A 50-year-old father and his son in Oslo have been “routinely” charged but not arrested in connection with an attack on the imam of Norway’s largest mosque last week. The father had been involved in a conflict with the mosque earlier, and police filed charges after searching his home last week.
“My client expected this could happen,” defense attorney Øyvind Bergøy Pedersen told newspaper VG. “He was questioned by police and is 100 percent certain the charges will be dropped. He has nothing to hide and was relieved to clarify his position to police.”
The 50-year-old has earlier been charged with making threats against the Central Ahle-Sunnat mosque where last week’s stabbing victim Nehmat Ali Shah is its leading imam. The imam was attacked by a masked man last week after walking home from evening prayers and stabbed repeatedly.
The 50-year-old also has a restraining order against him to keep him away from the imam, and realized he would be a prime suspect, his attorney said. “He believes the charges against him, though, are groundless,” Pedersen said.
Police continue to investigate the stabbing, and haven’t ruled out that it may be a hate crime on religious grounds. Mehtab Afsar, secretary general of Norway’s Islamic Council, told newspaper Klassekampen last week that Norwegian mosques steadily receive threats based on hatred towards muslims. Police have categorized last week’s attack on the imam as an attempted murder.