Islamic extremism remains Norway's biggest threat

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1:45 PM
Islamic extremism remains Norway's biggest threat

Islamic extremism remains Norway's biggest terror threat, but the danger of lone wolf attacks has also increased in the aftermath of a massacre by a homegrown anti-Muslim extremist, Norwegian security service PST said Tuesday.

Agency Chief Janne Kristiansen told local news agency NTB that over the past three to four years there has been growing concern over the threat of terrorism, but "in 2012 people tied to an extreme Islamic ideology will be our biggest challenge."

In its yearly evaluation of terror threats, PST said extremists were primarily using conflict stirred up by publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and Norway's military participation in Afghanistan to fuel hatred against Norway.

Shortly after the report's release Tuesday, police said they were investigating a video posted on YouTube protesting Norway's involvement in Afghanistan, in which images of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Crown Prince Haakon are shown with text calling for Allah to "destroy" them, and others.

PST warned that although the threat from organized nationalist groups hasn't increased following Anders Behring Breivik's killing of 77 people on July 22, the number of single individuals who threaten to use violence with reference to an anti-Islamic agenda is increasing.

It also said threats against officials have increased significantly since July 22, and warned that actions such as Breivik's could inspire copycat attacks.

"Continued high migration, combined with weak economic growth and increased unemployment, can create a foundation for increased conflicts along ethnic, social and economic lines," PST noted.

Remarks from Norway's neighbor Denmark, however, contrasted with the Norwegian summary Tuesday, with Jacob Scharf _ the head of Danish PST, saying it had not noticed any more people joining extremist groups as a result of the financial crisis.

"What we do see is that the financial crisis to some extent will have an impact on the kind of targets and the activities, especially for the left-wing extremist groups and networks," Scharf added.