Denmark: Responses after terror trial

Judges overturned the jury decision last week in the Glostrup terror case, releasing three out of the four suspects. The jury had found all four guilty of being involved in planning a terror attack in Europe but the judges decided there was insufficient evidence for three of the suspects.

The fourth suspect, Abdul Basit Abu-Lifa, 17, was found guilty.

Politicians interviewed after the ruling were nearly all in agreement that dissension between the jury and judges in a case of such great importance was unsatisfactory.

'Regardless of whether they were found guilty or not, it would have been best if everyone had been in agreement,' said Karen Hækkerup, the Social Democratic judicial spokesperson. 'This was a landmark case, but now it's just mud. But as law makers we have to trust our legal system.'

Imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen of the "Muslims in Dialogue" organization said that the sentence will hopefully deter other young people who are flirting with extremism.

The Islamic Society in Denmark, formerly headed by Abu Laban, called on the Danish government to help Muslims fight extremists. The organization requested that the government research how and why young Muslims become extremists and why 2nd generation immigrants want to harm Danish security.

Kasem Ahmad, the organization's spokesman says that the Islamic Society will work together with the government on this issue.

He said that they are doing everything possible to have contact with these young people but at the same time they are aware that they are attracted by strong extremist forces. He added that they can't deal with the problem on their own.

Rikke Hvilshøj, the Danish integration minister, reacted positively to the Society's statement and said she would like to discuss concrete initiatives.

Mustafa Chendid, the favorite for taking over Abu Laban's position at the Islamic Society referred to the case in his Friday sermon at the organization's Dortheavej mosque.

The Moroccan born imam, a Danish citizen since 2002, spoke in English to a packed mosque. He said the following (from translation): "Denmark is our land. We are more involved in this land than any other land. Everybody should be interested in having peace in this land. Nobody thinks of harming the country where one lives. If you can't endure living here, go away. We live under this country's government and under this country's constitution. We are here of our own free will. Nobody has forced us to live here. "

Source: Copenhagen Post (English), Jyllands-Posten 1, 2, 3 (Danish)

See also: Terror trials, Bosnia: Scandinavian terrorists jailed, Danish Jihad - a study

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