Jørn Holme, head of the Norwegian Police Security Agency (PST), says that his agency follows about 200 people. "We focus on about 200 people. These are people that we want information about in connection that we think they can commit serious crimes against Norway," Holme said to NRK.
Holme revealed these details Wednesday in a public debate arranged by the Muslim student association. It has been earlier reported that many Muslims feel that they're watched and that they must be responsible for what extremist Islamists do.
Holme did not want to go into detail on how these people are being watched but said that it includes telephone tapping, searching and obtaining information. The group being watched include people suspected of spying, right wing extremism and planning terror attacks. To the Muslim student who said they feared that the PST has a low threshold for watching them due to fear of terror Holme said that the PST did not care whether the people were Christian or Muslim.
In an interview with NRK Holme also said that he fears a lynching atmosphere if there will be a terror attack. "We are unexperienced and a little stupid when it comes to pluralism and multicultural population."
Holme added that Norwegians confuse Islam and Islamism.
"PST is especially concerned that Muslim citizens will be attacked by right wing extremist elements or that we will have a polarization in the population," that will cause people to attack and be uncertain of each other.
Justice Minister Knot Storberget agrees with Holme. "It's a concern we all share. Such serious criminality causes even more stigmitizing and even more problems in connection to the preventative work."
Jan Arid Ellingsen of the Progress Party had suggested in the past to watch all Muslims in Norway. He doesn't think it's strange that all Muslims in Norway might be affected by a terror attack. Ellingsen says that if a terror attack is committed by people tied to Islam he will expect people to come out against it as a natural consequence.
To the question whether that doesn't mean Norwegians are prejudiced he answered in the negative. He says these reactions have a basis, seeing what happened in the USA, Madrid and London.
Source: TV2 (Norwegian), NRK (Norwegian)
See also: Norway: Muslims feel watched