In two years a Norwegian teenager had completely changed. His mother despairs about his support for terrorism and his hate of Israel and the USA. Now the boy belongs to a fundamentalist Muslim community and plans a trip to a dangerous area in South-Asia to go to Koran school.
It began as a friendship with a classmate from a Muslim country at the end of high school. The kid, now in his late teens, has become so extreme in his attitudes that he terrifies his family. He took on the name of a older Muslim man and became part of a little and closed mosque community in his hometown in Østlandet. There he was trained among others by young Muslims from Great Britain.
Earlier this week, PST (Norwegian Police Security Agency) chief Jørn Holme expressed concern that young Norwegian Muslims will be recruited to extreme Islamic terrorist organizations.
The boy's family is so concerned that they had several meeting with the PST about the case. The PST confirms the contact.
PST spokesperson Martin Bernsen says that radicalizing like this is something of interest to them, but that the decisive issue for the PST is not extreme opinions but rather the will and ability to carry out violent acts.
"In the beginning I was positive about him wanting to learn more about another religion and another culture, because he hadn't shown any particular engagement with society earlier," says the mother, who for her son's and family's safety wished to stay anonymous. "But now he's gotten into something he has no control over." In secret he has gone through a total transformation.
The mother was at first positive about him spending a lot of time with his new friend's family and he lived there on vacations. She knew the father was a deeply religious and strict Muslim and was certain that in this way her teenage son would be kept aware from unhealthy party environments.
But her son changed during the next two years. In the fall he told his family the reason: During his visits he had taken part in different Koran schools and had converted to Islam.
He strictly observed the fasting month of Ramadan and condemned the rest of the family's morality. He called his mother an 'infidel whore' since she was divorced and lived as a single mother.
"But it's the other attitudes that scared me the most. He expressed support for terror actions, hate against Israel and the USA and became very interested in weapons and Arabic websites," says the mother. "It wouldn't scare me if it was just about religious convictions, but here it's about a deeper transformation."
The boy is planning a trip to an area of his friend's family's homeland in the summer, when he will be of age. The area is a very unstable border area in the Middle East, known for terrorist networks and kidnappings, and described as extremely dangerous by experts VG has spoken with.
That her son will be recruited to terrorism is the mother's worst fear, but she is also afraid he will be married during the planned trip this summer. "He says he wants the father in the family to find him a wife, and that he was promised he could freely choose among the village's virgins", says the boy's mother.
Source: VG (Norwegian)
See also: Norway: Norwegian youth target for jihad recruiters