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Thursday, May 23, 2024

MP for the Liberals hit by hate messages

Abid Raja, an attorney and well-known Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party (Venstre), has become a target of hate messages sent from a mobile phone used by a high-profile member of an extremist Islamic group. The unsigned messages accuse Raja of being “a dirty pig” who’s a “shame” for Pakistanis and Muslims in Norway.

Abid Raja, a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, has become the target of hate messages from an Islamic extremist group. PHOTO: Venstre/Jo Staube
Abid Raja, a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, has become the target of hate messages from an Islamic extremist group. PHOTO: Venstre/Jo Staube

It was just last week when Raja was being held up as “role model” for immigrants in Norway by the departing Iraqi ambassador, Sundus Omar Ali Albayraqdar, at her farewell luncheon. Raja is a popular politician, known for taking part in major Norwegian sports and cultural events and representing Muslims who are well-integrated.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that now he’s being harassed by nasty messages sent from a phone belonging to Mohyeldeen Mohammad, a member of the small Islamic extremist group Profetens Ummah. The messages warn him not to call himself “muslim” because he’s allegedly “a filthy traitor” to the religion. “Your own parents distance themselves from you,” read one of the messages published on NRK Monday morning. “You are really a ZERO.” Two of the messages express hopes that “Allah must burn you in Jahannam (hell)” and “give you an incurable disease, anxiety, need, poverty and a painful and pathetic life before death” and then “let you rot in hell forever and always!”

‘Makes me shudder’
The messages were awaiting Raja after a trip to Canada and he’s now evaluating whether to report them to the police. “I have said earlier (about such SMS’) that we politicians aren’t made of stone,” Raja wrote in a message of his own to NRK. “But then I thought that they were coming from an ‘ordinary” angry Muslim. The fact that this is coming from an established extremist milieu in Norway makes me shudder.”

NRK reported that it has earlier spoken with Mohammad on the telephone used to send the messages to Raja, adding that Mohammad has used the phone “for a long time” and also uses it now. When NRK called the number this week, however, a man answering it claimed he was not Mohammad and did not speak Norwegian.

Mohammad became known nationwide after he warned in 2010 that a terrorist attack similar to the 9/11 attacks in the US could also occur on Norwegian soil. Mohammad, who’s also been called “an Islamic idiot” by other Muslims in Norway, was among the leading figures in the extremist group Profetens Ummah at the time and the warning came during demonstrations against against caricatures that were then appearing of the Prophet Mohammed in various publications. A spokesman for the group, Ubaydullah Hussain, was recently indicted for terror recruitment.

Norwegian defense attorney John Christian Elden, who has represented both Hussain and Mohammad, told NRK he was unaware of the offensive text messages. Raja said he feared others had been threatened and harassed by such messages as well: “Then I will decide to report this, also out of consideration for others.” Berglund



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