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WikiLeaks: 2008-06-13: 08OSLO327: Norway's Enigmatic Iraqi Population: a Risk for Radicalization?

by WikiLeaks. 08OSLO327: June 13, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 02:29 PM UT


Viewing cable 08OSLO327, NORWAY'S ENIGMATIC IRAQI POPULATION: A RISK FOR

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08OSLO327 2008-06-13 14:21 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Oslo
VZCZCXRO8798
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHNY #0327/01 1651421
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131421Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6851
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0097
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 OSLO 000327 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KIRF IZ NO
SUBJECT: NORWAY'S ENIGMATIC IRAQI POPULATION: A RISK FOR 
RADICALIZATION? 
 
REF: OSLO 207 
 
Classified By: Acting DCM Kristen F. Bauer for reasons 1.4 b and d 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: An increasingly large Iraqi population in 
Norway (over 22,000, which constitutes the third largest 
group of immigrants, and second largest among non-Europeans) 
continues to remain out of the spotlight, neither actively 
engaged in politics as is the long-established Pakistani 
population, nor a subject of media hysteria, as is the Somali 
population (see Reftel).  Efforts to find reliable 
(non-Kurdish) community leaders that speak for the population 
have been frustrating, both for post and for the Norwegian 
government, which is concerned about growing numbers of 
fraudulent asylum applications from Iraqis but lacks the 
resources to fully investigate the situation.  Statistics 
that the government has gathered on the Iraqi community show 
that they suffer the same unemployment and educational 
challenges as other 'new' communities. END SUMMARY. 
 
WHO ARE THE IRAQIS IN NORWAY? 
 
2. (U) The majority of Iraqis residing in Norway have arrived 
in the last nine years, with a peak of 4,400 arriving in 
2000.  This wave of asylum seekers and refugees is expected 
to continue, meaning that the population will likely continue 
to grow at a rapid clip in the years to come unless Norwegian 
authorities decide to tighten their policies.  The Iraqis 
community tends to have large families, with 3.3 children per 
family, compared to 2.0 for all women in Norway and only 
behind the Somali and Pakistani population in this regard. 
Less than half of the male population is employed, and less 
than a quarter of the women.  Educational statistics are 
unreliable, but general indications are that the educational 
level is low.  Only 8 percent of the 19-24 age group is in 
higher education, compared to 31 percent of the general 
Norwegian populace. 
 
3. (C) A discussion with an employee at UDI, the GON office 
responsible for immigration and refugee/asylum processing, 
provided insight into the GON's growing concern that 
fraudulent claims are becoming more common among Iraqi 
applicants.  For example, a significant number of those 
claiming to be Assyrian Christians from Iraq have been 
identified as fakes by the existing community in Norway 
(instead, they were Sunni Muslims). Our contact mentioned 
that their most effective tool in determining the validity of 
addresses and applicant backgrounds in Iraq is by using 
Google Earth to see if the area that applicants claim to come 
from exists and accurately reflects their religious/ethnic 
background.  Otherwise they are very much operating in the 
dark, he says, when it comes to determining the actual 
identity of some Iraqi applicants. 
 
4. (C) The GON and post have had difficulties in identifying 
reliable community leaders in the Iraqi community.  Although 
our UDI contact believes that many of them are silent due in 
part to their physical absence.  He claims that many of them 
register in Norway and then spend their time in neighboring 
Sweden, which has a larger Iraqi population and more 
media/stores catering to their needs).  The statistics do not 
seem to bear that out, as the majority of the Iraqis in 
Norway do not live in border towns as he claims, but in Oslo, 
Bergen and other high-population areas, much like the Somali 
and Afghani populations.  The Statistical Bureau's 2007 
report on the Iraqi population in Norway notes that the high 
unemployment, low education, and lack of involvement in the 
community is comparable to the other 'new' immigrant groups - 
neither significantly worse nor better.  The only two 
statistical items that stand out are that Iraqis are 
over-represented in the hotel and restaurant industries and 
that their rate of inter-marriage with Norwegians is higher 
than other populations.  Although neither of those statistics 
is determinative, on the surface they suggest that the 
population is less isolated than the Somalis, Afghans, or 
Pakistanis: a positive sign for integration. 
 
ARE THEY A THREAT? 
 
5. (C) The enigmatic nature of the Iraqi population in Norway 
is unsettling to some.  TV2 reporter Kadafi Zaman (of 
Pakistani descent) requested a private meeting with the Pol 
office in early 2007 to discuss growing concerns about 'the 
Shia population' (including, in part, Iraqis) in Norway, 
which he had been surreptitiously videotaping as an 
undercover reporter for several months.  Although nothing 
came of the story idea because he could not find roof of 
illicit activity, it reflects the suspicous that these new 
immigrants are somehow going o bring the violence of the 
region with them to Nrway. 
 
 
OSLO 00000327  002 OF 002 
 
 
6. (C) The single most prominent Iraqi in Norway is Najmuddin 
Faraj, (aka Mullah Krekar) the former leader of the Ansar al 
Islam group.  Krekar has been declared a threat to national 
security and is awaiting deportation, due to his previous 
activities and published statements calling for jihad.  He 
has lost all appeals of this decision most recently on 
November 12, 2007 when Norway,s Supreme Court upheld 
previous court decisions which expelled him from Norway. 
Due to human rights concerns, the GON has determined that he 
cannot be deported to Iraq.  He has shown a deft touch with 
the media and remains a media figure, with a profile of his 
situation appearing June 13, in a major newspaper,s 
magazine.  Krekar remains under virtual house arrest and 
cannot be considered a representative of the larger Iraqi 
community but is the most visible. 
 
7. (C) Odd Olsen Ingero, the director of Kripos (National 
Criminal Investigation Service), says his organization is 
increasingly concerned about the Iraqi influx.  They assess 
that most of the jobs they have in the restaurant and 
car-washing business are simply covers for multi-faceted 
criminal activities.  This prompted Kripos to do a formal 
threat assessment which highlighted concerns to the broader 
law enforcement community.  The Iraqi community's use of 
fraudulent passports has been of one of the main concerns, 
and has been discussed in cables from both Oslo and Stockholm 
(Iraq's mission in Sweden covers Norway).  There is an 
additional complication, which is that some who carry Iraqi 
passports are not really Iraqi. 
8. (C) However, unlike the Somali population, which has been 
portrayed in the media again and again as a significant 
problem due to gang violence, the import of Khat, female 
genital mutilation, and a public downtown beating of a female 
activist, the Iraqi population has so far remained out of the 
spotlight.  Although post has been approached by both Kurdish 
political activists for support in their efforts to promote a 
Kurdish homeland, the population has generally remained off 
of the public radar.  There are concerns by GON officials, 
but they seem to be trumped by other priority populations, 
such as the Somalis, absent any incidents involving the Iraqi 
community which would indicate radicalization. 
WHITNEY

 



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