A group of young Danish and Arabic-speaking men have taken to Facebook to praise Copenhagen shootings gunman Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Experts fear the weekend's terrorist act might inspire similar attacks.
“You deserve a place in paradise.”
“Rest in peace, great hero.”
These are some of the statements posted celebrating El-Hussein following the weekend’s terrorist attacks. Some of the posts are accompanied by the black flag of Islamic State.
Risk of copycats
“We can not exclude there are some who are inspired by the incident,” Norwegian terrorism researcher Tore Bjørgo told Metroxpress. “It’s a risk that we as a society have to live with, and that PET and the police must try to reduce.”
The former politician Naser Khader, who is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the posts revealed a similar mentality to that of El-Hussein.
“A week ago he was one of them, but then he took the final step,” Khader told Metroxpress. “There is a risk that they will be inspired to take the same path.”
The former head of PET, Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, said statements like these show up on the intelligence radar.
“It is definitely something that PET is watching,” he said. “There is a great intelligence value in following these people on social media as it provides an opportunity to see the thoughts, capabilities and intentions of these people.”
Could be against the law
Trine Bramsen, a spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne, reacted angrily to the praise for El-Hussein.
“We cannot accept the celebration of a vicious coward who killed innocent people,” she said. “People who do not understand this should strongly consider whether they want to stay and live in Denmark.”
According to the law, those who publicly and explicitly condone terrorism can be punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to two years. Police are examining whether expressing support for El-Hussein violates the law.