Alabama woman joins ISIS – CAIR responds

Hoda said that her parents weren’t entirely in the dark about what their daughter’s newfound religious interest might lead to. “They didn’t know I was leaving, but they had an idea,” Hoda said. “They’d see news reports about girls who have made it [to Syria] and say things like, ‘Hoda would probably do that.’’’
BuzzFeed Interiview

A 20-year-old Alabama woman joined ISIS after receiving an innocent graduation gift

From:  www.businessinsider.com
By: Reuters and Pamela Engel, April 21, 2015

A 20-year-old woman from a Birmingham, Alabama, suburb has left the US to join the Islamic State militant group in Syria, the local broadcaster WIAT reported on Monday.

Hoda Muthana made contact with militants through social media and had been distancing herself from other Muslims in Hoover for more a year before leaving, said family spokesman Hassan Shibly, according to WIAT. Her family reportedly fled Yemen for the US more than 20 years ago.

Hoda’s father, Mohammed, told BuzzFeed that his daughter’s introduction to social media started with the smartphone he gave her as a high-school graduation gift in 2013.

She wasn’t technically allowed to have social-media accounts or post photos of herself (though her brothers were), but she apparently found a way around that.

Mohammed said he sometimes took her phone to check what was on it. He told BuzzFeed: “When I get the phone from her, sometimes she scared, and I thought, ‘What do you have?'”

During the year and a half before she left for Syria, Hoda became more devoutly religious. She told BuzzFeed that it was due in part to Islamic lectures she found on the internet.

Hoda said her parents noticed her becoming more religious and “liked the change until they saw me getting ‘jihadi.'”

In 2013, Hoda secretly set up a Twitter account that allowed her to find and connect with Islamic State members and supporters, including Aqsa Mahmood, who left her home in Scotland to join the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The cited Buzzfeed article provides additional details relating to this story and leaves the impression that Hoda’s radicalization was not exactly a surprise to those around her and probably not the result of getting a cell phone.

The Birmingham, AL   Muslim community  is centered around the Birmingham Islamic Society (BIS)  and we mentioned the area when Randy Wilson was arrested on terrorism related charges in 2012.  In a Washington post article, BIS president Ashfaq Taufique stated that Wilson had attended a Muslim school in Birmingham when he was younger.

The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is well represented in Alabama, especially in the locations around Birmingham and Huntsville.   These type of Islamic radical recruiting incidents bring unwanted attention to the area and it would be safe to assume that damage/media control is considered a high priority.  With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the identified family spokesman Hassan Shibly, is the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)  Florida – someone frequently called upon to handle high profile PR matters for CAIR. 

In regards to CAIR, The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch notes

In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR.  In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.”

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