The Syrian-origin Swedish passport holder arrested in Belgium last week for his involvement in the Brussels bomb attacks is a former poster boy for Sweden’s efforts at integrating migrants into their society.
Now accused of murder, and captured on CCTV cameras carrying bags which contained the explosive devices which killed 32 civilians, Islamist Osama Krayem had once been hailed as a model of integration. A former employee of the city of Malmo, at the age of 11 Osama starred in a documentary about migrants in Sweden.
Both of Osama’s parents are Syrian migrants to Sweden, and have told tabloid Aftonbladet they wanted to see their son integrate into Swedish society. The family featured in a 2005 documentary called ‘Without Borders–A Film About Sport And Integration’, in which football-mad Krayem demonstrated how the Malmo football team had helped him settle into Swedish society.
The club had run an integration project, encouraging local migrant youth to play football. Club marketing manager Christer Girke said of the programme: “We wanted to show the importance of integration . . . the boys were to go to the association to see what the other Swedes did and get to know the [football] associations were important, how it can be a gateway to jobs and much more”.
Shot with a budget of £22,000, an opening-night review of ‘Without Borders’ in Sydsvenskan hailed the “football mad sons” of the Krayem family–the central players in the film–as showing “the essential role of sport for integration”.