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Brussels Terrorist Was Poster Boy For 2005 Documentary On Integration

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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One of the suspects from the March 22 Brussels bombings was the subject of a 2005 documentary on successful integration in Sweden.

Osama Krayem, a 23-year-old Swedish citizen, is awaiting trial in Belgium for his part in the Brussels bombings which killed 32 civilians. Krayem was supposed to be the second suicide bomber at the Maalbeek subway station, but got cold feet.

Along with his brother and father, 11-year-old Osama Krayem were featured in the documentary “Without borders – a movie about sports and integration.” The documentary focused on how Krayem and his brother found their place as immigrants in Malmö, Sweden, by playing soccer with the Swedish boys.

“There are so many positive things to highlight,” Christer Grike, the soccer club’s communication director, told local newspaper Sydsvenskan before the release in 2005. “Unfortunately, the media image is often too dark.”

Eleven years later, Grike said the documentary was meant to show how soccer could integrate immigrants in the Swedish society.

“We wanted to show how important integration is and that it doesn’t have to be harder than just talking to one another,” Grike told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Friday. “The boys joined the [soccer] club to get a feel for how important it was to get a future job and many other things. The way I understood it, the father wanted the boys to be part of society.”

Krayem’s integration story appeared to be on track throughout his teens. He held a government job as recently as 2013 and worked to open up a preschool in nearby Copenhagen, Denmark.

Friends of the Krayem family said his radicalization appeared rapidly in 2014 when he stopped showing up for work. He travelled to fight for Islamic State in Syria in the spring of 2015, before joining the Brussels terror cell in the fall.

Krayem’s trial is expected to start in May.

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