Norwegian media is reporting that the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) is seeking to deport an Oslo imam working at the Imam Ali Mosque, an Iranian tied Shiite center previously owned by a known Iranian influence organization. According to a Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation report:
November 9, 2020 PST has asked the Ministry of Justice to consider the expulsion of a religious leader for reasons of fundamental national interests, but will not provide further information…The imam’s lawyer, Javeed Hussain Shah, says his client disputes the grounds for deportation. [Google Translation]=
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The report goes on to say that the imam, a Norwegian resident, came to Norway in 2016. When asked about possible ties of the imam with the Iranian intelligence, Counterintelligence official Hanne Blomberg replied:
I do not want to confirm it. But on a general basis, I can say that we see in Europe that Iran uses religious centers and mosques as a platform for intelligence and surveillance of opposition figures. We have also seen this in Norway.
According to a Swedish media report, which referred to the Center as “controversial,” has added that its premises were owned until recently by the Swedish-registered Insamlingsstiftelsen Ahl Al-Bayt Assembly – Scandinavia, in turn, linked to the Iranian controlled Ahlul Bayt World Assembly (ABWA) In 2015 Congressional testimony, a US expert in security studies described the ABWA as follows:
.…the Ahlul Bayt World Assembly (ABWA) was ostensibly set up to promote Iran’s revolutionary ideology overseas and to serve as a link between the Iranian clerical establishment and foreign Shia clerics. However, ABWA has also served as an effective cover for assisting with intelligencegathering; spotting and recruiting foreign students; and moving money and materiel destined for Qods Force (and MOIS) operations. The head of ABWA, Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, is a two-time ambassador to Syria with decades of experience in the Levant dating back to the formation of Hezbollah.
In October 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a webinar held by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission. Titled the “One state solution,” the event was supported by several far-left groups and Iranian-tied groups, including the Ahlubayt Islamic Mission, described by an Israeli think-tank as the UK branch of the ABWA.