Svenska Dagbladet and myself, are idiots with a quixotic view of the world. And the children are killed in Gaza, what was my opinion on that? Gudmundsson is one of the more prominent journalists covering Swedish Jihadists.

I was shocked. At first I didn't understand what he meant by questioning my knowledge of children in Gaza being killed. He was giving me threatening gestures and I told him to drop it, he did not know the first thing about me and that one atrocity does not excuse the other. The killing of children in Gaza has nothing to do with the killing of children in Iraq and Syria. He continued to shout that it was Israel's fault. I wanted to slap him over the face. Instead, I got up and left.

I went to meet some friends and told them about the events of the evening, asking them to explain to me what had gone wrong at the dinner party. I was still surprised, and quite shocked. There is an ongoing genocide of my people happening right now, and I get told off by a Swedish man for discussing it and for pointing out that there is good reason to be more scrupulous when taking in refugees in this country.

My friends offered a quick interpretation of the event. In Sweden, we're simply not prepared to deal with the truth. And we can't distinguish between Islam, Muslims and extremist movements such as IS. On top of that, there is ignorance about the ongoings of the Middle East since news coverage has been narrow for decades. It's not easy to accept that people like myself, who are speaking out publicly in the media, pose a different opinion.

I phoned a friend in Turkey to get a second opinion and further analysis of the event. He is also a journalist, born a Muslim and fasts every year during Ramadan. I asked him to interpret the dispute with the Swedish man during dinner.

"It is because of idiots like him that these extremists, regardless of religion or ethnicity, who only want to cause harm eventually end up getting the power they seek, so they can spread more hate. If people don't open their eyes soon, it will be too late. It is like the Arab Spring, that was hailed by many journalists in Western society. But we, those of us who have a good knowledge of these counties, we knew that it would be hijacked by fundamentalists and that an Arab Winter would come.

Abu-Adil, my source within IS, sees all of us as unfaithful. The man at the dinner party. My friends in Stockholm. The journalist in Turkey. To him we are all infidel pigs, and we shall either convert, pay religious taxes, die och flee. When can we start to have an open discussion about this opposing menace?