A British Islamic extremist reportedly has claimed he’s become a mentor and adviser for Norwegian Islamists, although they don’t seem to entirely agree. Several of the men who were espousing radical Islamic ideology in Norway last year, meanwhile, have since been keeping a lower profile.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported over the weekend that Anjem Choudary, who founded a controversial group that’s now banned in the UK, said there is no “administrative link” between his supporters in the UK and the Norwegians who’ve formed the group called Profetens Ummah in Norway. “But I’m a mentor and adviser for them,” Choudary told Aftenposten. “There are many who represent Islam, but I view Profetens Ummah as one of the few voices in Europe that speaks the trouth about Islam without compromise.”
Choudary said he has “regular contact” with the alleged leader of Profetens Ummah in Norway, alternately known as Ybaydullah- or Arslan Maroof Hussain, and with Egzon Avdyli, an Albanian-Norwegian also known as Abu Ibraheem. Choudary said he encouraged Avdyli/Ibraheem to make a video highlighting “the truth about Islam” and to publish it on the Internet. Avdyli/Ibraheem told Aftenposten that wasn’t correct, but wouldn’t offer further comment. Aftenposten reported that Hussain wouldn’t comment either.
The men have served as leader and spokesman for Profetens Ummah, with Hussain actively leading demonstrations in Oslo last fall. Now, reported Aftenposten, there’s allegedly “internal unrest” among group members regarding leadership style and other issues after TV2 reported that Hussain, known for criticizing Norwegian policies, has accepted monthly state welfare payments. There also reportedly has been disagreement over the lifestyles of individual members and the disappearance of another member with a long criminal record, Arfan Bhatti.
Neither Norway’s foreign ministry nor oil company Statoil, meanwhile, would comment on reports over the weekend that the radical Islamist believed to have ordered last month’s terrorist attack on a gas plant in Algeria had been killed in Mali. Mokhtar Belmokhtar reportedly was killed in Northern Mali in an attack on his camp by forces from Chad.
“We have seen the news reports, but have no independent information that can confirm them,” a foreign ministry spokesman told Aftenposten. Statoil, which was among operators of the Algerian gas plant where five Statoil employees were killed along with 35 other workers, had no immediate comment either.