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Under the Volcano

Socialism, air travel bans, radical Islam, and other items in the Norwegian landscape.

12:00 AM, Apr 21, 2010 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Kristin Halvorsen, representing the not-so-ex-Communist Socialist Left party and then serving as finance minister in the cabinet of Labor Party prime minister Jens Stoltenberg (she is still in the cabinet as minister of education and research) spoke at the turbulent rally, where participants screamed "Death to the Jews!" Halvorsen had already created a record for herself as an Israelophobe, urging the Norwegians to boycott Israeli products. But she is by no means the only anti-Israel inciter found in the country. Since 1991 Norway has protected an Iraqi Islamist political asylee, who calls himself Mullah Krekar and claims to be a Kurd. Krekar is notorious as the founder of a bombing and assassination network, Ansar al-Islam (Volunteers for Islam). Inspired and financed by Saudi Wahhabis, Krekar's followers shed a considerable quantity of the blood of innocents in Iraqi Kurdistan, until the Iraqi Kurdish government, with the help of the Baghdad authorities and the U.S. military, put an end to his criminal campaign.

Yet the terror chief, who supports al Qaeda and the Taliban, and claims to be undaunted in his jihadist frenzy, continues to hide behind Norwegian piety about human rights. Oslo asserts that it cannot return the Mullah to Iraq, because he would face the death penalty. Which, let me suggest, he fully deserves. The blood of the victims his adherents butchered moves the Norwegian politicians less than the possibility they could be charged with complicity in an execution. Earlier this year, shots were fired at his home in Oslo, probably by Kurds unwilling to wait for the Norwegians to deport him.

If their experience with Mullah Krekar was not enough to educate the Norwegians, in 2004 they were, I was told, perturbed when an Algerian radical Islamist, Ibrahim Bentera, found an airport without security procedures and boarded an internal air flight, carrying an axe and a knife. He attacked the plane's crew but was subdued by the pilots and a passenger. He claimed he had suffered a psychotic lapse and had no memory of the incident, and was sentenced to prison. It was reported that Bentera was another example of a terrorist wanted in his native country, for involvement with the Wahhabi marauders formerly known as the Armed Islamic Group (GIA by its French initials). According to Norwegians I interviewed, a prison sentence in their country would hardly be uncomfortable for Bentera, especially when compared with jail in Algeria.

Yet another such character is Irfan Bhatti, a Pakistani associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET or Army of the Righteous), which serves as an  al Qaeda backup around the world. LET has organized terrorist conspiracies in India, where it carried out the Bombay terrorist assault of 2008; in the U.S., where it is known for creating the so-called "North Virginia paintball jihad" group; and in Britain, where it was involved in the 2006 Heathrow airport plot that resulted in the banning of liquids in anything but small quantities from international air travel. Bhatti lives in Norway. Although he had written a will and tried to go to Jordan to become a suicide terrorist, and fired shots at a local synagogue in 2006, the Norwegian government does not consider him dangerous. Bhatti has filed legal complaints against the Norwegian authorities for allaged harassment, and launched a seditious campaign by claiming that the Norwegian police had placed an anti-Muhammad caricature on their public website, where anybody can post anything. Muslim taxi drivers massed in Oslo and were harangued by a Norwegian Muslim studying in Saudi Arabia, Mohyeldeen Mohammad, who declared that Norway faced a 9/11 on its territory.

Radical preachers appear safer on Norwegian soil than critics of Islamist extremism. An Iraqi-born critic of Islamist radicalism, Walid Al Kubaisi, was visited in his Norwegian residence by a group of Somalis who threatened to kill him if he did not end his polemics. Worse was the fate of Hege Storhaug, a feminist who was attacked and beaten in her home in 2007. The Algerian axe-wielder, Ibrahim Bentera, claimed to have no memory of his act. Storhaug's suffering included a real memory loss, so she cannot identify her assailants. She now lives in hiding.

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