Norwegian police may expand the charges against Ubaydullah Hussain, leader of an Islamic group that claims it’s the target of a “witch hunt.” Meanwhile, a former gang member and fellow member of the extremist group called Profetens Ummah, Arfan Bhatti, has published photos of himself carrying an automatic weapon.
Police are investigating whether Hussain made even more than the threats he’s already charged with making, and will ask a court to keep him jailed for at least another four weeks.
Police are also monitoring the publication of photos (external link) showing an armed Bhatti, believed to be taken recently in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hussain’s cohort Bhatti has a long record of arrests and jail time for violence, extortion and making threats against the Israeli and American embassies in Norway. He recently turned to radical Islam, and was initially believed to have traveled to Syria to fight in its civil war, allied with groups allegedly tied to terrorism group al-Qaeda.
Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) they’re aware of the photos but had no further comment. PST’s boss recently confirmed that radical Islamist groups pose the greatest threat to national security in Norway.
Representatives of Hussain’s group, Profetens Ummah, held a press conference on Tuesday to complain they were targets of a “witchhunt” but they failed to distance themselves from use of violence: “Then you must ask if I distance myself from (Prime Minister Jens) Stoltenberg because he uses violence in Afghanistan to promote his democracy, and spreads peace with bullets.”
Some press conference observers strongly disagreed the group’s claim that they represent all Muslims in Norway. Many other Muslims have firmly declared they do not.