Why Are Terror Leader al-Awlaki’s Video Messages Still on YouTube?

awlaki-1Fox News Insider, December 5, 2016:

YouTube has the ability to remove videos seen as having the potential to recruit terrorists, says Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The judge joined Jenna Lee on Happening Now to discuss growing questions on why the videos of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – leader of the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen – have been allowed to remain on YouTube.

Investigators have linked the ideology of al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen five years ago, to at least 11 incidents since 2009, including the recent attack on the campus of Ohio State University.

According to a YouTube representative, “YouTube has clear policies in prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.” So why then are al-Awlaki’s videos allowed to remain on the platform, Lee asked.

“The short answer is his videos are still out there because like flag burning, they are protected speech,” Napolitano said. “Even though they are hateful, even though they advocate violence, even though they are profoundly un-American, they are protected speech…protected from the government…but not protected from YouTube, which is not the government.

“So the First Amendment says the government shall not interfere with free speech, but YouTube could take them down in a flash just because it doesn’t want this stuff being propagated on its platform.”

Napolitano said YouTube should make a “business judgment” on how to handle this content.

“If they think their their shareholders want a free and open platform where any political idea can be aired no matter how horrible, hateful or harmful it may be, they should keep it on there,” he said. “But if they want to cleanse the airwaves of this horror and terror producing stuff, they can take it down with impunity.”

‘Join the Revolution’: Al-Qaeda Makes Populist Pitch to Millennials

Osama bin Laden and Hamza bin Laden

Osama bin Laden and Hamza bin Laden

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, October 12, 2016:

Al-Qaeda is appealing to millennials with a cocktail of populism and Islam and directives to not admire grown “kids” in professional sports but “men… with their AK aimed at the enemy” — and to follow the latter into jihad.

The outreach was detailed in Al-Balagh, a recent magazine issued by al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, a successful chapter announced by core leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2014 that has conducted a spree of machete assassinations against individuals deemed to have insulted Islam. One of the group’s earlier victims was an Atlanta couple who were secular writers visiting Bangladesh; Avijit Roy was hacked to death, while his wife Rafida Bonya Ahmed was seriously injured.

The 53-page inaugural issue of the magazine was printed in English and Bengali. The editor’s note at the beginning first details and slams the “criminal demon-crazy nexus which is known as democracy.”

“Thus, while the anti-Islamic bigots and hate-breeders are hailed as heroes by the rulers and the media, the Tawheed [monotheism]-loving Muslims who came out in the streets to protest the defamation of their beloved prophet are humiliated and massacred,” the column states in apparent reference to the bloggers, professors and journalists who have been hacked to death by AQIS.

The appeal to youth first uses the politics of Bangladesh as a backdrop, arguing that “the criminals siphon billions of dollars from the share market with ease and immersed in mirth, with no accountability whatsoever, while the devastated, burdened youth faced with unrelenting poverty and debt are forced to commit suicide.”

“Domestic maids succumb to death after enduring barbaric torture at the hands of distinguished citizens, while the killers are showered with flowers and garlands. Our mothers and sisters are abused in broad daylight, yet the criminals roam free,” the piece continues. “Every moment a new tragedy is born. It is impossible to keep track of the disasters plaguing this nation. So which one of these can one speak about? Such is the state of the country.”

“And what about the Muslim Ummah [community]? It seems no one even cares to inquire about the Muslims in Palestine anymore, although the criminal Zionist Israel is still surrounded by Muslim countries. I think it was Ali Tantawi who once said, ‘If Muslims can’t learn to resist Israel with weapons then they should learn how to die. You will see Israel be wiped off of the map with a flood of Muslim blood.'”

The article laments that in “Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, China, Myanmar, India, Pakistan — nowhere have the Muslims been able to be liberated.”

“I am not merely talking about the Western concept of ‘independence’ or ‘self-determination,’ but I am talking about true liberation, which can only come through the victory of the deen [religion]. I am talking about making Islam victorious,” the write continues.

“But the good news is a new wave, a reversal of the world order has started all over the world. A wave of Muslim youth is returning to Tawheed. A wave of the youth is returning to Islam. It is a return to the roots in order to bring back the glory and reclaim the honor, and to destroy the satanic civilization and establish the reign of the divine Shariah.”

“The Muslim youth,” argues the AQIS piece, “have started to realize that they have to rise up and join the caravan.”

“They have to join the resistance and the revolution. They have to conquer fear and walk on the same road on which the Salaf stepped upon. Only then true liberation and true victory will come. The Muslims have recognized the reality of the system of kufr [disbelief] imposed by the global kuffar. The magic of the magician has finally come undone,” continues the recruiting pitch.

Would-be jihadists are told that “with our backs to the wall, now is the time to fight back.”

“It is now or never. The Muslims all over the world are witnessing the help of Allah granted to the Mujahideen.” A few operations are mentioned, including “the beginning of the Third Intifada” in the Middle East.

“Oh youth! Tie your shroud around your head and join the golden caravan! The grown men who spend their times playing like kids in the fields of cricket are not your role models. Rather, your role models are men, firm in speech and in action. Men who lived with their head high and with their AK aimed at the enemy. Your role models are the lions of the Ummah, such as Umar and Usama – may Allah have mercy upon them,” states the piece.

“Yes, your role models are the likes of the reviving Imam, the hero of the afflicted Ummah, Shaykh Usama bin Ladin, who boldly stated, ‘I swear by Allah who has raised the heavens without any pillars, America and those living in America will not even dream of peace until we live it in Filisteen, and until all the kufr armies are expelled from the land of Muhammad.'”

There are also articles in the magazine geared toward a millennial audience, including age-oriented marriage guidelines. Al-Qaeda publications have often tried to include women writers to reach out to that demographic as well, and Al-Balagh includes a “Sisters’ Column: How I Came to Love the Niqab.”

The State Department designated AQIS as a foreign terrorist organization in June, 16 months after Roy’s murder.

The Treasury Department noted that younger leaders — “part of a new generation of al-Qaeda operatives” — have been quietly building up al-Qaeda in its July sanctions against three members of the terror group sheltering in Iran.

Osama bin Laden’s 11th son, Hamza, now in his mid-20s, has also been rallying millennials to jihad in audio messages over the past 14 months.

“The followers of the thought of Sheikh Osama, may Allah have mercy on him, which is represented by targeting the head of global disbelief that supports the Jews, have increased in number within a decade and a half, and became double in number,” Hamza bin Laden said in a July message.

“If you think that your sinful crime that you committed in Abbottabad has passed without punishment, then you thought wrong,” he added, referring to the U.S. raid in which his father was killed. “What is correct is coming to you, and its punishment is severe.”

***

What makes someone become an Islamic extremist? Is it poverty? Lack of education? A search for meaning? Haroon Ullah, a senior State Department advisor and a foreign policy professor at Georgetown University, shares what he discovered while living in Pakistan.

Islamic militant groups’ recruits likely to be well educated, study finds

 Islamic State fighters parading through Raqqa in Syria. Photograph: Uncredited/AP

Islamic State fighters parading through Raqqa in Syria. Photograph: Uncredited/AP

Guardian, by Jason Burke, October 5, 2016:

Recruits to Islamic militant groups are likely to be well educated and relatively wealthy, with those aspiring to be suicide bombers among the best off, a study by the World Bank has found.

The research, based on internal records from the Islamic State group, will reinforce the growing conclusion among specialists that there is no obvious link between poverty or educational levels and radicalisation.

The data, leaked by a disaffected former member of Isis in March, includes basic information on 3,803 foreign recruits from all over the Islamic world and Europe who joined the organisation between early 2013 and late 2014, when the flow of volunteers to the organisation reached a peak.

Those arriving in Isis-controlled territory were vetted and interviewed. Data on country of residence, citizenship, marital status, skills, educational status, previous extremist experience and knowledge of Islamic law was recorded.

The World Bank study found that 69% of recruits reported at least a secondary level education while “15% left school before high school and less than 2% are illiterate”.

The educational level of recruits from north Africa or the Middle East was significantly greater than that of most of their compatriots, the researchers found.

“A large fraction have gone on to study at university … Recruits from Africa, south and east Asia and the Middle East are significantly more educated than individuals from their cohort in their region of origin,” the report said.

The recruits were also asked by Isis what role they hoped to play within the group. The proportions of those who wanted to be administrators and “suicide fighters” increased with education, the report’s authors noted.

Neither inequality nor poverty was a driver of involvement in violent extremism, and wealthier countries were more likely to supply foreign recruits for Isis, the report found.

“In countries with a large Muslim population, low degrees of religiosity, low levels of trust in religious institutions and strong government and social control of religion seem to be risk factors of radicalisation,” the report said.

Ongoing research into causes of Islamic militancy has underlined the complexity of motives of recruits and volunteers, as well as the differences between different conflict zones.

Read more

Also see:

This former punk rocker now trains female ISIS fighters to attack Western targets

Photographee.eu | Shutterstock

Photographee.eu | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Nate Madden, Sept. 13, 2016:

A high profile British jihadi bride and former punk rocker is currently living in Raqqa, Syria and training women to carry out ISIS attacks in the West.

Sally Jones became the most wanted female jihadist in the world in 2013 when she fled Britain (along with her 11-year-old son) to join ISIS with her husband to-be, Junaid Hussain (since killed in a drone strike).

According to a report at the U.K. Telegraph over the weekend:

In February this year she is said to have moved with Joe into an apartment on al-Thakna street in southern Raqqa, sharing a building with the families of a French and an Uzbek fighter.   

Following Hussain’s death she was put in charge of training all European female recruits, or “muhajirat”. 

She has been entrusted with leading the secretive female wing of the Anwar al-Awlaki battalion, a unit founded by her late husband that is composed solely of foreign fighters with the purpose of planning and executing attacks in the West.

The report later details that Jones’ responsibilities in the unit include training female Islamic recruits in weaponry, combat, and carrying out “suicide missions against Western targets.”

Jones is also believed to have recruited dozens of other women to the so-called caliphate via social media.

“Isil respects her because she is the widow of Junaid, who was very important to the group,” says a former ISIS militant who confirmed the 47-year-old mother’s role in the insurgency. “[Jones] is also influential in her own right. She was the reason Isil was able to recruit a lot of Western girls to Raqqa: it’s not easy to convince a Christian, rock girl to become an extremist.”

Jone’s pre-teen son, Jojo, was believed to be the executioner in an ISIS propaganda video released in late August, in which a child is shown murdering a captured Kurdish fighter.

Last November, U.S. President Barack Obama criticized opponents of his Syrian refugee program as being “scared of widows and orphans,” despite the fact that terror organizations have made a concerted effort to infiltrate refugee populations and train women and children to carry out its barbaric mission in the West.

Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMadden_IV.

Rising Threat: The Islamic States’s Militarization of Children

tkg-report-ischildren

Threat Knowledge Group, September 2016

NEW TKG SPECIAL REPORT:

Rising Threat: The Islamic State’s Militarization of Children (pdf)

By:
Dr. Sebastian L. Gorka
Katharine C. Gorka
Claire Herzog

The rate at which the Islamic State is recruiting, training, and exploiting children presents a new set of challenges for U.S. warfighters and law enforcement.

Not only do we risk overlooking the threat posed by children, assuming their innocence, but we also run the risk of moral injury and increased rates of PTSD to those who must confront this threat.

This paper looks at how the Islamic State is militarizing children in order to better prepare the United States to face this new and rising threat.

ISIS Is Winning the Twitter War

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, Aug. 6, 2016:

Islamic State supporters have given the terror group an advantage over its opponents by out-tweeting critics, according to a new study.

While ISIS opponents outnumbered the group’s supporters six-to-one on Arabic-language Twitter last year, ISIS supporters “routinely outtweet opponents” and are better at using social media to propagate their message, according to a RAND Corporation study that examined ISIS Twitter networks between July 2014 and April 2015.

Researchers discovered nearly 76,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts using Arabic on the social media site, a marked increase over a 2014 estimate by the Brookings Institution of around 46,000 Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters—communicating in both Arabic and English.

The RAND study found over 471,000 accounts dispersing critical messages about the terrorist group.

ISIS supporters tweeted 60 times per day on average, 50 percent more than their opponents.

“While ISIS supporters are outnumbered, it is clear that they are more active than ISIS opponents, as they produce 150 percent of opponents’ number of tweets a day. These results suggest that ISIS supporters are more energized than their opponent counterparts,” the researchers concluded in the study released on Tuesday.

“However, more than this, lexical analysis of the ISIS Supporters metacommunity demonstrates that ISIS supporters more actively adhere to good social media strategy by actively encouraging fellow supporters to ‘spread,’ ‘disseminate,’ and ‘link’ messages to expand their reach and impact,” the researchers continued.

ISIS has leveraged Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Ask.fm, to disseminate its message and reach potential sympathizers beyond its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. From 2011 to September 2015, roughly 30,000 foreign fighters, including thousands of Westerners and hundreds of Americans, tried to travel to Iraq and Syria, many seeking to join ISIS.

An Alabama high school student who joined the terror group first made contact with ISIS members and supporters on Twitter, according to an interview published by BuzzFeed last year.

ISIS hacking groups have also used social media to promote “kill lists” targeting U.S. military officials, law enforcement personnel, and civilians.

The State Department said in June that ISIS posed the greatest global terror threat last year, noting that the group’s “propaganda and use of social media have created new challenges for counterterrorism efforts.”

RAND researchers analyzed publicly available Twitter data over a 10-month period to understand different communities talking about ISIS and develop recommendations for U.S. and allied efforts to combat the terror group on social media.

The Obama administration has struggled to counter terrorist propaganda online. In January, it overhauled its efforts to curb ISIS and other terror groups’ digital influence with the creation of a counterterrorism task force.

The State Department, which was widely mocked in 2014 for its “Think Again Turn Away” counter-messaging campaign, shuttered its Center for Counterterrorism Communications at the start of this year after an expert panel concluded that the U.S. government should not be so overtly engaged in information operations against ISIS.

The department replaced the program with the Global Engagement Center, which largely relies on foreign states to lead counterterrorism messaging.

Twitter began suspending ISIS accounts in March 2015, which may have resulted in a gradual decline of ISIS supporters, the RAND research indicated. Still, the organization’s use of social media has exacerbated concerns about its ability to inspire future attacks like the Orlando nightclub shooting carried out by ISIS sympathizer Omar Mateen in June. That attack killed 49 people.

Phillip Lohaus, a national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon that Twitter has been effective at cracking down on jihadist accounts, but that some supporters have found ways to direct individuals to ISIS resources without being flagged by the company.

“There are people who sympathize with jihadist groups, with ISIS, that are on Twitter and that know what boundaries not to cross, and therefore can serve as a conduit to point people toward certain resources or to get out messages that are sympathetic to ISIS if they’re not necessary inciting people to violence or things that Twitter would immediately kick them off for,” Lohaus explained.

He said that ISIS has used Twitter and other platforms to “create an online community” that the U.S. government has thus far been ineffective at countering.

“The way that the government has handled this so far has been to kind of send out a couple snarky tweets and they think that’s sufficient,” Lohaus explained. “The real issue here is that these jihadist groups are creating an online community. It’s not just that they’re just sending out all this horrible propaganda. It’s that they’re sending out things like poems, they’re sending out highly-polished videos, they’re sending out all kinds of essays that maybe are only tangentially related to extremists.”

The RAND study recommended that the State Department provide “social media trainings and other engagements” to ISIS opponents using Arabic-language Twitter to amplify their messages. “Of course, with al-Qa’ida and its affiliates counted among the ISIS opponents, care will have to be taken in selecting those suitable to train and empower,” the researchers noted.

RAND researchers also recommended that government organizations looking to combat ISIS with counter-messaging on Twitter should tailor their messages to target specific communities because the terror group’s Twitter community “is highly fragmented and consists of different communities that care about different topics.”

The U.S. military and State Department should also continue to highlight global atrocities committed by ISIS, the researchers wrote, highlighting data indicating that intense attention to such acts resulted in an influx of anti-ISIS messaging. “Note, however, ISIS clearly uses ultraviolence as a key component of its brand, and a messaging strategy, consequently, highlighting such actions risks playing into its hands,” they warned.

In addition to public social media platforms, ISIS has also turned to secure messaging platforms like Kik to communicate with potential supporters and fighters, which Lohaus indicated could be more of a threat than propaganda spread through Twitter.

“These are secured chat platforms where ISIS recruiters and propagandists can directly get in touch with youths or with anybody who might be interested in their cause,” Lohaus said, adding later that militants could leverage these platforms to call for future attacks against the West.

“There’s a whole section of communications in our society to which the government doesn’t have access and I think that we are already seeing Islamists exploit that, and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t for operational things either,” he said.

AP Report: Islamic State Used ‘Islam for Dummies’ to Train Recruits

Reuters/Stringer

Reuters/Stringer

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Aug. 18, 2016:

The Associated Press published a report on Monday, compiled from court testimony and interviews with former ISIS fighters, that painted a dim picture of the Islamic State’s recruits. The early waves, in particular, were so clueless that some of them had to order Islam for Dummies from Amazon.com to brush up on the religion.

That juicy little tidbit is, naturally, the basis for the AP’s headline: “Islam For Dummies: IS Recruits Have Poor Grasp of Faith.” However, only two recruits from Britain were that unclear about the concept of jihad. 70 percent of early recruits claimed to have “basic” knowledge of sharia law, while 24 percent described themselves as “intermediate” students of the Islamic legal code, and 5 percent “advanced.” This would suggest only one percent of the people ISIS roped in were largely ignorant of sharia law.

The takeaway from the Associated Press report is not that Islamic State recruits were broadly unfamiliar with Islam — it is that they knew just enough about “moderate Islam” to fall prey to the Islamic State’s appeal.

ISIS radicalizes young Muslims by telling them, in essence, the Islam you get from your parents, and the imam at the mosque you scarcely bother to attend, isn’t the real deal. We are the champions of authentic Islam. Here’s what the moderates don’t want you to hear from the Koran.

This message is mixed with appeals to factional and national solidarity. For example, the AP spoke with a European recruit who “thought he was joining a group to fight President Bashar Assad and help Syrians, not the Islamic State.” He ended up packed into a safe house with other recruits while ISIS imams indoctrinated them.

The Associated Press concludes this means ISIS preys on “religious ignorance, allowing extremists to impose a brand of Islam constructed to suit its goal of maximum territorial expansion and carnage as soon as recruits come under its sway.”

It would be equally valid to describe this as religious curiosity, added to the sense of alienation and frustration that drives so many radicals, violent or otherwise. There seems to be little evidence that would suggest intensive study of Islam halts or reverses the radicalization process — in fact, there is a dismaying shortage of evidence that ISIS recruits can be talked out of radicalization, once it passes a certain point.

The constant refrain from the families of Islamic State recruits and “lone wolf” jihadis is surprise: no one in the family ever seemed to realize just how far gone their ISIS-supporting child was until it was too late. One of the reasons radicalization seems so puzzling and sudden to experts is that such denials are accepted at face value.

Only later do we learn that the jihadi held radical beliefs for much longer than the press was originally led to believe, or the jihadi had a history of run-ins with the law. Alternatively, the families of Western jihadis may be missing important signs of radicalization because they have been taught not to see them, by the media/government that insists terrorism has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.

For example, the AP report quotes ISIS recruit Karim Mohammad-Aggad, who journeyed to the Islamic State in Syria with his brother and a group of friends after an Islamic State recruiter contacted them in Germany, claiming he was bamboozled with “smooth talk” from the recruiter.

“My religious beliefs had nothing to do with my departure. Islam was used to trap me like a wolf,” he said in court, insisting he didn’t “have the knowledge” to answer questions about sharia. A co-defendant gave the same answer, and the Associated Press points out that both Karim and his brother Foued said they had only “basic” knowledge of sharia when they filled out the ISIS entry questionnaire.

Those statements are a very thin reed to hang the “ISIS recruits don’t know anything about Islam” argument upon, especially since Karim’s little brother Foued was one of the monsters who carried out the unspeakable atrocity at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris last November.

Another assertion in the AP report, made by a study from the U.S. military’s Combating Terrorism Center, is that ISIS recruits who claimed advanced knowledge of sharia were less likely to volunteer for suicide missions.

“If martyrdom is seen as the highest religious calling, then a reasonable expectation would be that the people with the most knowledge about Islamic law (Shariah) would desire to carry out these operations with greater frequency,” said the Combating Terrorism Center report. However, “those with the most religious knowledge within the organization itself are the least likely to volunteer to be suicide bombers.”

That is a difficult assertion to evaluate without knowing a great deal more about the backgrounds of the individuals in question. A very small group, since as the AP noted, only 5 percent of incoming Islamic State fighters claimed to have “advanced” knowledge of sharia on the entry paperwork. Broad conclusions cannot be drawn from the way a tiny fraction of ISIS recruits described themselves. They might not have wanted to go on suicide missions, but they were still willing to fight for the Islamic State.

Also, sharia law does not require suicide bombing. There is an argument among Muslim scholars about whether sharia forbids suicide, or murder, but the Koran repeatedly encourages courageous battle against infidels, with a willingness to kill or die in the effort. It is a mistake to confuse sharia law with the totality of Islamic belief and tradition, as practiced by many different groups across an enormous worldwide population.

“Sharia forbids suicide, so suicide bombers don’t understand sharia” is a variation on the No True Muslim fallacy, a tautology which argues terrorists can’t possibly understand authentic Islam because no one who practices authentic Islam would be a terrorist.

The ultimate ends of such an argument — a reformation of Islam in which violence is expunged from the religion, and assimilation-minded moderates triumph in all of Islam’s many factions — is highly desirable. The question is how to get there, and ignoring or downplaying the importance of Islam in the appeal made by ISIS and other extremist groups is not likely to help either moderate Muslims or secular governments devise an effective strategy for combating the radicals.

History renders a grim verdict on that approach: the Western world has been pushing No True Muslim arguments with all of its might, especially after the 9/11 attacks, and yet ISIS happened. The young Western recruits described in the Associated Press report spent their entire lives in the “Religion of Peace”/”Terrorists are on the Wrong Side of History” era, but they still ended up fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. What they tell courts today, as they fight for reduced sentences, is very different than what they probably would have said when they first arrived in the “caliphate.”

Former CIA case officer Patrick Skinner told the Associated Press that most ISIS recruits are “reaching for a sense of belonging, a sense of notoriety, a sense of excitement,” and he claimed, “religion is an afterthought.” If that’s true, then why is the Islamic State so much more successful than the many other groups that offer disaffected youngsters a sense of belonging, notoriety, and excitement? Falling in with a local gang is easy; abandoning your family, and evading the law enforcement agencies of several nations, to join ISIS in Syria or Iraq is hard.

The Islamic State’s religious appeal may be only one ingredient in the fuel that drives people to make that awful choice, but discounting it as irrelevant is dangerous.

Also see:

VIDEO — “Gangster Islam” in Europe

arrestGatestone Institute, July 12, 2016:

“Gangster Islam,” a crime wave packing prisons and overtaking Europe, is a problem the mainstream media will not report. Ordinary Europeans — for fear of being called “racist” or even being imprisoned for “hate speech” — are afraid even to talk about it. Timon Dias, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, discusses the issue in our latest video:

Also see:

Dr. Jihad: Muslim doctors and the global jihad

Muslim doctorAmerican Thinker, by Carol Brown, July 11, 2016:

Where Trump goes, so do protestors. The GOP convention in Cleveland will be a flash point for many of them.

One group will be from the Stand Together Against Trump PAC which was formed by local physicians who want to protest Trump’s position on Muslim immigration. The PAC has eight leaders including six doctors, four of whom are Muslim. The founder, Dr. Bryan Hambley, said the group finds the “rhetoric” of banning Muslims from the United States “shocking.”

The upcoming protest at the GOP convention will not be Hambley’s first. He was escorted out of a protest in March after removing his sweatshirt to reveal a t-shirt that read: “Muslim doctors save lives in Cleveland.”

With all this talk of Muslim doctors saving lives, I thought I’d highlight a few examples where they strayed a long way (to put it mildly) from their oath of “first do no harm.”

Last month an international search began when medical school graduate Mohamed Maleeh Masha vanished from Flint, Michigan. Authorities believe he is now in Syria providing medical care to wounded ISIS jihadists, tending to dozens if not hundreds each day. Masha is also likely making propaganda videos since upper-class professionals like doctors are sought after for this job with the hope they’ll convince other professionals in the West to join the cause.

In Masha’s case, as with others, there are the usual questions being raised about how he became “radicalized” (aka devout; hint: the Quran) with a hypothesis being floated that he “may have become more invested in the Islamic faith before fleeing to join ISIS.” (Including the word “may” is probably unnecessary, but other than that the link between Islam and terror is a welcome change from the usual battery of lies.)

Masha is the latest in a string of Muslim physician terrorists. Several years ago in Florida, Dr. Rafiq Sabi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for providing material support to terrorists. The trial judge stated that part of what contributed to the near maximum sentence was Sabir’s lack of contrition coupled with his “deeply held views regarding militant fundamentalist Islam.” (Hmm. There’s that link again, though the words “militant” and “fundamentalist” are superfluous.)

In the UK, doctors are coming down with sudden jihad syndrome at an alarming rate. In May of this year, Dr. Issam Abuanza left his wife and children to join ISIS. Abuanza was active on social media until the end of last year, posting sentiments in support of terror. After the Charlie Hebdo attack he wrote: “Praise be to God for this terrorist act. God kill off their enemies, military and civilian, men and women, adult and children.” He also wrote about the Jordanian pilot who was captured and burned alive in a cage, stating his desire to torture and murder him over and over again, writing, “I would’ve liked for them to burn him extremely slowly and I could treat him so we could torch him once more.”

jihadist2The year before Abuanza left for Syria, a number of Muslim physicians in the UK had already joined ISIS, including a female doctor by the name of Mujahidah Bint Usama who posted on Twitter a photo of herself in a lab coat over a burqa holding a decapitated head. She captioned the photo “Dream Job. A Terrorist Doc” and accompanied it with a smiley face song and two hearts.

Among the Muslim doctors who’ve left the UK to become jihadists is one who brought his younger brother with him as well as a British surgeon who was about to stand trial for his ties to terror when he evaded authorities (despite his passport being confiscated) and started making recruitment videos for a Taliban splinter group.

Despite the trend of UK doctors joining ISIS and other Islam terror organizations, should any of the physician-turned-jihadists wish to return to the UK, they’reallowed to resume work at the National Health Service providing they didn’t do any actual fighting, as if (1) this information could be verified, and (2) that’s what matters. Apparently the fact that a doctor can aid and abet terrorists by, at the very least, helping to keep them alive and/or making recruitment videos is not deemed sufficient cause for the UK to keep them out of the country.

The phenomenon of doctor jihadists spans the globe. Last year, Australian doctorTareq Kamleh joined ISIS. In Canada, Dr. Khurram Sher went on trial for terrorism charges in a complex plot spanning multiple countries, including Canada, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan.

Other terrorist doctors include Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri (Al-Qaeda leader), Drs. Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi and Mahmoud Al-Zahar (co-founders  of Hamas), Dr. Fathi Abd Al-Aziz Shiqaqi (co-founder and Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad), Dr. Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla (one of two terrorists behind major attacks in Europe in 2007), and Dr. George Habash (founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine responsible for numerous airline hijackings and bombings).

Muslim dentists are also joining the call to jihad, including three who storedbombs in a dental clinic and one who planned to murder British troops. Some might say that doctors from all religious persuasions have committed heinous acts and that the percentage of Muslim doctors who become jihadists is exceedingly small. And both would be true. But the critical difference is that the evil embraced by doctor jihadists is motivated by a totalitarian doctrine laid out in the Quran. These barbarians are not lone madmen who are misrepresenting their faith. (Nor are they poor and disadvantaged as dhimmis like to paint Islamic terrorists.) They are unified by the teachings of Mohammed. And while their beliefs and actions may seem extreme to us, they are not “extremists” within the context of their religion. They are devout.

As to the second point, while the percentage of Muslim doctors who become terrorists is incredibly small, the fact that this phenomenon occurs at all is a reality that cannot be ignored. Also worthy of note is that recruiting doctors has been discussed in terror circles for a long time, in part because doctors are not likely to be viewed suspiciously and, as noted earlier, they are ideal subjects to make recruitment videos.

In addition, though beyond the scope of this article, there are numerous examples of Islamic supremacy in medical settings that, while not outright violent acts of terror, are nevertheless deeply disturbing as Islam advances from all sides, in all manner of ways, including the assertion of sharia law by doctors and others who work in health care. (See here, here, here, here, and here for a few examples).

In closing and getting back to the planned protest in Cleveland, I have no doubt that Muslim doctors in Cleveland, and elsewhere around the world, save lives. But why is there selective outrage about Trump’s proposal to (temporarily) ban (some) Muslims from coming to the United States, yet nary a peep – no less “shock” – about the fact that Islam commands that all infidels convert, live as second class citizens, or die, in a world where all must submit as written in the holy book of these doctors? And as is born out every day as horror upon horror is unleashed in the name of Allah.

(To learn more about the threat of Islamic supremacy, see here, here, here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for a sampling of excellent resources.)

Hat tips: Cleveland.com, The Detroit News, Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, Daniel Pipes, The Washington Examiner, The Telegraph, The Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Wire, The Jewish Press, The Daily Star, Metro UK, Times of Israel, Militant Islam Monitor, Debbie Schlussel, FBI web site, Wikipedia, and Counterjihad Report

Observations on the New Islamic State Video ‘Structure of the Caliphate’

structure of the CaliphateMEF, by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  •  Jul 6, 2016
Cross-posted from Aymennjawad.org

Readers of this blog will have known that a long-standing interest of mine has been the structure of Islamic State (IS) administration, focusing primarily on internal documents. To mark the start of Eid, IS has released via its central media outlet al-Furqan Media a video on the very subject, entitled ‘Structure of the Caliphate’. Below are some observations of mine:

1. The list of “wilayas” (provinces) of the Islamic State in the screenshot at right is particularly interesting. In total, IS counts 35 wilayas: 19 inside Iraq and Syria and 16 outside of Iraq and Syria. Most notably, despite widespread speculation of IS gearing up towards announcing a new wilaya in the Philippines and claims that IS is now operating as a wilaya in the Philippines, there is no mention of the Philippines as a wilaya. Nor is there any mention of Tunisia, Indonesia, Somalia and Bangladesh: countries where IS has also claimed operations. The last real expansion on the geographic stage on the international level was the Caucasus wilaya a year ago.

In my view, the lack of new wilaya announcements reflects an IS strategy of avoiding wilaya announcements because they lack credibility without realisation of governance and administration on the ground akin to the system in place in IS-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria. With the exception of Libya (though this too is now in doubt with the attacks on the IS stronghold of Sirte), the wilaya projects abroad have been disastrous in so far as achieving administration on the ground (Arabic: tamkeen). Internal dissent in IS (which I will discuss in a later post using some unseen internal documents) long recognized this problem, and advised against wilaya announcements and that allegiance pledges should be taken secretly. While the latter point has not been heeded, IS now seems more cautious in translating allegiance pledges into the creation of new provinces.

The term Wilayat al-Sahel (Coast Province) featured in a claim of attacks in Tartous and Jableh, but is not mentioned in this video.

In terms of other wilayas, it should be noted that Wilayat al-Bahrain (for eastern Saudi Arabia) and Wilayat al-Sahel (for the coastal areas of Tartous and Latakia in Syria) are absent, despite references to such entities in IS propaganda elsewhere.

2. The diwans, committees and offices listed in the video generally correspond to the documentary evidence I have uncovered but naming is not always consistent. For example, the office for public relations and tribes sometimes comes under the diwans designation in the documents. Likewise, the investigations and studies office has also appeared as a diwan (Diwan al-‘Eftaa wa al-Buhuth). In addition, no mention is made of the Diwan al-Wilaya or the Idarat Aama (‘General Administration’) on the more local level. Certain functions do not always come under the same diwans, and sometimes names for separate diwans come up, raising issues of how centralized administration truly is and how much autonomy wilayas have. For example, I have previously seen documents that talk of the Diwan al-‘Aqarat (“Real Estate Diwan”). There is also no mention of the General Supervisory Committee (Al-Lujna al-Aama al-Mushrifa) that has issued wider notifications to the wilayas, diwans and committees, though it appears to be the same as the Delegated Committee (Al-Lujna Al-Mufawwadha) mentioned in the video, to which more serious matters can be referred by the wali in addition to responsibilities for supervising other committees.

3. Functions of Diwans can overlap in ways not mentioned in the video. For example, the Diwan al-Hisba is well known for enforcing Islamic morality, but it can also deal with issuing temporary exit permits for residents of IS territories and Internet security regulations. Some functions are not mentioned, like the Diwan al-Rikaz’s management of activities, or that the Hijra Committee manages border crossings for temporary visitors to IS territory in places like Dabiq.

4. The media section makes no reference to Amaq News, which arguably fits in with the modus operandi of an IS “auxiliary outlet” whereby links to IS are not officially admitted, even as most observers now recognize the outlet’s real function.

5. Note the mention of the Distant Provinces Administration, whose name first emerged in leaked documents during the controversy of dissent in the Yemeni affiliates.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum’s Jihad Intelproject.

***

Here is the video (source: http://jihadology.net/2016/07/06/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-the-structure-of-the-caliphate/)

Also see:

Beyond Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State’s HR Files Illuminate Dangerous Trends

ISIS-SniperToday at War On The Rocks, Clint Watts does a very detailed analysis of global foreign jihadist recruitment patterns which provides a predictive tool for counterterrorism strategy. Here is his conclusion:

Over the past 30 years, foreign fighters have been the thread by which one can trace jihadi violence.  Committed, motivated survivors of each mobilization go on to power the next round of terrorism. Those foreign fighters that cannot or will not return home tend to join the most promising emerging affiliates abroad.  Arab foreign fighters showed up in Afghanistan during the 1980s, settled in Pakistan, Sudan, and Afghanistan, and later became the backbone of al Qaeda in the 1990s.  Last decade, boys from the Arabian Peninsula, alongside an upsurge of North African recruits, fought in Iraq and soon after powered terrorism across more than a half dozen terrorist affiliates, notably in Yemen and the Sahel.

Language, ethnicity, and marriage often dictate which foreign fighters congregate together as battlefields open and close. As seen in social media recruitment over the past five years, recruits are drawn to jihadi leaders that talk like them and look like them. On the battlefield, foreign fighters mingle with those whom they can communicate and identify with ethnically. French and Belgian recruits more often fall into the ranks with Moroccans, Algerian, and Tunisians.  Russian speakers from the Caucasus and Central Asia join forces, as those from the Balkans band together. Germans last decade, for some reason, surfaced more often in Afghanistan and Pakistan. British and American English-speaking Somalis showed up with converts to join al Shabaab in Somalia.  Foreign fighter patterns are complicated, but somewhat predictable. Examining facilitation pathways and these foreign fighter linkages will be essential for anticipating the next wave of violence.

The trends revealed in the new Islamic State records alongside lessons learned from past foreign fighter migrations point to several actions Western powers should consider to preempt the next wave of violence stemming from the Islamic State’s survivors.  First, as seen by Tunisia’s massive supply of fighters, the West should move aggressively to disrupt terrorist facilitators. If left unattended, they’ll only fuel other jihadi pipelines as battlefields emerge.  Second, closely track surviving European foreign fighters, many of whom are unable to return home as the Islamic State falters in Iraq and Syria.  Where these trained, experienced, and committed European foreign fighters choose to migrate will prove a strong signal of where violent jihad will march next. This will also point to impending threats to European countries as their angry youth, as seen in Brussels and Paris, turn their guns on their homelands. Third, Western powers should determine whether Central Asian foreign fighters, along with Russians and Chinese, will band together as Syria closes.  Regionally, Central Asia, after Europe, showed the second highest increase in recruitment rates this decade.  Chinese and Russian foreign fighter migration stems not only from the opportunities of Syria, but because they’ve been squelched at home.  Should Russian and Chinese fighters, who together comprise 10 percent of the recent Islamic State sample, join with their Central Asian comrades, they will become a formidable, veteran contingent that may power an Asian terrorist group in the coming years. Finally, properly assessing where European and Central Asian survivors of the Islamic State coalesce requires an equal assessment of the opportunities available to them, namely what affiliates and regions offer the best chances of survival, regeneration, jihadi glory and prosperity. Recent foreign fighter records show the ingredients for the next round of jihad, affiliates will supply the recipe.

 Read it all

Clint Watts is a Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at The George Washington University. Prior to his current work as a security consultant, Clint served as a U.S. Army infantry officer, a FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, and as the Executive Officer of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Antwerp Terror Arrests Underscore Growing Threat to Europe and America

Belgium mapby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
June 1, 2016

Last Wednesday, just two years and a day after the deadly terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, and barely more than two months after the twin attacks on the Brussels airport and metro, Belgian police arrested a group of Muslim youth planning yet another attack, this time in Antwerp. Aiming “to kill as many kufar,” or non-Muslims, as possible, the group is believed to have been planning to bomb Antwerp’s Central Station. The group also is believed to have made previous plans to assassinate right-wing politician Filip Dewinter, the leader of the Vlaams Belang party. Those plans were put on hold, however, in favor of a larger-scale attack.

The suspects were members of a group of radicalized Muslim teens believed to have kept contact with Antwerp native Hicham Chaib, who is now a high-ranking leader of the Islamic State. It was Chaib who informed the public that the March 22 attacks on Belgium’s Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station “were just a taste of what’s to come.” And it is Chaib, the former second-in-command of Shariah4Belgium who left Antwerp for Syria in 2012, who now actively recruits other Antwerp-based youth to join ISIS or to execute terrorist attacks in their homeland.

The four arrests followed a series of raids by Antwerp police into the homes of several suspects in the Borgerhout district. Two suspects have been released, but other members of the group, some arrested previously, remain in custody. All suspects are said to be between the ages of 16 and 19, confirming earlier Dutch reports that European Muslims under the age of 20 are increasingly becoming involved in Islamic State activities and jihadist plots.

According to some accounts, the Antwerp group is comprised of nine youths, at least five of whom are minors. At least two members tried to join the Islamic State in Raqqa in March, but were stopped by officials en route and sent back to Belgium.

With security and counter-terror investigations heightened in Brussels after the March 22 attacks there, it is unsurprising that jihadists might be moving their activities and focus to nearby Antwerp. The city has a long history of Muslim unrest, with riots as early as 2002 and the founding, by Hizballah-linked Lebanese immigrant Dyab Abou Jahjah, of the Arab European League (AEL) in 2000. An organization with pan-Arab aspirations, the AEL aimed to create what Jahjah called a “sharocracy” – a kind of combination of democracy and sharia – that would eventually become European law.

More recently, Antwerp native Fouad Belkacem founded the notorious Sharia4Belgium, alleged to have organized most of the recruiting for ISIS in Belgium, with some outreach to neighboring countries such as France and The Netherlands. And, of the estimated 500 Belgian Muslims who have joined terrorist groups in Syria, more than 100 come from Antwerp.

But the indication of heightened new activity in Antwerp also suggests possible changes in strategy for Europe-based jihadists and recruiters. While French-speaking Brussels maintains close ties to France (several of the terrorists involved in the two attacks in Paris last year were based or were born in Brussels), Flemish-speaking Antwerp holds a stronger relationship to The Nethrlands. Antwerp is also a mere 30 minutes from Rotterdam by high-speed train, offering easy access to Europe’s largest and busiest port. The Rotterdam Port is also the launching point for the vast majority of European exports to America, Europe’s largest external trading partner.

This matters. According to the National Institute of Justice, “Few would dispute that, if terrorists used a cargo container to conceal a weapon of mass destruction and detonated it on arrival at a U.S. port, the impact on global trade and the world economy could be immediate and devastating.” And the New York Times further observed, “The cargo containers arriving on ships from foreign ports offer terrorists a Trojan horse for a devastating attack on the United States. As the Harvard political scientist Graham T. Allison has put it, a nuclear attack is ‘far more likely to arrive in a cargo container than on the tip of a missile.'”

The good news, however, is that The Netherlands’ intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies are well-recognized for their research, acuity, and effectiveness. And Rotterdam takes an especially hard line on Islamic extremism: its Essalam Mosque, Holland’s largest, served as the site for anti-extremist protests. Last year, the mosquedismissed all foreign Arabs from its board of directors. And following the January 2015 attacks in Paris, Ahmed Aboutaleb, Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor, famously invited any Dutch Muslim wishing to join the jihad in Syria to make the trip and never try to return. More, his fierce response to youth who dislike Dutch values was even more direct: he told them to “f*** off.”

Perhaps, then, even as these latest arrests demonstrate just how much Europe’s radical Muslim problem threatens to become America’s radical Muslim problem, we should consider making some of Europe’s more radical solutions America’s solutions, too.

Abigail R. Esman is an award-winning freelance writer based in New York and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with more than 20 years of experience writing for national and international magazines including Salon.com, Vogue, Esquire (Holland), Town & Country, Art & Auction (where she is a contributing editor), The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Artnews and others.

Minnesota mosque producing radical Somali terrorists

Waleed Idris al-Maneesey is a radical imam who heads up the Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, attended by at least six known terrorists and terrorist supporters.

Waleed Idris al-Maneesey is a radical imam who heads up the Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, attended by at least six known terrorists and terrorist supporters.

WND, by Leo  Hohmann, April 15, 2016:

A Minnesota man who pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State attended a radical mosque in Bloomington known for producing jihadists.

Adnan Farah, 20, was born in the U.S. to Somali refugee parents and could now spend up to 15 years in behind bars.

Adnan Farah, 20, was born in the U.S. to Somali refugee parents and could now spend up to 15 years in behind bars.

Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 20, faces up to 15 years in prison but avoided a possible life sentence when three other counts were dropped.

Farah is one of five men in a group of Somali Americans – all either refugees or sons of refugees – who the government charged in the case.

Farah was the only one of the five who was not accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, also called ISIS, but admitted he was communicating with an ISIS operative in Syria and intended to do so.

Adnan Farah’s older brother, Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 22, is among the other four defendants who are scheduled to go on trial May 9.

Mohamed Farah, 22, is the older brother of Adnan Farah. He is also charged with providing material support to an overseas terrorist organization.

Mohamed Farah, 22, is the older brother of Adnan Farah. He is also charged with providing material support to an overseas terrorist organization.

A total of 10 Somalis from Minnesota have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. Five have now pleaded guilty, one has fled and his whereabouts unknown. Another dozen or so Minnesota Muslims, almost all of them of Somali origin, have traveled to Syria to join Sunni rebel groups since 2012.

Adnan Farah  said his parents confiscated his passport when it came in the mail. He then put a $100 down payment on a fake passport and also tried to help a co-defendant get one.

Another 22 young Somali men have left Minnesota since 2007 to join al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group seeking to take over Somalia.

Adnan Farah, who was born in the U.S. to Somali refugee parents, told the court he took no interest in al-Shabab but had watched “at least 100” ISIS propaganda videos on Youtube. Some of the videos depicted atrocities committed by Syrian government forces on Sunni Muslims.

“Taking it in with an open heart. That’s how, I guess, I formed my conclusions,” he told the court, according to an Associated Press report. He said his faith led him to believe he was obligated to help other Muslims in need.

Mosque sows seeds of violence

And where did Adnan Farah and his brother get their views about Islam?

Both attended the al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, a mosque headed by radical Imam Waleed Idris al-Meneesey.

John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism specialist who founded Understanding the Threat in an effort to train U.S. law enforcement officers, said he is very familiar with the Bloomington mosque.

Guandolo said al-Maneesey teaches straight from the Quran and the life of Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as laid out in the hadiths.

“When Imam al-Meneesey calls for the killing and destruction of Jews and references a story from the Islamic prophet Mohammad, he is referring to the hadith (report) from Bukhari, who is the most authoritative hadith scholar in all of Islam,” Guandolo told WND. “To be clear, Islamic scholars consider the hadith of Bukhari to rise to a level just below the Quran.”

In that hadith, Bukhari quotes Mohammad as stating:

“The hour of judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. It will not come until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. It will not come until the rocks or the trees say, ‘O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.”

This hadith is among the most authoritative Islamic texts, Guandolo said, which is why it can be found in the Hamas Covenant as well as in first grade text books in Islamic schools.

“The reason the al-Farooq mosque is producing jihadis who want to fight and kill Jews in the name of Allah is because that is what the mosque teaches,” said Guandolo, author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation.”

And it’s not just the Bloomington mosque that is teaching this doctrine.

80 percent of U.S. mosques preaching radical theology

Of the nearly 3,000 mosques now operating inside the United States, at least 80 percent have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical jihadist organization whose stated mission is to spread Shariah throughout the Western world.

“Since we know most of the mosques in America teach this same material as well, we should be aware that someday soon, many thousands of Muslims will wage war against the United States and its people just like they teach they should,” Guandolo said.

Read WND’s recent in-depth article on the rapid growth of U.S. mosques, “2,000 ticking time bombs in U.S.”

“To believe otherwise would be foolish,” he added. “Yet, many people appear to have learned nothing from the attacks in Brussels, Paris, Boston, San Bernadino, Chattanooga, New York, Las Vegas, Ohio, Fort Hood….

“I guess they don’t believe they have enough ‘evidence’ yet to render an understanding of what they are witnessing.

“Al-Farooq is one dangerous place. Unfortunately, there are thousands of other mosques, Islamic Centers and Islamic organizations across North America, Europe and elsewhere teaching the same thing.”

According to court documents, Adnan Farah intended to plead guilty after his arrest last year, and urged two co-defendants to do the same, but he changed his mind after his imam persuaded his family that the defendants should stick together and go on trial, AP reported.

In the end, he took the original plea deal offered by the government. “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” he said in court.

Yusra Ismail, another Somali who attended al-Farooq mosque, shown here at her high school graduation in 2013. She later left Minnesota to join ISIS.

Yusra Ismail, another Somali who attended al-Farooq mosque, shown here at her high school graduation in 2013. She later left Minnesota to join ISIS.

Besides the Farah brothers, at least three others charged with terrorist-related activity have also come out of the al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington.

One of the al-Farooq adherents was a Somali girl named Yusra Ismail.

Ismail was described in a 2015 Minneapolis Public Radio story as a quiet and soft-spoken teen who regularly donned the niqab, covering all of her face except for her eyes. She tended a community garden and volunteered at her family’s mosque in St. Paul before she “switched to a new mosque in Bloomington.”

Her teachers at Lighthouse Academy of Nations, a Minneapolis charter school, remember a shy, kind student who never got in trouble.

But about two years before she left the country to join ISIS, Ismail joined al-Farooq mosque.

She studied Arabic and the Quran at the Islamic school inside the mosque.

“She gradually became fixated on memorizing the Quran,” MPR News reported. Ismail’s sister told MPR her family feared she was taking her religious studies “too far, saying there was a lack of balance in her life.”

Ismail left the Twin Cities on Aug. 21, 2014.

Federal prosecutors said she boarded a plane to Norway using a passport she had stolen from a Minneapolis woman.

Ismail, then 19, called her family to say she was in Syria.

Imam teaches Shariah law above U.S. law

Al-Meneesey, the imam at al-Farooq mosque, has written that Muslims should place Shariah above “man-made” law.

During a November sermon al-Meneesy referred to a hadith describing how Jews had been punished by God repeatedly for “corruption.”

“When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” al-Meneesy said in a translation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “and they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand.”

History will repeat itself, he said.

Jerusalem “remained in the hands of the Muslims until it fell into the hands of the Jews in 1387 AH [1967 AD], and has been a prisoner in their hands for 34 years [sic], but the victory of God is coming inevitably.”

Al-Meneesy is also president and chancellor of the Islamic University of Minnesota. At least five young men and one young woman who attended his mosque have left the United States to fight with terrorist groups al-Shabaab and ISIS.

The university’s website boasts of recognition by Holy Quran University in the Sudan, which was founded in 1990 by the regime of Sudanese war criminal and President Omar al-Bashir.

The  also professes to serve as the official representative of Sunni Islam’s most important institution, Al-Azhar University, in the U.S. and Canada. Al-Azhar officials have refused to condemn the Islamic State as apostates and heretics.

Also see:

Terror Attacks in Europe Aim to Inspire New Recruits

Police stood guard near Maalbeek subway station in Brussels on Tuesday after a blast there caused deaths and injuries. PHOTO: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Police stood guard near Maalbeek subway station in Brussels on Tuesday after a blast there caused deaths and injuries. PHOTO: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WSJ, by Stephen Fidler, March 24, 2016:

The message from Brussels reinforces the warning from Paris four months earlier: Islamic State has the capability to commit deadly terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe. To keep its mission alive, it must do more of the same.

As it tries to do this, the group has two strategic advantages. Conflict in Syria and Iraq has permitted the group to establish a home territory. And the refugee flows into Europe have allowed it to embed its fighters into the thousands of people fleeing the war zones.

Those embedded fighters include Europeans returning to the places where they grew up, as well as battle-hardened jihadists from elsewhere. This has proved a murderous combination of people with local knowledge and sympathizers who can provide shelter and support, together with individuals with extensive expertise in weapons and bomb-building.

“I’ve repeatedly said it: People think this is a small crew from Molenbeek,” said Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens, referring to the Brussels neighborhood that was home to some of the Paris attackers. “But that’s not right….[Some] are unknown to us; often they haven’t been to Europe before.”

Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, estimated in February that around 5,000 Europeans have traveled to Iraq and Syria to train and fight with jihadist groups. Several hundred have since returned, he said. Many more are thought to have come from other regions.

Like al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks, control over territory has allowed Islamic State to train thousands of fighters and direct missions abroad. Territory is critical to maintaining the threat: Once al Qaeda lost its foothold in Afghanistan because of U.S.-led military action, its ability to mount operations as complex as 9/11 gradually deteriorated.

The public-transport attacks in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 were inspired by al Qaeda, and some of the attackers went to al Qaeda training camps, but by then the center’s ability to direct fighters on the periphery was severely reduced. As the training camps shrank, the main al Qaeda threat stemmed from lone wolves—hard to detect and deadly, but generally unable to scale up.

It isn’t clear that Islamic State is directing its operatives the way the Sept. 11 terrorists were directed from Afghanistan. More likely, U.S. officials say, Islamic State provides broad direction and leaves the operational details to its people on the ground.

U.S. military officials believe Islamic State differs fundamentally from al Qaeda. While both groups hate the U.S. and the West, al Qaeda at its height was intent on attacking the West with the purpose of ultimately destroying it.

Al Qaeda sought grand attacks on the scale of 9/11 that would feel existential and threaten to shake the foundations of the Western order. “Al Qaeda was aiming at increasing lethality. Whether ISIS is looking for mass lethality is an open question,” said Ian Lesser, Brussels-based senior director of the German Marshall Fund.

Islamic State, U.S. officials say, attacks the West for a different reason: propaganda value. The group has set its most important goal as establishing a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. To do that it needs a steady stream of recruits.

As the U.S.-led coalition pokes the wasps’ nest of Islamic State’s homelands—and particularly if the terror group’s base is shrunk through military action—Islamic State must seek to demonstrate its relevance to its followers and potential recruits by carrying out attacks in the West.

Scott Atran, a Franco-American academic who specializes in terrorist motivations, has described al Qaeda as “largely a decentralized movement of volunteers led by fairly well-off and well-educated folk.”

Islamic State, on the other hand, is “better led, organized and supplied, rooted in territory, and more uncompromising and brutal in action.”

If the analysis is right, Islamic State doesn’t need the spectacular successes along the lines of 9/11, and in that sense, it poses less of a threat than al Qaeda did. But it does need a series of successful attacks in Europe—and in that sense poses a greater danger.

The proximity of its heartlands to Europe, compared with the relative remoteness of Afghanistan, together with the hundreds of potential operatives and thousands of sympathizers in place, makes it likely it will carry out further strikes. How many will depend on how governments respond.

In this respect, Belgium appears to be one of the weaker links. It has directed fewer resources at the issue than the U.K. and France with their well-developed security infrastructures. It has a large population of disaffected, poorly integrated Muslim youth. And it has significance as the symbolic center of Europe.

Even as countries like Belgium direct more resources to the issue, building antiterrorism expertise and trust among governments to boosting information and intelligence-sharing takes time.

“We’re not simply talking about hiring more people and they are immediately productive. Analysts need a lot of training and time before they can contribute,” said Manuel R. Torres, a political scientist and terrorism expert at Spain’s Pablo de Olavide University.

Europe is making strides in strengthening its security. But for now, he said, the threat is growing faster than officials’ ability to keep up.

The Jihad in Ireland

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By Counter Jihad, March 17, 2016:

An Irish Muslim named Sajid Aslam left his family in Ireland and went to join the armies of the Islamic State.  He is far from alone.  Though Ireland is a country of only five million people — and its Muslim population a tiny fraction of that number — it has contributed more fighters to ISIS than the massive nation of India with its vast Islamic population.  Ireland has also contributed seven times as many ISIS fighters per capita as the United States of America.

Recently a religious leader in Ireland raised concerns with the police about the visit of radical preachers from Kuwait. Muslim leaders in the Irish nation asked that the preachers sign an anti-extremism pledge that they authored.  The terms of the pledge would require these radical preachers to reject al Qaeda and ISIS as well as to praise Irish gays and lesbians.

“I am not in favour of banning foreign preachers but I am in favour of being very careful about bringing foreign speakers to speak to Muslims in Ireland,” said Dr Al Qadri, who is the Imam of the Al-Mustafa Mosque in Blanchardstown and chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council….

“I believe foreign speakers should be asked to sign a statement in which they condemn Osama bin Laden, ISIS and all extremist militants, call for tolerance and respect for all people including the LGBT community, respect democracy and the permissibility to vote in western countries,” he said….  “They don’t believe in democracy and to them, Osama Bin Laden is a hero. . . Dr Al Khamees is very outspoken against Shia Muslims, not just highlighting the difference in theology, but speaking of them in a very insulting and derogatory and sectarian manner,” he said.

The problem is that such pledges are completely unreliable. Under the Islamic law principle of taqiyya, it is perfectly fine — and can even be mandatory — to lie when it is useful to the cause of spreading Islam. There is no reason to think that even such a pledge as this would not be given gladly, and falsely, in order to have the chance to spread the dangerous ideology.

And it is dangerous.  According to the media advertising the event, one of the radical preachers held a fatwa session to give legal opinions on questions from the audience.

“He could be asked all type of questions in regards to living as a Muslim in the West,” said Al Qadari.  “This could range from religious affairs to political affairs such as democracy, engagement with non-Muslims, homosexuality and people will expect and assume the verdicts he will give are binding on them.”

Al Qadri said that both Kuwaiti were preachers of Wahhabism, the sect of Islam that produced both al Qaeda and the Islamic State.  We know what kind of answers such men would give.  They would likely lead to radicalized Muslims, who might follow other Irish Muslims in joining ISIS or stay to fight at home.

Also see: