Extreme Islamism and far-right pose threats to Norway

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Extreme Islamism and far-right pose threats to Norway
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen and PST head Benedicte Bjørnland presented the nation's terror assessment in Oslo. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Although Norway's overall terror threat is slightly decreased there are still several factors that threaten the nation.


Extreme Islamism is still considered to pose the greatest threat to Norway and it is possible that there will be attempted attacks in 2016, the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) wrote in its annual risk assessment. 
The security agency also warned that extreme far-right groups are also on the rise in Norway. 
PST presented its 2016 threat assessment on Tuesday in which it slightly lowered the overall risk level to the country but warned against extreme Islamism, the rise of the far-right and foreign spying, particularly from Russia
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen responded to the report by saying that Norway must will never be able to fully eliminate terrorist threats. 
“We must not let the terrorists win by being afraid or by changing the way we live,” he said. 
“The threat assessment shows a positive development compared to last year’s report,” he added. 
He stressed however that there is still much that we don’t know, so PST’s assessment that the terror threat has dropped "slightly" should not be taken as a sign that the country is safe. 
PST said that when it comes to threats from non-state actors, there are two aspects that could potentially have serious consequences. One is whether Isis and other terrorist groups will be able to carry out attacks in Western countries. 
“We consider it possible that extreme Islamists will attempt to carry out terrorist acts against Norway in the course of this year. Another factor that will affect the terror picture is the large number of refugees and asylum seekers that have come to Western Europe and Norway, and who will continue to come throughout 2016,” PST wrote. 
The large numbers of asylum seekers coming to Norway have also led to greater activity within right-wing extremist groups, PST said. 
PST pointed to an increase in hate speech online and arson attacks on asylum centres. 
“We consider the threat [from the far right] to be growing, but not at the same level as in the extreme Islamist environment. This is because the far-right is less organized, they lack leadership and they also have no foreign war arenas to go to,” PST head Benedicte Bjørnland said. 
Anundsen said authorities were closely monitoring the situation. 
“It’s not an unknown phenomenon that a greater influx of asylum seekers leads to a mobilisation of far-right forces, which in turn can create a mobilisation of far-left forces. There is a total picture that we have to monitor closely in the future,” he said. 



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