Denmark: The Danish Terrorists

Denmark: The Danish Terrorists

Danish broadcaster DR broadcast a documentary yesterday about the Danish terrorists. The documentary is available for viewing online.


Seven Danes have now been sentenced for planning terror attacks in Denmark or abroad and several are suspects. The first time viewers got to look the young Muslims in the face was when DR got access to those sentenced and those around them. They show that they seldom come from any particularly religious background. Instead they have been radicalized as youth here in Denmark.

Palestinian Mohammad Zaher (36) from Vollsmose sits in the state prison in Østjylland. He came to Denmark from Syria 10 years ago and is a Danish citizen. The high court sentenced Mohamed Zaher to 12 years in prison for attempted terrorism. He downloaded bomb manuals and prices the extremely sensitive explosive TATP.

In the documentary Mohammed Zaher tells for the first time on TV about his background and what he was doing when he was arrested in one of the biggest terror operations in Denmark's history. Mohammad Zaher tells how he first became religious, after he came to Denmark in 1998.

"When I came to Denmark I was 25 years old and just at the beginning of my adult life. I generally had no religious background then. I didn't pray to God. I was a completely normal person. But when I came to Denmark I discovered that I wasn't on the right path. People should live in accordance to their religion and pray to God. That is the most important thing."

Mohammad Zaher's background and religiosity is characteristic for all the youth who were arrested for attempted terrorism in Denmark. Altogether, 7 Danes were sentenced for terrorism and none of the sentenced or suspect came from outside. Some were born in Denmark - others were raised here in Denmark and got Danish citizenship. It is characteristic that only very few of those arrested come from any particularly religious background or family. Instead there's a dramatic upheaval in their life in Denmark when they meet other youth in the mosque. Together the youth develop in a steadily more radical direction here in Denmark.

Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish military academy analyzed on the program what gets young Danish Muslims to suddenly turn against the society they grew up in.

"They look for a strictly black-and-white answer. It's a form of rebel activity. Some will even argue that it's cool. Bin Laden became Che Guevara. This era's great revolutionary here, who opposes the USA - the youth are seeking and eventually they end up in the wrong corner."

Mohammad Zaher has denied guilt throughout the whole trial and think that he's gotten an unfair trial in conflict with the fundamental principles of law. In the program, DR reviewed the court case against him and discovered how the PET (police security service) employed a civilian agent who played an exceptionally active role.

At the same time, viewers got to see Mohammed Zaher relate to the police evidence for the first time. DR also follows Zaher's relatives and friends when they go from Vollsmose to Copenhagen, where the high court passed a historic sentence. Twelve years in prison for attempted terrorism.

Another Dane, who was sentenced for attempted terrorism is Abdulkadir Cesur from Avedøre. As a 19 year old he was arrested in an apartment in Bosnia, where police found 20kg of auburn explosive, a suicide belt and a Browning pistol with a silencer. Cesur was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison for attempted terrorism.

Abdulkadir Cesur was born and grew up in Denmark. In the program Cesur's father tell how a boy from Avedøre suddenly ended in a terror cell in Bosnia. In Bosnia Danish Cesur met with Swedish Mirsad Bektasevic - AKA Maximus - which Cesur met three times earlier in a mosque in Copenhagen. Through Maximus Cesur got entangled in the terrorist community, which his parents had no idea suspicion that their son was part of. DR goes with the father when he visits his son in a Bosnian prison north of Sarajevo.

Not one of those whom DR met admit that they intended to blow up a bomb, either in Denmark or abroad. DR discovers instead the youth's attitudes to the society they grew up in. DR's talks in the community show that those involved see the term terrorism completely differently than the way it's descibed in the Western media. They see themselves as victims who just defend themselves - against attack in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan or other war zones.

In a suicide video which was found in the house where the Dane Cesur and the Swede Maximus were arrested it was said as follows:

"These weapons will be used against Europe. Against those who have their forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan." (parts of the video can be seen here, I don't see that they mention Afghanistan)

To the question of what Mohammed Zaher wants to say to the youth who want to go to Iraq and fight against Denmark and the USA, he says:

"It's completely natural. Iraq is occupied by America. If anybody fights you because of your religion, for example Islam, it is natural that you retaliate to it."

Source: DR (Danish)

See also:
* Danish Jihad - a study
* Sweden: Movie on local terrorists
* Denmark: Terrorism case to be reopened
* Denmark: Three convicted in terror case
* Denmark: Missing evidence in terror trial
* Denmark: Terrorism update
* Denmark: Mohammed cartoons possible motive for terror
* Bosnia: Sentences for terrorist Swede and Dane reduced

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