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Iraq-Born Islamist Cleric Jailed For Five Years In Norway

Mullah Krekar, the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam
A Norwegian court has sentenced the Iraqi-born Islamic cleric Mullah Krekar to five years in prison.

Krekar, whose real name is Najmeddine Faraj Ahmad, was found guilty of making death threats, most notably against a former Norwegian government minister.

He said he would appeal the ruling.

Krekar is the founder of radical Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam.

The Kurdish cleric says he stepped down as leader of the group in 2002 and denies any links with Al-Qaeda.

Krekar came to Norway as a refugee in 1991.

He remains in Norway despite a deportation order because his security in Iraq cannot be guaranteed.

Ansar al-Islam, which is based in northern Iraq, is regarded by the United Nations and United States as a terrorist organization.

With AP, AFP, and dpa reporting