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October 20, 2006

Jihate in Scandinavia: The Danger of Homegrown Terrorism to Scandinavia

Filed under: DanArabia, Eurabia, Global Jihad, Islam, Multi Kulti, Terror — limewoody @ 7:22 am

By Lorenzo Vidino

The recent rounds of arrests in North America and in Europe highlight the changed face of jihadi terrorism in the West. The profile of the cells dismantled in Toronto and London this past summer confirms a trend that had become apparent after the November 2004 assassination of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam and the 7/7 London bombings: the majority of terrorist activities inside the West come from independent, homegrown networks. Composed mostly of extremely young, second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants in the West (with the notable addition of a growing number of converts), these spontaneous networks have only an ideological affiliation with al-Qaeda, while generally operating with virtually total autonomy. Although it is unlikely that these groups, given their relatively simple structures and often amateurish preparation, could carry out large operations, they are nevertheless dangerous. Their deep knowledge of Western cultures and languages, possession of Western passports and relative lack of overt ties to large terrorist organizations make their detection a difficult task for authorities. Their proven determination to strike their own countries, combined with the relatively easy access to explosive substances and weapons, makes them an immediate threat to the security of Western countries.

A region where this trend is particularly evident is Scandinavia. Denmark, Sweden and Norway have seen a limited presence of “traditional” organized terrorist groups since the beginning of the 1990s, with outfits such as the Algerian GSPC or the Egyptian Gama’a al-Islamiyya using the countries as convenient bases of logistical support for their activities in North Africa and the Middle East. While some of these groups are still operating today, the overwhelming majority of terrorist activities taking place in Scandinavia currently are carried out by homegrown networks.

In a security report released in September, PET, the Danish domestic intelligence agency, warned that the largest threat to Denmark, as in most European countries, comes from small, unsophisticated groups that are “inspired by al-Qaeda’s global jihad ideology but can act autonomously and apparently without external control, support or planning” [1]. PET’s findings are corroborated by recent arrests in Denmark. On September 6, Danish police arrested nine suspects in the city of Odense, Denmark’s third largest. According to authorities, the men had acquired material “to build explosives in connection with the preparation of a terror act.” Although PET has revealed very few details about the alleged plot, the suspects are believed to be mostly young second-generation Muslim immigrants of various ethnic origins living in Vollsmose, a poor neighborhood of Odense. One of the men arrested is a young Danish convert to Islam (Politiken, September 6).

The composition of the Vollsmose group appears to be similar to that of another alleged terrorist cell that Danish authorities had dismantled less than a year before in the suburbs of Copenhagen. On October 27, 2005, four young men between 16 and 20 years old were detained for involvement in terrorist activities. The arrests in the Copenhagen area were triggered by an operation carried out by Bosnian authorities. A week earlier, counter-terrorism officials in Sarajevo had arrested Mirsad Bektasevic and Abdulkadir Cesur, two young men with close links to Scandinavia [2]. Nineteen-year-old Bektasevic is a Swedish citizen of Bosnian descent who had left Goteborg in September to acquire explosives in Sarajevo. Cesur, a Danish-born 21-year-old of Turkish descent, joined him in the Bosnian capital a few days later. The two managed to purchase on the local market almost 20 kg of various explosive materials, which they had planned to fit in a suicide belt that they had already acquired. The men videotaped themselves while mixing the explosives and boasting about their plan to carry out attacks “against Europe, against those whose forces are in Iraq and in Afghanistan” [3]. Authorities have speculated that the British Embassy in Sarajevo was the men’s most likely target, but they have been unable to determine so with certainty.

Monitoring Bektasevic’s phone conversations, Bosnian authorities tipped off their Danish counterparts about the men’s ties to the Copenhagen area cell. The four youth had been unknown to local authorities and have been described as average teenagers of Middle Eastern origin who had either been born in or had grown up in Denmark. While living a normal life in the suburbs, attending school and playing soccer, they had developed a sudden fascination with radical Islam and had begun to frequent jihadi chat rooms online. It was on the internet that they had met Bektasevic, who, in turn, was also part of a small network of technology-savvy Swedish militants. Further investigations have revealed that Bektasevic was one of the key players in an internet-based network of young cyber-jihadis that spanned from the United Kingdom to other European countries and beyond, to Canada and the United States. Bektasevic, who used the online nickname of Maximus, is also believed to have been recruiting European Muslims to fight in Iraq.

Other cases confirm the importance of the internet in the activities of young Scandinavian militants, from their radicalization to the development of operational networks. Last May, Swedish authorities arrested three young men in different parts of the country, charging them with planning an attack against the Livets Ord evangelical church in the university town of Uppsala. Nima Nikain Ganjin, a 22-year-old of Iranian descent, and Andreas Fahlen, a 25-year-old ethnic Swede, were arrested in the suburbs of Stockholm, while 19-year-old Albert Ramic was arrested in Trelleborg, in southern Sweden. According to authorities, the men had met online and had begun chatting on Mujahedon.net, an internet forum established by Ganjin. Swedish authorities, who had been keeping Ganjin under surveillance because of his involvement in a clumsy Molotov cocktail attack against an Iraqi polling place in Stockholm in 2005, monitored his communications with the other two. The youngsters expressed the intention of attacking the church, which is known for its pro-Israel stance, even though no specific plan was made (Dagens Nyheter, June 14). A court sentenced the three to prison, ranging from eight months to three-and-a-half years, but an appellate court significantly reduced the penalties in September.

What is striking about the members of the Mujahedon network, aside from their extremely young age and operational un-sophistication, is their unusual profile. All three seem to have backgrounds and interests that have little to do with those of an Islamic fundamentalist: they appear to be young men with a greater fascination for violence rather than for the ideology of committed jihadis. Ramic is a troubled teenager who lives with his parents and is a regular hashish consumer (Sydsvenskan, May 3). Ganjin is also known as a consumer and petty smuggler of soft drugs. Fahlen is the son of a wealthy Swedish family and, while acknowledging an interest in Islam, claims not to have converted. Despite these backgrounds, the three developed a sudden fascination with radical Islam and, almost immediately after, began to send threats online. Ramic posted a short clip on the internet in which he threatened Europe with attacks. Ganjin had sent a message to the media the day after the Iraqi polling station in Stockholm had been firebombed. He signed the message as Tanzim Qaeda’t al-Jihad fi al-Soed, in a naïve attempt to portray his amateurish actions as those of a Swedish branch of al-Qaeda.

The profile of the members of the Mujahedon network differs from that of the average radical of 10 years ago. Their knowledge of Islam is virtually non-existent and their fascination with jihad seems to be dictated by their rebellious nature rather than a deep ideological conviction. Nevertheless, these “improvised jihadis” seem to be the norm in Scandinavia. In September, Norwegian authorities arrested four men who had fired shots at an Oslo synagogue and, according to local authorities, were planning attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies. Also in this case, the men were previously known to authorities as petty criminals or gang members, but had no known sympathy for fundamentalist ideologies. “This case is exceptional in that only the main perpetrator seems to have had some kind of Islamist motivation, and that developed at quite a late stage,” commented a professor at Norway’s Police Academy (Helsingin Sanomat, October 5).

While organized terrorist groups do operate in Scandinavia, as proved by the recent arrest in Italy of GSPC members with strong links to Norway, homegrown groups represent the most immediate threat. Radicalization is a phenomenon that worries authorities in all three countries. It takes place not only on the internet, but also in some mosques and as a result of the activities of groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is active throughout the region. Given these facts, Scandinavia seems to be no longer immune from a terrorist attack, a development that would have appeared very unlikely only five years ago. Danish authorities are particularly concerned due to the active presence of Danish troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan and as a result of the controversy over the publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in September 2005. Yet, security services in the other Scandinavian countries also consider the possibility of an attack on their territory. “It’s only a matter of time before we have a terrorist attack in Scandinavia; in Norway, Denmark or Sweden,” stated the head of PST, Norway’s domestic intelligence service, less than a year ago (Aftenposten, December 14, 2005). Considering current trends, if such an attack is indeed to take place, its most likely perpetrators seem to be homegrown Scandinavian networks.

Notes

1. PET report 2004-2005.
2. Indictment of Bektasevic and others, Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 30, 2006.
3. Ibid.

http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370169

September 26, 2006

Danish wake-up call on Islam

Filed under: DanArabia, Danmark, Eurabia, Global Jihad, Multi Kulti, Terror — limewoody @ 4:45 pm

COPENHAGEN On Sept. 5, the day Danish police arrested nine Muslim suspects in connection with a foiled terrorist plot, a slender book warning of conquest by Islamic fundamentalists in Europe appeared in bookstores here.

“Islamists and Naivists,” by Karen Jespersen and Ralf Pittelkow, has since risen to the top of the best-seller list and is causing a sensation in Denmark – in part because the authors are establishment figures previously known for their progressive attitudes toward Islam and integration.

The book is also gaining notice because Denmark, a country celebrated for its fairy tales, is on the front line of the culture wars between Islam and the West following publication in a Danish newspaper late last year of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

The book’s main argument is that Europeans who ignore the threat posed by Islamists belong to a new and dangerous tribe of “naivists,” a term coined by the authors. This may not sound so radical at a time when the pope has upset the Islamic world by quoting a medieval passage calling Islam “evil and inhuman” and when Islamic terrorist plots have put Europe on edge.

But the book also equates Islamic fundamentalists with Nazis and Communists – a provocative stand on the heels of the cartoon crisis, which strengthened a backlash against immigrants that was already brewing here.

Pittelkow says the new book’s publication on the day of the terror arrests, while a coincidence, was a prescient reminder.

“The threat is that the Islamists and their values are gaining ground in Europe, especially among the younger generation,” he said in an interview. “They try to interfere in people’s lives, telling them what to wear, what to eat, what to think and what to believe. They warn Muslims to create their own societies within Europe or risk disappearing like salt in water.”

Muslim leaders here have denounced the book, accusing Pittelkow and Jespersen of giving Muslim-bashing a respectable face in Denmark, a country that views itself as a tolerant and open society.

Danish analysts say the book reflects the extent to which skepticism about Islam has invaded the European political mainstream.

“The book is significant because it shows how attacks against Islam are no longer limited to people on the right, but have become acceptable, even fashionable, among people close to the establishment,” said Jakob Nielsen, a commentator for the left-leaning newspaper Politiken, which Pittelkow labels “naivist” for underestimating the threat of the Islamists. “The reality is that nobody in Denmark bats an eye anymore when people talk about the threat that Islam poses to Danish values because this is viewed, however wrongly, as a fact of life.”

The authors’ backgrounds could hardly be more mainstream. Pittelkow, a former literature professor and prominent Social Democrat, advised former Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen before becoming a commentator for Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that published the Muhammad cartoons. Jespersen, Pittelkow’s wife, is a former interior minister and social affair minister who belonged to a leftist revolutionary party in her youth.

Pittelkow says that Denmark’s cherished openness is under attack by Islamists due to a clash of values epitomized by the cartoons. He argues that Islamic radicalism nearly triumphed during the crisis because many editors and political figures in Denmark and elsewhere accepted Islamic arguments that publishing the caricatures was an affront to Islam, turning their backs on free speech.

“The mixture of political correctness and fear all too often leads to compliance with Islamism,” Pittelkow writes in the book. “The fatal mistake of the naivists was to cave into demands for Islamic-style censorship.”

For Pittelkow and Jespersen, the best defense against the threat from Islamic fundamentalists is to tighten Europe’s immigration policies, which they argue have allowed pockets of unintegrated Muslim communities to flourish.

“Denmark and the rest of Europe need to integrate their existing Muslim communities,” Pittelkow said. “Multiculturalism has gone too far.”

One “naivist,” Pittelkow says, is Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. He cites the existence of Sharia councils in Britain that rule on divorce and inheritance cases, and notes a recent poll by Britain’s Channel 4 indicating that 28 percent of young British Muslims want Britain to become an Islamic state and that 30 percent would rather live under Sharia than British law.

Danish analysts say the largely enthusiastic reception for the book reflects the growing popularity of the Danish People’s Party, which has 13 percent of seats in the Danish Parliament and has pushed through some of the toughest anti-immigration rules in Europe.

Pittelkow denies that his views mirror those of the party, whose leaders have equated Muslims with cancer cells. But he acknowledges that the party has forced Denmark to engage in an immigration debate that he says has been pushed to the sidelines by political correctness in other countries.

The book has been sharply criticized by Muslim leaders.

“Pittelkow and Jespersen are Islam- bashers who show how acceptable it has become to attack Islam,” said Imam Wahid Pedersen, a prominent Muslim leader who converted to Islam. “They are dangerous because by pushing the debate to the edges, they are making it harder for moderate Muslims in this country to find a middle ground.”

Pittelkow strenuously rejects these arguments, saying that his critique is of Islamic radicalism, not of Islam itself. He also denies that the war in Iraq and other conflicts between the West and the Muslim world are the root causes of Muslim extremism. “Britain and France do not have tight immigration policies and they have a far more serious terrorist threat than we do,” he said. “Germany has no troops in Iraq, yet it has been targeted by terrorists. Many things can be used a pretense to fight Western societies that Islamists hate.”

For many Muslims, the book’s most incendiary passages are those comparing “Islamism” with Nazism and communism. But Pittelkow insists that all three movements have totalitarian impulses and seek to control people’s lives. Islamists, he says, include not just terrorists but also include Muslims who seek to impose their values on Europe in the name of religion.

“If a woman doesn’t wear a headscarf, the Islamists will exert maximum pressure and use the threat of violence to make sure that she does,” he says. “It is that zealous attempt to apply Islamist principles that is as authoritarian as Nazism or communism.”

http://www.iht.com/bin/print_ipub.php?file=/articles/2006/09/25/news/denmark.php

August 19, 2006

Grand sheik calls for Muhammad cartoonist’s arrest

Filed under: DanArabia, Global Jihad, Islam, Mellemøsten, Multi Kulti, Terror — limewoody @ 2:10 pm

Egypt’s top Islamic leader said that the Danish editor who first published the contentious Prophet Muhammad cartoons should be jailed and his newspaper banned, according to an interview published Friday.

Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the grand sheik of Al-Azhar, one of the most powerful Islamic institutions in the Sunni Muslim world, said that Muslims still haven’t forgotten the cartoons, which triggered a global firestorm earlier this year, Danish daily Berlingske Tidende reported.

“This was a really big crime,” Tantawi was quoted as saying. “So the punishment should be to sentence the editor to prison for a number of years. And in addition to ban the paper from publication for some years.”

“You can use your freedom of the press to attack people like me or presidents or royals. We can defend ourselves. But Jesus and Muhammad cannot, and anyone who attacks them must be punished for what he has done,” Tantawi said.

Jerusalem Post.

July 24, 2006

Fr. Kitman og Taqija Sherin Khankan til Hizb ut-Tahrir-demonstration – så meget for Kritiske Muslimer

Filed under: DanArabia, Global Jihad, Islam, Multi Kulti, Terror — limewoody @ 10:01 pm

Mere:

http://www.uriasposten.net/

July 23, 2006

Many “Danish” Welfare Recipients Were Vacating in The Southern Lebanon – the Danish Taxpayers Paid for their Return to this part of Dar Ul Harb

Filed under: DanArabia, Eurabia, Global Jihad, Islam, Multi Kulti — limewoody @ 8:46 am

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