Norway: Concern about terrorist refugees
Given the fact that Norway shelters such people as Mulla Krekar, I don't understand the concern about 'secret' terrorists.
In related news, VG Nett reported last week that the Norwegian embassy in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia sent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a secret report about the Islamic University in Medina this past October. The report is secret out of consideration for Norway's foreign policy interests, but the Foreign Ministry refused to say why.
According to the South Asia Analysis Group think-tank, teachers at the Islamic University in Medina who are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood conduct a campaign among the international students to support political activism.
Thomas Hegghammer of the Defence Research Establishment says, though, that the school is not a terrorist school, but rather has a moderating or depoliticizing effect. There are political debates, and thereby political radicalization, in every university campus in the Muslim world, he says, and so it's not surprising that some students have radical opinions.
Several Norwegian citizens learn in the school. The ministry forwarded the report to the PST.
PST, the Norwegian Secret Service, fears that people with a background in terrorist groups can hide in Norway.
This according to a new report which the PST presented yesterday. In the report the PST summarizes last year and gives its appraisal of the threats against Norway.
In the report the PST expresses great concern for the many people of unknown identity who reside in Norway. According to the police, many of these people come from countries where terrorism is a 'considerable problem'.
"In the big mass of unknown people who come to Norway as legitimate refugees there can be hidden people with an active past in extreme Islamist armed resistance movement or pure terrorist groups," says the report.
The PST concludes this this causes 'considerable concern' relating to preventing terrorist attacks.
"From terrorism cases in Europe in general we know that people with such experience can attract others and become the focal point in a circle that cultivates extreme Islamist attitudes. This can develop into an actual terrorist threat," the PST say in the report.
Spokesperson Martin Bernsen of the PST stressed to VG Nett that the great number of ID-less asylum seekers are a 'major challenge" for the security service. He confirms also that there are extreme Islamists in Norway.
"By 'extreme' we mean in this context, people who are willing to use violence," said Berntsen.
Since 2001 PST's highest priority was to prevent politically motivated violence inspired by extreme Islamism. In the report the PST concludes that there's no indication this will change.
According to the PST, in the past eight years security and police services in Europe and the US have stopped close to 100 terrorism cells from carrying out their planned actions.
"In Noway today there are small groups and individuals who sympathize with, and actively support, extreme Islamism. Examples of these are propaganda activities and money transfers to people abroad who are linked to extreme Islamist organizations," the report says.
For the first time, the PST gives in the report their appraisal of the extent of spying against Norway. According to the security service about 19 countries spy in Norway. Many of these agents are completely legal, others are spies who come on false premises.
The agents pretend, for example, to be diplomats, journalist or business people.
The report says that they usually work to tempt to wrong doing, gather information, influence, recruit, undermine and in the worst case, sabotage for the benefit of a foreign state.
The PST say that the spying threat was considered high in 2009 and that Norwegian interests abroad were also subjected to spying activity throughout the year.
Sources: VG 1, 2 (Norwegian)