News

We unmask the leader of anti-Islamic group now patrolling Irish streets

NewsBy Alan Sherry
Members of the Soldiers of Odin group in Dublin
Members of the Soldiers of Odin group in Dublin

THIS IS the leader of the an­ti-Islamic Soldiers of Odin group who have been carry­ing out patrols on the streets of Ireland in recent weeks.

Portuguese-native Samuel Sua­go Obadia is extremely vocal about his allegiance to the group and regularly posts online pic­tures of himself on patrol.

However, when the Sunday World called to his Carlow home this week, he was suddenly unwilling to dis­cuss his allegiance to the movement.

Asked if he would speak about his involvement in the group, he said: "Not at all. What the f**k are you doing here? Piss off. Go away."

Obadia, who is understood to have been living Ireland for some time, closed the door to his home after further questions were put to him. His partner, who is originally from Finland, is also a supporter of the group.

Samuel Suago Obadia

A Soldiers of Odin spokesman later contacted the Sunday World to demand that we did not reveal the identity of Obadia or any other members.

The spokesman said: "We believe that any publication of any personal details of any of the members of Soldiers of Odin Ireland will cause unessasary [sic] damage or distress to members."

The movement was formed in Finland last year, following the large influx of migrants into Europe.

Their founder is self-confessed neo-Nazi Mika Ranta, who has a conviction for a racially-motivated assault in 2005 and another for aggravated assault following an attack on a man and woman in Finland last year.

The group has since spread its tentacles to various other European countries and to Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

They set up an Irish chapter earlier this year and have taken pictures of themselves 'on patrol' in several counties, including Dublin, Carlow, Wexford, Kildare and Kilkenny.

Soldiers of Odin members in Wexford

They claim their aim is to prevent street crimes committed by Muslims, despite security sources saying they have encountered no such problems.

A spokesman for the group told the Sunday World earlier this month that they hadn't come across any Muslims committing crimes and went on to say they hadn't even met one Muslim so far.

They say they are not racist or violent, but will defend themselves if necessary and intervene if they see something happening.

The spokesman refused to say how many members there currently are in Ireland – but sources say they are very small in number. The largest number of them pictured together at any one time has been around 16.

Members of the group also refuse to reveal their identities as they say they are fearful it will cause them problems in work or in their local areas.

Earlier this month a spokesman for the group told the Sunday World that its members in Ireland were made up of many nationalities, but confirmed they had no black or Muslim members.

It is unclear how many Irish members are in the group, and anti-racism campaigners say far-right movements rarely gain much traction here.

Sources in Carlow say Obadia and pals have been spotted on patrol in the area - along with several other towns around the country.

One Carlow witness said: "Their street patrol the day I saw them involved coming out of post office, walking up Tullow Street as far as Hadden's or Shaw's and coming back down. I call that walking up and down Tullow Street, but what would I know."

While their logo appears to be copying that of motorcycle mobs, the group are not popular with some of those gangs. They were forced to close down a chapter of the group in Borlange, Sweden, after they were attacked by members of the notorious 'Bandidos' motorcycle gang.

And while the Soldiers of Odin also claim to be protect female members of the community, media in Finland reported that some members in that country have convictions for violence against women.

The Aamulehti newspaper revealed that one member was convicted after he pushed a woman to the wall and punched her twice in the face, breaking her nose. Another member assaulted a woman and threw her to the ground, hitting her head off a TV stand.

Others have convictions for attacks against women, while one member has a conviction for assaulting his son as well as drugs and weapons offences.

There is no suggestion members in Ireland have any such convictions.

However, one of their leading members in Ireland responded to a female critic online by saying: "You deserve to be gang-raped".

Islam is not the group's only target. The Irish chapter recently posted a picture of US president Barack Obama and asked their supporters to describe him in one word. 'Chimpanzee', 'subhuman' and 'negro' were among the responses.

The group are the latest far-right group to try and get a foothold in Ireland. Another group, Pegida Ireland, tried to hold a rally on O'Connell Street in February but it was cancelled after speakers were attacked by members of Anti-Fascist Action.