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Refugees , immigration and terror in the U.S.

In the wake of the [2013] Kentucky case, the U.S. halted the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time, officials told ABC News in the 2013 investigation.
ABC News Report

The current debate over the admission of Syrian refugees focuses on the possibility that it will help facilitate the entry of terrorists into the U.S.

This view is based on the growing trend of Islamist immigrants in the U.S. that have been involved in terrorism in the last few years.  The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and Natural Interest reports that it has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the U.S. who have either been charged with or convicted of terrorism in the last year with even more examples going back to 2013.  From an AL.com article by Leada Gore:

Sessions said U.S. officials have no access to Syrian government data to vet refugees and no capacity to predict whether those seeking refuge are likely to join militant groups. As proof of that, the  Immigration Subcommittee, which Sessions chairs, provided a partial list of apprehended foreign-born terrorists or terror suspects since 2013:

Sessions said these incidents are just a few of those identified by his committee. They should serve as a warning against any plan for relocation of immigrants, especially those from Syria, he added.

The concerns have not been limited to the GOP.   Several days ago, 47 House Democrats broke rank and joined with Republicans, voting for a bill aimed at pausing admittance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees by adding requirements to an already lengthy screening process.   In the Senate, the Washington Post reported:

Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, warned in a statement Tuesday “we need to be very careful about Syrian refugee admissions.”

The Hill reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to not allow any more Syrians into the country “unless federal authorities can guarantee with 100 percent assurance they are not connected” to the Islamic State.

At least one Democratic was among the governors asking for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to stop until security concerns can be addressed.

UN records show a four fold increase (850,000) so far in 2015 of refugees entering Europe through the Mediterranean area compared to 2014 (216,000) with Syrians accounting for about 52% of the numbers.  From the trend, the numbers will most likely be significantly higher by the end of 2015. While the vast majority will most likely settle in Europe, U.S. allocations have been steadily increasing.

We noted last year in “Resettlement: an Islamist path to the west?,  that according to U.S. Department of State refugee statistics, in 2007 Muslim countries accounted for about 20% of U.S. refugee admissions.  In 2008 there was a marked increase, with well over 50% (35,000+) of refugee admissions coming from predominately Muslim countries.  This repeated in 2009-2013 and the  2014 allocations authorize the increased level.  For 2015, 12,000-15,000 Syrians alone, are projected for admission.

The Paris bombings raised the possibility that forged Syrian passports are being used by terrorists and this certainly brings up concerns as to the actual identify of those being processed as Syrian refugees.   Earlier this week Bloomberg reported:

A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

“There are indications that this was a planted lead, but it still can’t be ruled out that this was indeed an IS terrorist posing as a refugee,” he told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State, which France blames for organizing the violence.

Any link between France’s worst terror attack since World War II and Europe’s refugee crisis would raise the stakes for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she defends her open-door policy for asylum seekers in Germany’s debate over immigration and security.

Syrian refugee proponents are proclaiming  there has not been one terrorist act by a refugee in the United States.  When presented with the case of the Boston Bombers, these proponents counter that the Tsarnaev brothers were not really refugees.

An example of this can be found in a recent article on Reason.com that attempts to label GOP politicians as “Fearmongers”.  Ronald Bailey writes:

Note: Several commenters suggested Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who committed the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, were refugees. Strictly speaking, they were the children of asylees. As Bloomberg News explained the two were given “derivative asylum status” and didn’t come through the refugee admissions program. Apparently the legal distinction is too fine a point for some readers. So be it, but they should nevertheless keep in mind that the brothers were two people out around 1.8 million people who were granted refugee or asylee status between 1995 and 2013.

This dismissal conflicts with a recent Dailymail.com article that notes:

Six Bosnian immigrants, three from Missouri, two from Illinois and one from New York, were charged in February with sending money and military equipment to extremist groups in Syria including ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

Last year we reported on the case  of Bosnian refugee Edin Sakoc, 54, of Burlington, VT (a naturalized U.S. citizen) who was facing charges of lying to immigration authorities about his involvement in war crimes as well as bribery.

In 2013, an ABC news report detailed the 2009 discovery of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq:

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

This week, ABC reported that, “Of the 31 states that have declared their opposition to taking in Syrian refugees, one state, Kentucky, has a specific reason to be wary of the background check process.”  This caused the U.S. to  halt the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time.

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Boston: the good, the bad and the ugly

If it wasn’t for the surveillance video that showed Usaama Rahim charging JTTF members, Imam Ibrahim Rahim’s  claim that his brother was shot in the back  would have probably set off a repeat of what was seen in Ferguson and Baltimore.

As the trial and sentencing of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fades from the headlines, the shooting of suspected terrorist Usaama Rahim by Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) members, brings the city of Boston and Islamic terrorism back into the spotlight. 

The old adage of “where there’s smoke there’s fire” seems to certainly apply with Islamic related terror activities and Boston.

The good . . .

The top brass overseeing the FBI/JTTF in Boston apparently learned a very expensive lesson in the wake of the 2013 Boston bombing.   Surveillance and collection activities in regards to suspected Islamic terrorists in the Boston area must be a priority.  It takes just one major terror incident to slip by to attract all the critics and have operations placed under a microscope for review.

In a report we made in 2013, reference was made to an article by Bill Gertz of the Washington Beacon where he wrote:

Critics said the FBI’s failure to properly investigate Tsarnaev was a repeat of the bureau’s lapse in missing advance signs of the Islamist radicalization of accused Fort Hood massacre shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan.

Details about the shooting of Usaama Rahim and the Boston terror probe are still coming in, but it is obvious that the JTTF had obtained information about a potential threat  and was actively conducting surveillance of the subject.

The bad . . .

Some policy makers at the federal and local levels of government still want to embrace Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) progams such as the one promoted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) – Safe Spaces.    Such programs hamper proven counter-terror techniques, relying instead on Muslim community/mosque leaders to identify “misguided individuals” and contact the authorities when these leaders feel the threat warrants it.

The recent Boston incident provides an excellent example of why such CVE initiatives, like MPACs Safe Spaces, generally do not work:

  • Usaama Rahim’s brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim, is a leading Islamic leader in Boston and claims he was not aware of his brother’s radicalization.  The Rahim family’s attorney told reporters that the family was completely unaware of any radicalization or ties to ISIS.
  • Imam Ibrahim Rahim claimed on twitter that his brother was shot three times in the back by authorities.  This has been shown to be a fabrication based on official reports and statements by community leaders that viewed surveillance footage of the incident.

boston-tweet-shotinback

  • Another Boston Islamic community leader,  Imam Abdullah Faaruuq was quoted in the Boston Herald saying:

If they thought he was a very dangerous person, they should have taken precautions in approaching him. I would. I wouldn’t approach a wild animal or anything I thought was dangerous without being fully prepared if I wanted to capture him and keep him alive. I don’t think they wanted to keep him alive.

As was shown with Boston Bombing case, Islamic community leaders are probably not the best source of to be relied on to identify radical elements and notify authorities.   If it wasn’t for the surveillance video that showed Usaama Rahim charging JTTF members, Imam Rahim’s claim that his brother was shot in the back would have probably set off a repeat of what was seen in Ferguson and Baltimore.

 The ugly . . .

As we have noted in the past, expect an apologist and misinformation campaign by Islamists that spins the shooting into a victim-hood portrayal of Muslims.   Since Usaama Rahim was black, race will be highlighted to gain sympathy from minority communities.

In short – the facts be damned.

Reported: U.S. viewed ISIS as tool for Syrian regime change

“The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.
– The Levant Report

Earlier this month, Judical Watch announced that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State pertaining to the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  The media has focused on data showing the attack had been planned up to 10 days prior to its execution and was committed by al Qaeda and a Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR).

The Levant Report picked up on something much more significant in the released documents.   A heavily redacted  Aug 12,  2012 DOD Information Intelligence Report (IIR) indicating that Western actions/policies in the area would facilitate the formation of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”.  Specifically, the IIR reads:

THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME….

IIRs are considered raw field intelligence and meant to be compared and analyzed against other collection sources before a final distributed intelligence product.  That being said, they are still distributed as needed and this one was addressed to DOD agencies as well as the CIA, FBI, State Department and Homeland Security. The Levant Report points out, “The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

The IIR also includes:

THE GENERAL SITUATION:

A. INTERNALLY, EVENTS ARE TAKING A CLEAR SECTARIAN DIRECTION.

B. THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

In the above, AQI refers to Al Qadea in Iraq.

From the Levant Report:

The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

For a report on the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) response to the above mentioned Levant Report, CLICK HERE.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  Most references indicate that the recent Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was formed in 2013.  The combined territories covering Syria and Iraq were declared the Islamic State in June 2014.

This wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. saw a terror group as a possible asset in meeting U.S. foreign policy goals – al Qaeda’s roll in the Soviet–Afghan War is such an example.  The released documents paint a much more complicated picture than the theory ISIS is simply a result of a power vacuum created by the invasion of Iraq.

The mention of  Syrian Muslim Brotherhood involvement ties into our 2014 report on how a Senate defense bill was most likely influenced through lobbying efforts.   It would be naive to dismiss the likelihood that U.S based Syrian groups we highlighted are not coordinating with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Related reading:

VIDEO: America or Somalia – you might be surprised

Documentary producer Ami Horowitz  interviews members of the Somali community in Minneapolis and finds  support for Islamic law (Sharia) over American law and restrictions on freedom of speech.

COMMENT: The Somalis constitute a sizable ethnic group in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.   Some estimates are that 1 out of every 3 people with Somali ancestry in the U.S. live in Minnesota – a 2010 survey estimated the Somali community to be at 85,700 in the United States.  The largest growth influx  occurred as a result of refugee program efforts in response to the Somali civil war escalation in the 1990s. 

The Minneapolis area has been experiencing a number of incidents involving ISIS recruitment.  A February 2015 NPR article notes:

In the discussions at the White House this week, one city has focused minds: Minneapolis-St Paul. It had been ground zero for terrorist recruiters in the past, and is fast becoming the center of ISIS’ recruitment effort in the United States.

See this post from the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog regarding April 2015 terror arrests in the area along with information on the US government contractors involved in the refugee resettlement program.

A Canadian college and Islamic terror recruiting

“In Quebec, 11 of the 17 would-be fighters since January all went to Collège de Maisonneuve …”
– Montreal Gazzette

New report sheds light on growing number of foreign terrorist fighters

From: Montreal Gazzette
By: Catherine Solyom, May 27, 2015

A new United Nations report provides a stark assessment of the growing ranks of foreign terrorist fighters heading to the Middle East, how they are getting there and who is helping them — with obvious applications for those struggling to understand Quebec’s own vulnerability to recruitment after seven youths were believed to have travelled to ISIS territory since January, and another 10 were stopped at the airport.

There are now an estimated 25,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries — an increase of 71 per cent between mid-2014 and March 2015.

Released May 19, the report shares lessons learned in some 42 member states who provided written input, and draws on visits to 21 countries and bilateral meetings with 27 security agencies. Foreign fighters are also travelling to Afghanistan and Africa, but the surge over the last year has been to Syria and Iraq.

Numbers

“What has changed over the past three years is the scale of the problem,” the UN writes.

Out of the 25,000, the UN says six states have generated more than 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters each, 42 have generated more than 100 fighters each and a further set of countries have generated between one and 100 known cases each.

In early 2014, the Canadian government estimated that 130 people had left Canada in support of terrorism-related activities.

Full Article: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/new-report-sheds-light-on-growing-number-of-foreign-terrorist-fighters

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:   The initial UN report came out in March 2015 mentioning there were, “some 22,000 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, there were also 6,500 in Afghanistan and hundreds more in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia. ”   Troubling confirmation of news and other accounts from various western countries of their citizens joining Islamic terror and militant groups.  The full, finalized UN report can be read HERE.

In 2013 we highlighted western recruited fighters in “Taking a Jihadi Vacation“.   

The Montreal Gazzette article highlights a particular concern for those in Canada regarding a junior college in downtown Montreal:

In Quebec, 11 of the 17 would-be fighters since January all went to Collège de Maisonneuve — and several attended the Centre Assahaba run by Adil Charkaoui, including at least one of the 10 youths stopped at the airport, whose father now blames Charkoaui. Most fighters are males, 15 to 35. What is new is the significant number of minors and girls heading to Syria and Iraq.

Prior to  the UN report, in April 2015 the Toronto Star reported on two Collège de Maisonneuve students arrested on terror charges.  In February 2015,  The Globe and Mail reported on six Montreal students, four believed to have studied at Collège de Maisonneuve,  suspected of traveling to the Middle East to join ISIS.   Iman Adil Charkaoui is mentioned in both articles.

A National Post article notes:

Beginning in the late 1990s, Canadian intelligence officers opened a file on Adil Charkaoui that eventually persuaded them he was a dangerous al-Qaida sleeper agent.

But after federal prosecutors chose to withdraw their security certificate case against him in 2009 rather than disclose intelligence sources, the Moroccan immigrant slipped from public view.

Today, Charkaoui, 41, has resurfaced as an imam, and he finds himself under a different cloud.

Instead of targeting jetliners or the Montreal subway system, as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service once alleged, he is accused of poisoning the minds of young Quebecers.

Charkaoui has denied any role in radicalization and complained he is the victim of a witch-hunt.

The National Post further reports:

Charkaoui first came to the attention of CSIS when he was spotted in the company of suspected Islamic extremists in Montreal, reports filed as evidence say. Ahmed Ressam, convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, told CSIS agents that Charkaoui was present at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in 1998, the documents say. Charkaoui said he was attending Islamic schools in Pakistan at the time.

Ahmed Ressam  was convicted in 2001 for a 1999 plot to blow up the Los Angeles International Airport.  He was caught attempting to the enter the U.S. through a port in Washington state with explosives in the trunk of his rental car.  

Ressam also identified al Qaeda linked Zacarias Moussaoui as an individual he trained with in Afghanistan.  Moussaoui pled guilty to a charge of conspiring to kill citizens of the United States as part of the September 11 2001 al Qaeda terrorist attacks.

Based on past information obtained, Charkaoui should certainly be looked at, but additional activities/personnel at the junior college need to be heavily scrutinized as well.

Australian Doctor joins ISIS – in video encourages others

Dr Kamleh, who refers to himself as Abu Yusuf, urges other Muslim medical professionals to travel to IS-controlled territory and join in the Islamic State Health Service.

Australian Islamic State doctor Tareq Kamleh’s sudden change after mystery trip in 2013

From: Sydney Morning Herald
By:  Tammy Mills, Patrick Hatch and Rachel Olding, April 28, 2015

Australian jihadist doctor Tareq Kamleh morphed suddenly from a partying “playboy” doctor to a strict Muslim after a mysterious camping trip, former colleagues say.

Dr Kamleh, who up until recently was working in the health system in Perth, appeared in a propaganda video for Islamic State released this week where he spruiked its health services and asked other Muslim clinicians to join him.

But before this recent infamy, he was working as a pediatrician at a Mackay hospital in north-east Queensland and it is here that former colleagues say he underwent a seismic shift in his personality.

Known as a partying and drinking playboy who constantly cheated on his girlfriend, Dr Kamleh embraced a fundamental interpretation of the religion of his parents in a few short days in 2013, colleagues said.

FULL STORY: http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-islamic-state-doctor-tareq-kamlehs-sudden-change-after-mystery-trip-in-2013-20150427-1mui3m.html

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  This story is consistent with other reports that the Islamic State appears to be establishing a social infrastructure, something we reported in September 2014.   Earlier this week there were news reports of the first Islamic State birth certificate.

The media response to this has resulted in a variety of news stories.  One painted the doctor as a “sexual predator“.  Another interviewed a former classmate who stated the doctor was “attracted to violence”.

Dr Kamleh could be charged with a range of criminal offenses for joining/supporting a terrorist organization.  If convicted, he would face maximum sentences of between three and 25 years in prison.  He could also be imprisoned for up to 10 years for travelling to the Al-Raqqa province in Syria,   a proscribed area under the Crimes Act.   A criminal investigation has been initiated and the doctor’s home was searched

Michael Gannon, president of the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association, told the West Australian on Monday that he was “appalled” and …

It’s mind-boggling that the death cult could hold appeal for an educated man.

He’s involved in an evil, evil cult and I think he should face much greater sanction than just being told you can’t be a doctor in Australia any more.

It was reported that Dr. Kamleh had mentioned in December that he was considering joining Doctors without Borders.

 

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.”

Australia: Islamic terror plot foiled – Muslims protest

Some members of Australia’s Muslim community reacted to the arrests with a protest calling the raids, “unjust policing” …

Australian authorities have arrested at least one person on terrorism offenses and detained another 14 as police conducted more than two dozen searches in Sydney, From a report by CNN:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said authorities obtained intelligence about a “demonstration killing” — a killing, Australian media reported, in which alleged assailants planned to kidnap a member of the public, behead the victim and then drape him or her in an ISIS flag.

The foiled plot comes just days after the country raised its terror alert to high and in the midst of Australia committing to helping the United States and a broad international coalition to beat back the Islamic State, or ISIS.

According to a report from news.com.au:

While the claims remain unconfirmed, it’s understood the plot involved abducting a random Australian, execute them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, and film the act and post on social media.

Some members of Australia’s Muslim community reacted to the arrests with a protest calling the raids, “unjust policing” and linking them to anti-terror bills about to be introduced to the Australian Parliament.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  It’s very likely the initial intelligence about the terror plot weighed heavily on the decision to raise the country’s threat level several days ago.  The BBC noted that the raids were the largest anti-terror operation in Australian history.  Islamist attempts to play the victimhood card is not surprising and has become a routine tactic in response to western countries that combat Islamic terror activities.

Related articles:

RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam …” Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.”

Much of the western world is under the impression that ISIS/IS (Islamic State) is preparing  to attack western targets.  A report by  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, notes that while global attacks are part of the Islamic State’s long term strategy,  it’s current focus is on  “establishing and consolidating a state”:

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

In The Islamic State – building its infrastructure, we highlighted how witness accounts out of Raqqa, Syria indicate  an effort by the Islamic State to attract foreigners to serve as jihadis and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  These accounts seem to fit the narrative of the MEMRI report:

What supplants the struggle against the West at this stage are the duties of hijra [migration to the Islamic calipahte state] and bay’ah [pledge of allegiance to the Caliph], both of them central components in building the caliphate. In an audio message published immediately after the caliphate was declared, Al-Baghdadi said to Muslims everywhere,  including in the West: “Whoever amongst you can migrate to the Islamic State should migrate. Hijra to Dar Al-Islam is obligatory.” In his first public appearance, his Friday sermon in Mosul,  he referred to the implementation of the shari’a as “a religious obligation,” while avoiding any call to global jihad or to harming the West. Both Al-‘Adnani in the declaration of the caliphate and Al-Baghdadi in his Mosul sermon refer to the caliphate as an “obligation that has been forgotten for generations.” In this, their discourse contrasts sharply, for example, with the discourse of Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Salam Faraj, a major theorist of the Egyptian jihad movement in the 1980s, who termed jihad (rather than the establishment of a caliphate) the forgotten obligation.

The MEMRI report also notes that Al-Qaeda publications such as Inspire constantly call for terror attacks on the west and include advice/instructions on how to proceed as a “lone wolf” or in groups.  In comparison, an issue of  the Islamic State’s English publication Dabiq included,  “A life of jihad is impossible until you pack your belongings and move to the caliphate.” :

The issue also says: “Many readers are probably asking about their obligations towards the Khilafah right now. Therefore the Dabiq team wants to convey the position of the Islamic State leadership on this important matter. The first priority is to perform hijra from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying {and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha:84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic state with your parents, siblings, spouses and children. There are homes here for you and your families. You can be a major contributor towards the liberation of Makkah, Madinah, and al-Quds. Would you not like to reach Judgment Day with these grand deeds in your scales[?] Finally, if you cannot do any of the above for reasons extremely beyond your control, inshallah your intention and belief that the Islamic State is the Khilafah for all Muslims will be sufficient to save you from the warning mentioned in the hadith, ‘Whoever dies without having bound himself by a bay’ah dies a death of jahiliyya.'”

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, the MEMRI report points out:

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model. The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle ­– cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals. The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.

In other words, Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State are attempting to repeat history as described in the Quran.

Despite the emphasis on the Islamic State’s current priority in  establishing and consolidating a state, the MERI report cautions:

It should be emphasized that, although the doctrine of postponing the clash with the West is solidly entrenched, as reflected in the organization’s writings and actions, it cannot be ruled out that certain developments, such as a massive Western attack, could change the organization’s order of priorities and advance the stage of conflict with the West. The Western strategy of nipping the Islamic State in the bud may provoke counterattacks that were not planned by the organization at the outset. This places the West in a bind: inaction endangers the West in the long run, while immediate action may exact a heavy price that Al-Baghdadi did not plan to exact in the present stage.

The full report, Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State can be read HERE

 

Islamist damage control – Safe Spaces revisited

… a “Trojan horse” with a goal to negatively influence U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies operations. 

The threat posed by ISIS and recent news reports of Americans being recruited to join the jihad overseas has presented a major problem for Islamists in the United States – increased scrutiny of mosques.   Despite a successful campaign to hinder NYPD’s anti-terror efforts,  Muslim special interest groups, such as the Council on American–Islamic Relations CAIR and Muslim Public Affairs Council  (MPAC,)  are seeing ground lost as law enforcement and counter-terror agencies place their sights back on suspected mosques. 

Having American Muslims run off to be jihadis with a group that beheads  American journalists is a public relations nightmare for U.S. based Islamists.   The U.S. is the “cash cow” for Islamist fund raising – funds that frequently support terrorist activities in the Middle East.   Mosques in the U.S. are critical to the fund raising process.  They serve as venues to solicit donations, bases for regional collections, and locations for planning activities.   Undue attention is not always desirable.

This week,  MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart interviewed Salam Al-Marayati, president of  MPAC regarding  “a nationwide intervention program to prevent young American Muslims from being radicalized and joining the fight overseas.”

The referenced program is MPAC’s Safe Spaces Initiative that was introduced in April 2014, mostly in response to the Boston Bombing in 2013.  Following a quick overview of Safe Spaces,  the discussion focused on ISIS/IS (Islamic State).

The interview can be viewed HERE

We previously reported on the Safe Spaces Initiative and noted that while being pushed as an intervention program, it’s real purpose is to provide a mechanism that insulates mosques and Islamic center’s from the scrutiny of  law enforcement and counter-terror agencies.  In an article earlier this year, Mr. Al-Marayati stated:

Safe spaces are created for everyone entering our mosques to be able to have difficult conversations. People need to feel comfortable discussing politics or persecution of Muslims in places such as Palestine or Kashmir or drone attacks that harm the innocent in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.

The Safe Spaces Initiative can be tied into a several front groups for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) such as CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS).   The author of the “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” is Alejandro J. Beutel – the lead face in MPAC’s organized effort to move U.S. law enforcement towards a community oriented policing model that effectively allows the Muslim community to exercise considerable control and influence.  He was a junior fellow with the Minaret of Freedom Institute.   According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, “The Minaret of Freedom Institute [is] a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation“.

In November 2010, researcher Marylin Stern criticized  MPAC’s special report “Building Bridges” and related efforts, calling them a “Trojan horse” with a goal to negatively influence U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies operations.  Stern notes:

Like the Trojan horse of ancient Troy, MPAC provides cover for jihadists by obscuring the subversive agenda of Islamists like Maher Hathout, Salam al-Marayati, ISNA and CAIR. Upon closer examination, research supports the thesis that contrary to MPAC’s claim to uphold civil liberties, MPAC has exhibited a consistent hostility towards U.S. law enforcement to undermine effective counter-terrorism initiatives by placing themselves between the Muslim community and law enforcement.

Following the 2013 Boston Bombing, we warned that efforts such as The Safe Spaces Initiative would be initiated to protect Islamist self-interest.   It’s inevitable there will be more reports of American jihadi’s tied to mosques and law enforcement/related agencies would be foolish to embrace the “we’ll let you know since we know best” programs and ideology being pushed by MPAC.

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