German Officials Warn of New Security Risk: Local Extremists Recruiting Refugees

Islamic preacher Pierre Vogel arrives for a rally of supporters of Salafism, a fundamentalist strain of Islam, in Pforzheim, Germany, last year. PHOTO: ULI DECK/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Islamic preacher Pierre Vogel arrives for a rally of supporters of Salafism, a fundamentalist strain of Islam, in Pforzheim, Germany, last year. PHOTO: ULI DECK/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES


BERLIN—The Paris attacks have raised fears of terrorists slipping into Europe by posing as refugees. But in Germany, the top migrant destination, security officials have another worry: Local extremists will recruit the newcomers to join the Islamist cause once they arrive.

German authorities warn that migrants seeking out Arabic-language mosques in search of the familiar are increasingly ending up at those attended by Islamist radicals. In interviews, security officials from Berlin to the southwest German state of Saarland said they have registered a sharp rise in the number of asylum-seekers attending mosques they believed attracted extremists.

Federal officials said they have counted more than 100 cases in which Islamists known to them have tried to establish contact with refugees. According to state and local agencies across the country, Islamists have offered migrants rides, food, shelter and translation help. In some cases, they have invited them to soccer games and grill parties, or brought them copies of the Quran and conservative Muslim clothing.

“They start by saying, ‘We will help you live your faith,’ ” said Torsten Voss, the head of the German domestic intelligence agency’s Hamburg branch. “The Islamist area comes later—that is, of course, their goal.”

Security officials across Germany describe the potential radicalization of migrants, still entering the country by the thousands every day, as a challenge that adds to Europe’s existing security threats. With Germany expecting to take in roughly one million asylum-seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere this year, authorities are scrambling to prevent new pockets of radicalism from forming.

Intelligence services say they have no evidence of successful recruitment efforts, pointing to the risk as a long-term problem.

Many politicians and migrant advocates argue that refugees fleeing Islamic State and religious conflict generally have no interest in extremism. Still, others, including Jewish organizations, warn that many of the migrants are coming from places where radical views are common.

“Many of the refugees hail from societies in which anti-Semitism and enmity of Israel are propagated,” Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, said last week, urging that new arrivals be well-integrated and arguing that Germany’s capacity for doing so was limited.

Germany—the European Union’s most populous country—hasn’t experienced a major Islamist terror attack in recent years, though it is home to one of Europe’s largest Muslim populations. Part of the reason, security officials say, is that most of Germany’s Muslims have roots in relatively secular Turkey rather than the Arab world.

But many of the migrants arriving now are from Syria and other Arab countries and are seeking out Arabic-speaking mosques—some of which have ties to extremists, security officials say.

Berlin authorities describe the Ibrahim Al Khalil mosque, inside a ramshackle, two-story brick warehouse in an industrial section of the German capital, as a key meeting point in the city for fundamentalist and potentially militant Muslims. On Friday, many recently arrived migrants were among the several hundreds who gathered for weekly prayers.

Many of the migrants there said they were there simply out of convenience. One Syrian man, who said at least 40 people in his refugee shelter rode the subway to Al Khalil every Friday, said he had discovered it via a smartphone app listing nearby mosques.

“We come here to do our Islamic duty,” said another Syrian, 27-year-old Ali Kafri.Referring to fundamentalist movements, he added: “We don’t care if it’s a Salafi or a Muslim Brotherhood mosque.”

The chairman of the Al Khalil mosque in Berlin, Adnouf Nazir, rejected the authorities’ claim that his congregation had ties to extremism.

“We want to live in peace,” Mr. Nazir said. “It can be that some people have other thoughts, but that doesn’t mean that we are responsible for this.”

Still, a Berlin security official said the authorities were registering with alarm the rising numbers of refugees at the Al Khalil mosque, as well as two others in Berlin that are seen as meeting points for fundamentalist Muslims.

The city distributed a 16-page pamphlet to migrant-shelter workers earlier this month flagging those three mosques and alerting aid workers to the risk.

Islamists may “take advantage of the refugees’ emotional situation to influence especially young people ideologically, to build ties to them ideologically, and in the worst case to incite them to acts of violence,” the pamphlet says.

Security officials said that because fundamentalist Muslims approaching or recruiting migrants generally aren’t breaking any laws, the best they can do is to keep a close watch on extremist networks and to ask workers at shelters to be on the lookout.

Many of the groups identified by security officials as fundamentalist say they have only religious and humanitarian motives in helping refugees.

Despite evidence that at least two Paris attackers entered Europe by blending in with the flood of refugees arriving on Greece’s shores, security officials played down the possibility of Islamic State fighters traveling along the well-trodden migrant route and into Germany. They argued that radicalized EU citizens could enter more easily through an airport.

“If I’m planning an attack on Europe, I would choose the more secure and simpler path,” said Helmut Albert, the top domestic intelligence official in the state of Saarland. “I would find people from Western Europe with clean papers who are probably not known to the security agencies. I would train them, and I would send them to conduct the attack.”

In Saarland, on the French border, intelligence officials have long had an eye on several mosques they say attract followers of the fundamentalist Islamic strain known as Salafism. Officials noticed in early September that newly arrived migrants were increasingly frequenting those mosques, Mr. Albert said.

Mr. Albert said that migrants now attend Friday prayers at those places of worship in numbers ranging from 50 to 200 per mosque—sometimes accounting for half the faithful in attendance. The migrants appeared to be going to those mosques simply to hear sermons in Arabic and talk to Arabic-speaking locals, he said. But in the long run, he said he worried they might become susceptible to the more fundamentalist ideology of other worshipers.

“We’re watching to see whether, over time, the refugees start going there not only because the sermons are in Arabic but because they’ve joined the movement,” Mr. Albert said in an interview.

The wave of migration is exacerbating a problem that has vexed German security officials for years: how to deal with fundamentalist Muslim preachers who they suspect play a role in radicalizing youths but don’t appear to be breaking laws in doing so.

One of the most prominent of such preachers, a German convert to Islam named Pierre Vogel, published a how-to guide on Facebook in September on reaching out to migrants to help them in their worship, though it makes no suggestion of drawing them into extremism. The Salafist preacher urged his followers to bring gifts and a compass to help Muslim asylum-seekers pray in the direction of Mecca.

The human tide coming to Germany has created an opportunity for good deeds—known in Islamic tradition as hasanat—that would be rewarded after death, he said in a video posted online.

“We have the gold rush, like in America in the time of gold when one found the gold mines,” Mr. Vogel said in the video. “One can now get gold mines of hasanat.” Mr. Vogel, who has said he rejects violence in the name of Islam, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Some 70% of the migrants arriving in Germany are believed to be Muslims, according to a spokeswoman for the federal domestic intelligence service. A top German expert on Islamic radicalization, Claudia Dantschke, said she was increasingly getting queries from local officials on which mosques to recommend to migrants and which ones to avoid.

“These people don’t arrive here ready to be radicalized,” said Ms. Dantschke, who runs a counseling program for radicalized Muslims. She added that refugees needed to be quickly given a chance to integrate into German society. “We are responsible as to whether or not they ever become open to radicalization.”


WhittleRight Scoop, by soopermexican, Nov. 21, 2015:

Conservative Bill Whittle produces some of the best political commentary in his “Afterburner” video series and this latest one is no exception. In this one he explains how liberal policies help create the circumstances that lead to more terror attacks from Islamic extremists on the West.

Watch below:

This kind of analysis is very important because so many people see these attacks and wonder why they’re happening and they have absolutely no understanding of the history that lead to them because the media doesn’t show the true causes. Instead they tell us that global warming is causing the extremism…

Radicalization: Social Media And The Rise of Terrorism

online-radicalizationMEMRI, by Alberto M. Fernandez, Oct. 28, 2015:

On October 28, 2015, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subcommittee on National Security held a hearing titled “Radicalization: Social Media and the Rise of Terrorism.” The background given by the subcommittee for the hearing, which it said aimed to “address the scope of radicalization, and assess what steps can be taken in order to mitigate the rise of terror via social media,” read: “In recent years, terrorist organizations have attempted to control their image, attract new recruits, and inspire ‘lone wolf’ attacks through the use of social media, including disseminating images of graphic violence. Terrorists’ use of social media is resonating with vulnerable populations. Media platforms like Twitter are used to spread their message and enable supporters to find one another. Recent estimates indicate that 30,000 foreign fighters, including at least 250 Americans, have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight with extremist groups, including ISIS. Federal and state governments, as well as communities have begun to take action to mitigate the threat of terrorist propaganda on social media. However, they have experienced multiple challenges in combating such a wide and pervasive threat.”

The following is the written testimony given by MEMRI Vice President Alberto M. Fernandez at the hearing:

“Written Testimony By The Honorable Alberto M. Fernandez

“It is an honor to have been asked to address this Committee. For most of my 32 year career as a Public Diplomacy Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving mostly in the Middle East and the Muslim world, the great and continuing challenges presented by the juxtaposition of the power of media, radicalization, and political violence have been most salient in much of my work.

“As Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), I am fortunate to have joined an independent institution which has for almost 20 years been in the forefront of documenting and analyzing political, social and intellectual currents in the Middle East, including the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hizbullah and their use of media, and especially social media, for propaganda purposes. MEMRI continues to meticulously document the latest twists and turns of the extremist narrative, bridging the language gap for Western audiences with translated primary material in Arabic, Turkish, Farsi and other languages.

“Radicalization and terrorism is nothing new in the world. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, influential individuals such as the anarchist leader Mikhail Bakunin popularized the concept of the ‘propaganda of the deed,’ that the best way to demonstrate the importance and power of a political idea was to show it by concrete action, preferably by violent action. ‘We must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda,’ Bakunin wrote in 1870.

“As scholarly studies such as the 2013 Rand Europe report on radicalization in the West have shown, social media alone is not the creator or reason for radicalization but merely a very powerful and effective accelerant. Social media takes concepts and actions already present in the real world and rapidly disseminates it to a willing and receptive audience. It is a powerful idea which seemingly has real effect in the actual world and which can then be dynamite in the virtual world.

“It is the narrative that gives power. This has certainly been the case throughout history when people have been motivated by great causes, many of them political or religious, some of them truly evil, to give all they had in the fulfillment of goals that to us clearly seem odious. When we think of something like Leni Reifenstahl’s repulsive yet compelling 1935 documentary ‘The Triumph of the Will, ‘ we are conscious of the technical quality, of the power of images, AND of an ideological worldview that for millions of Germans at a particular time and place seemed particularly potent and seductive. Reifenstahl’s skill added to the power of the message but it was the message itself that was the wellspring of that evil. So it is with social media today, which makes certain messages in certain spaces appealing to specific audiences easy to see and seemingly difficult to remove.

“While the narrative of some terrorist groups are tied to a specific political narrative such as Hamas or Hizbullah, both albeit with a strong Islamist component, there are few narratives as ambitious and as aggressive as that of the Islamic State. This is a complete package which includes a strong ideological component deeply rooted in a specific Salafi Jihadist reading of the period of formative Islam, a political project which is seemingly a going concern, and a 21st century appeal to substantive and consequential participation aimed at youth searching for purpose and identity in a seemingly aimless, empty and hedonistic world.

“Indeed, one can marvel at the fact that so few have been motivated to join up with the mesmerizing siren call of this revolutionary vanguard offering purpose, violence, sex, the end of the world, and fulfillment in the path of God rather than so many. Despite the relatively small numerical appeal of ISIS within the context of the number of Muslims worldwide, its impact has been tremendous when coupled with that toxic accelerant which is social media.

“So we have a message that is difficult for governments, both in the East and the West, to counter directly. And you have an on the ground political reality, in Libya, in Nigeria, and especially in the ISIS heartland in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq, that gives the propaganda the necessary mooring it needs in the real world. What are the logical steps to be taken in confronting this uniquely potent propaganda challenge?

“Obviously, changing the political reality on the ground is one sure way of rapidly reducing the impact of the propaganda. The shiny, soaring, scary object that was ‘Triumph of the Will’ had tremendous appeal in its heyday of the mid-30s; it had less so in the rubble of German cities in 1944-45. The gap between the propaganda and the reality was too wide to be breached by celluloid. An ISIS Caliphate who predicates that it will conquer Constantinople, Rome and America ‘by the permission of God,’ is unmasked if it cannot hold Tel Abyad or Raqqa or Mosul.

“But given the difficult political-military reality and the difficulty in identifying on the ground alternatives to the Islamic State, what are practical steps which can be taken now to mitigate the appeal of the Islamic State and to at least try to put a blanket on that accelerant which is social media?

“On a strategic level, governments must identify ways to combat the basic pillars of Jihadist Salafism which is the breeding ground from where this ISIS pathology emerges. It is important to point out that this worldview does not emerge fully formed, Athena-like, out of nothing but has been promoted by countries like Saudi Arabia – whether officially or unofficially – for decades. Salafism, not all of which is pernicious, has for decades had the cash, the patronage, the protection and the push that other trends and worldviews within Islam have lacked.

“But much of the activity in this Salafi sphere does frankly promote a worldview which is very conducive to radicalization, material that is extremely intolerant, antisemitic, anti-Christian, and anti-all sorts of Muslims such as Shias or Sufis or others found insufficiently ‘Islamic’ by this worldview. Once the strategic decision is taken that a key part of the problem is Jihadist Salafism, this can be tackled in a variety of ways.  Some of the best ways to counter this may be through quiet and frank conversation by our diplomats behind the scenes with local interlocutors but this is still something than needs to be prioritized and done.

“On the tactical level, there are a series of practical steps that need to be taken to begin to reverse the head start the extremists have built up over the past few years. We need to recognize that while social media propaganda is not super-expensive, we in the West have treated it with far less urgency and importance than have our adversaries. ISIS is prolific, working 24/7, tailoring its approach to the individual and nationality it is seeking to influence. The budget over a three year period of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), for example, which I headed for three years, equaled cumulatively the cost of just one Reaper drone. It accomplished some good things with small amounts of money but was always outnumbered and outgunned in the very specific space we are talking about. We need to fund a media counteroffensive appropriately. We don’t need to break the bank to fight this adversary in social media but we do need to spend somewhat more than we have and spend more wisely.

“In the highly charged narrow space we are talking about, the good guys are heavily outnumbered. ISIS and its supporters are trolling and messaging 24/7 in large numbers. You need a network to fight a network. The way to address this is to both increase the number of anti-ISIS messengers and to make it more difficult for extremists to communicate freely, while recognizing that you will never be able to remove everyone and that the extremists’ message needs to be actually confronted. An August 2015 MEMRI report minutely documented how an ISIS hashtag campaign was ‘hijacked’ by anti-ISIS twitter trolls. The hashtag #WeAllGive BayahToKhalifah was massively interrupted with over 50% anti-ISIS material including all sorts of mockery and even a lot of explicit sexual content within 24 hours. This hijacking limited the reach of the ISIS media campaign, caused ISIS supporters to abandon the hashtag and is something that was not happening a year ago at the height of the ISIS media offensive after the declaration of the Caliphate.

“Secondly, you need content. ISIS messaging is MOSTLY about a Utopian, grievance-laden version of Jihadist Salafism, but it is presented in a wide range of tailored ways, many of these approaches are not particularly violence filled. There has been some incremental progress in this field but not enough. A sarcastic approach on Twitter such as ISIS Karaoke is an interesting small-scale effort but this is not enough. Another recent effort comes from Japan where #ISISchan uses the imagery and language of anime to push the revolutionary concept that ‘knives are for cutting melons,’ not heads. There are a number of reformers, liberals and secularists throughout the Muslim world who have been fighting the good fight against extremists, on their own for years even before the rise of ISIS. Maximizing the stories and visuals of the steady stream of individuals disillusioned with the Islamic State is another resource that counterterrorism communicators are aware of but that is still being used too little. There also needs to be some sort of organized ‘off-ramp’ in Western countries where returnees or convicted, repentant supporters can look directly into a camera, like ISIS supporters often do, and relate in their own words how they were wrong.

“Much work can also be done in highlighting the voices and stories of Sunni Arab Muslim victims of ISIS violence. The stories of the massacres of the Syrian Shaitat tribe or of the hundreds of Iraqi Anbar province Sunni tribesmen or clerics are yet to be told in the words of those who knew them. There are people today in Syrian refugee camps, on the road to Europe as refugees, or being held as prisoners by friendly governments that can make a more compelling case than we can directly on why joining ISIS is a really bad idea and underscore a basic criticism of ISIS that actually has power, which is that most of its victims are the very Sunni Muslim population it claims to represent. It is also pertinent to mention the heroic work of citizen journalist collectives such as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and Mosul Eye, reporting bravely from deep inside ISIS-controlled territory.

“Deepening understanding among at risk populations about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen in the West is still another needed element. It has been a while since I was in school but we generally seemed to do a good job in the United States in inculcating civic values about what it means to be an American to our children. That is not the case elsewhere. I recently spoke to a Northern European citizen who lamented that his country did a poor job in promoting love of country among its immigrant population. The symbols and stories of the nation-state had, because of a fear of extreme nationalism which has existed in Europe in the past, been surrendered and instead of promoting loyalty, pride and inclusion all too often governments promoted nothing, allowing a vacuum to exist which will be filled by others. As Bob Dylan once said, ‘you’ve got to serve somebody,’ and if you can’t serve and be proud of the country you are in, you may go and try to find that with someone else.

“More can also be done to digitally empower leaders and opinion-makers in at-risk communities (both domestically and overseas) to be able to fund and support their own private, individualized approaches to counterterrorism messaging. This will not all look the same or necessarily say the things we would say, but that is alright as long as there is activity constant over time against those who would radicalize the innocent and lead them to violent extremism. An individualized, handmade approach to counter-radicalization can have power by the very nature of its authenticity and independent nature. The very fact that such an approach doesn’t sound or look like what the State Department spokesman would say gives it more, rather than less, credibility.

“Radicalization through social media is often not the mass consumption of snuff videos but rather the direction, intimate interaction between individuals who form a bond through cyberspace. There is a role for vetted members of civil society in helping out in a very powerful, unique and individualized way to intervene against these extremist interactions.

“Finally, we need to recognize that just like extremists have flourished in the ungoverned corners of the world on the ground – Waziristan, Somalia, Northern Mali, parts of Yemen, the chaos of Syria and Iraq – they have also taken advantage of the mostly ungoverned space existing in social media, in space provided by mostly American social media companies. Not all companies are the same and there has been real progress made, for example, by Facebook in protecting its space from ISIS supporters. Others have done less well, with YouTube and especially Twitter being far too open to the incitement and provocation of explicitly labelled propaganda by Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) which should have no place in social media. Both those companies are trying to do better, but they should do more to police the space they control and ensure protection from misuse by FTOs and supporters in what often is abuse of the terms of service of the companies themselves.

” And there are still other online hosts, such as the San Francisco-based Internet Archive founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996, which is frequently used by Jihadists as a safe harbor for their material. Surely there has to be a better way to safeguard freedom of expression, preserve online archives, and protect the public from terrorist propaganda. A bright light needs to be shined on the work of companies so that there should at the very least be an informed and rational discussion of the challenges that democratic open societies face in dealing with the propaganda of violent radicals.

“The political pathologies of the Middle East have very deep roots going back centuries which can be addressed and mitigated by Western governments but in the end cannot be solved by them. While the heavy military and political lifting can best be done by governments in the region, many of whom have a longstanding and productive relationship with the United States, there are a series of commonsense, relatively low cost steps that the U.S. government alone, and in partnership with friendly governments, with civil society, and with social media companies can, and should, take to, at the very least, make the work of these terrorists seeking to radicalize the unwary more difficult. As impressive as ISIS propaganda is, the impact has all too often been not because it was so great but because there were little or no countermeasures taken by its opponents.”


Here is the video of the entire hearing:


The Real Power of ISIS

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Daily Beast, by Scott Atran, Oct. 25, 2015:

The West has failed utterly to understand the appeal of the ISIS narrative, much less to develop effective counter narratives.
As U.S. troops and their allies stage commando raids to rescue prisoners slated for slaughter by the so-called Islamic State, and the Russians mount bombing raids to bolster the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it’s easy amid the kinetics to lose sight of a central and potentially determining fact about the fight against ISIS (or ISIL, or Daesh): This is, fundamentally, a war of ideas that the West has virtually no idea how to wage, and that is a major reason anti-ISIS policies have been such abysmal failures.

It’s not as if the core approach of ISIS is a mystery. Required reading for the emirs of the Islamic State is Abu Bakr Baji’s The Management of Savagery, a detailed manifesto, published a decade ago, looking at the West’s debilities and the potential strengths of a rising, ruthless caliphate. One typical maxim: “Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly.” That is, suck U.S. troops into the fight.

In the meantime ISIS is reaching out, especially in Africa but also in Central Asia and wherever a state of “chaos” or “savagery” (at-tawahoush) exists, to fill the void. It is establishing its caliphate as a global archipelago where “volcanoes of jihad” erupt, so that it may survive even if its current core base between the Euphrates River in Syria (Raqqa) and the Tigris in Iraq (Mosul) is seriously degraded. Libya is a prime target as the gateway to a continent in chaos, where ISIS is investing heavily. Over 700 Saudi fighters have gone there in recent months, according to evidence Saudi leaders presented to me in August.

Current “counter narratives” aren’t in the least appealing or successful, whether in attracting or deterring ISIS supporters and recruits. They are mostly negative and they lecture at young people rather than dialoguing with them. As one former ISIS imam told me and my colleagues: The young who came to us were not to be lectured at like witless children; they are for the most part understanding and compassionate, but misguided.

In contrast with, say, the off-target tweets of the U.S. State Department’s “Think Again Turn Away” campaign, the Islamic State may spend hundreds of hours trying to enlist single individuals, to learn how their personal frustrations and grievances can fit into a universal theme of persecution against all Muslims, and thus translate anger and frustration into moral outrage.

Current counter-radicalization approaches lack the mainly positive, empowering appeal and sweep of the Islamic State’s story of the world, while at the same time lacking the personalized and intimate approach to individuals.

Any serious engagement must be attuned to individuals and their networks, not to mass marketing of repetitive messages. Young people empathize with each other; they generally don’t lecture at one another. From Syria, one young woman messages another:

“I know how hard it is to leave behind the mother and father you love, and not tell them until you are here, that you will always love them but that you were put on this earth to do more than be with or honor your parents. I know this will probably be the hardest thing you may ever have to do, but let me help you explain it to yourself and to them.”

According to people I spoke with at the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, the government has exactly one person in the field dealing on a personal level with these issues for the country, and the FBI is doing its best to “get out of the messy business of engagement for prevention” and just stick to criminal investigation. “No one wants to own any of this,” one woman from the NCTC told us.

Without universal appeal, and quality individual time, little progress can be made beyond what’s achievable by force of arms. Appeals to “moderation” (wasattiyah) fall flat on restless and often idealistic youths seeking adventure, glory and significance. “Brainwashing” and “nihilism” are vapid notions most often adopted by those (especially politicians and parents) who simply do not want to face the problem, or are in denial, about the multifaceted appeal of ISIS to yearning young people who want to be rebels with a cause, to stick it to the man — who want, as they see it, to defend the oppressed.

Grass-roots approaches are not sufficient. The opponents of ISIS can exhibit local success (UNOY Peacebuilders has had remarkable results in this regard)  but this will not challenge the broad appeal of the Islamic State that attracts young people from nearly 90 nations and every walk of life.

What is needed is a platform where the lessons of local successes can be shared with government, and ideas allowed to bubble up from young people to those who can help refine and realize them. To date no such platform exists. Young people with good ideas have no really good institutional channels to develop them: naive demands such as “governments must do this or that” are dismissed out of hand by people in government who have to deal with real-world constraints on power and its exercise.

There are striking historical parallels with the rise of ISIS. The French Revolution suffered through internal factionalism and fighting, “the Terror” was introduced as a political tactic, the realms of the revolution were invaded by a fractious coalition of outside powers, yet the revolution survived, transformed, and emerged as the Empire. The failure and aftermath of the 1848 revolutions that swept Europe is somewhat suggestive of what happened with the Arab Spring, when participatory democracy had not yet sufficiently developed the underlying values and institutions—free press, independent judiciary, tolerance of minorities, etc.—needed to make popular choice and elections more than a tyranny of the majority.

The rise of al-Qaeda in the late 20th century is reminiscent of the rise of anarchism in the late 19th century. The present dwindling of AQ relative to Daesh is similar to the co-opting and near annihilation of the anarchists by the Bolsheviks, who knew much better how to manage a shared political ambition through military and territorial administration. And there are lessons to be learned from the experience of the Nazis as well: The National Socialist movement had genuine appeal as it asked for self-sacrifice in a glorious mission of radical, world historical change that rejects all prior international norms governing the relations between peoples and nations.

George Orwell, in his review of Mein Kampf in 1940, descried the essence of the problem:

“Mr. Hitler has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. Hitler knows… that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice.”

In a similar vein, the Arab Sunni radical revivalist trend, of which ISIS is now the spearhead, is a dynamic, revolutionary countercultural movement of world historic proportions, and simply treating it as a form of “terrorism” or “violent extremism,” or convincing oneself that refusing to call it by its own name can somehow de-legitimize it, is to my mind delusional and therefore only adds to the danger.

ISIS is not directed, controlled or contained by the institutions and power arrangements of the prevailing nation-state system, which was the case with the fascist movement, the communist movement before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and for that matter the Iran-dominated Shia awakening. So it has not been well understood, much less coherently dealt with, by our own academics and policymakers, whose views of history do not fathom, or wish to fathom, the moral seriousness, depth, and often compelling alternate view of history that ISIS presents.

The ISIS narrative is rooted in the reality of Muslim dominance of middle Eurasia until the European industrial revolution, and rejection of the Western world order imposed after the Ottoman collapse—an order that has failed the region in all its tried and various forms, whether nationalist authoritarianism, socialism, fascism, communism, democratic liberalism, or constitutional monarchy.

Finally, there is a disheartening dynamic between the rise of radical Islamism and the revival of the xenophobic ethno-nationalist movements that are beginning to undermine seriously the middle class—the mainstay of stability and democracy—in Europe in ways reminiscent of the hatchet job that the communists and fascists did on European democracy in the 1920s and ’30s.

The fact that Europe’s reproductive rate is 1.4 children per couple and so needs considerable immigration to maintain a productive workforce that can sustain the middle-class standard of living—at a time where there has never been less tolerance for immigration, and which is another situation of chaos that ISIS is well-positioned to exploit—is not a happy development.

Managed savagery, it would seem, is winning out over ease, security, and avoidance of pain.




Breitbart, by Oliver Lane, Oct. 15, 2015:

Research in the European microcosm nation of Denmark has found three-quarters of Muslims in the country register on an important measure for radicalisation – more now than a decade ago.

Whereas 10 years ago Muslims in Denmark could have been considered to be comparatively moderate, today a poll by newspaper Jyllands-Posten finds attitudes have hardened – and the younger the Muslim, the more likely they are to hold hard-line views.

In a series of polls released by the paper over the course of this week, it has been revealed that Muslims are now more likely to take the word of the Quran literally, and that the teaching of the Islamic holy book should be implemented directly. In 2006 the number of people who agreed with the statement “the Quran’s instructions should be followed completely” was 62 per cent – today it has grown to 77 per cent; a strong majority.

While many have argued that the more violent verses of the Quran, which includes commandments to slay the enemies of the religion, have been taken out of context and are not to be interpreted literally, the view of three quarters of Muslims living in Denmark seems to contradict this view.

As well as taking the faith more literally, Muslims in Denmark also practice it with greater devotion, with more than half now praying at least five times a day, and a similar proportion rejecting the notions of any form of modernisation or reformation.

Jyllands-Posten reports this attitude towards a possible Islamic reformation came as a great disappointment to the small, elite group of Muslims that exist within the fashionable and powerful neighbourhoods of Copenhagen, such as Conservative member of parliament Naser Khader, who campaigns for such a reformation.

The paper reports the comments of one left-wing campaigner of Syrian Muslim heritage, who said in response to the poll’s findings that the fact Danish Muslims weren’t on board with their modernising mission was because the message had been mis-worded, and a rebranding of the concept of reformation would bring them up to date and in line with her metropolitan ideals. Contradicting this conceit, the paper also printed the remarks of Imam Fatih Alev of the Danish Islamic Centre, who said: “You can not change what is in the Quran and what the prophet has told us we need to do. Then you are not a Muslim any-more”.

On integration, attitudes towards the children of Muslim families marrying non-Muslims in Denmark varied. While a minority supported the idea of a daughter marrying someone outside the faith, a remarkable 74 per cent said they would be happy for a son to marry a non-Muslim.

This may be less surprising considering the literal interpretation of the Quran now enjoyed by the majority of Muslims in Denmark allows for polygamy, and for some wives to be treated less kindly than others.

Sociologist Brian Arly Jacobsen of the University of Copenhagen expressed surprise at the finding.

He told the paper: “It seems that Danish Muslims have become more religious in all dimensions, both in terms of faith and practice. Generally, we would expect that the opposite would happen, and that they would eventually come to resemble the rest of the Danes, who are not particularly religious activity”.

He said the opening of 30 new mosques in the past decade was likely the main cause of the radicalisation, a key warning to other European nations presently planning to allow the construction of mosques to serve their own booming Muslim populations. Perhaps most telling of all are the comments of Free Press Society chairman Katrine Winkel Holm, who said of the findings that they were a sign of Islamist forces within Denmark “unfolding at full speed”.

That Danish Muslims are now more hardline today than they were ten years ago should concern freedom of the press campaigners in the nation. It was back in 2005, a mere decade ago that cartoonists working with the Jyllands-Posten were threatened with execution, and massive protests spread from the nation worldwide after the paper published depictions of Mohammed.

The news reflects a trend also observed in Britain. In 2007 it was revealed that a staggering 36 per cent of young Muslims believe the act of leaving Islam deserves death.

Inside Jihad


Frontpage, by Danusha V. Goska, August 24, 2015:

Here’s my four-sentence review of Dr. Tawfik Hamid’s new book Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works; Why It Should Terrify Us; How to Defeat It. Buy this book. Read this book. Refer to this book. Share this book.

I’ve read and reviewed counter-jihad classics by bestselling experts including Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Wafa Sultan, Brigitte Gabriel, Mosab Hassan Yousef, and Phyllis Chesler. I think highly of each. This is how good Inside Jihad is. If someone said to me, “I want to read just one book about jihad.” I’d give that reader Dr. Hamid’s book.

Inside Jihad is brief. Hamid’s style is direct and fast-paced. He says what he needs to say without sensationalism, emotionality, literary ambition, or apologies. He pulls no punches.

Tawfik Hamid was born and raised in Egypt, the most populous Middle Eastern country. He was raised Muslim. Hamid’s mother was a teacher; his father, a surgeon and a private atheist who taught him to respect Christians and Jews. The family observed the Ramadan fast but had little other religious observance. Arabic is his first language and he has studied the Koran in the original Arabic. From 1979-82, he was a member of Jamaa Islamiya, a terrorist group. He met Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al-Qaeda.

Hamid grew up under Gamal Abdel Nasser’s pan-Arab socialism. Nasser wanted to modernize Egypt. He suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, executed one of its leaders, Sayyid Qutb, and curtailed travel to and from Saudi Arabia, fearing Wahhabi influence.

The 1973 Oil Embargo sparked a revival of Islam. Muslims concluded that Allah rewarded Saudi Arabia for the Saudis’ strict religious observance. Allah’s reward was the Saudi ability to humble the United States.

Islamization in Egypt “started mildly enough.” Hamid warns the reader to pay careful attention to slow Islamization. He says that the same methods that were used in Egypt are now being used in the West. “The more we surrender” he warns “the more Islamists will demand.”

The camel’s nose under the tent was something few could object to: individual prayer. Previously, if an employee interrupted his workday to perform one of Islam’s mandated five daily prayers, it was perceived as bizarre. Now it was admirable.

Another straw in the wind: the hijab. In school photos taken before the 1970s, many Egyptian girls are without hijab. After America’s humbling in the oil shock, more and more girls began to wear hijab. Men stopped wearing gold wedding bands; gold was deemed “un Islamic” for men. More toxic Islamizations, including Jew-hatred, followed. Imams preached that Jews are monkeys and pigs and that they poisoned Mohammed.

Islamization on campus also began in an innocuous way: Islamists used the moments before class began to talk about Islam. One day, the Christian professor of one class said that it was time for discussion of Islam to stop and the academic hour to begin. The Islamists called the professor an infidel and broke his arm. “The Christian students were terrified,” Hamid reports.

“I remember the first time I looked at a Christian with disdain,” Hamid reminisces. He was reading a required textbook. The book told him that Mohammed said, “I have been instructed by Allah to declare war and fight all mankind until they say ‘No God except Allah and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.'” Hamid, who had previously had Christian friends, turned to a Christian student and said, “If we applied Islam correctly, we should be doing this to you.”

Jamaa Islamiya actively recruited medical students like Hamid. It took six months for Hamid to become “sufficiently indoctrinated.”

Hamid details several lures that recruiters used to bring young people into their movement:

  • fear of hell,
  • a demonization of critical thinking,
  • a sense of superiority over non-Muslims,
  • suppression of any emotional life outside of Islamism,
  • suppression of sexual expression,
  • a promise of sex for jihadis,
  • and upholding of Mohammed as the perfect example, beyond criticism.

Author Don Richardson estimates that one in eight verses in the Koran mentions Hell. By contrast, the Old Testament mentions Hell once in every 774 verses, and it is never described as graphically as it is described in the Koran. Hamid quotes Islamists using many Koranic passages that vividly describe Hell to terrorize potential members: “garments of fire shall be cut out for them … burning water will be poured over their heads causing all that is within their bodies as well as the skins to melt away … they shall be held by iron grips; and every time they try in their anguish to come out of it, they shall be returned and told ‘Taste suffering through fire to the full!'” Infidels in Hell will eat thorns and drink scalding water as if they were “female camels raging with thirst and disease.” Their intestines will be cut to pieces.

Another method used to Islamize recruits was “al-fikr kufr” – “one becomes an infidel by thinking critically.”

Recruiters flattered recruits, telling them that they were superior to non-Muslims. “Take not Jews and Christians for friends,” they quoted from Koran 5:51. Jews are monkeys and pigs: Koran 5:60. Those who worship Jesus are infidels: Koran 5:17. Do not offer the greeting “As-salamu alaykum,” or “peace be with you,” to Christians or Jews; whenever you meet Christians or Jews in a road, force them to its narrowest alley: Sahih Muslim. Muslims who did not carry out jihad were also inferior.

Terror recruits’ emotional outlets were cut off. They were forbidden from creating or consuming music, dance, or visual art. They were discouraged from having sex, but lured with promises of great sex in paradise. The houris – dark-eyed virgins – are graphically described in Muslim literature as very soft, without complaint, and easily satisfied. Houris regain their virginity immediately after sex. Men are promised organs that never go limp. Mohammed, recruits were assured, could have sex with eleven women in an hour.

Finally, the example of Mohammed himself was not to be questioned. Mohammed married a six-year-old. He raped war captives, in one case immediately after decapitating the captive’s brother and father and after she had witnessed her mother being carried off also to be raped. Mohammed approved of the dismemberment of Um Kerfa, a poetess who criticized him. Mohammed is the “perfect example, worthy of emulation.” Muslims today must unquestioningly approve these behaviors.

Hamid’s fellow extremists were aware that Muslim countries were no longer in the cultural forefront. Islam had spread as far as Spain and India in only the first century after Mohammed’s death. Terror recruits believed that early Islam’s success was caused by strict adherence to Islamic doctrine. They believed that their strict observance could bring back Islam’s early dominance.

Some wonder how women could be recruited into a movement that keeps them in an inferior position in relation to men. Hamid clarifies: Muslimahs were told that they would be superior – to infidel women.

Hamid expounds uncompromisingly on the power and importance of hijab. He insists that when prominent Westerners such as Nancy Pelosi and Laura Bush travel to Muslim countries and wear hijab, they are making a grave error. Hijab is not “a neutral, or merely traditional, fashion statement.” Hijab’s purpose “is not modesty or to encourage observers to focus on a Muslim woman’s personality.” Hijab exists to proclaim “deep Islamic doctrinal connections to slavery and discrimination. Western women who cover themselves are unwittingly endorsing an inhumane system.” Hijab’s purpose, Hamid argues persuasively, is to create a society where superior free Muslimahs are visually distinct from inferior infidel slave women.

Islamists “despise women who did not wear hijab. We considered them vain … we believed they would burn in Hell.” Further, “the hijab serves to differentiate between slave girls and women who are considered free … it creates a feeling of superiority among the women who wear it.” The Koran promises that women who wear hijab will not be “molested.” Women without hijab are slaves and can be raped without guilt.

Australia’s foremost Muslim cleric restated this Islamist position in 2006. In Sydney, fourteen Muslim men gang-raped non-Muslim women. Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali said that it was the victims’ fault. “If you take out uncovered meat” and cats eat it, the cats are not to blame. Women possess “igraa,” “the weapon of enticement.”

Hamid emphasizes that hijab is both vanguard and emblem of Islamic supremacy. During their 1953 meeting, the first thing Sayyid Qutb asked Nasser to do was to force women to wear hijab. A YouTube video documents this conversation. In the video, Nasser is speaking to a large assembly. When he repeats Qutb’s demand, the crowd laughs. One wag shouts out, “Let him wear it!” Nasser points out that Qutb’s own daughter does not wear hijab. The crowd laughs even more, and bursts into applause. This video is at least fifty years old. It is a reminder that fifty years ago, countries like Egypt and Iran were modernizing. Women, in cities at least, could be seen in public in miniskirts and without hijab.

Hamid reports that the Muslim Brotherhood does not announce its end goal openly. “They pose as peacemakers … The Muslim Brotherhood will accept circumstances that offend their beliefs – temporarily – if doing so will advance their goals.” They will – temporarily – permit western dress for women and alcohol consumption. This is all part of taqiyya. The Muslim Brotherhood has a four stage plan: at first, merely preach. Then, move on to participation in public life. Next, consolidate power “while faking legitimacy.” Finally, enforce sharia.

A few turning points turned Hamid away from Islamism, for example, when a fellow terror recruit described his plot to bury alive an Egyptian police officer.

Hamid had been studying the Bible so that he could better debate Christians. Jesus’ words haunted him. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He asked himself, what profit to Islam if it subjugated the entire world but lost its soul? “Exposure to the Bible was crucial in helping me question the violent aspects of Salafist teaching.”

His medical studies also gave him pause. “I wondered if the divine DNA molecule was violent. Did it attempt to conquer the rest of the cell? Did it try to force other cellular components to behave like itself? It did not. Rather, it worked harmoniously within an organism to create and sustain life.”

The clincher for Hamid was “the existence of alternative forms of Islamic teaching.” Hamid met Muslims called “Quranics,” who reject the hadiths. The Quranics “stood against killing apostates, against stoning women for adultery, against killing gays. They viewed the Islamic Conquests as immoral and senseless.” The Quranics “allowed me to think critically.” “If this alternative sect had not been available, it would have been much more difficult for me to resist jihadism.”

Read more

‘Sandboxing’ Islam: How to Protect America from Jihad Terrorism

image8 (1)Jihad Watch, AUGUST 21, 2015, BY

Enforcing the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) can give us the legal and tactical edge in countering the threat from Islamic supremacism.


It should be obvious for anyone with eyes to see that Islam — its scriptures, the example of Muhammad, its doctrines, and its overall ideology — is behind the spread of most terrorism and unrest in the world today. 

From the Islamic State (ISIS), Boko Haram, al-Nusra and al-Shabaab, to slightly older groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Muslim Brotherhood, to lesser known jihadi organizations throughout Central Asia, India, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim, and China, a survey of terrorist attacks reveals Muslim involvement throughout the entire world.

Here in the United States, we are seeing a dramatic rise in Muslim “lone wolf” jihad terrorist attacks (and, as some have described them, known wolves”). Further, from all points of the compass, we are seeing literally tens of thousands of Muslims flocking to the Middle East to join the Islamic State caliphate and support the jihad with their very lives. 

The scenario gets worse. Some analysts argue that we are seriously underestimating the numbers of Western Muslims joining the Islamic State. 

Here at home, we have a “full blown insurgency.” The FBI has already arrested seventy IS-inspired Muslim terrorists, and has active investigations of IS-inspired jihad plots in all 56 of its field offices. NewsMax reports “the government’s terrorist watch list carries 700,000 to a million names.”

mosques_mapThe Challenge: Jihad-Linked Mosques

This is all indisputable fact. The threat is real and growing. Even worse, the threat is specifically from devout, observant Muslims who attend mosque. Behind every lone-or-known-wolf jihadi and every Islamic State recruit there is a mosque where they are receiving instruction in Islam.

That should give us pause, as four separate studies in recent years show that 80% of mosques in the U.S. teach, preach or advocate for jihad and the imposition of sharia law in America. 

Confirming these mosque studies are proven links between mosques and terrorists.  For example, one of the two Mississippi Muslims recently arrested for trying to join the Islamic State is the son of the imam at the local mosque. Many terror-linked mosques have spawned multiple jihadis. The Phoenix mosque attended by the Garland TX jihadis is notorious for having two other members in federal prison on terrorism-related convictions. Perhaps most infamous is the Islamic Society of Boston, which was attended not only by the Boston Marathon Bombers, but by numerous other jihad-terror-linked Muslims. The list goes on and on.

For many people, especially in our political class and certainly among the 2016 field of presidential candidates, there seems to be no solution to this national security nightmare of terror-linked mosques and known wolf jihadis. To date, there is no coherent, principle-based policy to address Islamic terrorism in the United States. 

The Solution: ‘Sandboxing’ Islam in America

This is where I believe the simple analogy of “Sandboxing” can help us.

You’ve probably heard the term, even if you’re not a computer geek. One tech source offers this definition:

A “sandbox” is a play area for young children: it is supposed to be safe for them (they cannot hurt themselves) and safe from them (it is sand, they cannot break it). In the context of IT security, “sandboxing” means isolating some piece of software in such a way that whatever it does, it will not spread havoc elsewhere.

If we think of America as being, ideally, a safe and free place for its citizens, within which we should be able to live, work, play, and, as the ubiquitous bumper sticker says, “Coexist,” then when it comes to Islam and Muslims, we need a solution analogous to the IT security process of “sandboxing.” We need to isolate malicious jihadi forces, “in such a way that whatever they do, they will not spread havoc elsewhere.”

What would “sandboxing” look like when it comes to Muslims in America? In practice, it could include the following policies:

  • A moratorium — a complete freeze — on Muslim immigration. Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul expressed a similar policy concept following the Chattanooga jihad murders of five US servicemen, proposing a halt to immigration from Muslim countries with known jihad activity. Going one step further, Franklin Graham wrote at the same time that “We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled.
  • All mosques must be classified and treated as “agents of foreign power,” in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a U.S. law (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) passed in 1938.

The law presciently allows for application in gray areas such as Islam presents, as it states that any entity with a “political or quasi-political capacity” disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate “evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.” [Source]

Islam certainly thinks and behaves like a foreign power, is guided in America by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis and other foreign Islamic groups, and has a definite political dimension. (See also here.)

  • Any and all mosques associated with Muslim terrorists must be investigated, and if found to be advancing jihad doctrine, sharia law, and Islamic supremacism over the United States, they should be prosecuted and closed, in accordance with the FARA act referenced above.
  • Stop all foreign funding of mosques, whether by FARA, new legislation, or executive power. We already know that Saudi Arabia is providing extensive funding to advance its extremist Wahhabi strain of Islam worldwide, including of mosques in America, as is Turkey. There already exist covert lobbying groups for Muslim nations, including Iran.

 These are just some starting points to aid in getting this conversation going. The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) has an 18-point platform with similar policy proposals which may be considered as well.

We must have hope that, just as illegal immigration has become a major issue in the presidential race, so also we may be successful in elevating public awareness of the clear and present danger from Islam and Muslim jihad terrorists. This is a generational if not century-long struggle ahead of us, and should resonate with voters.

The concept of “sandboxing” is, I believe, the most helpful image in making our case to not only the American people, but also to the political elite and the 2016 candidates. 

We must publicly challenge the Republican presidential candidates to take the initiative, and to fearlessly raise the issue of Islam up to the same level as Immigration. We must demand of them to be bold and daring when it comes to defeating jihad. The defense of our nation, our freedoms, and the lives of our fellow citizens and men-and-women in uniform should be paramount for whoever would be Commander-in-Chief. This issue will be topmost on that person’s desk in the Oval Office from Day One. Better to tackle it now with a strong and visionary policy, than to be knocked back on our heels by a surprise attack in 2017.

Now is the time to put misbehaving Muslims and their terror-linked-mosques on time-out. Islam is at war with us. More and more Muslims are heeding the summons from Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, taking up arms against us in this war, and killing American citizens right here at home. Denying the reality and threat of Islamic jihad is not a valid policy, it is civilizational suicide.

It is time to “sandbox” Islam in America, and use decisive, legal means to counter its threat to our freedoms and our way of life.


Ralph Sidway is an Orthodox Christian researcher and writer, and author of Facing Islam: What the Ancient Church has to say about the Religion of Muhammad. He operates the Facing Islam blog.

Also see:

10 Things American Families Can Learn from Mississippi ISIS Arrests

Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla

Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, August18, 2015:

This month’s arrest of a young Mississippi couple who allegedly tried to run off to the Islamic State together provides textbook examples of how ISIS tries to lure Westerners to jihad.

Jaelyn Young, 19, and Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, of Starkville have been charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS. A judge denied bond for the couple last week.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, the two had been in a relationship for a matter of months. Young’s father is a Vicksburg police officer and her mother is a middle-school principal. She was a recent convert to Islam and a student at Mississippi State. Dakhlalla graduated from Mississippi State and was working toward his master’s degree in psychology. His parents — the father born in Bethlehem, the mother from New Jersey — ran a restaurant.

Unbeknownst to the pair, they were chatting online with FBI employees beginning in May when they thought they were talking with Islamic State contacts. The pair ended up buying a ticket to Istanbul through Amsterdam, attempting to fly out of Columbus, Miss., on Aug. 8. They were arrested before they could leave the country.

Many of those conversations included info straight from ISIS handbooks that are distributed online or highlighted things that people should watch for in discerning jihadist sympathies in those around them.

1. Red-flag conversations

Young, communicating with an FBI employee posing as an ISIS member, said that among Muslims she knew in the community “many of the family members and members of the community do not support Dawlah [Islamic State].” The criminal complaint states that Young “expressed that she disagreed with those family and community members and stated ‘…Dawlah is correct.’”

In a paper for the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, Jahangir E. Arasli writes that “although the percentage of violent converts is small, evidence suggests they constitute a growing pool of hundreds, if not thousands, of very dangerous people who represent direct security threats.” What were these discussions she was having in which she was gauging others’ support for ISIS? With whom? Who didn’t raise the red flags? This highlights a major hole in trying to stop the next Boston bombers or Chattanooga shooter: people engaging with would-be jihadis about the subject, but not passing on red-flag information to the proper authorities.

2. The Hijrah

“In that same conversation Young announced that she is preparing for ‘hijjrah,’ a common reference to journeying to the Islamic State. She further stated, ‘I have [a] hijjrah partner and we are planning to leave before August.’ She went on to discuss some of her concerns about being monitored by Government agencies, and she also added that her travel partner was a ‘brother’ and that she would have to have ‘nikkah’ with him so they could travel together without an escort.”

ISIS markets special guides to females on making hijrah, or the caliphate pilgrimage, and also tutors its followers around the world on how to keep government agencies off their tail. FBI Director James Comey has said this is one of the most dangerous parts about ISIS: when they “go dark” online by focusing on encryption, they fall off the grid of what the agency is able to track.

From an August 2014 “cheat sheet” circulated online:

“One might be asking themselves if they can continue using their old social media on these. The answer is yes, but I do not recommend it whatsoever. If one feels they post things in which they would need this security, which is most Muslims upon haqq who are active online, then they should make a disclaimer saying something similar to, ‘I recant all opinions deemed dangerous or violent expressed on this page. This page was run for educational and analytic purposes only, to study the radical Muslim community for recreational purposes. I invite all those who follow this page to leave such corrupt ideology. I am not affiliated with any groups or organizations deemed terrorist or dangerous otherwise by any Western government or union of governments. I am a law abiding citizen in every regard.’”

“And then proceed to delete all other tweets/posts on the page and after leaving this up for a few minutes, simply delete the page. Make no indication that you have done this based on instructions. You are in a war with these people, we have discussed this earlier. Now, once you are on either TOR with a VPN, TOR, and/or TAILS OS, make a new bitmessage email. Make an alias. Sign-up for Twitter on TOR. Do not post pictures or any indication of who you are explicitly. If you feel the need to alter your writing style a bit, if you were a popular page, do so. You can make subtle indications that this is so and so, however, nothing that can be proven in a court of law. Allah’u must’a’n, may we never see inside one of those rooms for such a purpose.”

It’s also important to note that while social media sites try to take down ISIS accounts, they’re overwhelmed to the point where al-Qaeda accounts go practically unnoticed. Jihadist material also tends to go unnoticed in the black hole of file-sharing sites.

3. ISIS wants people to build a state

Young discussed skills that she and Dakhlalla could contribute to the caliphate: “I am skilled in math and chemistry and worked at an analytical lab here at my college campus. My partner is very good with like computer science/media. We learn very fast and would love to help with giving medical aid.” The FBI employee then contacted Dakhlalla via social media and he confirmed, “I am good with computers, education and media. What could I contribute to Dawlah?”

ISIS not only distributes photo essays of beheadings and Shariah punishments throughout the day, but things like dairy farms and teacher exams. Their “job postings” don’t just call for jihadists, but for engineers, HR professionals, administrators and more. A May video with Australian Dr. Tareq Kamleh showed him working at a hospital in Raqqa and encouraging other Muslim medical professionals to come over.

4. ISIS wants to acclimate Westerners for a special reason

Dakhlalla asked, “Would we be appointed to a city or would we choose to go where we want to live when we arrive?” Young later told a second FBI employee poising as an ISIS financier that Dakhlalla “wants to help with media group and really wants to correct the falsehoods hear here. US has a thick cloud of falsehood and very little truth about Dawlah makes it through and if it does then usually the links are deleted (like on youtube and stuff).” She added that Dakhlalla said “a lot of Muslims are caught on their doubts of IS [because] of what US media says and he wants to assure them the US media is all lies when regarding Dawlah. After he sees change in that, he wanted to joint the Mujahideen.”

A May guide by British jihadist Siddhartha Dhar focused heavily on all of the creature comforts of home that his compatriots could find in the Islamic State, from “fluffy, velvety and sweet” ice cream to Snickers bars and “some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around.” Once they reel in Westerners, they can do what Dhar is doing — speak in a voice that Westerners understand, bridge cultural divides, and rally them to jihad in or out of the Islamic State.

isischevy-1024x651 (1)

5. Decoy holiday travel

When Young was talking in the early June conversation about flying to Turkey on the “story” of being “newlyweds on our honeymoon” she stressed, “We won’t be flying to Istanbul. We will fly to a different country and take a bus to Istanbul.” She said they’d fly to Greece first, states the criminal complaint.

This suggests that Young had seen some ISIS advice. A 50-page e-book published in February noted, “Travelers to Syria usually want to reach Turkey. But for safety reasons, they buy a ticket for an indirect holiday country like Spain or Greece so their destination doesn’t seem suspicious.” The e-book also suggested buying a return ticket to tamp down suspicion.

6. Why they lure women

Later in June, Young reportedly told the second FBI employee that she couldn’t wait to get to the Islamic State to “raise little Dawlah cubs.”

Some of the more chilling footage to come out of the Islamic State training camps is of the “cubs” training — children being abused as they become indoctrinated in how to harm others in the name of jihad. If ISIS wants to build a state, and a movement that they hope will take over Rome, they want women to be reproducing.

7. The lack of ISIS selectivity

Meanwhile, Dakhlalla was communicating with the first FBI employee and said he’d gotten married to Young. He wanted to know if there was “training and Shariah” as soon as he got to the caliphate, adding, “I am not familiar with Shariah but from what Aaminah [Young] and I researched, Dawlah follows Shariaf correctly, right?”

To not know such an integral detail of the caliphate is odd, but ISIS is happy to take the not-so-sharp-in-Shariah recruits if they’re eager to be molded. ISIS’ magazine, Dabiq, is more Quran-heavy than AQAP’s Inspire magazine, which includes more practical how-tos for jihadis.

8. The homegrown base

The FBI stated that Young said on July 17, the day after the Chattanooga shootings, that she felt better after watching the news and seeing the attack. “Alhamdulillah, the numbers of supporters are growing.”

A big part of ISIS’ methodology is encouraging supporters to bloom where you’re planted. Even if someone can’t make it to the Islamic State (and some publications have pitched financial aid programs), they’re encouraged to further the goals of the caliphate where they are. Even if someone is deterred from running off to Syria, for this reason they need to be taken into custody.

“Wolves,” an April call for jihadists in Egypt to activate said, are “one of the first jihad work stages” and simply indicates “individual small cells” who have a greater chance of taking the enemy by surprise or taking down his compatriots. They don’t need “strength or muscle, huge experience in jihad work” and “each wolf chooses what suits him and what fits his goal and location of the implementation of the action.”

“Small firewood is what ignites huge and large flames… wolves will increase their expertise and will move with the time and expertise to the largest operations and to expand and diversify the weapon used.”

9. The grand ISIS plan

Several days later, Young allegedly told the second FBI employee that they were concerned about Turkey cracking down on ISIS seeping across the border, adding that hopefully “Dawlah will begin to expand into Europe soon.”

Another indication that she read the terror group’s online propaganda. ISIS has issued many e-books on its strategy to hasten Armageddon, including the sacking of Rome and enlisting “the Islamic State’s secret weapon = secret white converts” to take on Europe. The strategy expects the defeat of a Russia-Iran alliance, the Roman attack on the Islamic State, and the conquest of Rome by 2020.

10. They want intelligence

At the beginning of August, the criminal complaint says, Young noted they’d be flying out of their small town “with a very small airport that doesn’t have much, if [any], security. In fact when we get to Dawlah In sha Allah I can tell you about it. That’s one US weaknesses [sic] — small towns’ airports have poor funding and less educated staff so it is easier to get through.”

A key reason why ISIS craves any Western recruit is to learn whatever snippets of intelligence they can about places they’d like to conquer or attack. They use Google Earth and similar open resources for much of their planning, but there’s nothing like having an adherent who know his way in and out of U.S. landmarks or an employee at a nuclear or water-treatment facility.

Mississippi Jihadists Arrested, Tied to Muslim Brotherhood

3539211070Center for Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler, August 14, 2015:

Earlier this week, the media reported on the arrest of Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, and Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 22, a couple who was arrested by the FBI attempting to travel to Syria in support of the Islamic State. Media reports note that Dakhlalla’s father Oda Dakhlalla is the Imam of the Islamic Center of Mississippi, in Starksville. The Islamic Center of Mississippi (ICM) is connected to the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of Mississippi State University (MSU); the same university which Dakhlalla and Young attended. Funds for the building of the mosque were provided by the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood group listed as an “unindicted co-conspirator or joint ventrurer” in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial. The Federal judge in the case, Jorge Solis, wrote in his memorandum opinion that the government provided “ample evidence” for associating ISNA with the terrorist group Hamas.

ICM was established in 1977, and their property resides just off the MSU campus. Interestingly, it appears that the MSA at MSU may be run by another of Dakhlalla’s relatives. The MSU MSA’s website lists its Secretary as Abdullah Dakhlalla, who appears to be the arrested suspect’s brother, and a Janna Watson Dakhlalla, the MSA President, who appears to be Abdullah’s wife, and thus Mohammed Dakhlalla’s sister-in-law.

The Muslim Students Association is the oldest organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. The establishment of ICM took place in absolutely textbook Muslim Brotherhood fashion, as described in an audiotape lecture by the General Masul of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Executive Office Zaid Noman, which was submitted into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation case. Noman said:

The first change was moving the Ikhwans (Muslim Brothers) from working at the branches of the MSA and the [Arab Youth Muslim] Association as branches whose activities are based on universities where they go a university to hold their activity, to what is called at that time “The Muslim House”. The Muslim House was based on them purchasing a house near the university with Ikhwans living in a part of it and the rest of it becomes a mosque and it would also be a nucleus for the activity. This was the first move the Ikhwans did. After that, the other move came where this Muslim House was not a goal by itself or it was no longer able to satisfy work as they started to move to somewhere else which are the Islamic centers. We notice that during the past two or three years that many of the students’ gathering started to establish Islamic centers. This was also another healthy move for settling the Dawa’a as the presence of an Islamic center means the presence of residents, means the existence of contacts between students and the residents, means recruitment of the residents and winning them to the ranks of the dawa’a, means forming permanent foundations in these cities.

Later in the same lecture Noman discusses how the Muslim Brothers should engage in firearms training, and obliquely references the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in “military work.”

Additionally the role of MSAs in the indoctrination of individuals to engage in jihad has already been noted by law enforcement. The NYPD intelligence report “Radicalization in the West” described MSAs as potential “incubators” for terrorism:

Among the social networks of the local university population, there appears to be a growing trend of Salafi-based radicalization that has permeated some Muslim student associations (MSA’s). Extremists have used these university-based organizations as forums for the development and recruitment of likeminded individuals – providing a receptive platform for younger, American-born imams, to present a radical message in a way that resonates with the students.

Connections to Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosques were also been identified in the Chattanooga Shooting. In that incident, the shooter was closely associated with the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga (ISGC), whose deed is held by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT is a subsidiary of ISNA, the same organization which helped fund the Starksville, MI, mosque.

NAIT also holds the deed to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP), attended by the perpetrators of the the Garland, Texas attack. In the Garland case, the FBI has indicted Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem (AKA Decarus Thomas), who was also an ICCP attendee, for procuring and helping train the Garland shooters with firearms. In the Chattanooga case, investigators are looking into reports that the shooter conducted firearms training with other Muslim men, before committing the attack.

Establishing “Islamic Centers,” indoctrinating youth, training for jihad. Exactly as described in the Brotherhood’s own words.

Yet despite this growing pattern, media outlets are already preparing to “see no evil” when it comes to the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in indoctrinating young Muslims to engage in jihad. The Clarion-Ledger’s editorial warned “Terror Suspect Arrests Invite Ignorant Views,” which not only doubled down on the connection between ICM and the Muslim Students of MSU (the editorial describes Imam Dakhalla working closely  with the MSU’s Muslim Students Association), but preemptively accuses those who would raise the issue of bigotry even before anyone has publicly made the connection between the recently arrested Islamic State suspects and ICM and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations.

The identification of such patterns based on evidence used to be called investigation.

Director James Comey has already expressed that the FBI is being overwhelmed by literally hundreds of cases of potential jihadists in the United States, and they will continue to be overwhelmed if they continue to only seek to interdict jihadists before they travel to Syria or conduct an attack, instead of targeting the underlying network of indoctrination, established by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1960s and ’70s and which has been developing and expanding to the present day.

Also see:

Media Covers Up Mississippi Mosque Imam’s Role in ISIS Case

635748902708029951-isis-coupleFrontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 12, 2015:

The FBI busted Muhammad Dakhlalla and Jaelyn Delshaun Young for trying to join ISIS.

Jaelyn Delshaun Young was the daughter of a cop before she converted to Islam and renamed herself Aminah Al-Amiriki. Muhammad is the son of a Mississippi Imam from a family of Palestinian Muslim settlers living in the United States.

Dakhlalla’s father, Oda H. Dakhlalla, is the longtime imam of the Islamic Center of Mississippi in Starkville, Harmon said, and has previously been reported to be a native of Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

The media is running all the usual stories about how shocked both families are.

Dakhlalla’s family is “absolutely stunned” by his arrest, said Columbus lawyer Dennis Harmon, who represents the family. He said Tuesday they have been cooperating with the FBI.

Here’s the stuff from the FBI complaint that the media is very deliberately leaving out.

Dakhlalla went on to state, “Aaminah (YOUNG) and I have our nikkah (Islamic marriage) approved by my father.”

Young also discussed her nikkah to Dakhlalla. She confirmed that they had his father’s blessing and she stated, “our nikkah will be this Saturday and in sha Allah will be in Dawlah (Islamic State) before end of July. Our story will be that we are newlyweds on our honeymoon.”

Young allegedly praised the July 16 attacks at military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which four Marines and a sailor were killed. “The numbers of supporters are growing,” she wrote.

Now this is not a clear confirmation that the father was aware they were joining ISIS, but he had to have known something was up.

Young and Dakhlalla weren’t just getting their nikkah on for true love. They wanted to avoid escort issues. It was part of their plan for joining ISIS. It’s unlikely that Young would have told her family, but it’s certainly an interesting question whether the Dakhlallas knew anything.

Muhammmad appeared to have a good relationship with his father. He certainly wasn’t rejecting his father for practicing a bad or flawed version of Islam. And that’s telling too.

Also see:


The Lost Pilgrims of the Islamic State

A youth uses binoculars to look at Turkish army tanks holding positions, near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi, east of the town of Kilis, in southeastern Turkey, Thursday, July 23, 2015.

A youth uses binoculars to look at Turkish army tanks holding positions, near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi, east of the town of Kilis, in southeastern Turkey, Thursday, July 23, 2015.

Defense One, by Simon Cottee, July 26, 2015:

Like past pilgrimages to China and the Soviet Union, the migration of Westerners to the Islamic State group points to the tragic intersection of estrangement and utopian hope.

In Political Pilgrims, the sociologist Paul Hollander exposes and excoriates the mentality of a certain kind of Western intellectual, who, such is the depth of his estrangement or alienation from his own society, is predisposed to extend sympathy to virtually any opposing political system.

The book is about the travels of 20th-century Western intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, and how these political travelers were able to find in such repressive countries a model of “the good society” in which they could invest their brightest hopes. Hollander documents in relentless and mortifying detail how this utopian impulse, driven by a deep discontent with their own societies, led them to deny or excuse the myriad moral defects of the places they visited.

But the significance of Political Pilgrims extends far beyond its immediate subject matter, and its insights may help to illuminate the mentality of that most recent and disconcerting set of pilgrims: namely, the Western migrants to the Islamic State, whose estrangement from their own societies can prime them to idealize the so-called Islamic State and overlook or justify its terrible human-rights abuses.

It is estimated that around 4,000 people have left their homes in the West to migrate to ISIS. Many have become jihadist fighters in the apparent hope of achieving martyrdom. A significant number—over 550 women—seem to have gone to become mothers and raise the next generation of jihadist “lions.” Some have left to put their medical expertise to use, and others to help in whatever capacity they can. Their motives are as mixed as their backgrounds. Indeed, the striking fact about these new pilgrims is that they don’t fit any single profile. They represent a broad spectrum of humanity, from former rappers and gangbangers to grandparents and gifted students.

On the face of it, they share little in common with the rarefied intellectuals ofPolitical Pilgrims. Yet their estrangement from Western society and the force of their belief in an alternative system far superior to it, evidenced in interviews they have given and other forms of personal testimony, suggest that they share certain discontents and susceptibilities with the subjects of Hollander’s study.

Among the countless examples of folly cited by Hollander is Sidney and Beatrice Webb’s tome Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?, in which the Soviet penal system is praised for—wait for it—its progressive spirit. The second edition of this book, from which, as the historian Robert Conquest noted, “the question mark was triumphantly removed,” was published in 1937—“at precisely the time,” Conquest observed, that “the regime was in its worst phase of gloomy, all-embracing terror.”

How could the Webbs and others like them have gotten it so wrong? They were clearly foolish, but they were not stupid. Indeed, writes Hollander, many of the intellectuals in his survey were widely revered for their fierce intelligence and lively skepticism. Hollander contends instead that they wanted to be deceived about the failures and depredations of the societies they visited. And this, he theorizes, was in turn because, psychologically, they needed to believe in the existence of a perfect social system that not only exemplified their deepest ideals but also gave voice to their deepest misgivings about their own societies.

“Wishful thinking,” the sociologist Karl Mannheim wrote, “has always figured in human affairs. When the imagination finds no satisfaction in existing reality, it seeks refuge in wishfully constructed places and periods.” Hollander approvingly reproduces this quote in his introduction to Political Pilgrims, and one of the great merits of his book is the clarity and force with which it shows how desire can supersede and subvert critical thinking.

The recent migrations to ISIS, just like the political pilgrimages before them, are yet further testimony to the power of wishful thinking and how desire can trump reason.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a family of 12 from Luton, England—including, according to the BBC, “a baby and two grandparents”—had made the journey to Syria. It was the second family believed to have left the United Kingdom for the Islamic State since May. Was the family coerced or, as one relative has suggested, manipulated into going to Syria? Were they the victims of some collective psychosis? Not a chance, if a press release purportedly from the family is to be credited. The BBC acquired the statement from an individual claiming to be an Islamic State fighter, though the media organization could not verify its authenticity.

“None of us were forced against our will,” it said, describing a land “free from the corruption and oppression of man-made law … in which a Muslim doesn’t feel oppression when practicing their religion. In which a parent doesn’t feel the worry of losing their child to the immorality of society. In which the sick and elderly do not wait in agony, tolerating the partiality of race or social class.” It also derisively alluded to the “so-called freedom and democracy” of Western states.

The statement, as the scholar Shiraz Maher pointed out, clearly serves a propagandistic purpose, and it could well be a fabrication. But it also accurately reflects the sentiments expressed by other Western migrants who have made the journey to Syria, and who in their social-media postings have mocked the notion that they have been “brainwashed” into joining ISIS. Furthermore, it distills two intimately connected themes that are essential for understanding the mentality of the Western migrants: estrangement and utopian hope.

[I]SIS’s caliphate project, because it offers a bracing utopian alternative to Western secular society, speaks directly to those who feel their lives are worthless, spiritually corrupted, empty, boring, or devoid of purpose and significance, and who see no value in their own societies. It promises, in short, salvation and ultimate meaning through total commitment to a sacred cause. “I don’t think there’s anything better than living in the land of Khilafah,” or caliphate, said one British jihadist in a video, “Eid Greetings from the Land of the Khilafah,” released last summer by ISIS’s media arm. “You’re not living under oppression. … You’re not living under kuffar [unbelievers]. … We don’t need any democracy. … All we need is shariah.”

Similar themes come out strongly in a recent report on female Western migrants. Based on the social-media postings of self-identified migrants apparently within ISIS-controlled territory, the authors found that estrangement from Western society and anger at perceived injustices against Muslims worldwide, together with a strong sense of religious calling and an unwavering faith in the rectitude of the newly emerging caliphate, form the basis for why these women journey to ISIS.

From this, it is clear that their departures owe as much to perceived corruption and oppression at home as to a desire to see in the Islamic State a utopian society free of any such secular perversions. This may also explain how, despite all the evidence, Western migrants to the caliphate can ignore or discount the mountain of incriminating evidence against ISIS, and risk everything to join it.

In Britain, where Prime Minister David Cameron just this week introduced a counterterrorism strategy as part of what he called “the struggle of our generation,” debate over ISIS and its recruitment methods has become unhelpfully polarized. On the one side are those, including British officials, who portrayISIS recruits as “vulnerable” or impressionable youth who, despite their murderous intentions or actions, are actually victimsOn the other side are those, often academics and human-rights activists, who similarly argue thatISIS recruits are victims, but of oppressive government policies and actions rather than sinister jihadist groomers. The problem with both lines of argument is that they deny the agency of those who join ISIS, and obscure the religious idealism that motivates them.

One of the biggest challenges associated with countermessaging efforts against ISIS is how to prompt would-be migrants to rethink their favorable perceptions about the group and its self-proclaimed state. This is less a problem of finding the “right” narrative than of reconfiguring individual human desire, because it is possible that, at some deep psychological level, would-be migrants to ISIS want to be deceived about its widely reported depredations. As Christina Nemr, a former U.S. counterterrorism advisor, recently observed, people “push ‘threatening information’ away in favor of information that confirms their own beliefs.”

It is hard enough to sway those who have yet to make up their minds about ISIS— the so-called “fence-sitters.” But it is monumentally harder to sway those who, because of their idealism and estrangement from their own societies, want or need to see the best in ISIS

Simon Cottee is a senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Kent. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam.

Also see:

Authorities ignore US mosques at center of Islamic terror attacks

From left, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Hani Hanjour, and Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez. Photo: AP; AP; Getty Images

From left, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Hani Hanjour, and Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez.
Photo: AP; AP; Getty Images

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, July 26, 2015:

Property records show the mosque attended by the terrorist who killed US soldiers at a base in Chattanooga, Tenn., is affiliated with the same Islamic group as the mosques patronized by the Boston marathon bombers and the 9/11 hijackers who attacked the Pentagon.

Yet federal investigators have dismissed any possibility that the Tennessee mosque was a source of radicalization or support for the terrorist, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez.

The trustee of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, like the Boston and Virginia mosques attended by other terrorists, is the North American Islamic Trust.

In 2007, the Justice Department designated NAIT as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist financing case in America history, US v. Holy Land Land Foundation, which resulted in convictions and imprisonment of several US-based Hamas terrorist leaders. Current NAIT chairman Gaddoor Saidi also appears on the government’s co-conspirator list.

Court records detail money flowing through NAIT financial accounts to Hamas. In the same exhibits from the trial, the Justice Department lists NAIT and Saidi among “members of the US Muslim Brotherhood,” alongside NAIT’s parent the Islamic Society of North America — from which the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga derives its name.

While NAIT maintains its innocence, its repeated appeals to the government to expunge its name from the co-conspirators list have failed. A federal judge ruled there is “ample evidence” tying NAIT to Hamas and the Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a worldwide jihadist movement whose credo is “Jihad is our way, and death for the glory of Allah is our greatest ambition.”

The ethnic-Palestinian Abdulazeez expressed similar ambitions in his Internet writings, in which he dreamed of fighting and dying in “jihad for the sake of Allah.”

In 2009, when Islamic Society leaders were raising money from Chattanooga Muslims for construction of their new mosque, they invoked the names of major Muslim Brotherhood figures — including the group’s spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who once issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill US soldiers in Iraq.

Qaradawi’s name shows up in a mosque PowerPoint presentation exhorting Muslim faithful to donate “in the cause of Allah.”

Abdulazeez and his family were longtime members of the Islamic Society, which forces women to pray separately from men and wear head coverings.

Contradicting recent claims they had “minimal interactions” with the 24-year-old jihadist, Facebook postings show mosque leaders once held a well-attended graduation celebration for him.

Friends say Abdulazeez regularly prayed at the Islamic Society in the months leading up to his attack on two US military sites.

The current mosque leadership is directly connected to NAIT.

The Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga grew out of a small mosque founded by NAIT in 1997, the original deed reveals.

“NAIT bought the property in August of 1997 from St. John United Methodist,” said Sheldon Wright, deputy clerk for the Hamilton County, Tenn., register of deeds.

In 2007, the land for the new mosque was purchased by the “Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga Inc.,” which lists an address for NAIT agent Arif Shafi. Shafi that same year filed the articles of incorporation for the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga. The state charter lists Shafi as both the “registered agent” for the mosque and one of its “incorporators.”

Then, in 2013, NAIT sold the old mosque, Masjid Annour, moving it to the new Islamic Society site. Shafi is represented in the transaction as “the authorized agent of the North American Islamic Trust.”

Attempts to reach Shafi for comment were unsuccessful. Other Islamic Society officials have asserted the mosque preaches peace and that they saw no signs that Abdulazeez was involved in “extremism.”

This is a familiar refrain. Americans have heard the same line from leaders of other mosques controlled by NAIT after their members, too, carried out acts of terrorism. Among them:

  • Islamic Society of Boston, where a dozen terrorists have worshipped, including the marathon bombers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev and most recently the ISIS-inspired terrorist who plotted to behead Boston cops.
  • Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where worshippers included two ISIS terrorists who attacked a Dallas-area event and planned to shoot up the Super Bowl.
  • Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, where some of the 9/11 hijackers worshipped and got help obtaining IDs and housing, following on the heels of the Fort Hood shooter and several other terrorists who have attended the mosque just outside Washington.

More interested in outreach, authorities overlooked these disturbing patterns.

After 9/11, the Pentagon even invited the Dar al-Hijrah cleric, who ministered to the very hijackers who torpedoed the military headquarters, to an interfaith luncheon. That same cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, would go on to head al Qaeda’s operations in Yemen before a drone-fired missile finally caught up to him.

Muslim Brotherhood archives uncovered last decade in an FBI raid of a terrorist suspect’s basement in a Washington suburb list NAIT as one of the movement’s key fronts in the US. They also describe its Islamic centers as “bases” from which to train and deploy its “battalions” in jihad.

NAIT holds title to more than 300 mosques and has helped finance more than 500 Islamic centers in America. Imams insist that none of them preach hate. But is it enough for law enforcement to just take their word for it?

We can’t let political correctness spare these mosques due scrutiny.

Paul Sperry, Hoover Institution media fellow, is author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Deport the Abdulazeez Family

2A9869A800000578-3165270-Family_Muhammad_Youssef_Abdulazeez_back_row_in_the_orange_shirt_-a-43_1437145299056Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, July 22, 2015:

Before and after 9/11, the FBI took a hard look at Youssef Abdulazeez because he had apparently donated money to Hamas through a front group. He went on a watch list. He went off the watch list. The FBI forgot about him until his son, Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez, went on a Jihadist killing spree in Chattanooga.

Just like the Tsarnaev terrorists, the media is digging into the background of this dysfunctional Muslim family. We have learned that Youssef Abdulazeez liked to beat and rape his wife. He even wanted to get a second wife to rape and beat, as permitted “under Islamic law… in the parties’ native State of Palestine.” He also included some of his kids in his Koran-approved domestic abuse.

The family is issuing statements claiming that their son, like every Muslim terrorist ever, was suffering from “depression” and that Islam is a peaceful religion. But the father’s donations to Hamas and the rants about America, Israel and Europe on his family’s social media tell a very different story.

The only obvious conclusion from all this is that the Abdulazeez family, like the Tsarnaevs, should never have been allowed into this country. And after 9/11, they should not have been allowed to stay.

Their history of domestic abuse and terrorism is abnormal by American standards, but normal by Muslim ones. The Abdulazeez family’s native Jordan has unprecedentedly high levels of support for Al Qaeda and ISIS. Honor killings of women continue to have support from inside the political system.

Among Palestinian Muslims, like the Abdulazeez family, as many as 1 in 4 support ISIS.  Palestinians who are displaced in their Jordanian homeland tend to affiliate with Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood which supports their cause, much as they do in Gaza where Hamas is the local Muslim Brotherhood franchise. All that made Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez into an even bigger threat to Americans.

Not only shouldn’t Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez have been working at a nuclear power plant, he should never have been in this country. The Chattanooga massacre did not have to happen.

Palestinian Muslims are indoctrinated in terrorism to a degree exceeding even ordinary Muslims. Their immigrants, first and second generation, who have committed acts of terrorism, include Nidal Malik Hasan, who murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood in support of the Taliban, Mohammed Salameh, Ahmed Ajaj and Nidal Ayyad who took part in the bombing of the World Trade Center and Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, who shot seven people on top of the Empire State Building.

Of the six deadliest Muslim terror attacks against Americans, half involved Palestinian Arabs.

Muslim immigration is already a bad risk. Palestinian Muslim immigration is a bad risk even by the standards of bad risks. Muslim terrorist attacks in America have been disproportionately carried out by Egyptians, Pakistanis, Saudis and Palestinians. The latter are disproportionately involved in terrorism despite being part of a small population because they are governed by PLO and Hamas terrorists.

The Palestinian Muslims are a fake nationality groomed to be terrorists; an artificial group invested with no other identity except terrorism, no history except bombings and no future except more bloodshed.

After Chattanooga we can either waste more time puzzling through the dysfunctional, and yet entirely normal relationships of the Abdulazeez family, or we can end further immigration by a group from a place where honor killings and terrorism are normative. The social, political and religious problems of the Abdulazeez family and the Tsarnaev family are not our problems. We foolishly made them our problem by taking them in. And it doesn’t take reforming the whole Muslim world to get rid of them.

Both the Tsarnaev and the Abdulazeez families may not have spent every waking moment plotting to kill Americans, but they distinctly disliked us. No matter how “ordinary” their sons seemed, how many parties they attended and, how many of their American friends saw nothing wrong with them, they were always ticking time bombs waiting for the right confluence of theology and anger to explode.

The people of Boston and Chattanooga unknowingly lived with these ticking time bombs. Ticking time bombs just like them are all around us; Muslim families with scowling fathers, timid mothers, a history of failed businesses, growing resentment toward the infidel, sons who drift through life despite good schools and numerous opportunities until they find their focus around the black flag of the Jihad.

Americans should not have to live with these ticking time bombs. We should not be spending a fortune on failed efforts to “deradicalize” people whose degree of radicalism we wouldn’t have to worry about if we weren’t wrongly allowing them into this country.

Also see:

New Developments in Chattanooga Terror Attack As Killer’s Family, Media Pushes ‘Loon Wolf’ Narrative

untitled-313PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 21, 2015:

On Sunday I reviewed the reported evidence here at PJ Media on what we knew about Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, the killer who gunned down four Marines and one Navy sailor in Chattanooga last Thursday as both investigators and the media puzzled over his possible motive.

For many in the media, the motive remains elusive:

chattanooga mystery

And as our friends at the Washington Free Beacon have chronicled, this is a point that the media is at great pains to let you know.

But the killer’s family has given the media the narrative they’ve been searching for: Abdulazeez was mentally ill, depressed, drug addled, a troubled youth with financial debts.

This was pushed out yesterday by ABC News after the family presented the killer’s diary:

Four days after the shooting, the FBI has not found any connection to overseas terrorist groups, but Mohammod Abdulazeez’s diary says that as far back as 2013, he wrote about having suicidal thoughts and “becoming a martyr” after losing his job due to his drug use, both prescription and non-prescription drugs, the family representative said.

In a downward spiral, Abdulazeez would abuse sleeping pills, opioids, painkillers and marijuana, along with alcohol, the representative said.

Most recently, the 24-year-old was having problems dealing with a 12 hour overnight shift, and had to take sleeping pills, according to the representative. The young man was also thousands of dollars in debt and considering filing for bankruptcy.

Three months before the shooting, Abdulazeez was arrested on April 20 — a day celebrated annually by marijuana users — and charged with drunk driving. The arresting officer noted a smell of marijuana in the car.

But wait a second. Did they just say that going back to 2013, he wrote about “becoming a martyr,” which ABC News quickly translates into him having “suicidal thoughts”?

Well, that’s one way to spin it, I guess.

They also quickly leap over this important point:

The gunman who killed five American troops in a Chattanooga shooting spree last week did online research for militant Islamist “guidance” on committing violence that he may have believed would wipe away in the afterlife his sins on earth including drug and alcohol abuse, an arrest and a lost job, officials said on Monday.

The Internet searches were discovered on electronic devices such as his smartphone analyzed over the weekend by the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia, several counter-terrorism officials confirmed to ABC News.

So since 2013 he had written about “becoming a martyr,” and also he had conducted online research for Islamic “guidance” for committing violence.

But it wasn’t just any “guidance” he sought, but the teachings of Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who the U.S. killed in a drone strike in September 2011, the New York Timesreports:

The authorities who were examining Mr. Abdulazeez’s computer found that he had viewed material connected to Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike in 2011, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

And yet that tidbit was also buried by the New York Times underneath the family’s claims of mental illness, clinical depression, drug use, financial problems, etc.

It is important to note that the only source for these claims are the killer’s family. And many are quick to buy the narrative they’re peddling:


Reuters also reports that in addition to trips that Abdulazeez had recently taken to both Jordan and Yemen, he had also made a mysterious trip to Qatar:

The man suspected of killing five members of the U.S. military in Tennessee last week was in Qatar at least once during a 2014 trip to the Middle East, according to two U.S. government sources who said reasons for the stopover were still unknown.

U.S. investigators are trying to piece together Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s travels to the region to see if he was radicalized by a militant group such as Islamic State. But they have no evidence he was in contact with militant groups or individuals.

On a seven-month trip to visit family in Jordan, it is uncertain how long he may have spent in the Qatari capital, a political crossroads in the region. Qatar is home to jihadist supporters as well as a U.S. air base…

Abdulazeez returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 concerned about conflicts in the Middle East and the reluctance of the United States and other countries to intervene, according to two friends who had known him since elementary school.

Abdulazeez went to the Middle East in 2010 and visited several countries, one of his friends told Reuters. He then went to Jordan in 2014 to work for his uncle, and lived with his uncle and his grandparents there, he said. Both friends spoke with Reuters on condition they not be named because they feared a backlash.

The killer’s family assured ABC News that his trip had nothing to do with his radicalization:

A seven-month trip to Jordan last year was an effort to “get him away from bad influences in the U.S.,” not part of a path to radicalization, the family told agents.

And yet his friends told a different story about his change in behavior after returning from his recent travels:

Abdulazeez’s friends said he had returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 concerned about conflicts in the Middle East and the reluctance of the United States and other countries to intervene.

He later purchased three assault rifles on an online marketplace and used them for target practice, the friends said.

“That trip was eye-opening for him. He learned a lot about the traditions and culture of the Middle East,” said the close friend who received the text message.

Abdulazeez was upset about the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza and the civil war in Syria, he said. “He felt Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia were not doing enough to help, and that they were heavily influenced by the United States.”

Another friend said, “He had always talked about it, but I’d say his level of understanding and awareness really rose after he came back.”

And immediately upon his return he began purchasing long guns:

According to Abdulazeez’s friends, he purchased three guns on after returning from Jordan, including an AK-74, an AR-15, and a Saiga 12. They said he also owned 9mm and .22-caliber handguns.

So just as a matter of review for those still searching for motive in Abdulazeez’s killings last week, we have evidence that:

But his motive is a complete mystery that we may never know, say officials close to the investigation.

Conversely we have his family and their anonymous representative pushing mental illness, depression, drug use and financial pressures as motive.

Again, all of the media reporting pushing this narrative is sourced to the family and their representatives, or officials who had talked to the family. Of course, the family would have no ulterior motive floating this story line at all.

And then there’s this from last night:


No doubt investigators will continue to piece together the events that led to this horrific terror attack. Meanwhile, none of us should be surprised as the media grinds its preferred narrative.


Also see:

No, the Chattanooga Shooter Really Does Appear to Be a Jihadist

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, July 18, 2015:

In the immediate aftermath of Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s killing of four Marines and wounding of at least three other people, there was a noticeable effort to portray the jihadist as an all-American boy from small-town Tennessee. With just a bit of digging, however, a different picture is emerging. The New York Times reported Friday morning that Abdulazeez had spent about seven months in Jordan last year.

As is their wont in cases where Muslims kill Americans, investigators hastened to point out that overseas stays in a region rife with Islamic radicalism are not necessarily suggestive of terror ties . . . even if the traveler, on his stateside return, promptly shoots up military installations while the Islamic State and al-Qaeda urge Muslims to shoot up military installations.

Abdulazeez was technically a Jordanian national when his parents brought him to the United States from Kuwait as an infant in 1990. Sometime during his childhood, he became a naturalized American citizen. Yet the family appears to self-identify as Palestinian, a conclusion I’ll explain in due course.

Extensive and mostly flattering information already abounds about Abdulazeez’s upbringing in Colonial Shores, a subdivision of Hixon, a small town across the Tennessee River from Chattanooga. “He seemed to have been an all-American boy,” reports the Times, “handsome, polite, normally in a T-shirt and jeans.”

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The 24-year-old jihadist was finally killed in a shootout with Chattanooga police Thursday morning. He had first opened fire on a military recruiting office, shooting out the windows. He then drove to a U.S. Naval Reserve Center about six miles away, where he murdered the four Marines. Also wounded in the spree were a Marine recruiting officer, a police officer, and Navy sailor who, as this is written, is still fighting for her life after a night of surgery.

Abdulazeez’s family — father, mother, and at least two sisters — is described by the media as “devout” and “conservative” Muslim. Abdulazeez is said to have had a mostly normal American childhood, playing ball in the street with the local kids; his sisters, to have been everyday American girls who happened to wear headscarves. Neighbors appear to have thought the children polite and well behaved.

Yet, there is plainly more to the story. According to one Israeli press outlet, the shooter’s father, Youssef Abdulazeez, is a Palestinian, notwithstanding his holding of a Jordanian passport.About 4.5 million Palestinians live in Jordan, about three-quarters of them holding Jordanian citizenship. Whatever his ties to Jordan, Youssef resided in Samaria — i.e., in the virulently anti-Israeli and anti-Western territory of the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank — before relocating to Kuwait. The Israeli press outlet relates:

The Palestinian connection was demonstrated by pictures posted on Facebook recently by [an unidentified family member] who put up an image featuring a fist grasping a loudspeaker in the colors of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag with the words: “speak for Palestine!”

Indicators of the Palestinian roots of the Abdulazeez family are corroborated by the Instagram account of one of Youssef’s daughters, Yasmeen. In it, she describes herself as a “Palestinian Muslim living in good old Tennessee.”

After moving to Kuwait, Youssef married his wife, Rasmia. Mohammod was born in 1990. They left for America after the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War — the war in which President George H. W. Bush liberated Kuwaiti Muslims from the occupying Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein . . . although Kuwait remains a hotbed of radical Islam and a major source of anti-American jihadist funding.

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Youssef was on a Federal Bureau of Investigation terrorist watch list for some unspecified period of time, on suspicion of donating money to an organization suspected of being a terrorist front. He was even reportedly questioned by or at the behest of American law enforcement during a trip outside the U.S. But he was eventually removed from the list. Now he is not only employed by the Chattanooga City Department of Public Works; he also was appointed an unarmed “special policeman” in 2005 by the Chattanooga City Council.

In the hours right after the shooting, local federal officials stated the obvious: the jihadist killing of our Marines was an act of “terrorism.” By nighttime, the government was walking that back.

The Abdulazeez children attended Red Bank High School. The Washington Post reports that, in her years at there, as well as at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (where Mohammod also attended), Yasmeen drew attention for her forward and at times confrontational expression of Islam — wearing her headscarf even on the volleyball court, and chiding fellow students, “Do you really know what Islam is? . . . There’s this misconception that Islam is a violent religion. Muslims are actually peaceful.”

Another sister, Dalia, eventually became a well-regarded young elementary-school teacher. Quite abruptly, however, she left the school and the United States. A former teaching colleague indicates that the move was made in order to be with a man who was leaving the country. Her strict Islamic parents wanted to choose her husband, and they disapproved of the beau she’d chosen for herself.

Mohammod, meanwhile, is said to have been a popular, smart, witty high-school student and athlete — a formidable wrestler who grew into a muscular six-footer and later took up mixed martial arts for a time. He interrupted wrestling practices for prayer breaks. He was also eerily quoted as follows in his senior-yearbook entry: “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”

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Of course it is still early in the investigation, but little seems to be known so far about Mohammod’s college years at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The UT system has active chapters of the Muslim Students Association. As I’ve previously recounted, the MSA is the primary building block of the Muslim Brotherhood’s American infrastructure, and several of its leaders have gone on to become prominent Islamist activists and even violent jihadists. Thus far, though, I’ve seen no reporting about whether Abdulazeez was a member of, or in any way active in, the MSA.

It is clear that he had recently become a regular attendee of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, where his family prayed at the mosque. Mohammod had not been seen there in a while before he began attending again two to three months ago — information that is consistent with lengthy travel overseas. The Islamic Society describes itself as moderate and, out of respect for the Marines killed by Abdulazeez, it canceled an end-of-Ramadan celebration that was scheduled for Friday evening. A founding board member of the Society told the Timesthat Abdulazeez had shown no signs of “extremism.”

So for now, we do not know much about Abdulazeez’s activities and influences during his college years — the time when Islamic supremacism grips many young Muslim men. We know that he earned a degree in electrical engineering in 2012. (Interestingly, many terrorists and Islamist activists have studied engineering at American universities). We know that he eventually interned at the Tennessee Valley Authority (the federally owned utility that provides electricity and flood control for millions of Americans in the South). And we know, finally, that the clean-cut Abdulazeez — the high-school senior with close-cropped hair — somehow became the bearded zealot who created an Islamic website on the eve of his jihad.

The American press has naturally focused on a recent drunk-driving arrest; obviously, it could cut against the picture of a committed Muslim extremist and thus suggest that some other motive — any other motive — explains the attack. But the arrest could equally suggest a person in the throes of an inner conflict between the life he knew and the beliefs he harbored. Better than reading tea leaves would be reading his own words. On the website, whose only two entries were posted on Monday, three days before the shooting spree, he warned fellow Muslims that “life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to allah [sic] may pass you by.”

The other entry, on “Understanding Islam,” refers to the example of the prophet Mohammed’s companions: the notion that “almost every one of them was a political leader or an army general[.] Every one of them fought jihad for the sake of Allah.” Abdulazeez concluded:

We ask Allah to make us follow their path. To give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength the [sic] live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world.

In the hours right after the shooting, local federal officials stated the obvious: the jihadist killing of our Marines was an act of “terrorism.” By nighttime, the government was walking that back. President Obama described the “assault” as a “heartbreaking circumstance.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch prefers “national-security investigation” to the word “terrorism.”

After all, who knows what the motive could have been?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.


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