Islamic leader held for making threats

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The leader of the radical Islamic organization Profetens Ummah in Norway was arrested in Oslo Thursday on charges of making threats “against certain individuals.” Ubaydullah Hussain, who already was in the news on Thursday over provocative social media comments he’d posted that targeted Norway’s Jewish community, turned himself in to police after they’d been prepared to storm his home earlier in the day.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that police were equipped with shields and tools for breaking down the door of Hussain’s home when they arrived there, in the Bjerke district of Oslo, Thursday morning. No force was necessary, after a member of Hussain’s family reportedly opened the door instead.

NRK reported that eight police officers arrived in three police vehicles at the home at around 11am. Police confirmed later that Hussain was not present in the house at the time, but he later turned himself in.

Threat details withheld
Police refused to go into detail about the nature of the alleged threats, but said they were reported to police at Stovner between one and two weeks ago.

Thursday’s arrest was planned, police confirmed, before Hussain posted comments on social media that were widely interpreted as threats against the Jewish community Wednesday night. They involved what Hussain later claimed was merely a “sarcastic comment” he made on Facebook in connection with recent media reports that Jewish leaders in Oslo needed protection amidst what they view as a rising wave of anti-Semitism. Hussain wrote that “I will give them protection … as soon as I have received a hunting license and get hold of an AK47.”

The reference to the “hunting license” (jegerprøven, in Norwegian) was apparently tied to recent media reports in Norway that radical Islamists are gaining access to weapons and the use of them by taking the classes needed to get a hunting license. NRK picked up Hussain’s comment as did other media, and it was widely interpreted as a threat against the Jewish community, not least since it was followed by comments referring to “the dirty Jews.”

Hussain rejected that, writing later that “Journalists (and police intelligence unit PST) aren’t so stupid that they don’t realize why the hunting license and AK47 were mentioned?” He then suggested the media blew his message out of proportion: “An innocent but sarcastic comment on Facebook gets so much attention.”

Open for interpretation
He later told NRK, though, that it was “an open comment, and it’s up to each individual to speculate what’s meant by the comment. I won’t confirm or deny that it’s a threat.” Nor would he rule out a new attack on the synagogue in Oslo, which one of his Islamic colleagues was suspected of firing shots at several years ago.

“They (the Jews) are part of an occupying force, Israel,” Hussain continued. “As long as a group, a religion … are at war with Islam, they are our enemies. Every group or country at war … must expect an answer back.”

Oslo Police officials said last night they were investigating and that PST was informed of the probe into Hussain’s remarks.

Hussain is well-known in radical Islamic circles in Norway, and he was among those leading a demonstration outside the US Embassy in September. He has earlier said that “the world needs a new Osama bin Laden” and his group is believed to be supporting Norwegian Muslims who have traveled to Syria to take part in its civil war.

Hussain was due to undergo questioning by police Thursday afternoon and evening.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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