Our old friend and former colleague Raymond Ibrahim here confirms my analysis here of the motivation behind the attack on Sweden: it’s all about the Lars Vilks and Motoon and the freedom of speech.
“Swedish Jihad Revelations,” by Raymond Ibrahim for Hudson New York (via RaymondIbrahim.com), December 20:
Back in 2004, in one of his most recognized messages to America, Osama bin Laden, responding to then President George Bush Jr.’s claims that Al Qaeda hates freedom, rhetorically asked, “If so [if Al Qaeda hates freedom], let him [Bush] explain to us why we have not attacked Sweden, for example.”
Days ago, on December 11, an Al Qaeda affiliated suicide bomber attacked Sweden–the first terrorist attack in Sweden in three decades, and its first ever suicide attack. The attempt largely failed (only the bomber died, two Swedes were injured). Even so, it “could have been truly catastrophic,” said one official.
So much for Sweden epitomizing Al Qaeda’s “respect” for freedom. Why the change in policy? In fact, according to an audio-recording issued by the terrorists minutes before the attack, the vitriol is such that “all Mujahadeen [jihadists] in Europe and Sweden” are to prepare for action: “Now is the time to strike, don’t wait any longer.” […]
As for motives, according to the audio-recording, there are three: Sweden will be a target of the jihad “as long as you do not  end your war against Islam and  humiliation of the Prophet and  your stupid support for the pig Vilks.”
The first point–“war against Islam”–appears to be a reference to Sweden’s 500 troop presence in Afghanistan. Yet Sweden is only one of nearly fifty countries–including Muslim ones–to have a presence in Afghanistan; Turkey alone has contributed nearly four times as many troops. And most of these nations have not (yet) been targeted. Moreover, Sweden has been a troop contributing nation since July 24, 2003–well over a year before Osama portrayed it as a neutral country, undeserving of attack. (Perhaps he meant Switzerland, which is known for its neutrality, and is often conflated with Sweden by Middle Easterners?)
The second and third reasons cited–“humiliation of the Prophet” and “support for Vilks”–are one and the same and, in fact, the immediate reason behind the attack. Context: back in 2007, Swedish artist Lars Vilks drew unflattering caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Since then, Al Qaeda has set a bounty on him (the reward increases if he is “slaughtered like a lamb”); he has already been physically assaulted and his house nearly burned down.
Swedish freedom of speech and expression, then, is what prompted the attack. In fact, eliminating Western freedoms–or at least conforming them to the dictates of sharia law, which, among other things, forbid mockery of Muhammad–is a longstanding Islamist goal. Nor is it limited to violence; rather, the West’s very legal system is being exploited, through Islamist “lawfare” designed to censor free speech concerning Islam (prompting countermeasures such as the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project)….