Iran finances mosques and sends imams to Norway. Here they preach hatred against the West. The aim is to prepare Norwegian Muslim ideological to carry out terror attacks, if they'll be ordered to do so one day, a source told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Saudi Arabia is not the only one who finances the building of mosques in Norway. In the battle to win the hearts of European Muslims with a very conservative extremist version of Islam, Iran also finances mosques and sends imams here. Norwegian Muslims are being prepared for action.
"The imams here come from Iran. They interpret the Koran for us and teach people the religious rules. They also give guidance in social situations," says Ali Reza Moaddeli.
Iran's theocracy sends imams
He's a board member in the Norwegian Imam Ali Center in Oslo, a mosque with about 200 members. The mosque is closely linked to the Iranian theocracy and several times a year gets imams which are chosen and sent here by Iran's theocracy.
The imams live in a room in the mosque while they're in Norway. They belong to the Ahl-ul Beyt mission organization, a Shia-Muslim institution headed by Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It was this organization which bought the mosque's premises in Tveita in Oslo in 2005. [See also:Copenhagen: City council approves plans for Grand Mosque]
Three sources told NRK of the close links between several mosque in Oslo and Iran, and what messages are conveyed to Norwegian Muslims. None of the sources wanted to be named, two due to fears for their safety, one because he didn't want to spoil his relations with the Iranian regime.
"Imam Ali Center has imams from Iran who promote attitudes we don't want in Norway. An imam in this mosque that I spoke with, said that the Iranian opposition was infected by Zionists. He used an example that when women dispute man's right to beat their wives, it's Jews infiltration," one of the sources told NRK.
The Imam Ali Center website links to Iranian sites with antisemitic content.
Deny the Holocaust and that Muslims are behind 9/11
Ali Reza Moaddeli thinks freedom of speech is abused in Norway when it's permitted to print caricatures of the prophet, but didn't want to discuss the scope of the killing of Jews during WWII.
"It's not Norwegian values which make it difficult to be a Muslim in Norway, it's a misinterpretation of these values, such as freedom of speech. It's OK to curse the prophet and hurt a billion people, and at the same time you can't discuss the Holocaust. It's a bit strange," he says.
Q: What do you think of the Holocaust?
"I have no overview of history. I am not engaged in that. But as I see it, what is said about the Holocaust isn't right. I think the same about 9/11. I'm completely certain that it wasn't Muslims who were behind the 9/11 attacks," says Moaddeli.
He told NRK that the USA built up al-Qaeda and that Bin Laden was originally an American agent in Afghanistan when the country was fighting against the Soviet Union.
Moaddeli lives in Oslo. He thinks Norway is a country where the norms and values correspond with Muslim values, except when it comes to alcohol and the hijab.
He denies that the Imam Ali Center's Iranian imams convey a political message.
Q: An imam in the mosque said that the Iranian opposition in Iran is influenced by Jews. What's your comment to that?
"It's a lie. The imams that come here don't say a word about politics," answers Moaddeli.
"Exploit injured souls"
Many of those who come to the mosque, are not aware of the close links it has to the theocracy in Iran, a source told NRK. He thinks Iran is trying to exploit the mosque-goers.
"The imams are chosen through very thoughtful channels. This strict selection is in short to ensure that they don't say anything which doesn't agree with Iran's policy. Iran sends imams who are loyal and convey their message. They exploit injured souls looking for comfort and belonging," the source says.
Another NRK source said as follows: "The imams are sent here to spread Iran's attitudes. Their religious role is an excuse to convey a hostile message against the West. Though their preaching they prepare their audience ideologically, so that in the future they'll be willing to carry out terrorist acts if they're ordered to."
"The hate propaganda against the West is a symptom of inner weakness in the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime suffers from Zionist-paranoia. They see the American-supported Jewish Zionism behind all kinds of movements they don't like," says Islam expert at the Norwegian School of Theology, Jan Opsal
He stresses that this hate propaganda can be dangerous.
"It can mean legitimizing violent attacks against Western targets. The propaganda can also stimulate the formation of small and closed groups who are willing to act on the basis of the hatred which is being built up," says Opsal.
He says that in a meeting with a representative of the regime in Iran, he got confirmation that Iran had an ambition to dominate the Asiatic part of the Middle East, both politically and religiously.
Q: What consequences can there be from the fact that Iran buys mosques and sends imams here with their message?
"It means that they get a beachhead in this part of the West. Basically, most Iranians in Norway are critical of the regime, but we've seen in many contexts that the regime is very engaged with following up on what happens in the Iranian exile-community," says Opsal.
Human Rights Violations
Iran also has close links with two other mosques in Oslo, in addition to the Imam Ali Cetner, according to NRK's sources. One of these mosques, Tauhed, has 677 members, and gets around 250,000 kroner a year in state subsidies.
Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iranian constitution is based on a Shia-Muslim interpretation of the Koran. The country, which today is headed by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his right-hand man president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the only country in the world which officially practices stoning.
The regime's opponents are imprisoned, tortured and executed. Iran has been criticized various times for its human rights violations by the world community and the UN. Today millions of Iranians live in exile.
"You should ask the Norwegian authorities why they don't do anything to stop the emergence of a dangerous enemy. Iran finances the mosques because they work directly for Iran. Norway should understand that,' says one of NRK's sources.
Iran's embassy confirms support
The management of the Norwegian Imam Ali Center denies that anti-Western messages are preached in the mosque. The Iranian embassy in Oslo didn't want to be interviewed on the matter.
Ali Reza Moaddeli, board member of the Imam Ali mosque, denied that the mosque had any links to the Iranian embassy, but the embassy confirmed they support the mosque.
The Norwegian security service PST and the Justice Ministry did not want to comment on the matter.
Source: NRK (Norwegian)