Roar Flottum was preaching and praying for the sick in Trondheim when he was approached by four men. According to Flottum, the group asked him to come pray for a friend who had injured his foot. Instead, they led him to a secluded backyard and then pushed him down a cellar staircase. After beating and robbing him, the group allegedly threatened to kill the Christian street preacher if he did not convert to Islam.
“They wanted me to say a few words in Arabic,” he told local media in an interview. “I was scared and actually thought they were going to kill me because they said they had a knife and didn’t want witnesses.”
Flottum immediately went to police after the incident, despite being warned not to report his assault to authorities. In a Facebook post, the Norwegian said that he did not suffer any serious injuries, but had been robbed of around 10,000 kroner (about $1,000). He said that the men had been very nice to him when he first encountered them in the street and that he “couldn’t believe they would deceive” him.
The preacher vowed that the terrifying encounter would not stop him from proselytizing in the streets.
According to initial reports, police have not made any arrests connected to the attack. Officials said they hoped to identify the suspects using footage from surveillance cameras in the area.
Norway is one of many European nations that have struggled to assimilate migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Social tensions have led to an uptick in right-wing anti-immigrant sentiment across the bloc. In November, the head of Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN) set a copy of the Koran on fire at an anti-Muslim rally in the city of Kristiansand, sparking outrage from many Muslim nations and advocacy groups.