Terror victim to publish suspected terrorist’s memoirs

Salman Rushdie’s Norwegian publisher William Nygaard, who himself suffered a near fatal terrorist attack ten years ago, plans to publish the memoirs of an Iraqi guerilla leader and suspected terrorist, Mullah Krekar.

Mullah Krekar (aka Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad) is a former leader of the islamic fundamentalist organisation Ansar al-Islam, which was partly destroyed by US and Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq earlier this year. Ansar al-Islam is suspected of having strong links to Al-Qaeda, and possibly also to the former regime of Saddam Hussein. Ansar are believed to be behind several terrorist attacks in Northern Iraq.

Mullah Krekar has asylum status in Norway and lives in Oslo with his family. He and his lawyer have been conducting an intense campaign to avoid being expelled from Norway for violating the terms of his refugee status. Norwegian immigration authorities have decided to expel Krekar citing a possible security threat, but the final decision is pending appeal and an extradition request from Jordan. Norwegian police earlier this year charged Krekar with terrorism, but both the charges and a planned police investigation in Kurdish Northern Iraq were dropped because of legal complications.

Mullah Krekar was questioned by police after Mr Nygaard was shot and severly wounded outside his home in Oslo in October 1993. The unknown gunman escaped and the case has not been solved, although it is considered more than likely that the attack was related to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Krekar had come to Norway as a refugee on a UN quota two years before. Krekar claimed he was not in Norway at the time of the attack.

The attempt on Nygaard’s life came as a shock to peaceful and peace-loving Norwegians. It was the first terrorist attack to take place in Norway since a Palestinian, who was mistaken for a member of the Black September group, was killed by Mossad agents in 1973.

Nygaard confirmed to the Norwegian newspaper VG that he was aware that Krekar was questioned by the police after the attack, but said this does not deter him from publishing Krekar’s forthcoming book. Krekar has also been invited to the annual summer party of Nygaard’s publishing company Aschehoug in Oslo next week. Salman Rushdie attented the Aschehoug summer party a few years ago.

Rushdie, today a strong supporter of the war against terrorism, has often commended Mr Nygaard for his courage in publishing Rushdie’s books even after the near fateful attack. Similar attacks on persons involved in publishing Rushdie’s books have also happened in Italy and Japan.

Krekar confesses to the militant (jihadi) version of Islam. See also Rising Tide of Islamic Militants See Iraq as Ultimate Battlefield