Norwegian Islamist killed in Syria hailed as martyr

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Norwegian Islamist killed in Syria hailed as martyr
Ubaydullah Hussain (left) and Egzon Avdyli (right): Facebook

A Norwegian man killed fighting alongside rebels in Syria has been hailed as a martyr by one of the country's leading Islamist groups, raising fears his death will encourage others to join the country's civil war.


Egzon Avdyli, a 25-year-old from Oslo, was on Wednesday reported to have been killed in Syria, where he had reportedly been fighting as part of Isil, an  Islamist group classed a terrorist organisation by the US government. 
Ubaydullah Hussain, the former leader of the Prophet's Ummah, a Norwegian Islamist Group, celebrated Avdyli as a martyr on Facebook on Thursday.
"My good friend and dear brother, may Allah accept you as a shaheed [martyr] and give you what all us we Muslims strive for, Jannat al Firdaws [the highest garden of Paradise]," he wrote. "The best death is that which occurs in the way of Allah." 
Hussain's post was 'liked' by 45 fellow Islamists, with many commenting approvingly underneath the post. 
Avdyli, who came to Norway from Albania as a child, had been drawn into the Prophet's Ummah from about 2011, occasionally acting as a spokesperson for the group. 
"Our family has been devastated after we received the news that Egzon has been killed in Syria," his father told Aftenposten newspaper. "It is those fanatics who have the greatest responsibility for the fact that my Egzon became radicalized and has now been killed."
Lars Gule, an expert on extremism at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, warned that the lure of martyrdom could be used to recruit more young Norwegian Muslims to fight in Syria. 
"There are several reasons why people opt to fight in a dangerous and exceptionally brutal civil war such as the one in Syria," he said. "of course, you have the element of youthfulness and adventure, but the other side of it is that they are motivated by a religious ideology that holds the promise of immediate ascension to heaven if you are killed in battle, and for some that holds an attraction." 



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