Saudis deport Norwegian radical

When 25-year-old Mohyeldeen Mohammad of Larvik tried to return to his Koran studies in Saudi Arabia late last week, he suddenly found himself distinctly unwelcome. Mohammad, described as a radical Islamist, was arrested at the airport in Medina and then faced deportation.

Newspaper Dagbladet reported over the weekend that Mohammad had traveled from Larvik back to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The arrest of the young Norwegian citizen reportedly surprised officials at Norway’s Foreign Ministry, who said they didn’t know the nature of the charges on which he was being held.

“All we know from Saudi Arabian authorities is that they confirm he was being held and that he was on his way to the airport to be sent out of the country,” Hilde Steinfeldt of the ministry told Dagbladet. She said Norwegian officials didn’t know “where he was being sent, what was the reason for the deportation or why he was held.” He was expected back in Norway, though, on Monday.

Mohammad’s family, which emigrated to Norway from Iraq in 1989, claimed the arrest came after the Saudi officials “had received information from Norwegian authorities.” Steinfeldt said the Foreign Ministry wasn’t aware that Norwegian authorities had given any information about Mohammad to authorities in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad sprang to national attention in Norway in February 2010, when he spoke at a rally in Oslo protesting the publication of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed that Muslims find offensive. He infuriated the crowd, however, when he warned of “an 11th of September on Norwegian ground.” Many Muslims also distanced themselves from Mohammad’s views, and Mohammad was briefly held in police custody in Larvik after allegedly making death threats against homosexuals.

His statements even led to his temporary expulsion from the university in Medina where he was studying sharia law, because he was viewed as politically active. He appealed and the 25-year-old was allowed to return.

Mohammad’s attorney in Norway, John Christian Elden, told newspaper Aftenposten on Monday that he links his client’s arrest to “nerves” tied to the September 11 memorials over the weekend. Norway’s police intelligence unit PST declined to comment on the arrest and deportation.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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