Norway: Mohyeldeen Mohammad is a security risk
Fourteen Norwegians were accepted into the Islamic University in Medina in the past four years, though it's unclear how many actually study there. One of these is Mohyeldeen Mohammad. Another is Arshad M. Ali, who represents the Norwegian Labor Party (AP) on the Stavanger city council. He says he applied while on pilgrimage to Mecca in 2007, when he was interested in the religion of his parents, who came from Sri Lanka. He decided not to go, though. "I am the AP representative on the Stavanger city council, culture editor for the student paper and studied the last year for a BA in history. I feel it's these things I'm working on now, and I've changed a little in relation to how I was in 2007. Additionally I don't know what I would come back to with education from that school," he told VG Nett.
He says he would have had to study Arabic for two years before beginning to study Islamic subjects at the Islamic University in Medina.
For more on this story see:
* Norway: Sharia student continues to threaten
* Norway: 61.5% of Muslims think demonstrations are unreasonable, 44% see signs of radicalization
* Norway: Allah will decide if it's peaceful
The Norwegian Security Service PST is now working full steam ahead to discover possible terrorism links to Mohyeldeen Mohammad.
"We were routinely informed of the arrest," says PST spokesperson, Martin Bernsen.
VG meanwhile learned that PST see Mohyeldeen Mohammad and small group of people around him as a security risk and follow him closely.
"We can't comment on individual people and cases, but generally I can say that we know there's an increased radicalization in some Muslim communities. In these communities there are people with links to terror networks abroad which can affect the national threat situation," says Trond Hugubakken of PST.
Together with former terrorism suspect Arfan Bhatti he had a central role in the caricature demonstration in Oslo last Friday.
"It was unnecessary to arrest Mohyeldeen. More than that I don't want to comment on this case," Arfan Bhatti told VG.
The two communicate together on Facebook, where they were also the administrators of the group which organized the demonstration. On Facebook they both praised each other's engagement for Islam.
Trond Hugubakken didn't answer VG's question on the connection between Bhatti and extreme Islamists.
"Police and security services in Europe discovered links between organized crime and terrorism, and it's not necessarily different in Norway. Terror movements need money, to rent safe houses, vehicles, forged travel documents, weapons and other things," he says.
It's expected that the radicalization in the Muslim communities will be central issue when the new PST head Janne Kristiansen presents the annual threat appraisal. The head of the Islamic Union, Basim Ghozlan, confirms that Mohyeldeen Mohammad had prayed in the Arab mosque in Oslo recently.
"But he has no activities in the mosque. He prays and goes again. Friday prayer is open for all, but we don't want any activities of his initiative" says Ghozlan.
A short time ago he was a regular guy working in a grocery store. Now Mohyeldeen Mohammad glorifies martyrdom.
On his private Facebook page, Mohyeldeen Mohammad (24) writes that "execution is my way to martyr status" and that his political view are "Khilafah on the path of Prophethood" [in English].
Khilafah.com is run by the radical Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in many European countries for spreading racist and antisemitic statements and for expressing support for terrorism.
The group is considered one of the most extreme Islamist groups in the world. On November 5th last year he wrote on his Facebook page that unbelievers should have their heads cut off. He praises mass murdered and the world's most wanted terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden.
Childhood friends still call Mohyeldeen Mohammad "Molli", but don't recognize the 24 year old.
vennen Ole says that Mohammad had been a good friend and neighbor, and that they worked together in the grocery store. "We joked a lot and could have a bread war between the shelves after closing time."
"We always had a joking tone. I could say "hey, svartskalle" [derogatory term for foreigners] and that Allah is an idiot and he could say that he hated all gays and so I figured that it was all a joke. Now I'm not certain he was joking."
The change came when Mohammad began to travel to Iraq and other countries in the Muslim world a year and a half ago.
"He worked very diligently, and often had several jobs simultaneously, in order to save money for these trips. Suddenly he stopped drinking alcohol, and then he began to wear strange clothing and let his beard grow," Ole says.
Last night VG met Mohyeldeen Mohammad's cousin in London. The two cousins were indivisible for years. The cousin (23) is angry and disappointed at Mohyeldeen Mohammad (24).
He says that his cousin has changed radically the last three years.
"He's an idiot who says the things he does. Think how much he's ruining for people," says the 23 year old, who for the past few years has been studying in London to be an oil engineer .
"He loves to provoke. Until three years ago he wasn't interested in Islam at all, but now he wants to only have Muslim friends. He visited me in London in 2007 and I noticed then that first drops coming. It's clear that people are afraid of him, but I don't see him as a type that is dangerous," says the student.
Mohammad is one of Liberal Party politician Abid Q. Raja's 4,500 friends on Facebook and Raja thinks the contents of the 24 year old's profile are so grave they should be published.
"This Mohyeldeen is the most extreme person I know of in Norway at this age. Much of the content is extreme radical. To praise people who are mass murderers and agitate in this way is clearly within the definition of radical Islamists," says Raja.
Mohammad came to the police station in Larvik yesterday to report threats against himself, and he was detained for death threats he himself made against two Dagbladet journalist. The police searched his house in Larvik, but didn't find weapons or any other suspicious objects.
The two friends in Larvik think it's terrible to see what is now happening to Molli.
"Now he doesn't greet any of us anymore, and most people here have distanced themselves from him. Molli puts other Muslims in a bad light. It's as if he's been brainwashed."
Mohyeldeen Mohammad's lawyer, John Christian Elden, had the following comments on Mohammad's terror-sympathies on the net:
"It's our justice system's society task to stand up to defend his right to express himself, even if people don't like the statements. I expect the police to also arrest all those who threatened him because of his statements."
Sources: VG 1, 2, 3 (Norwegian)
Update: Name of cousin removed by request