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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Extremist acquitted of inciting terror

Young Norwegian Islamic extremist Ubaydullah Hussain has claimed he only recognizes the law of Allah, but he was nonetheless pleased that a court in Oslo acquitted him on Friday of charges he’d incited terrorism. Now speculation is high that Norway’s anti-terrorism laws will be strengthened once again.

Ubaydullah Hussain was indicted on Tuesday for inciting murder and terrorism. His lawyer said Hussain denied the charges, and freedom of speech was at stake. PHOTO:
Ubaydullah Hussain has been spending quite a bit of time in court this year, even though he claims he doesn’t recognize secular laws. PHOTO:

State prosecutors had brought incitement charges against Hussain after he sent out a string of messages over social media, in which he hailed the hatcheting of a British soldier on the streets of London, the brutality carried out by Islamic extremists in Syria and several other terrorist acts. Prosecutors claimed his provocative comments urged others to do the same.

As expected, though, the local court in Oslo ruled that Hussain’s comments fell within the the limits allowed under Norway’s laws guaranteeing freedom of expression. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the judge determined that Hussain’s limit involved terrorist acts that already had occurred, “and he therefore has not urged new terrorist acts.”

The case was viewed as an experiment of sorts, to test the limits of Norwegian law in court since no one in Norway had ever been indicted, as Hussain was, for indirectly encouraging terrorism. State prosecutor Carl Fredrik Fari had sought a 10-month jail term for Hussain and Fari now may appeal.

Attention grabber
Hussain has grabbed media attention in recent years as spokesman for a small group of Islamic extremists in Norway and for testing the limits of the law himself with his provocative views. On Friday he repeatedly told reporters that he views his acquittal as “a slap in the face” to Norway’s police intelligence unit PST, which long has had Hussain under observation. Hussain has claimed he’s being persecuted by PST and Norwegian officials, while others believe he baits the authorities and seems to enjoy the limelight.

He was the target of harsh criticism by thousands other Muslims who, together with Christians and a broad spectrum of Norwegian society, recently demonstrated against extremism and claimed people like Hussain misrepresent and exploit Islam.

His defense attorney John Christian Elden, who also maintains a high profile in the Norwegian media, called Hussain’s acquittal a victory for freedom of expression. “We need the court’s protection to be able to object to expressions we don’t like,” Elden told NRK.

Hussain still faces a 120-day jail term after being convicted earlier this year for making threats. PST, meanwhile, is working on proposals for new anti-terror laws and laws that will more clearly define what amounts to incitement of terror. Berglund



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