Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

How Norway's Mad Mullah Plays the System

Mullah Krekar is designated as an international terrorist with links to Al Qaeda. Yet in Norway, European politically correct legal principles protect his "safety" while he continues to use the internet to urge killing and war.

 

Mullah Krekar was born as Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad in the village of Olaqloo Sharbajer, Sulaimania in Kurdish northern Iraq on July 7, 1956. He has been living in Norway as a "refugee" since 1991, being granted asylum in 1992. He graduated from Sulaimania College in 1982, after studying Arabic. He studied Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in Sindh in Pakistan, under the tutelage of Abdullah Azzam, the mentor of Osama bin Laden and a suspected co-founder of Al Qaeda.

 

 This week, Krekar has been attending Norway's Supreme Court in Oslo, while appealing against an order to have him deported. His battles against deportation have gone on since 2002. He officially lost his "refugee" status in August 2002 but has resisted all attempts at deportation. In 2003, the Norwegian immigration department, UDI, decided that Krekar was a threat to national security, and that he had given incorrect information to immigration officials. Krekar appealed their decision. They also decided that his refugee status should be stripped and his travel documents, work and residence permits taken away. Krekar appealed again, and in March 2005 the UDI reiterated its 2003 decision.

 

 In May 2004, Norway's then prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said in parliament: "Mullah Krekar is expelled from Norway and so we want to deport him. We begin the process now because there are plans to install an Iraqi government. But we cannot send a man back to a country where he risks a death sentence or other inhuman treatment."

 

 It is unlikely that Krekar will be deported in the near future, as the Norwegian authorities still regard the situation in Iraq as unsafe for him to return. In September 2005 Abdel Hussein Shandal, justice Minister in the Iraqi government, said that Krekar should appear in an Iraqi court to face terrorism charges. Shandal offered guarantees that Krekar would not face the death penalty, and that he would not be extradited to other countries if returned. In response to Shandal's comments, Krekar had responded: "For three years now, I haven't done anything against the Iraqi government."

 

 On September 29, 2005 an appeals court ruled that the decision to expel Krekar could not be over-ruled. His lawyer Brynjar Meling threatened to take case all the way to the Supreme Court, and Krekar is now in that court as a result.

 

 Ansar al-Islam

 

 The one person who has paid scant regard to issues of Krekar's "safety" in Iraq is Krekar himself. Since he fraudulently gained asylum back in 1992, he has made numerous visits to northern Iraq. On one of those visits Krekar founded the terrorist group Ansar al Islam fi Kurdistan (Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan) in December 2001. This group had its headquarters in Biyarah, close to the Iranian border. In its home town, Ansar al-Islam has been responsible for the burning down of beauty salons and murdering women who refuse to wear burkas.

 

 Krekar's regime had continued to cause civilians fear in his fiefdom in northern Iraq until August 2002. In the villages under his leadership, girls were prevented from going to school. All music and advertising was banned, and women were ordered to be fully covered. In Oslo, Kurdish refugees were said to be in fear of him.

 

 Krekar is said to have founded Ansar al-Islam with financial support from Al Qaeda. The "seed money" for funding has been estimated as $300,000 to $600,000. Ansar al-Islam's main opponents have been members of the secular Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). In February 2003, Ansar Islam members killed Shawkat Hajji Mushir, founder of the PUK. A US State Department report from April 2003 entitled "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002 states (pp 128-9) that the group is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda, and has provided shelter to Al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan. Ansar al-Islam was then boasting of its production of toxins - ricin, aflatoxins and cyanide.

 

 The Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 report claims (pp 88-9) that in March 2003, when Ansar al-Islam's base (at Biyarah) was destroyed by air strikes, members of the group found refuge in Iran, assisted by the Revolutionary Guard. In September 2003, suspected members of the group were arrested in Kirkuk carrying 1,200 kilograms of TNT.

 

 On March 22, 2003, an Australian journalist and cameraman who worked for ABC was killed by an exploding taxi in Sayed Sadiq. His colleague was injured, along with at least 8 others. Ansar al-Islam was believed to be responsible for the attack. Other suicide attacks followed, such as one against a US Department of Defense Office in Arbil. This took place on September 9, 2003, killing three people.

 

 In September 2002 Human Rights Watch encountered evidence of abuse against civilians and political rivals being carried out by Ansar al-Islam. Following their battles with PUK members, captives were reported to have their throats slit.

 

 On February 20, 2003, the US State Department requested that the UN Sanctions Committee add the name of Ansar al-Islam to the list of associates of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. In the US (under Executive Order 13224) Ansar al-Islam was similarly designated by the US on February 20, 2003. The UNSCR 1267 Committee designated the group on February 27, 2003, pursuant to UNSCRs 1267, 1390 and 1445.

 

 In 2003, Ansar al-Islam was developing a presence in Italy and also Jordan. In Germany in 2004 three suspected Ansar al-Islam members apparently plotted to assassinate former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during a state visit to the country. They are still on trial in Stuttgart. On July 9, 2007, a 36-year old Kurd with links to the three suspects was jailed for five years in Munich, convicted of fund-raising for Ansar al-Islam. In January 2006, an Iraqi Kurd who belonged to Ansar al-Islam was jailed for seven years. He had tried to recruit young Iraqis in Germany to commit "jihad". In  December 2003, Radio Netherlands reported that about 100 Ansar al-Islam members were thought to live in Germany, mostly in the southern state of Beieren.

 

 In the US in August, 2004, two individuals associated with the small Masjid as-Salam mosque in Albany, New York, were arrested. The two men were Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, a pizzeria owner originally from Pakistan. Yassin Aref was a refugee from Kurdish Iraq and imam at the mosque. They had been caught in an FBI "sting" operation, where an FBI agent was involved in a "plot" for the pair to purchase a missile launcher to kill a Pakistani politician in New York. On October 11, 2006 the two men were found guilty on several counts of federal conspiracy and money laundering.

 

 Aref was sentenced to 15 years' jail on March 8, 2007 and Mohammed Hossain received a similar sentence. Aref was linked by his diary entries to Ansar al-Islam and its founder Mullah Krekar.

 

 In Spain, Judge Baltazar Garzon requested in May 2004that Britain hand over Algerian Heidi Ben Youssef Boudhiba or "Fathi", a member of Ansar al-Islam. He was said to be the leader of a cell of three Algerians who had been jailed following accusations that they recruited people for terrorism training camps in Iraq. As is usual for Britain, whose legislature has been crippled by its 1998 Human Rights Act, Boudhiba remains safe from prosecution in the UK. An offshoot of Ansar al-Islam, called Ansar al-Fatah (Partisans of Victory) was apparently established in Britain in 2005.

 

 Krekar In Europe

 

In Norway, Krekar's contempt for non-submissive women continued. When Shabahna Rehman, a Norwegian comedienne of Pakistani origin, physically picked him off the ground at a public event for a "joke", he whined that he had been "grossly humiliated". He said that the woman comic had touched his buttocks, and threatened to sue. Rehman quipped that as he had threatened legal action rather than a fatwa, he was displaying signs of civilized behavior.

 

 Mullah Krekar claims that he stopped being the leader of Ansar al-Islam in 2003. That has not prevented him from being accused of involvement in other acts of terrorism. He certainly supports terrorism, though whenever he is caught praising terrorists, he issues denials. Despite his apparent connections to Al Qaeda, Krekar has claimed that he only met Bin Laden once, back in 1988. He encountered Bin Laden in Peshawar in Pakistan, but said he did not know the identity of the "rich man from the House of Saud".

 

 On December 2, 2003, Mullah Krekar appeared on Al Jazeera TV. He offered no contradictions when he was introduced as leader of Ansar al-Islam, and confirmed that his group had carried out the suicide bombing in Iraq on March 22, 2003 which killed an Australian journalist. He gave a detailed account of the circumstances of the bombing on the debate show.

 

 He appears to have had involvement with one individual who is accused (with others) of carrying out the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004, in which 191 people were killed. Terror finance expert Jean-Charles Brisard claimed in May 2004 that suspected bomber Jamal Zougam had visited Krekar and his brother in Norway, on several occasions between 1996 and 2001.

 

 In March 2004, Norwegian newspaper VG reported that Spanish investigators had discovered Krekar's name and number in a raid carried out in 2001 in Spain. His brother Khalid Faraj Ahmad was also mentioned on the list, and also Barakat Yarkas, a Spanish Al Qaeda member. The 2001 raid had taken place on an apartment belonging to Syrian extremist Mohamed Maher Halak (aka Cheij Maher) with known links to suspected bomber Jamal Zougam. Maher was an Ansar al-Islam activist.

 

 Krekar's brother Khalid Faraj Ahmad was suspected of trying to arrange visas for an al Qaeda cell, which included Jamal Zougam in 1995.

 

 In May 2004, Krekar was in custody in Norway, facing possible terrorism charges connected with his activities in Iraq. These charges were never brought, and he was released shortly afterwards. He had been arrested on Friday December 31, 2003 on charges of complicity in two suicide attacks in Iraq. A court ordered his release from jail on January 5, 2004, but the following month he was ordered to stay in police custody. At the time, Krekar's internet activity was being examined. On June 15, 2004, charges against Krekar were officially dropped as evidence from a "reliable" witness had apparently been gleaned by PUK members using torture.

 

 On June 16, 2004, Krekar was convicted in absentia by a military tribunal in Jordan on charges of terrorism. He was among 15 men convicted. Six of these were dead. Only one man appeared in court. Krekar was sentenced to 15 years' hard labor. Jordan had not sought Krekar's extradition from Norway in relation to this case, but it had wanted him for suspected heroin-smuggling.

 

 These accusations had earlier led to Krekar being arrested by the Dutch authorities when he was on another of his plane-hopping ventures. He was arrested at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport on September 12, 2002 and was kept in detention. Even though his travel documents had been officially taken from him, on August 2, 2002 Krekar had walked into an Oslo police station and used his real name, Ahmad Najumuddin Faraj, to renew his documents. The Netherlands authorities did not acknowledge Jordan's extradition request and deported Krekar to Norway on January 13, 2003. In February, 2003, Krekar considered applying for asylum status in the Netherlands. A month after his return to Norway, he was arrested by police, who feared he would flee the country. He was released shortly afterwards.

 

 Krekar made the most of his Dutch experience. He took the Dutch government to court. In August 2003 he received 5,510 Euros ($7,300) compensation for his "illegal detention", but Dutch lawyer Victor Koppe claimed that this amount was insufficient for Krekar's "Scandalous" treatment. On April 21, 2004, Krekar was awarded 45,000 Euros ($63,6505).

 

 Krekar decided to sue the head of Norway's Progress Party, Carl I. Hagen. In October 2003, the politician had called Krekar a terrorist and guerilla leader on Norway's TV2 station. Hagen refused to retract his comments, and in December 11, 2003 the pair met in court. Hagen's lawyer argued that as Krekar had called President George W. Bush a "terrorist" with impunity, his client should benefit from the same privilege. "As a military and religious leader, Krekar must tolerate such things," the lawyer said. Krekar lost this case, and in January 2004 he was ordered to pay $28,500 in court costs.

 

 The Mad Mullah's Mindset

 

 As is typical with religious fanatics, Krekar on one hand boasts about his ideological superiority, and on the other hand complains of victimization. In April 2003, he claimed that a Kurdish assassin had arrived in Norway for the sole purpose of murdering him. The "assassin" has proved to be either extremely incompetent, or fictitious.

 

 On August 31 2005, he appeared on Al Jazeera TV. He claimed he would face torture and a death sentence if returned to Iraq, and said that "everyone must know" that such a move "is an offense that shouldn't be made without punishment." He stated "I have faith in Allah. I defend my rights in their court just like Western people defend their rights. I am patient like they are patient. But if my patience runs out, I will react like Orientals do." He would not be pressed to reveal what reactions would be made, saying "I don't want to comment on that."

 

 In March 2006, Krekar gave an interview to Dagbladet newspaper. He boasted that Islam would conquer the West:"We have no fear of the Western mindset. It can never be victorious. In Iraq the two sides are facing each other. On the side of Islam are men who love death and are willing to become martyrs for their beliefs. On the other side are soldiers who fight for a 1000 dollars a day. The number of dead American soldiers are proof of defeats. In Afghanistan the same thing is happening. From 2001 to 2004 five suicide attacks occured. In 2005 it was 17. While the US and their allies are becoming smaller, Islam is expanding the front. And the reports from Guantanamo tell the same story. There they try to rip the faith our of the Moslems' hearts. They fail. In Denmark they printed those cartoons, but the result is that the backing for Islam increases. I and all Moslems are proof of this. You haven't managed to change us. We are the ones who will change you."

 

 After the head-sawing Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi left Iraq to meet his Heavenly virgins on June 8, 2006, Krekar praised the Jordanian-born murderer. He told the Kurdish newspaper Awene: "I am proud of what he has done and that he has become a martyr." Krekar called bin Laden an "international political figure with global influence," and said he would be prepared to sacrifice himself for the Al Qaeda chief. He again whined about how he was a victim: "All my rights have been taken, and here it is the law that decides". To Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet he said: "I hope to be free to travel home to Iraq to fight the Americans, because they came to my country with soldiers and have destroyed my religion, my civilization, my culture and my country."

 

 In a ploy typical of Islamists who have contempt for Jews but liken their own imagined plight to Jews, Krekar has compared his ambitions for Kurdistan as similar to those of Israel. He said in June 2005 that he was a victim of religious persecution, adding: "I perceive this as being due to my faith. Sixty years ago it was the Jews in this situation, 27 years ago it was the Shia Muslims. Today they all have power in their countries."

 

 In July 2006 Krekar's lawyer Brynjar Meling claimed that Krekar was scared of being kidnapped by the CIA and sent to the US. Meling said that Krekar avoided being alone and had requested police protection in 2003.  In the same month, a message appeared on a website with suspected Al Qaeda links. The message urged "Europe's mujahedin warriors" to protect Krekar, because of rumors that Egyptians might seek revenge for Ansar al-Islam's kidnap and murder of the Egyptian ambassador in Iraq.

 

 On Thursday December 7, 2006, the US Department of the Treasury designated Mullah Krekar as a terrorist. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey said: "he civilized world must stand united in isolating these terrorists."

 

 Krekar is currently in the Supreme Court in Oslo, while his lawyer argues that he should not be deported to Iraq. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Krekar runs several websites from his apartment in Oslo. One of these is Dorbeen.com an Islamist website with links to sympathizers of Al Qaeda. Dorbeen.com praises the deaths of US citizens. In September this year, Krekar told a court in Oslo that he "in the name of God, did not know" who ran the website. It turns out that his wife officially "owns" the site, as it is registered in her name.

 

 On Tuesday this week, Krekar's appeal against deportation began. He said that he wished to remain in Norway, but admits that if he had his passport he would be engaged in "some war or other and been killed by the Americans". He laughed after he said this. He refused to answer press questions posed to him in Norwegian or English, choosing only to speak in Arabic, Kurdish or Farsi. He also demanded an apology from Norway for his “poor” treatment.

 

 Krekar has been treated far better than his thugs ever treated his opponents in the PUK or local women in Biyarah. But for this ingrate, who is fed and clothed at the expense of Norway's tax-payers, justice is never reciprocal. He and his lawyer know only too well that Krekar will remain in Norway for a long time to come, no matter what the Supreme Court decides this Friday.


Adrian Morgan, aka Giraldus Cambrensis of Western Resistance, is UK-based writer and artist. He also writes for Spero News, Family Security Matters and Faithfreedom.org. He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

 
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