July 15, 2012
The suspected Norwegian al-Qaida 33 years old affiliate is seemingly an ordinary man holding some unusual political ideas. According to the Norwegian Intelligence Services (PET) his most likely present location is somewhere between the Yemen’s Abyan och Shabwah provinces. Other speculations suggest that he has been trained as an operative for the Al-Qaida network. Having Scandinavian appearance it is thought that he would play a major role in future attacks. However, (un)probable this sounds the man is not charged for any crimes. All he seems to be “guilty” of is perhaps holding extreme political opinions. This is the reason no arrest warrant has been issues by the Norwegian authorities.
He calls himself Muslim Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman and he converted to Islam in 2008. He has never been charged with a crime; however, several states’ intelligence services view him as a major operative within Al-Qaida. He grew up in a community just outside of Oslo, seemingly shy and loyal towards his friends. In his teenage years he was a fan of grunge music groups such as Nirvana etc. Was there anything which would lead him towards extremism? Nothing, one could argue. Multiple suggestions have also been developed in relation to the case of Breivik and the radicalization process that turned him into a mass-murderer. Such processes are obviously complex and often nonlinear regardless of our desire to understand such phenomena. For instance, the judge in the Breivik trial noted that he was not particularly interested in Islam or Muslims before discovering the counter-jihad ideology and rhetoric. In these circles Breivik found an “appropriate” place to express his latent hate. It is here that he could project his developing worldview where all things are either black or white.
For the 33 year-old Norwegian from Oslo politics was never a big issue, according to some of his old friends. His growing anti-American views and general suspicion towards his government were sparked around 2001 attacks on the U.S. buildings. This was the period when a massive number of conspiracy stories developed and this attracted him. At the same time, his spiritual quest seemed drawing him away from his everyday life. He sought to get away from the mainstream mode of life and after having fallen in love with a Muslim woman he converted in 2008.
Moved by a convert’s zealousness he dedicated himself to spiritual and physical purity where religion became central in all aspects of life. The few steps toward extreme interpretation of religious principles were not far away and he began to view reality in terms of black and white. His search for the ultimate truth played pivotal role after some time. One of his friends narrated Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman started to dislike his teachers, school, even Oslo and Norway. In the end he moved away to Yemen in 2009. All traces go cold after that. He did not contact his relatives or friends of his whereabouts, and that seemed to spark all kinds of speculations. The PET agent claimed that he studied Arabic and most likely had close relation to many radical Muslims. This in turn raised many questions among people back in Oslo. At the same time one needs to be aware that there are no evidences that he have been involved in any attack against Yemenite government or any other state for that matter.
Norwegian politician Mohammed Abulahoum argues that the whole thing has been blown out of proportions by the media. “Until now we have not seen any proper evidence that could confirm these stories about the Norwegian man (Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahman). I have no reliable information from any source about the issue.”