Norwegian Secret Police Publish Annual Threat Assessment

28 February 2011
Monday 28 of February the Norwegian Secret Police (PST) published their annual threat assessment. Amongst the general findings, some relate to Islam and Muslims in Norway:
Even though few individuals in Norway support extreme Islamism, currently there is activity in certain communities which can contribute to a heightening of the threat situation during 2011. There are three main areas where PST expects developments to affect the threat picture in Norway in the year ahead.
Firstly, a steadily increasing level of radicalization will take place in public and through social media. Social media portals such as Facebook, blogs and various websites have become important forums in which to spread and discuss extreme Islamist views.
Secondly, visits to regions of conflict will continue, for the purpose of training or participation in battle. The majority of terrorist attacks that have been prevented or carried out in full in Europe have been carried out by individuals who have had training in areas of conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Recently Somalia and Yemen have also increased in significance as areas where such training takes place. In Norway there are a few individuals who have travelled in order to participate in training camps in these areas. In addition, there are individuals in Norway who actively facilitate travel by others to such places. The ideological and psychological influence, together with the skills, experience and networks these individuals develop while abroad means that some of them could represent a threat to Norway when they return here. They could represent a threat on their own, or in conjunction with others.
Thirdly, extreme Islamists in Norway will become more globally oriented. Individuals in Norway who have extreme Islamist views support organizations which mainly have a national or regional focus. At the same time there are individuals currently in Norway with extreme Islamist sympathies who appear to be more globally oriented. The place where the battle takes place does not appear to be important to these individuals, as long as the battle is being fought. These individuals join small groups which are not dominated by any one ethnicity. Nor are they preoccupied with any specific national conflict. Instead they are united, despite their differences, by an extreme Islamist ideology. These individuals are mainly the ones who could pose a direct threat to Norway in the year ahead. The provision of support in the form of financing, logistical support, propaganda and recruitment will be a significant activity of the Norwegian players again in 2011. Some extreme Islamists currently appear to be more globally oriented, and it is primarily this group who could present a direct threat to Norway in the year ahead.
There was also an increase in the activity of far-right extremist groups in 2010, and this activity is expected to continue in 2011. An increased level of activity among some anti-Islamic groups could lead to increased polarization and unease.
Recently some anti-Islamic groups have appeared in Norway. The development of such groups must be seen in the context of a general increased participation in antiforeigner and anti-immigration organizations in several European countries. Even though the anti-Islamic groups would like to present themselves as having cultural and ethnic diversity, their activity is based on a distinctly xenophobic ideology. In certain European countries such groups represent an increasing violence problem, and represent several thousand activists. Individuals who belong to anti-Islamic groups in Norway are first and foremost found on various social media. In 2011 we expect their activity to contribute to steering the public debate in the direction of increased xenophobic sentiments. This could contribute to an increased polarization within and between extremist groups in Norway. Increased activism among Norwegian anti-Islamic organizations can however also increase the use of violence in such groups, particularly in connection with demonstrations and commemorations.

Caricature of Muhammad was published on Norwegian Secret Police’s Facebook Page

Someone has published one of the infamous caricatures – this one showing the Prophet Muhammad as a pig – on the Norwegian Secret Police (PST) Facebook page. Trond Hugubakken, spokes person for PST, says this is the act of one individual, not of the PST as such.

Controversial Muslim leader Mulla Krekar attacked

Controversial Muslim leader Mulla Krekar was attacked this week. Shots rang through a window to Krekar’s appartment in Oslo, injuring his son-in-law in the arm.

Mulla Krekar, or Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, is an Iraqi Kurd and has been living in Norway since 1991. He has not been granted Norwegian citizenship. Krekar is known as one of the founders and the original leader of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam. Since 2006 he has been on the UN terror list.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is suspected to be behind the attack. But some also speculate about Islamophobic forces in Norway as possible perpetrators. The Norwegian Secret Police (PST) were criticized for not being able to protect Krekar.

Norway: Oslo mosque boosts security measures

The World Islamic Mission’s mosque in Oslo boosted security measures after someone left a pig’s head and Nazi flag inside the mosque’s entrance during Friday prayer services. It’s clear that someone has done this to provoke us said Jehangr Bahadur, chairman of the World Islamic Mission. Bahadur said that the mosque has also received racist e-mails that had previously not been taken seriously, but will now be given careful watch. Both the flag and the pig’s head were taken to a police crime lab for investigation. Since Nazi items were involved in the hate crime, Norway’s criminal intelligence unit PST was notified as well.

Norway: Muslims feel watched

Muslims in Norway feel they’re being watched by the authorities as suspected terrorists. “Many Muslims feel that the threshold for being watched have been lowered. Ordinary people watch what they say on the telephone or what they write in email,” says Mohammad Usman Rana of the Muslim student society to NRK.They fear that the telephones are being tapped and that email is being read by the police. The Norwegian Police Security Agency (PST) says they don’t watch Muslims especially, but they confirm that there are groups in Norway who support terror aboard.