Tag Archives: jihad

Belgium Prosecutes Lead Jihadists Recruiting for ISIS

Courtesy of The Clarion Project (www.clarionproject.org):

Belgium’s largest-ever terrorism trial has begun under tight security in the port city of Antwerp, where 46 members of the Islamist group Sharia4Belgium are being accused of recruiting dozens of young Muslims to fight for the jihadist group, Islamic State.

Sharia4Belgium, a radical Salafist group, was founded in 2010 with the purpose of implementing Islamic Sharia law in Belgium. The group generated controversy in September 2011, when it announced the opening of a Sharia Law court in Antwerp, the second-largest city in Belgium.

Although Sharia4Belgium announced its voluntary dissolution in 2012, when some of its leaders were imprisoned, Belgian authorities say it has continued to operate underground to recruit and funnel jihadists.

Belgium is a key source of European jihadists: Some 400 Belgian nationals are now estimated to have travelled to join jihadist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq. Of these, approximately 10% have been recruited by Sharia4Belgium, according to Belgian prosecutors.

Sixteen of the 46 defendants are charged with being leaders of Sharia4Belgium and face up to 15 years in prison, as well as fines of €30,000 ($38,000). The other 30 are charged with being members of the group and face sentences ranging from 12 months on probation to ten years in prison.

Only nine of the accused have appeared in court, however; the rest are believed either to be still fighting in Syria or to have been killed.

On the first day of the trial, which began on September 29, prosecutors told the Antwerp Criminal Court how members of Sharia4Belgium approach young men and women on the streets of Antwerp and Vilvoorde, a town just north of Brussels, and invite them to private meeting places in Antwerp.

Once in Antwerp, prosecutors say, the recruits are indoctrinated into jihadist ideology through intensive guided studies of the Koran and sustained exposure to Islamist literature. After their “brainwashing” into the subculture of Islamism, they are trained to become Syriëstrijder or “Syria warriors.”

“The activities of Sharia4Belgium are clearly aimed at violent struggle in Belgium and abroad,” Luc Festraets, one of the prosecutors, told the court. “Other religious groups are to be threatened and political regimes are to be overthrown,” he added, referring to Sharia4Belgium’s anti-Western propaganda.

According to prosecutors, Sharia4Belgium’s members are recruited through social media, but also by means of so-called street dawahDawah (Arabic for “invitation” or “summons”) refers to proselytizing, calling people to embrace Islam. Muslim preachers doing street dawah have become increasingly commonplace in towns and cities across Europe and have emerged as a key means to expose, convert and recruit European youth to militant Islam.

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More Madness from Boko Haram

The 12 Nigerian states with Sharia law

The 12 Nigerian states with Sharia law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(CNN)

Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist group that kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.

“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.

“There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,” he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.

Boko Haram means “Western education is sin.” In his nearly hourlong, rambling video, Shekau repeatedly called for Western education to end.

“Girls, you should go and get married,” he said.

The outrageous threat means the girls’ parents worst fears could be realized. Parents have been avoiding speaking to the media for fear their daughters may be singled out for reprisals.

“Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out,” Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed Sunday.

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An Absurd Decision from the Court

Political Correctness hits the Courtroom:  Apparently comparing jihadists to savages is not protected under the First Amendment now.  Who’d have thought that the Court would want to protect the sensibilities of jihadists? –AA

 

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A federal judge rejected a pro-Israel group’s assertion that its free speech rights were violated when the MBTA turned down a subway advertisement on the grounds that the ad was “demeaning or disparaging.”

The ad is paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New York organization that seeks to combat the spread of Islam in the United States. With bold, all-capital-letter text placed against a stark black background, the ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel; defeat Jihad.”

Officials with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rejected the ad in November on the basis that it violated the agency’s advertising guidelines.

On Friday, US District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sided with the state’s transportation authority, saying in the ruling that “it was plausible for the defendants to conclude that the . . . pro-Israel advertisement demeans or disparages Muslims or Palestinians.”

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New Strains of Terrorism – The Moscow Times

An interesting look at security and terrorism from an equally interesting source. –AA

Like bacteria seeking to avoid destruction by antibiotics, terrorism evolves. For that reason, the New York marathon of early November, though admirably secured, was probably the least likely target around.

It is also probably true that terrorists have been poring over the Snowden revelations, but what specifically they will learn from them remains unclear, despite all the huffing and puffing of current and former security officials declaring it a disaster. Osama bin Laden was clearly aware that any of his telephone or electronic communications would be bugged. And so he used messengers. Ironically, it was the tracking of one of those messengers he used to avoid electronic eavesdropping that cost him his life. Taking similar precautions, the Saudi jihadi known as Khattab who fought with the Chechens was supposedly killed by a letter poisoned by Russian security agents.

Islamists may be fanatics, but they are not fools. They learn from past mistakes and work constantly to create new means of eluding existing security measures. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the master bomber, who came up with the underwear bomb, and, more chillingly, the explosives that were disguised as part of a shipment of printers, is reported to be working on nonmetallic, essentially undetectable explosive devices that can be surgically implanted within the human body. This is an idea that comes first from science fiction having figured in the 1975 film “Death Race 2000″ and a 1990 Star Trek film.

Terrorists no doubt also scrutinize the world media to gauge which actions generate the most coverage. The Tsarnaev brothers proved two things with their attack on the Boston Marathon. The first is that a terrorist can gain more coverage by attacking an event where the cameras are already rolling. That way the event becomes part of everyone’s present tense. The second thing is that this initial momentum will often continue for longer than an event that occurred off camera. The evening news will revisit the victims or tie their story into another story.

Terrorists in Russia seem to be testing new methods. On Oct. 21, a Dagestani woman blew herself up on a local bus in the city of Volgograd killing herself and six others, wounding 37. The city is quite far from Moscow, St. Petersburg or Sochi. It is possible that she had another target in mind but detonated the device by accident or out of desperation. But it might also be a sign that terrorists have learned another lesson: strike out-of-the-way places so that people will not feel safe anywhere.

This principle is one that may be applied in Russia during the Winter Olympics since Sochi itself will presumably locked down very tightly. But then again, the same presumption could have been made about Tiananmen Square until a van full of suicide bombers made it through to very heart of the Chinese capital. Doku Umarov, leader of the Chechen Islamist insurgency, has called on his followers to use “maximum force” and “any methods” to disrupt the Winter Games, which he calls “satanic dances to be held on the bones of our ancestors.”

But that does not necessarily mean by direct attack on the site, events or spectators. Significant terrorist attacks happening all over the country could disrupt the games simply by overshadowing them. On Oct. 15, a terrorist attack on a chemical weapons facility in the Kirov region was thwarted by local law enforcement officials. Kirov is a 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow. The woman bomber in Volgograd is reported to have had a bus ticket for Moscow on her person, and the capital may have been her original target.

In the Kirov incident, there cannot be any such ambiguity. The two attackers, young men from the North Caucasus where the insurgents’ aim has morphed from independence to creating an Islamic caliphate, had specifically travelled to a site far from major population centers or targets of symbolic significance. The plant is currently engaged in destroying soman, a chemical nerve agent more lethal than sarin. Authorities state that a successful attack would have resulted in large loss of life.

There are eight such facilities in Russia, where chemical weapons are stored and destroyed. Was the Kirov attack a failure or a feint? Now security at the chemical weapons sites will be beefed up, possibly leaving other targets more vulnerable.

There is also the question as to whether the Chechens and other Islamist rebels already have chemical weapons seized during the Syrian civil war? It is only a 800-kilometer drive from Aleppo to Sochi, or 1 1/2 hours by plane. Possessing chemical weapons and being able to accurately deliver them are, of course, two quite different things.

But there is a way around that as well. Sometimes merely demonstrating that you possess weapons of mass destruction is enough to sow fear. In November 1995, Chechen rebels alerted the Russia media that they had buried a dirty bomb constructed from dynamite and radioactive Cesium 137 in Izmailovsky Park in central Moscow. This has been called the first act of nuclear terrorism in history. It was organized by Shamil Basayev, then the leader of the Chechen insurgents, who had been trained in Osama bin Laden’s camp in Afghanistan, the same one struck by U.S. cruise missiles in 1998. The dirty bomb in the park did not explode, but there was plenty of live coverage to spread the word — and fear.

After 9/11, it was reported that the Pentagon and the security agencies were conferring with science fiction writers to attempt to thwart future attacks. The real problem with the 9/11 attack was that no one had the imagination to see it coming. Maybe Russia could try that as well — if the country’s best sci-fi writers are not living abroad in freer lands or awaiting trial for protesting the current regime.

Richard Lourie is the author of “The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin” and “Sakharov: A Biography.”

 

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Massachusetts Terrorist Mehanna Verdict Upheld

Good news from the Federal Courts, and more vindication for the great work done by the FBI agents who investigated Mehanna for years.  It’s also not a good day to be a client of JW Carney, as today his other client–Whitey Bulger–was given two life sentences plus five years from Federal Judge Denise Casper.–AA

The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and 17-year prison sentence imposed on Islamic extremist Tarek Mehanna, calling terrorism “the modern-day equivalent of the bubonic plague: It is an existential threat.”

The 31-year-old former Sudbury pharmacist was found guilty last year of conspiring with al-Qaeda to kill U.S. troops in Iraq, and traveling to Yemen in a failed attempt to enlist in a terrorist training camp. Prosecutors said Mehanna was also making plans to shoot up a local shopping mall.

Mehanna argued unsuccessfully that his convictions weren’t supported by the evidence and that many of his statements interpreted as anti-American jihadist rants were protected political speech.

Appellate Justices Jeffrey R. Howard, Bruce M. Selya and O. Rogeriee Thompson found Mehanna “was fairly tried, justly convicted and lawfully sentenced.”

“We do not pretend to understand why the defendant chose to go down such a treacherous path,” they wrote. “Nevertheless, the jury found that he knowingly and intentionally made that choice, and that finding is both supported by the clear weight of the evidence and untainted by legal error.”

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CNN Exlusive: Inside Syrian town living under al Qaeda reign of fear

By Nick Paton Walsh, Raja Razek and Gul Tuysuz, CNN

Gaziantep, Turkey (CNN) — Raqqa was, a matter of months ago, one of Syria’s most liberal cities. Now locals call it Tora Bora. They say it’s as if the Taliban of Afghanistan have taken over.

After months of bombardment by the regime and a chaotic lack of control by weak and divided moderate rebels, al Qaeda have found a broken society, made it their home, and imposed on it hardline Islamist law.

Each morning, activists told us, they seem to awake to a more conservative city. The “Bayanaat” or rulings sometimes appear on town walls. Many limit women’s rights — to walk alone, to style or show their hair. Other edicts come by word of mouth — no smoking, no cameras. Behind them are often foreign jihadists from the al Qaeda linked militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The fear that now grips the city can be felt in the shocking bruises on Adnan’s body. Adnan, whose name has been changed out of fears for his safety, was behind some graffiti in Raqqa that told ISIS to get out. They caught him filming too, and dragged him into the burned-out ruins of a church they had torched and labeled as a new ISIS base.

Read the rest here

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Continued threats against Israelis and Jews as holidays approach

From The Long War Journal (www.longwarjournal.com):

The Counterterrorism Bureau at Israel’s National Security Council today issued a new travel warning. The report cautioned that Israelis and Jews may be the target of attacks in the coming weeks around the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as well as the holiday of Sukkot.

 

The report also stated that al Qaeda and “global jihadi networks” may look to launch attacks around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The warnings are “based on solid and reliable information, which reflects a real threat, based upon intelligence assessments,” the report said.

 

Key areas of concern noted in the report include terror plots by Iran and Hezbollah against Israelis and Jews around the world, the ongoing security situation in the Sinai Peninsula, threats against Jews and Israelis in Tunisia, and the potential for attacks against Israeli and Jewish businesses, particularly in Africa.

 

The counterterrorism bureau’s report also stated that Israelis are still barred from traveling to Iran, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

 

The travel warning, much of which was a repeat of a March report from the counterterrorism bureau, further noted that there is a “very high and concrete threat” in the abovementioned group of countries as well as in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Somalia, Sudan, southern Thailand, southern Philippines (Mindanao), eastern Senegal, northern Nigeria, portions of Kenya including Mombasa, Chechnya, and the Sinai Peninsula.

 

Due to high threat levels, Israelis were also urged due to refrain from travel and leave as soon as possible from Pakistan, Libya, Qatar, Jordan, Algeria, Mauritania, Bahrain, Togo, Mali, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Kuwait, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

“Ongoing potential threats” were noted for Oman, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kenya, and Turkey.

Like the March report, today’s report said that Hezbollah blames Israel for the death of Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyah in 2008, while Iran blames Israel for the deaths of a number of its nuclear scientists. Both Iran and Hezbollah, the report charged, are still seeking revenge.

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The Taliban Enters Syria

From the inestimably good website at The Long War Journal

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has sent “experts in warfare and information technology” to Syria to establish a base and monitor the fighting there. The disclosure of the existence of the Pakistani Taliban’s Syrian cell occurred just two days after a group that bears the same name as an al Qaeda unit in Pakistan claimed to have executed an attack on Hezbollah in Beirut.

The Pakistani Taliban sent 12 “experts in warfare and information technology” to Syria in the past two months to aid Syrian jihadists, while the base was established in Syria six months ago, the BBC reported.

The BBC interviewed a senior Pakistani Taliban leader known as Mohammad Amin, who is described as the “coordinator” of the group’s efforts in Syria.

“He [Amin] said that the cell has the approval of militant factions both within and outside” of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the BBC noted.

“They were facilitated by our friends in Syria who have previously been fighting in Afghanistan,” Amin said. The Pakistani Taliban cell is in Syria to “assess the needs of the Jihad in Syria, and to work out joint operations with our Syrian friends,” he continued.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan works closely with the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and a host of non-aligned Taliban groups and jihadist organizations in Pakistan. Amin did not disclose which of these groups approved the Pakistani Taliban’s establishment of a cell in Syria. Al Qaeda has a strong presence in Syria, and its official affiliate, the Al Nusrah Front, and the rogue Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, control territory throughout the country [see LWJ report, Islamic State of Iraq leader defies Zawahiri in alleged audio message].

MORE HERE

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The Long War Journal: Canadian terror suspect: ‘I wish I was with the Mujahideen’

The Long War Journal is as good a site on terrorism as exists.  If you haven’t visited it, you won’t be disappointed. If you have, you know it’s an incredible source for daily information about terrorism and worldwide jihad.  From today’s blog:

On July 2, Canadian authorities announced the arrest of two Canadian-born citizens in a terror plot involving pressure cooker bombs. The two suspects, who were “inspired by al Qaeda ideology,” targeted a public gathering at the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria on Canada Day, July 1.

Over the past few days, details have emerged on the two suspects, John Stuart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody, who authorities said had “self-radicalized.” On July 3, Threat Matrix examined some of the couple’s online activities, in particular those related to Nuttall’s music career in a variety of punk bands.

Canadian news accounts since have reported the existence of more accounts tied to both Korody and Nuttall. These accounts provide few, if any, indications of jihadist sympathies. Korody, like Nuttall, used to operate a Myspace account. In 2005, Korody was also active on Flickr and Live Journal. Neighbors have also suspected that in the past Korody acted as a prostitute, in some cases posting on Craigslist, according to the CBC.

But other social media accounts tied to the couple which were active within the last year provided more worrying signs. The most prominent example is the couple’s activities on YouTube. Additionally, media reports have suggested that posts in a paintball forum could have also provided signals for authorities.

According to Canadian press reports, Nuttall was active on YouTube, where he adopted the username “ana nimity.” The account is linked to Korody’s Google account. While it is possible that the two suspects both used the account, it appears Nuttall was behind most of the posts.

In many of the postings under the “ana nimity” username there were numerous diatribes against the United States and Israel. For example, in one posting within the last year, one of the suspects wrote, “Muslims are the only ones brave enough to stand against the tyrannical USA and Israeli gov who command them.” In another posting, one of the two wrote, “Tell united snakes of america and israhell to be peacefull. An eye for an eye, and usa and Israel will be a distant memory inshAllah soon!”

Korody or Nuttall also denounced Canadian Prime Minister Harper. “F*** you harper you racist Islamophobe. F*** you from BC Canaduh eh….,” one of the two wrote in the comments on one YouTube video.

In another comment about nine months ago, one of the two wrote that they wanted to “live in a Muslim country so bad. I hate this sinful place [Canada].” In a separate post, Korody or Nuttall said they would rather kick an American soldier’s “face in for killing people and being a marauding, raping and pillaging,” rather than shake their hand. Additionally, about nine months ago, someone behind the account denounced Salman Rushdie, whom they referred to as a “kafir.”

Responding to a comment that the Prophet Mohammed was a “flaming homosexual,” Nuttall or Korody (more likely Nuttall) wrote: “Hey kafir, you wanna say that to my face? I live in Surrey BC Vancouver , I will meet you on the corner of 99th and 120th on the train tracks. I cant wait to meet you kafir. I am a Mujahid and inshAllah I will die a Shaheed! Call me so we can set this up kaffir mushriqun. My number is 604-655-5470 ask for John. But by the sounds of you, I may as well march my wife up there to fight you. Im waiting ….” The phone number listed was also used by Nuttall on the paintball forum.

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I’ve said it before…no shame in this Administration

Obama White House Hosts Sheikh Who Called for Killing American Troops in Iraq

President Obama’s top national security advisers have just hosted Sheikh Abdulla bin Bayyah at the White House. As vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in 2004, bin Bayyah endorsed a fatwa calling for the killing of American troops and other personnel serving in Iraq.

Bin Bayyah is the principal deputy to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief sharia jurist and the driving force of the IUMS. In addition to being behind the 2004 fatwa, Qaradawi also promotes suicide bombing against Israel. The IUMS strongly supports the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas, the terrorist organization designated as such under American law. Indeed, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – a close ally of both Qaradawi and Turkey’s Islamic supremacist prime minister (and Obama fave) Recep Tayyip Erdogan – was welcomed into the IUMS as a member in 2004. As detailed here on other occasions (see, e.g., here), Hamas’s charter explains that the group’s imperative to destroy Israel is an Islamic obligation, and it cites authoritative scripture – frequently repeated by Qaradawi – stating that the world will not end “until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: ‘O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’”

News of the White House meeting with bin Bayyah was broken last night by Steve Emerson and John Rossomando of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The meeting took place at the Obama administration’s request, according to an account of it posted – along with a photo – on bin Bayyah’s website. Since its original posting, the account has been edited to omit mention of Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon’s participation.

This marks a new low for the administration that, in brazen violation of U.S. counterterrorism law, previously invited a member of the Blind Shiekh’s terrorist organization for consultations at the White House.

Notably, bin Bayyah lobbied the administration to “take urgent action” to help the Syrian “rebels” (i.e., the factions opposing the Assad regime, which are dominated by Islamic supremacists and violent jihadists – more accurately described as the Syrian mujahideen than as “rebels”). As Emerson and Rossamondo observe, President Obama has since announced plans to arm the Syrian opposition.

Emerson and Rossamondo’s full account is very much worth reading. So is the take offered by Patrick Poole at PJM. Patrick elaborates on Emerson/Rossamondo’s assertion that this is far from the administration’s first consultation with bin Bayyah.

The enemy is not at the gate. He has long since skipped across the welcome mat.

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