by Staff Writers
Oslo, Norway (UPI) Jan 5, 2012
A Muslim extremist leader facing terrorism charges from his Norwegian hosts said this week he's planning on leaving for his native Kurdistan.
Najmaddin Faraj, who goes by the name Mullah Krekar, in the 1990s was one of the co-founders of the Kurdish extremist group Ansar al-Islam, which Western officials say has links to al-Qaida.
The fiery Krekar told the Irbil, Iraq, online newspaper Rudaw he will return soon from his Norwegian exile to the semi-autonomous Iraqi region even though he could face deadly reprisals from enemies made during Kurdistan's years of factional conflicts.
"My return to the Kurdistan region has become a major political issue," he said. "Each side wants to have me back to fight their opponents for them."
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of Kurdistan's mainstream political parties, has accused Krekar of directing his men from exile in the beheading of dozens of PUK fighters in 2002.
Krekar has been living in Norway since 1991, frequently issuing controversial comments on the Internet in which he has called for terrorist attacks against the West. Norwegian officials have sought to deport him as a security threat but have refrained from doing so on humanitarian grounds because the death penalty is still on the books in Kurdistan.
Calls for his arrest among some of Norway's elected leaders intensified last month, however, after Krekar appeared on Finnish television calling for jihadist terror strikes against the West.
In the interview, Krekar said Western-style democracy won't work for devout Muslims, the Norwegian news agency NTB reported.
"Democracy in the European way is not possible in the Arab countries," he said. "Arab countries can only be controlled in the Islamic way. We think democracy is like a plastic banana -- you cannot eat it."
He added he believes Islam will take over the world within 20 years, saying, "Islam will rule over the world. No one can stop it."
Norwegian prosecutors indicted Krekar on terrorism charges in July after he made threatening remarks toward Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg at a June 2010 news conference in Oslo.
At the event, the Muslim leader said there would be consequences for Norway if he were expelled from the country, the national broadcaster TV2 reported.
"My death will cost Norwegian society," he said. "If, for example, Erna Solberg throws me out of the country and I die as a result, she will suffer the same fate."
The Finnish television comments show Krekar needs to be arrested immediately as a terror threat, asserted a key member of Norway's conservative Progress Party.
Morten Orsal Johansen, party spokesman for immigration matters, told NTB, "We have just passed a new law. The law states that people who are a threat to the country must be arrested. Therefore, Krekar should be in prison."
Krekar is due in Oslo District Court next month to face terrorism charges, the news agency said.
Should he instead return to Kurdistan, he won't be facing any charges from the PUK, a party lawyer told Rudaw.
Likewise, Nawzad Baban, a lawyer for Kurdistan Communist Labor Party, also said his party doesn't wish any ill will toward the former leader of Ansar al-Islam.
"We have always been a civilian party and have not had any problem with him," Baban told the newspaper.
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US probes claims filmmaker given bin Laden mission info
Washington (AFP) Jan 5, 2012
The US military and CIA are probing claims that classified information about the killing of Osama bin Laden was given to Oscar winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, a Republican lawmaker said Thursday. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said he requested an investigation after reports that President Barack Obama's administration gave high-level access to Bigelow a ... read more
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