July 15, 2012
The suspected Norwegian al-Qaida 33 years old affiliate is seemingly an ordinary man holding some unusual political ideas. According to the Norwegian Intelligence Services (PET) his most likely present location is somewhere between the Yemen’s Abyan och Shabwah provinces. Other speculations suggest that he has been trained as an operative for the Al-Qaida network. Having Scandinavian appearance it is thought that he would play a major role in future attacks. However, (un)probable this sounds the man is not charged for any crimes. All he seems to be “guilty” of is perhaps holding extreme political opinions. This is the reason no arrest warrant has been issues by the Norwegian authorities.
He calls himself Muslim Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman and he converted to Islam in 2008. He has never been charged with a crime; however, several states’ intelligence services view him as a major operative within Al-Qaida. He grew up in a community just outside of Oslo, seemingly shy and loyal towards his friends. In his teenage years he was a fan of grunge music groups such as Nirvana etc. Was there anything which would lead him towards extremism? Nothing, one could argue. Multiple suggestions have also been developed in relation to the case of Breivik and the radicalization process that turned him into a mass-murderer. Such processes are obviously complex and often nonlinear regardless of our desire to understand such phenomena. For instance, the judge in the Breivik trial noted that he was not particularly interested in Islam or Muslims before discovering the counter-jihad ideology and rhetoric. In these circles Breivik found an “appropriate” place to express his latent hate. It is here that he could project his developing worldview where all things are either black or white.
For the 33 year-old Norwegian from Oslo politics was never a big issue, according to some of his old friends. His growing anti-American views and general suspicion towards his government were sparked around 2001 attacks on the U.S. buildings. This was the period when a massive number of conspiracy stories developed and this attracted him. At the same time, his spiritual quest seemed drawing him away from his everyday life. He sought to get away from the mainstream mode of life and after having fallen in love with a Muslim woman he converted in 2008.
Moved by a convert’s zealousness he dedicated himself to spiritual and physical purity where religion became central in all aspects of life. The few steps toward extreme interpretation of religious principles were not far away and he began to view reality in terms of black and white. His search for the ultimate truth played pivotal role after some time. One of his friends narrated Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman started to dislike his teachers, school, even Oslo and Norway. In the end he moved away to Yemen in 2009. All traces go cold after that. He did not contact his relatives or friends of his whereabouts, and that seemed to spark all kinds of speculations. The PET agent claimed that he studied Arabic and most likely had close relation to many radical Muslims. This in turn raised many questions among people back in Oslo. At the same time one needs to be aware that there are no evidences that he have been involved in any attack against Yemenite government or any other state for that matter.
Norwegian politician Mohammed Abulahoum argues that the whole thing has been blown out of proportions by the media. “Until now we have not seen any proper evidence that could confirm these stories about the Norwegian man (Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman). I have no reliable information from any source about the issue.”
Four men from Sweden have been convicted on the basis of terrorist plot in Denmark. They were supposedly conspiring to attack the offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten with weapons. The attack was planned to take place at the building that houses the two major newspapers, Jyllands-Posten and Politiken, just days before the New Year’s Eve 2010.
The men were arrested on December 29th 2010, three of them in Copenhagen and the fourth in Stockholm. Both Swedish (SÄPO) and Danish (PET) intelligence services have followed the three men traveling the entire car trip from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Prior to that the police has had the four men under surveillance for a long period of time. The fourth man, who stayed in Stockholm after deciding to discontinue the journey was convicted by as well.
According to the director of PET, Jakob Scharf, the men were only hours away from attacking the offices of the newspaper(s). according to the information given by the police, the men had an automatic weapon, a handgun and 200 of so called PlastiCuffs. A large amount of material used as evidence has been presented throughout the trial. The Prosecutor has relied heavily on hours of recordings from police surveillance of a Stockholm apartment where the attack have seemingly been planned. The recordings indicate that the men had planned to cause maximum destruction with their attack. All of them are between 31 and 46 years of age and according to the Prosecutor the men planned the attack as a part of a reprisal plot against the newspapers’ distribution of the so called Muhammed Caricatures.
All of the men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison, a highest possible sentence in this type of cases. The Prosecutor wanted the sentence to be extended between 14 and 16 years.
Danish Intelligence agency PET has arrested four men on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against the Copenhagen offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 was allegedly their inspiration. According to the agency, the arrests were made in suburban Copenhagen and were made following a long-term surveillance operation in collaboration with the Swedish Security Service SÄPO.
Three of the suspects are Swedish residents and reportedly arrived in Denmark December 28, and PET said the attack was to be carried out “in the following days”. All four suspects have Middle-Eastern or North African backgrounds. In addition to the arrests in Copenhagen, Swedish officials arrested a fifth suspect in Stockholm at the same time. During the arrests, Danish police found an assault rifle and silencer, ammunition, as well as plastic strips, which are often used by police as hand restraints.
According to PET, the group planned to kill as many people as possible in the building that houses Jyllands-Posten. Jakob Scharf, head of PET, described the suspects as “militant Islamists that had connections to international terror networks”. “The arrests underscore the terrorist threat that Denmark faces, and in particular anyone who is connected to the Mohammed drawings,” Scharf said.
Representatives from the secret intelligence service (PET) have participated in a conference with Somali imams, which moderate Somalis are accusing of sympathizing with Al-Shabaab. Members of Danish People’s Party have questioned whether the secret service should engage with extremist Muslims. Minister of Justice, Lars Barfod, approves that the Secret Intelligence Service (PET) is in dialogue with extremist groups. He says that one of the secret service’s tasks is to prevent radicalization and that this is attained by talking with groups which have ‘controversial points of views’. Barfod says: “I’m confident that the secret service is able to make sure that the dialogue with different persons and groups doesn’t legitimize certain religious or political points of view”.
The Danish Security Service (PET) has proposed that the government refrain from using words and phrases such as jihad, holy war, Islamism, fundamentalism, mujahedines, and war on terror. In report entitled Language Use and Fighting Terrorism, PET recommends that authorities refrain from speaking of Muslims as a comprehensive population group related to terror and extremism. Instead of Islamic terrorism, PET suggests referring to terrorism – to reduce linking these contemporary issues to intrinsic religious affiliation or belief. AnjaDalgaard-Nielsen said that the issue is not one of political correctness, but of ensuring that the use of language is as precise and objective as possible. Justice minister Lene Esperson, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and Integration minister Birthe Ronn Hornbech have not stated whether or not they will follow the PET recommendations.
The alleged al-Qaida link in a terror plot foiled in Denmark this week underscores fears that the country has emerged as a target for Islamic terrorists following last year’s uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, experts said Wednesday. “Denmark has been named by all leading al-Qaida leaders as a potential target that they would love to see exposed to a terror attack,” said Rita Katz, of the Washington D.C.-based SITE institute, which monitors militant postings. “This is because of the cartoons.” Eight people were arrested early Tuesday in what the Danish intelligence said was a crackdown on Islamic militants with links to senior al-Qaida leaders. The suspects were preparing explosives for a planned terror attack, the PET intelligence service said, but did not identify the target.