"Terrorism is not an isolated threat. It is a form of Islamic tactic and it is Islamism as a political ideology that needs to be fought and mapped out," Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson said.
Åkesson, whose anti-immigration party burst onto the Swedish political scene after the September election, acknowledged that only an extremely small portion of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims committed terrorist acts, but said many more "sympathise with Islamism."
Åkesson, whose Sweden Democrats' requested Wednesday's parliamentary debate following the country's first-ever suicide attack, insisted an important debate had been stifled in Sweden by "a fear of being branded Islamophobic."
Taimour Abdulwahab, an Iraqi-born Swede who staged the December 11 attack on the eve of his 29th birthday, had sent messages invoking Islam before blowing himself up near a busy shopping street.
He was the only person killed in the attack.
Justice Minister Beatrice Ask acknowledged extremism existed in Sweden, but tried to nuance the picture.
"I think, personally, that a lack of hope and optimism and real or perceived injustices attract mainly men to extremist movements," she said in her opening remarks, also criticising the Sweden Democrats for voting against a proposal on increased international cooperation against terrorism.
Green Party parliamentarian Maria Ferm meanwhile blasted Åkesson for "trying to connect the typical picture of a terrorist to the Muslim man," insisting that only 0.34 percent of all terror attacks in Europe are committed by Islamic extremists.
Most attacks, she said, were carried out by rightwing and leftwing extremists.
Åkesson rejected that argument.
"To compare militant vegans from Umeå (in northern Sweden) with jihadists is a confused approach," he said.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 January 2011 15:33)