Two of Norway’s most profiled radical Islamists are in Syria concurrently with other Norwegians who are seeking out anti President Bashar al-Assad rebel fighters, reports say. At the same time, Oslo’s Muslim community has met with London-based Imam Pir Alauddin Siddiqui to combat radical Islam.
“I don’t believe God created the Earth so we would become warriors, but so that we should show each other love, respect, and tolerance,” Pir Alauddin Siddiqui told Dagsavisen. “Spreading hate is the most dangerous thing that exists in this world.”
The 82-year-old Imam met several thousand Muslims on his several day trip to Oslo, as well as numerous central Muslim leaders.
Living in both Pakistan and London, he runs a multi-million viewer TV channel, Noor TV, watched in places such as the Middle East and Africa.
Aamir Sheikh, Norwegian Conservative (H) politician and leader of inter-cultural and inter-faith bridge-building committee 14 August, said, “I rang the Imam last week and told him a serious situation is about to develop in Norwegian society.”
“There are individual groups, that most Muslims distance themselves from, which misinterpret Islam and promote a message not in keeping with the religion.”
“He said ‘we must put an end to this’, and he wished to meet Imams and youths in Norway,” Mr Sheik explained about his previous meeting with Imam Siddiqui in London.
In yesterday’s article on The Foreigner, it was reported that Norwegian military intelligence officials are becoming increasingly worried about Norwegian citizens travelling abroad to fight in places such as Syria.
“The main concern regards relates to the fact that these people will return to Norway, and we are disquieted about the training and the fighting methods experience that they have got,” Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, head of the service, told NRK.
Norway’s Police Security Service declared in its February Threat Assessment, that “Persons in the extreme Islamist networks are involved in activities of a more operational nature than before.”
“Many of these people travel to conflict areas to receive training, combat experience and meet international contacts. These types of stays may affect the individual's desire and ability to plan acts of terrorism in this country.”
There were also concerns this summer over a Norwegian man, considered ‘operative’ following his training by Al-Qaida in Yemen.
According to Aftenposten, extremists Arfan Bhatti and Mohyeldeen Mohammad are now currently in Syria at the same time as some 30 other Norwegian citizens.
It is believed the group, not necessarily Bhatti and Mohammad, are there to receive military-type training, and possibly contact people who may wish to plan terrorism back home.
“I can confirm that Mohyeldeen Mohammad is in Syria. Mr Bhatti is abroad, without my wishing to specify where,” stated John Christian Elden, lawyer to both men.
“Neither of them is obliged to notify me and I assume they, as good Norwegians, will not breach Norwegian law,” he added.
A source who wishes to remain anonymous and is familiar with the environment there told the paper, “these youths have absolutely no impact on the situation in Syria, but the situation in Syria will have an enormous influence on them.”
Meanwhile, Dagsavisen reports Imam Pir Alauddin Siddiqui as recounting that many desperate parents have contacted him during his trip to Norway about their children having been recruited by radical groups.
“They are extremely worried about their children having chosen this direction. I understand this, but have advised the parents to explain to them that they must choose the way of peace.”
“Persons within these [groups] have no knowledge about Islam,” he commented, saying those ones that promote violence have brainwashed them. “[Muslim leaders] must work hard to impart the right learning about Islam,” he concluded.