Terror ‘Defector’ Stories Hyped by Media Collapse Underneath the ‘Deradicalization’ Narrative

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, MARCH 16, 2017:

The “deradicalization” narrative — and a whole industry of academics pursuing large cash grants from governments looking to set up such programs — are built upon the premise that the right set of information and conditions can not only turn terrorists away from violence, but even into respectable and productive citizens.

More often than not, it seems, reality demonstrates the premise’s naivety.

In my previous article, I looked at the current case of Brooklyn native Mohimanul Alam Bhuiya, a former ISIS fighter who defected from the group and is now being enlisted by the Justice Department to help “deradicalize” other terror recruits. Having already plead guilty to his crimes, he is looking for reduced sentencing in exchange for his assistance.

I noted that many “deradicalization” programs established by Western governments have been fraught with repeated and embarrassing failures. But these programs have failed in the Muslim world, too — including in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any country, and Saudi Arabia, which arguably has the most global influence. If Muslim countries can’t figure out how to craft effective Islamic “deradicalization” programs, what hope do Western countries have?

Two recent high-profile cases of former terrorists turned defectors touted by the international media represented the promise of “deradicalization” programs, but delivered the predictable failure that seems the dominant pattern with such efforts.

THE METEORIC RISE AND FALL OF AL-QAEDA RECRUITER TURNED DERADICALIZER JESSE MORTON

Last August, national and international media organizations were abuzz with the news that a former Al-Qaeda recruiter, Jesse Morton aka Younus Abdullah Muhammed, was given early release from his 12-year federal prison sentence so that he could take up an academic research position at the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

Now Morton was not your average material support for terrorism jihadist wannabe. Not only was he in direct communications with senior Al-Qaeda leaders over seas, but as one of the leaders of the New York-based Revolution Muslim network, he was responsible for recruiting an eye-popping number of now-convicted domestic terror supporters.

As the FBI press release published at the time of his conviction on terror charges states, he openly supported the 9/11 attacks and the November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan, as well as directed his supporters to commit violence against Jewish organizations and the creators of the “South Park” Comedy Central Network TV program.

Amidst a PR effort by the GWU Program on Extremism, the media adored Jesse Morton’s story of radicalization and redemption:

Morton was sought after for interviews by media organizations all over the world…

[…]

It was no surprise when, exactly five months after Morton’s hiring was announced by GWU, news broke that he had been arrested again, this time for vice:

In their rush to garner media, did the GWU Program on Extremism push Morton out into the public eye far too soon? How much confidence did they have in his “conversion” story? Was the narrative that “deradicalization” was possible in such a high-profile case too tempting for the media to apply basic journalistic scrutiny?

The answer to the first two questions may never be known. But the media’s haste to push the “deradicalization” narrative again exposed their ideological bias when all the evidence urged caution.

[…]

Chasing the “Deradicalization” Unicorn

There are endless calls for governments to increase funding for “deradicalization” programs, and there are many NGOs, researchers, and academics seeking those funds. Yet as I noted in Part 1, these government-sponsored “deradicalization” programs are failing everywhere. Worse, there are not many ways to objectively measure success when something doesn’t happen.

In the recent cases of Jesse Morton and Harry Sarfo, the media failed in their basic journalistic responsibilities — in both instances they advanced the “deradicalization” narrative that fell apart in the matter of months.

Needless to say, the follow-up reporting that undercuts the initial stories did not get anywhere near the hype or attention of the original sensational stories.

It should also be noted that in virtually all of these cases of “reformed” or “deradicalized” terror recruits and operatives lies the threat of criminal prosecution. The suspects themselves have a real-world incentive beyond media recognition to spin personal stories of redemption: avoiding prison time.

Which brings us back to the case of Mohimanul Alam Bhuiya.

The Justice Department enlisted this former ISIS fighter as part of a “deradicalization” program. However, even in his initial communication with the FBI when he sought to return from Syria, he made clear that his intention was to eliminate any legal consequences for having joined the most lethal terrorist organization in the world.

He faces sentencing in federal court later this year.

An examination of these “deradicalization” programs in the U.S., other Western countries, and even in the Muslim world shows that the Justice Department’s chances of success are risky at best. Yet now we have the media, yet again, pushing a sensational story of a “reformed” former terrorist operative.

Why are they so insistent on not learning any lessons?

While the Justice Department and the media chase the mythical “deradicalization” unicorn, Americans face greater risk because of their pursuit.

Read  more

Chelsea bombing suspect spent weeks at Islamist seminary in Pakistan

Ahmad Khan Rahami Photo: AP

Ahmad Khan Rahami Photo: AP

New York Post, by Kathianne Boniello, Sept. 25, 2016:

The alleged New Jersey terrorist charged with trying to blow up Chelsea last weekend with homemade bombs spent weeks getting an “Islamic education” at a Pakistani seminary, according to a report.

Ahman Khan Rahami spent three weeks in Kuchlak, an area described as a longtime “hub” for the Taliban, in 2011, a security official inside the country told the Guardian.

Rahami, 28, attended lectures at the Kaan Kuwa Naqshbandi madrasa.

US authorities have been tight-lipped with details of Rahami’s trips to Pakistan, acknowledging he was married during a visit to Quetta.

Security agencies inside Pakistan have tried to “hide all details” of his visits to Quetta, one anonymous official told the Guardian.

Rahami also visited Surkhab and Nushki, where a US drone killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in May.

Refuting the denial of religious motivation for Jihad

Islamic State jihadis (Photo: video screenshot)

Islamic State jihadis (Photo: video screenshot)

What Drives Foreigners to Join the Islamic State?

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 30, 2016:

Almost 15 years after the 9/11 attacks, the West is still debating the cause of such terrorism even as repeated studies and common sense points in one direction:  Islamist ideology based on certain religious interpretations.

Now we can add another study to this heap of evidence, as a new study of foreign fighters has confirmed that ideology is the primary factor.

The new study released by the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society is based on interviews with 40 foreign fighters who went overseas to join Islamist terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and 100 other relevant players, such as their family members and online supporters.

Of these, 15 joined the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), 12 joined Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing), three joined the Free Syria Army and 10 joined other rebel groups, mostly jihadist in nature.

Here are five of the most important findings from the study:

The primary factor is religious interpretation.

“As our interactions with these individuals are so heavily mediated by a religious discourse, we also think that religiosity (i.e., sincere religious commitment, no matter how ill-informed or unorthodox) is a primary motivator for their actions. Religion provides the dominant frame these foreign fighters use to interpret almost every aspect of their lives.”

And:

“There is a real concern with real moral issues, with knowing and doing the right thing—again, not as determined by the seeming apathetic and corrupt surrounding society but by some higher or transcendent authority.”

This is the obvious conclusion that many observers have sought to deny, such as when former State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said ISIS is caused by unemployment and subsequently defended her comments. She was laughed out of her job, but her illogical understanding of the problem remains pervasive as many Westerners desperately seek to find a more comforting and relatable cause than Islamism for Islamist terrorism.

One Western Muslim told the authors, “The zeal of jihad always struck me when I would sit in my room and read Quran with English translation. I would wonder how jihad was fought today.”

The political gripes of the Islamist terrorists are a subset of their religious gripes.

“[Most] provided justifications for being a foreign fighter that were largely moral and religious in character, more than explicitly political.”

The researchers found that the decision to become a foreign fighter was more about rejecting Western governments and societies than a decision to combat Western foreign policy.

The common mantra that Islamist radicalization is simply a religious expression of political protests over Western “imperialism” is false. The primary factor is the adoption of the ideology and those that hold that ideology will become exponentially more infuriated over the West’s foreign policy. If you believe in resurrecting the caliphate, then you’ll rage against the West’s presence in the Middle East that stands in your way.

It’s not about inequality.

“None indicate, directly or indirectly, that forms of socio-economic marginalization played a significant role in their motivations to become a foreign fighter.”

Here we have yet another study finding no connection between Islamist radicalization and unemployment, poverty, lack of education, broken families, mental illness, etc. About half of the foreign fighters in this sample went to university and one-third graduated.

The study identified five “ecological niches of homegrown terrorism:” Late modernity (our Internet-driven society); the immigrant experience (most come from Muslim immigrant families); youthful rebellion; ideology and group dynamics.

The linkage between Islamism and lack of integration is overemphasized.

“The correlation between marginalization or lack of integration and radicalization are not as robust as commonly assumed.”

Previous studies have shown a linkage between a lack of assimilation and Islamist radicalization. For example, Marc Sageman’s pivotal study based on 400 biographies of Al-Qaeda members found that 80% “were, in some way, totally excluded from the society they lived in.”

This study doesn’t deny that a correlation exists, but rather that the correlation is played up too much. The authors refer to how some respondents described feeling out of place in the West as they saw how it conflicted with their faith. In these cases, the religious belief is prompting the individual to marginalize himself, as opposed to Western society marginalizing the individual and pushing him towards radical beliefs.

They aren’t lone wolves.

“The process of self-radicalization needs to be legitimated to be complete.”

The researchers found that, in most cases, “outside mentors” enter the Islamist’s life and guide him into becoming a foreign fighter. They are not lone wolves if they are being led, even if it is online.

The West can either craft a strategy for each Islamist terrorist group it goes up against, starting over and over with each new manifestation or it can target the common variable between all of them. This study, like others before it, finds that the common variable is Islamism and its foundational religious interpretations.

***

Robert Spencer on the Obama/Clinton war against the reality of the jihad threat:

***

Secure Freedom Radio with Jim Hanson Aug. 30, 2016:

SEBASTIAN GORKA, Chairman of the Threat Knowledge Group, author of “Defeating Jihad: the Winnable War”:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • ISIS is totalitarianism centered around religion
  • What does it take to win the war against Jihad?
  • Jihadist use of both kinetic and subversive methods against western civilization

Also see:

Developing an Effective Counter Radicalization Strategy

1796by Scott Newark
Special to IPT News

August 29, 2016

Western governments appear to have finally accepted the reality that a new front on the Islamist war has opened up and it’s in our own backyards. It is all too easy for al-Qaida, or ISIS, or whatever new Islamist group, to publish propaganda to incite radicalized or radically prone young Muslims living in the West, and to hand them chillingly accurate information to “build bombs in your mother’s kitchen.”

These young recruits are being recruited to kill soldiers, police and civilians in their own countries rather than attempting to travel to join the Islamist slaughter abroad. And while there has been some success in suppressing the capabilities of international Islamist networks and in military action against the ISIS “caliphate,” domestic terrorist attacks throughout the West show that the threat has not gone away or even been diminished. And that means our approach must also evolve.

We must acknowledge that this threat comes from people and groups who have an unyielding belief that their version of Islam calls for the submission of the world to its dictates, and that killing those who oppose or resist this is not only permissible but obligatory..

Equally, while the Islamist ideology may prey on and exploit persons with mental illness, they are yelling Allahu Ahkbar and not “Sigmund Freud” when they detonate the suicide bombs or murder innocent civilians with knives, guns or trucks. The extremist religious motivation is the key to understanding their actions and in developing a strategy to help prevent the radicalization that leads to it.

Second, this “religious” motivation must be acknowledged by our official entities and the larger Muslim community within Western societies who want nothing to do with it and who reject its goals. For them, Islam may be a religion of peace that forbids killing of innocent civilians, but for others, their version of Islam commands it. There are clearly different conclusions being reached, but the good guys and the bad guys are reading from the same book, and acknowledging this fact is essential if we’re going to be successful. Candor, however uncomfortable, is a better long-term strategy than forcing security and law enforcement agencies to twist themselves into pretzels at each new incident to avoid offending anyone.

It is also critical to recognize that the domestic terrorist pool is comprised of people who, through different processes, have been indoctrinated into the Islamist extremist ideology that includes committing murderous acts of terrorism. This must be the starting point of the counter-radicalization strategy. Simply focusing on “de-radicalizing” extremists does nothing to stop someone from heading down that path in the first place. Similarly, limiting intervention to those espousing extremist beliefs and violent intentions assumes an ability to foretell actions that is simply unrealistic. While not all Islamic extremists are terrorists, all Islamist terrorists ascribe to the extremist version of Islam. It only makes sense to start where the terrorism motivation originates.

We also must acknowledge that the Islamist strategy includes establishing a “global Caliphate.” This vision is not limited to the overt savagery wrought on Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but also includes the murky Islamist political efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and its spidery network of seemingly benign organizations. Their intent, in their own words, is “destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” One other quote worth keeping in mind is the official motto of the Muslim Brotherhood which says it all:

“God is our goal, Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes.”

Lest there be anyone who still doubts the existence and clear purpose of this long-term strategy, let me suggest you read the materials in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing case or the compelling 2011 book, The Grand Jihad by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.

It is also important to understand that for the Muslim Brotherhood network of groups, “war is deception.” Lying to the kuffar (non-believers) is fully authorized by the Quran through the doctrine known as taqiyya.

Domestic Islamist inspired terrorism incidents in the West (and elsewhere) are getting worse. What’s more, there is clear evidence that significant numbers of their Western citizens have travelled to the Middle East to pursue murderous Islamist jihad, and increasing numbers of them are finding ways to return “home.”

While some cases have involved people who received training abroad, most of these cases involve radicalization that took place in Western societies including Canada and the United States. That’s a chilling reality that must be acknowledged including determining how it took place and who was involved. That hard truth was summed up by a parent of one of the young Toronto 18 would-be terrorists when he warned, “They’re stealing our kids.” It’s time we started focusing on who “they” are.

While there has been significant work done on analyzing the general psychological profile of persons vulnerable to such radicalization, very few concrete measures have been taken to identify and then proactively target the means by which such radicalization occurs.

What follows, therefore, are specific action item suggestions to confront and defeat this newest security threat.

Counter-radicalization actions

1/ Ensure there is a clear and official awareness of the threat of extremist Islamism and domestic radicalization, and an understanding of the supportive Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term goals.

2/ Identify all Muslim Brotherhood links in Islamic groups including mosques and Islamic learning centers.

3/ Identify all Wahabbi/Saudi/Salafist linked funding of mosques and learning centers and Islamic organizations with a consideration of prohibiting it.

This issue has already been the subject of some media reporting and given the charitable or non-profit status of such organizations, the required information should be available. What’s required is personified by the mission statement of the Investigative Project on Terrorism: Investigate, Analyze, Expose.

4/ Improve “community outreach” efforts

Outreach to the Islamic community is a critical component of preventing radicalization, but it must be conducted on an informed basis so that the people included are not pursuing a contrary agenda. Authorities engaging in outreach activities must conduct sufficient background analysis to ensure that liaisons are established with persons genuinely seeking to prevent Islamist radicalization rather than with self-appointed “leaders” of the community whose views (public and private) are not representative of the communities they claim to represent. The goal is to both detect and assist people at risk of radicalization (and their families) and to help rehabilitate people who have been radicalized.

5/ Promote integration and identify segregation efforts

Successful integration into Western multicultural society is likely the best protection against radicalization, and thus efforts to promote it should be recognized and supported. Conversely, deliberate efforts by mosques, learning centers or Islamic organizations to promote segregation of Muslims away from the larger community should be recognized as cause for concern.

6/ Use existing legal tools

Use existing hate speech laws, which prohibit promoting hatred against groups based on religion, gender or other defined factors, for unlawful conduct that is part of Islamist radicalization. Also, use the full spectrum of civil regulatory tools to try to prevent publicly regulated facilities from being used to promote radicalization or activities which are contrary to defined Western societal values. This strategy of “using all the tools in the toolbox” will be controversial but will also likely expose such anti-social practices to the light of day, which is a good thing.

7/ Amend Immigration and Citizenship Legislation

These statutes could be amended to modernize inadmissibility or acquired citizenship revocation criteria to people who actively advocate or promote cultural, religious or racial intolerance, gender inequality or the elimination of any of secular democracy, individual liberty or the rule of secular law. It’s time we recognize that we do have a “culture” and it’s worth protecting and preserving.

8/ Proactive cyber efforts against recruitment/radicalization sites

Self-radicalization, aided by jihadi websites, is a reality facing intelligence and law enforcement personnel. While monitoring such sites is obviously a useful tactic, at some point the harm in allowing the glorification and recruitment outweighs the benefit of monitoring this activity. Deploying a proactive offensive cyber attack strategy to melt down the bad guys’ cyber and social media capabilities is worth considering.

9./ Protect children from radicalized parents

Children living in Western societies should receive the full benefit of our laws that are explicitly designed to protect them from harm, including anti-social indoctrination or abuse from their parents in the name of extremist Islam. This could provide refuge for victims of “honor violence,” like the murdered Aqsa Parvez and the Shafia sisters in Canada. These kids deserved better and we should ensure that such abuse does not continue because of a politically correct aversion to confronting the truth.

Western countries face an unprecedented threat to domestic security through the radicalization of persons to a nihilistic Islamist ideology, where death is a preferred tactic to discussion. These suggestions will legitimately generate controversy precisely because they go to the core of the threat, which is violence predicated on religious beliefs. It is clearly a difficult challenge, but one that must be undertaken with truth and candor as our guides.

This article is an update of the author’s previous columns for Front Line Security magazine and the Macdonald Laurier Institute.

Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor who has also served as Executive Officer of the Canadian Police Association, Vice Chair of the Ontario Office for Victims of Crime, Director of Operations to the Washington D.C.-based Investigative Project on Terrorism and as a Security Policy Advisor to the Governments of Ontario and Canada

What’s Wrong with These Four Approaches to “Deprogramming” Jihad?

1769

You have to look past what you wish were true.

CounterJihad, Aug. 26 2016:

Let’s say that you wanted to reach the people who carry out murder in the name of jihad, and persuade them not to kill anyone.  How would you do it?  There are four approaches that governments are trying today, and none of them work.

The first approach is to identify likely candidates for radicalization while they are young, and talk them out of it using government propaganda.  The FBI’s “Don’t Be A Puppet” campaign is an example of this.  It aims at young people using an online video game that rewards them for solving problems associated with recognizing attempts to radicalize them.  The hope is to teach them to recognize that they are being manipulated by radical religious figures so that these young people will turn away from those messages.

Because the FBI is a counterintelligence agency using government propaganda, however, it has a serious credibility problem with young people — especially those in the community that the FBI is targeting.  Credibility is the currency in propaganda operations, just as it is in any other attempt to lead or influence or persuade.  If you’re a young Muslim, you can see that the FBI doesn’t trust you, is thinking a lot about you, and is trying to manipulate you.  Secretive government agencies — of the US or any other government — are operating out of a serious deficit compared with any religious leader that the community takes to have a real relationship with God.  While these propaganda efforts are not necessarily a complete waste of time and money, as they might persuade a few who are inclined to view the government positively, the people you really want to reach are likely to take this attempt to manipulate them as further evidence that you don’t trust them — and, therefore, that they shouldn’t trust you either.

The second approach treats jihad not as a crime or an act of war, but as a psychological problem.  There are significant moral and legal problems for forcing people into psychological programs designed to alter their religion.  An even bigger problem, though, is that there’s very little evidence that such psychological approaches even work.  Thus, in addition to being government-backed violations of the basic human right to freedom of religion, it’s likely that the approach will only harden opposition among Muslims to the government.  Indeed, there’s a reasonable argument that a government that used these approaches to force your children to change their beliefs would really be creating an actual moral justification for violence.

What about an approach by leaders of factions of Islam to persuade the young?  Egypt’s Al Azhar University is attempting that right now.

In a speech to Muslims worldwide and the West, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb had renounced all radical takfiri-inspired actions, saying that such deeds are in no way related to the teachings of Islam’s fundamental Sunni sect….  The top Muslim scholar then confirmed that the sole salvation and solution for such an abomination is the true interpretation and abiding by the true Sunnah teachings of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and companions.

Allowing that a rejection of “all takfiri-inspired actions” would represent a real improvement, this approach does nothing to solve the problem of jihad against non-Muslims.  Takfiri violence is about declaring other Muslims not to be real Muslims, and thus to be subject to violence as apostates.  The attacks on 9/11, and in places like San Bernardino, Orlando, and Paris, are attacks of jihad against non-Muslims.  The attempt to spread Islam through coercion is a huge part of the problem, and yet in the traditions of Islamic law endorsed by generations of scholars, that is more plausibly a duty than an affront.  A full scale reform of Islam must occur to change that, one that sets aside all of its existing factions for a new way.

Finally, what about divide and conquer?  The Russian government appears to be approaching the problem in this way.  They are backing Iran and Assad against Sunni groups in a manner designed to set various Islamic groups against one another.  There is also a propaganda campaign designed to push the idea that a kind of socialism designed to govern Islam was the real answer to violence.  This campaign paints the United States as the real enemy of Islam (and therefore not Russia), as the United States opposed socialist Islam and Russia supported it.

Divide and conquer does not reduce violence, however, it increases it.  The hope is that it will become manageable not because people stop fighting, but because they expend most of their energy fighting one another.  In terms of the number of people convinced that violent jihad must govern their lives, however, that number will greatly increase if we follow such a strategy.

Ultimately none of these answers work, though in the third answer we at least get a glimpse of a solution that might.  Pushing a real reform of Islam, one that sets aside all existing categories and all traditional schools of thought, at least has the potential for putting an end to the violence.  So far, however, that approach is the purview of only a tiny minority of Muslims.  No government, Islamic nor Western, has endorsed the program.

England’s commonsense solution to Muslim extremist prisoners

ANUCHA PONGPATIMETH | Shutterstock

ANUCHA PONGPATIMETH | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Ben Weingarten, Aug. 27, 2016:

This author has argued that Europe’s Islamizationaided, abetted and enabled by the continent’s multiculturalist ideology — should serve as a warning and a lesson for America.

But when a European state does the right thing, we should take notice of that, too.

In the wake of the conviction of Britain-based Islamic supremacist preacher Anjem Choudary, an advocate for imposing Sharia law on Great Britain and supporter of global jihadism, British authorities are doing something that every Western nation ought to replicate.

Recognizing the problem of the spread of Islamic supremacism among prison populations, Secretary of State for Justice Liz Truss announced that the government would be establishing separate prison units for holding “a small number of very subversive individuals.”

Truss said prisons cannot continue to allow extremists to “peddle poisonous ideology across the mainstream prison population.” As the BBC notes, UK officials visited prisons in Netherlands for a close look at the program, as a similar “jail within a jail” program has been implemented by the Dutch.

This policy of, in effect, quarantining jihadism (which should be the aim not just in our prisons, but in every element of Western civilization), stems from a must-read review conducted by the UK’s Ministry of Justice on the threat of Islamic supremacism in prisons. The review, conducted by former prison governor Ian Acheson, finds:

  • A Muslim gang culture inspiring or directing violence, drug trafficking and criminality.
  • Extremist prisoners advocating support for ISIS, and threats against staff, inmates and prison chaplains.
  • “Charismatic” prisoners acting as self-styled “emirs” — a title sometimes used for Muslim leaders or military commanders — exerting a radicalizing influence
  • Aggressive encouragement of conversions to Islam, and attempts to engineer segregation.
  • Islamist radicals trying to get prison staff to leave during Friday prayers, attempts to prevent staff searches by claiming dress is religious, and an exploitation of staff concerns that they may be labelled racist.

Does anyone believe this is not happening across prisons throughout the West? Beyond separating Islamic supremacist criminals from others, two of the report’s noteworthy recommendations include stronger vetting of prison chaplains and removing “extremist literature” from prisons.

Britain is right to acknowledge the spread of Islamist ideology in its criminal justice system and undertake a plan to remove the cancer. As always, the devil will be in the details of how the plan is actually implemented and properly executed.

Regardless, America could learn something from its close ally across the pond. We, too, have a problem in our prisons.

As Patrick T. Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general of the Criminal Intelligence Unit of New York’s correctional department, details in his 2011 book “The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection,” America’s prisons serve as a breeding ground for jihadist ideology. Dunleavy should know, as he led the investigation into Islamic supremacist recruiting activities in New York prisons and beyond, known as Operation Hades.

Dunleavy’s research documents “the deep historical roots of radical Islam in the U.S. prison environment going back almost 30 years, and how a network of radical preachers and recruiters spread through the system.”

Europe’s present reflects the American past. As a European ISIS recruit now serving time in German prison recounts in a telling New York Times expose, “a criminal past can be a valued asset…especially if they [ISIS] know you have ties to organized crime and they know you can get fake IDs, or they know you have contact men in Europe who can smuggle you into the European Union.”

A recent Buzzfeed article examining the challenges European authorities face targeting jihadist networks notes: “It’s not simply that ISIS offers redemption to a criminal looking to change his ways [in the form of jihad]; it’s that ISIS knows how to target criminals and turn them into jihadists.”

There is little indication that America’s politically correct “countering violent extremism” paradigm does anything to address the problems in Europe that surely continue to plague our own prisons.

For once, we should be stealing a page from the European playbook when it comes to defeating the global jihad by rooting Islamic supremacism out of our own prisons too.

What motivates a Canadian jihadist?

Video footage showing Aaron Driver is seen behind RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana (left) and Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan during a press conference for what the RCMP are calling a terrorism incident, in Strathroy, Ontario yesterday, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Video footage showing Aaron Driver is seen behind RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana (left) and Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan during a press conference for what the RCMP are calling a terrorism incident, in Strathroy, Ontario yesterday, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

A study stresses real religious zeal, not loners seeking a way out

Macleans by John Geddes, Aug. 15, 2016:

A new study based on interviews conducted over social media with foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria raises doubts about the commonly held notion that young men in North America and Europe who are drawn to violent Islamic extremism must be marginalized loners looking for an alternative to their dead-end lives.

Three university researchers who contacted dozens of jihadists from abroad in Iraq and Syria, including some Canadians, say they seemed to be drawn mainly by the religious ideas—“no matter how ill-informed or unorthodox”—behind jihadism. Rather than being isolated individuals who self-radicalized in front of their computer screens, the report says they usually found mentors and, at least in the case of the Canadians, joined the fighting in “clusters.”

In the working paper entitled Talking to Foreign Fighters: Socio-Economic Push versus Existential Pull Factors, the researchers caution against assuming that radical Islam appeals only young men on the edges of society, those without good job prospects or supportive family and friends.

They suggest previous academic studies have put too much weight on those “push” factors—the problems and frustrations in the lives of young men who turn to extremist Islam and, ultimately, terrorist violence. “Based on what we are hearing in interviews with foreign fighters—more interviews than anyone has yet to report on—we think more attention and significance should be given to the repeated affirmations of the positive benefits of being jihadists,” they say.

From mid-December 2015 to Feb. 29, 2016, the researchers put questions to 40 foreign fighters, 60 family members, friends and associates, and 30 online fans, recruiters, and potential fighters. (Among the Canadians the interviewed was Aaron Driver, the would-be terrorist killed last week in a confrontation with police in Strathroy, Ont.) Those fighting in Syria and Iraq were interviewed through “extended social media dialogues.” But their working paper, posted recently on the website of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, is based on an initial analysis of just 20 interviews with foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.

The researchers are Lorne Dawson of University of Waterloo’s sociology and legal studies department, Amarnath Amarasingam of George Washington University’s program on extremism, and Alexandra Bain of St. Thomas University’s religious studies department. Dawson told Maclean’s by email that they plan to eventually publish a more complete paper on their research in a peer-reviewed journal, and are also “being pressed to write a book in short order.”

In the working paper, they write that the foreign fighters they contacted “run the gamut from troubled youth with personal problems to accomplished young men and women from stable backgrounds.” In the 20 interviews they analyzed, not one of their subjects suggested “directly or indirectly” that being marginalized socially or economically pushed them onto such an extreme path. “Anger and frustration have their role to play in the process, but it is the positive investment in an alternate world-saving role that matters most, no matter how strange it may appear to outsiders,” they say.

As well, the paper points to the importance of influential radical voices who carry some form of religious authority. “In most cases, we would say the help and encouragement of some other outside mentors is required to complete the process of radicalization, to turn wannabe terrorists into deployable agents or independent martyrs for the cause. The process of self-radicalization needs to be legitimated to be complete.”

To probe the views of radicalized young men directly, the researchers had to assure them that they were not seeking “operational information” that would put them at risk. The questions focused on personal and family background, their sense of identity, and how they became fighters.

Along with information about the individuals, the researchers assembled a sort of group portrait of the Canadians fighting for various terrorist and radical factions in Iraq and Syria. “It is extremely difficult to verify any of this information, however, and for the most part we are merely reporting what one or more individuals have told us,” they admit. Still, the outline they sketch is intriguing.

They say Canadians tend to be radicalized in “clusters” and travel to the conflict zone in small groups. Of those who have made the journey, at least 19 Canadian men have died fighting in Syria and Iraq, five or them converts to Islam, the rest from Muslim backgrounds. Eight were from Ontario, eight from Alberta, and three from Quebec. The researchers say they “have good reason to believe” most of the radicalized Canadians in the war-torn region have joined ISIS, but others are fighting for less well-known groups, like Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar as-Sham, while at least 15 have fought with Kurdish or Christian militias.

The paper estimates that between 10 and 15 women have gone from Canada to Iraq and Syria to back ISIS, often marrying terrorists. “We know that three have given birth to babies as a result of their marriages to ISIS fighters, who are usually other foreign fighters,” they say.

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Why It’s So Hard To Prosecute Islamists And Keep A Free Society

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Anjem Choudary’s case exemplifies the difficulties we in the West face in dealing with homegrown Islamic radicalism.

The Federalist, by M. G. Oprea, Aug. 23, 2016:

The British Muslim “hate preacher” Anjem Choudary has finally been convicted after 20 years of preaching fundamentalist Islam aimed at radicalizing young Muslims and encouraging them to engage in terrorist activities. Last week, he, along with Mohammed Rahman, was found guilty of inviting support for ISIS in speeches and lessons posted online. Choudary’s case, and his long history of Salafist extremism, exemplifies the difficulties that we in the West face in dealing with homegrown Islamic radicalism.

Choudary, a British citizen born to Pakistani parents, has spent two decades working toward global Islamic domination. These are his words. He wants Islamic law to spread throughout the world, and told the Washington Post in 2014 “We believe there will be complete domination of the world by Islam.” He has also said that “Britain belongs to Allah.”

Choudary founded multiple Islamist and Wahhabist organizations in England, all of which were eventually banned. He has connections with numerous other Salafist and Islamist groups and is a known leader of “dark networks” that stretch across Europe and seek to radicalize young Muslims. He has praised terrorists, including the 9/11 attackers, and proclaimed they are in paradise. He has been friendly with a top ISIS figure and executioner, who at the time was part of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium, and is connected to more than 100 British terrorists, and many terror plots.

Terrorism’s Victims Include Freedom of Speech

But somehow Choudary has managed to skirt the law all these years. A lawyer until 2002, he knew how to step up to the line of criminality without crossing it. Although his influence on European Muslims is well-known and -documented, he managed to skate by on technicalities of the law, because he hadn’t engaged in terrorist activities himself, nor was it proven he had directly sent people to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.

What finally allowed authorities to arrest him last year and convict him this month was an oath he signed to ISIS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in conjunction with speeches posted online that called on Muslims to join ISIS. As a prohibited organization, membership in ISIS is considered a criminal offence. British authorities convicted him of “inviting support for a proscribed organization,” under Terrorism Act 2000.

Choudary’s case raises questions of how far freedom of speech extends, and what ought to be done with terrorists once convicted. Although freedom of speech in Britain is a long-established common law right, in recent years it has suffered many setbacks. A Reason magazine article from last year highlighted the policing and punishment of Twitter users and journalists, as well as advertisers (a notable case was an ad banned in London for supposedly body-shaming women by depicting a fit woman in a bikini).

But what about here in the United States? People often ask what we should be doing at home to protect our country from Islamist terrorism. While presidential candidate Donald Trump would point solely to immigration, this misses the glaring fact that many Islamist terrorists were born in America or came as young children. This list includes Omar Mateen (Orlando), Faisal Mohammed (University of California-Merced), the Tsarnaev brothers (Boston Marathon), Syed Farook (San Bernardino), Nadir Soofi (Garland, Texas), and Nidal Hassan (Fort Hood).

Terrorists like these are drawn to Salafist Islam either in their communities and mosques or on the Internet. It isn’t always clear what the authorities can legally do beyond monitoring radical clerics and mosques and looking for connections between radicalized individuals and groups. How far can they go in policing what Islamists are preaching?

It Would Be Difficult to Prosecute Choudary in America

Freedom of speech is perhaps the most crucial right in a free society. There’s a reason it was the first right enshrined in the Bill of Rights: it’s meant to protect citizens from government attempts to silence dissent and regulate ideas and messages. In America, a country with arguably the most robust free speech protections, there are only a few exceptions to this First Amendment right. These include speech others own, child pornography, commercial speech, obscenity, and fighting words. None of these, however, are applicable to combatting Islamists, who are essentially supporting terrorism without providing terrorists with direct material support like guns, bombs, or money.

The one type of unprotected speech that would be applicable in a case like Choudary’s is incitement to violence. Speech that advocates force is unprotected, but only if its intention is to produce “imminent lawless action” and is likely to succeed. This could potentially apply to the sermons of Salafist imams, which, if encouraging people to fight with ISIS, are promoting lawless action. However, proving that they’re likely to lead to imminent action is more difficult.

Expressing even the most reprehensible views is protected by the First Amendment, including having a Ku Klux Klan parade or arguing for the overthrow of the government. So an Islamist imam could preach beliefs whose natural conclusion might be violence, but so long as he isn’t calling on a crowd to go out right away and commit terrorism, his speech is protected. This is why we may not have been able to prosecute a man like Choudary here in America.

Another way unprotected free speech comes into play is “true threats.” This recently made news when a Missouri woman was arrested for retweeting Twitter posts calling for the murder of U.S. law enforcement officials. The tweet contained names, addresses and phone numbers. Federal prosecutors argue that her retweets are tantamount to active support of ISIS, and charged the woman with conspiracy and transmitting a threat across state lines. Her defense, based on First Amendment grounds, argues the charges are unconstitutionally vague, once again illustrating the tension between free speech and national security.

Prisons Aren’t a Great Place for Islamists, Either

Once a conviction is made, as with Choudary, the problems don’t end there. Choudary faces up to ten years in prison. But what will he do once behind bars? Prison systems have become notorious in Europe and America for breeding radical Muslims, so a man like Choudary poses a threat inside as well as outside of prison.

Islamists in prison are treated like “aristocracy,” according to an audit of French prisons. When Salah Abdeslam, one of the Paris attackers, was arrested and sent to the Fleury-Mérogis prison he was “welcomed as the messiah,” according to one guard there. That same audit also found jihadi inmates can easily communicate with the outside world, including Syria.

So officials face a difficult decision between keeping Islamists like Choudary in the general population, where they can influence and indoctrinate other men, or concentrating Choudary and others like him in cell blocks so they don’t have access to non-radicalized inmates. This, of course, has its own dangers, namely that these men may plan future attacks and terrorist operations together. The third option, total isolation, is widely unpopular in places like Britain and France, where it is, perhaps correctly, seen as inhumane and cruel.

Choudary’s stay in prison will last a maximum of ten years. Then what? Does he get out in a few years after having been active in prison, and go on as he did before? Perhaps this time he’ll be more careful so as not to get caught. Some countries are working on de-radicalization programs, but their success has been dubious.

Choudary’s case typifies the difficulties the Western world faces in combatting radicalization. As a country that is fundamentally based on concepts of liberty and freedom of speech and of association, our principles and constitutionally protected rights sometimes run up against threats to national security. This is the great challenge we will face in the fight against Islamist ideology and homegrown radicalization in the years ahead. For a sense of the challenges to come, we need only look to Europe, where that fight is well underway.

M. G. Oprea is a writer based in Austin, Texas. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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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.

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Muslim refugee brought to Maine by Catholic Charities dies waging jihad for the Islamic State

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 16, 2016:

Catholic Charities is criminally irresponsible and suicidally short-sighted. They are endangering people in Maine and all over the United States by bringing these jihadis into American communities that are unprepared for them, all the while lying to them and telling them that there is no jihad threat related to the refugees, and that anyone who says otherwise is a racist and a bigot and a dissenter from the magisterium.

Adnan Fazeli went to the Islamic State to wage his jihad. What if he had decided to wage it right there in Portland, Maine? What’s to stop the next jihadi refugee that Catholic Charities brings to Portland from deciding to do just that?

Islamic-State

“Documents: Freeport man died fighting for Islamic State,” by Scott Dolan and Megan Doyle, Portland Press Herald, August 16, 2016:

An Iranian man who came to Maine as a refugee in 2009 became radicalized in his Islamic faith while living here and was fighting for the Islamic State when he was killed last year in Lebanon, according to newly unsealed federal court documents.

Adnan Fazeli, 38, most recently of Freeport, came under investigation by the FBI for his connection to the terrorist group shortly after he left his job at Dubai Auto in Portland to fly to Turkey on Aug. 13, 2013, and never returned.

Fazeli, who also went by the names Abu Nawaf and Abu Abdullah Al-Ahwazi, was killed on Jan. 23, 2015, in a battle near Ras Baalbek in Lebanon as part of an Islamic State attack force of about 150 that was thwarted by the Lebanese army.

Those details, which were never revealed publicly before, were contained in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland last Oct. 27 by Maine State Police Detective George Loder, who was acting as a member of an FBI task force investigating whether other people were aware of Fazeli’s plans to fight for the Islamic State, helped him travel to the Iraq-Syria-Lebanon area or supported his efforts there. The affidavit remained under seal during the investigation, which ended with no criminal charges.

The affidavit gives the accounts of four anonymous informants for the FBI who described how Fazeli’s behavior began to change about a year after he came to the Portland area through Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services. They told the FBI that Fazeli frequently watched hours of Islamic videos online, grew a beard and began making anti-American remarks while at an Iraqi market in Portland.

While the informants are not named in the affidavit, Fazeli’s nephew, Ebrahim Fazeli, told the Portland Press Herald on Monday that he informed the FBI about his uncle after Adnan Fazeli called the family from Turkey. The affidavit describes one of the informants as a close relative of Fazeli’s.

“Fazeli’s change in behavior alienated him from many of his Shia and moderate Sunni friends in the area. However, there were a few local Sunnis who supported his fervor and treated him with a great deal of respect. Fazeli started holding occasional religious meetings at his home in Freeport,” Loder said in the affidavit, describing what one informant had said.

Ebrahim Fazeli, 25, said the family was unaware of his uncle’s plans to leave the United States. His uncle had become more religious and grew a substantial beard, but the nephew said no one realized he had become radicalized.

“That wasn’t enough for me to think an educated, smart guy has it in him to join an insane group of people,” said Ebrahim Fazeli, who lives in the Greater Portland area….

Fazeli initially came to the United States as a refugee in 2009, but did not adapt well. He told one informant that he hated Iran because the government was anti-Sunni and felt the United States had done nothing to help. Although Fazeli was raised a Shia Muslim, his family was not devout, one of the informants said. His behavior began to change while in the U.S., and he converted to Wahhabism, an austere form of Sunni Islam….

While Fazeli was abroad, he continued to communicate by Skype chats with at least one of the informants, who later shared videos of the chats with FBI investigators. In one video, Fazeli said that he and his Islamic State allies could kill 1,000 enemies for every 10 of their own killed. In another video, he wore a khaki camouflage military uniform and inquired whether any U.S. government authorities had begun asking questions about him….

Fazeli’s relative called the FBI on Jan. 26, 2015, to report that Fazeli had been killed, according to the affidavit. The same relative emailed a copy of a news article in Arabic from the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar to the FBI on Jan. 28, 2015, that describes how “tens” of ISIS fighters were killed in a clash in Ras Baalbek, a Lebanese Christian town near the Syrian border threatened by both the Islamic State and al-Qaida in Syria. The article listed one of the dead as Abu Abdullah Al-Ahwazi, Fazeli’s other name….

Jalali said Fazeli self-identified as Arab, not Iranian, because he came from the southern and western part of Iran. In Maine, he mingled primarily with Iraqis.

“He talked about enjoying religious freedom here. That’s why I am so shocked,” Jalali said. “He praised this society for its openness.

“How he could go through that transformation, that’s a mystery. That’s quite heartbreaking. It reminds us of the power of social media, brainwashing bright, educated men and turn them into fighters or killers.”…

The medium is not the problem. The message is the problem. This is not a story about the power of social media. It is a story about the power of Islam’s call to jihad.

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This Report Shows Why We’re Vulnerable to ISIS

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CounterJihad, Aug. 1, 2016:

The Center for National Security at Fordham Law has an annual report on cases involving the Islamic State (ISIS) that have appeared in US Federal court.  As of 2016, 101 such cases have been recorded.  That is a small number from which to draw statistical lessons, but it is comprehensive of the cases brought to trial.

Most of these cases — each individual involved is considered a separate “case” by the study — are still pending before the courts.  However, of the 45% of cases that have resulted in conviction, the average sentence is only 9 years.  This is in part because most of the defendants have no criminal history.  The fact that they have no criminal history before attempting to take up arms for the caliphate is a major reason why a free and open society like the United States is so vulnerable to these attackers.

Most of them are also American citizens.  Not all of them are.  12% are refugees, or have overstayed their visa on a visit, or otherwise are without legal residency.  But far and away most of them are American citizens who have no love or loyalty for their own country.  “Despite the fact that nearly 80% of the charged defendants are U.S. citizens,” the report says, “an identification with foreign conflicts rather than with American politics and society is apparent across the sample of indicted individuals.”  In other words, they don’t identify themselves as Americans.  They identify themselves as Muslims, loyal not to the land of the free but to foreign entities that they feel are under attack by America.

There are other strong similarities.  Almost all of them want the caliphate.  90% of them have never been found to be mentally ill.  90% of them do not use drugs.  Most are in their 20s.  They are mostly a young, clear-eyed, clear-headed generation of young Americans who have rejected their nation in favor of Islam.

They are also all over social media.  90% of the cases involve the use of the internet to try to connect with or understand ISIS.  In fully 60% of cases, ISIS was able to establish two-way communication with them.  It looks as though in most of the cases the initiative was on the part of these American Muslims, however.  ISIS is able to recruit them because, for the most part, they went looking to be recruited.

There are also a lot more of them that we have not heard from yet.  “Although there are only 101 publicly known cases,” the report adds, “the Director of the FBI, James Comey, has noted that over 900 investigations are open and that they span all 50 states.”  Adding that to the 101 we have already seen brought to court, and you have a thousand cases of ISIS infiltration or self-radicalization within the United States alone.  Nine in ten of those cases have not yet resulted in attacks.

Nor is the fact that the FBI aware of them a guarantee of safety.  The Orlando attacker was twice investigated by the FBI, and cleared both times.  He went on to murder dozens in the Pulse nightclub.

Finally, these are just the ones we know about.  There is no reason to believe that the FBI has eyes on every potential terrorist.

Until we figure out how to prevent the radicalization of American Muslims, our main line of defense is broken.  We keep talking about background checks for Muslim immigrants, to ensure that they are not themselves radicals.  However, as this study shows, the majority of the threat comes from born Americans.  That is in line with earlier findings, not just from here but from Europe as well, that show that second generation immigrants radicalize at twice the rate of first generation immigrants.

That a first generation of Muslim immigrants is often succeeded by a radical second generation has been documented by Foreign Policy, PBS, and by statisticians in Denmark.  The first generation came to America or to Europe for reasons they felt strongly enough to make the move.  They understood they were electing to move to a society that was less Islamic, and accepted the trade off.  Their children, born in the West, did not experience the realities that made their parents leave the old world.  They reject the laws and customs of their new society as being opposed to their Islamic identity.  The Danish statistics found that second-generation Muslim immigrants are 218% more inclined to crime than their parents’ generation.

That’s a huge problem.  Even if we get the background checks 100% right, the ones we really have to worry about is their unborn children.  Those are the ones who are most likely to grow up to adopt these violent forms of Islam.  Unless we can solve that problem, we are going to remain very vulnerable to terror from within.

MORE ABOUT VIOLENT JIHAD

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Who’s Teaching the Class?

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by Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
July 27, 2016

Ask any successful individual, “who was one of the most influential people in your life?” and very often the answer is a teacher. A good teacher can make all the difference in the world to an aspiring learner. But a bad teacher can have a disastrously adverse effect. Such may be the case in Nashville, Tenn. where Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall recently announced that he was partnering with the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to provide an instructor to lead a class called “Islam 101” that will be taught to correction officers and other prison staff. The Davidson County Corrections Department has about 800 personnel and an inmate population that exceeds 2,000 offenders on any given day. With a captive audience of that size, it is vitally important to know what is being taught and who is doing the teaching. AMAC grew out of a project, called the “Muslim Rapid Response Team,” which was initiated by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

The rapid response team was formed to provide vocal opposition against an anti-terrorism bill being considered by the Tennessee Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, sought to enhance law enforcement capabilities in preventing terrorist attacks by converted jihadis in Tennessee. The bill targeted people who provided aid or material support to the individual committing the terrorist act.

This bill was offered in response to the 2009 attack by Carlos Bledsoe on a recruiting station in Arkansas which killed Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Bledsoe, who was from Memphis, was raised as a Baptist before converting to Islam in 2004 at Masjid As-Salam in Memphis. Another incident motivating the Tennessee legislators was the February 2011 arrest of Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari for conspiring to blow up former President George W. Bush’s home in Texas. Aldawsari had come to the United States from Saudi Arabia on a student visa and attended Vanderbilt University while living in Nashville.

That AMAC would oppose any law that would seek to protect the citizens of Tennessee from terrorist attacks by jihadists is disturbing. Putting the group in charge of teaching its version of Islam in the prison environment is alarming.

Why? Because we know that the potential for Islamic radicalization in the prison system is very real. Tennessee Department of Corrections’ Commissioner Tony Parker acknowledged the threat when he testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security in 2015. At the time, Parker was an assistant commissioner; he was later appointed Commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in June 2016)

Since 9/11, prison radicalization has produced numerous people hoping to go to paradise, willing to kill innocent men, women, and children in the name of Allah. That group includes people like Jose Padilla, Michael Finton, Kevin James, James Cromartie and more. In Europe, the perpetrators of the recent attacks in Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris, and Toulouse were radicalized while incarcerated for petty crimes.

Investigators found that one of the radicalizing agents in the process came from clergy and religious volunteers holding extremist views of Islam, who had not been properly vetted by law enforcement.

This development first came to light with the exposure of Warith Deen Umar, former head Islamic chaplain of the New York Department of Corrections, where I had worked for over 26 years as the deputy Inspector General in charge of the Criminal Intelligence Division. Umar was also a U.S. Bureau of Prisons chaplain. In 2003, he gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, in which he called the 9/11 hijackers heroes and martyrs. He went on to say that prisons were “the perfect recruitment and training grounds for radicalism and the Islamic religion.” Umar also was an official in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim organization which sought to be the certifying body for Islamic prison chaplains in the United States, but was rejected by the FBI because of its connection to the Council on American Islamic Relations and the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case. The Holy Land investigation unequivocally established that funds from Muslim organizations in the United States were being funneled to Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization. Tennessee’s AMAC is an affiliate of the Islamic Network Groups, whose founder and CEO Maha El Genaidi previously advised American Muslims not to talk with FBI agents without an attorney present, and to contact CAIR or MPAC of any investigative inquiries.

This type of response to legitimate law enforcement activity was also seen on a CAIR poster depicting federal agents as dark sinister shadows with the caption, “Build a Wall of Resistance. Resisting law enforcement activity when it comes to radical Islamic terrorism seems to be a long standing philosophy in these organizations.

Sheriff Hall and the Davidson county officials should follow the lead of fellow Tennessean Stephen Fincher before allowing the AMAC teach Islam 101 in their correctional system. Fincher, a three-term congressman from Tennessee’s 8th congressional district, recently introduced a bill (HR 4285), the “Preventing Terrorism from Entering Our Prisons Act.” It would mandate the thorough screening of volunteers and religious workers for terrorist links before granting access to any prison. This was also the recommendation of the DOJ’s Inspector General in 2004.. Failure to implement this requirement, the IG noted, would only exacerbate an existing problem.

Allowing Islamic clergy into the jail without proper vetting is akin to putting the fox in charge of the hen house. And we all know how that story ends.

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.

Islamic State claims responsibility for France attack in Nice

BN-OX766_0714Ni_J_20160714200240Washington Post, by Michael Birnbaum and James McAuley, July 16, 2016:

The Islamic State on Saturday claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 84 in this coastal French city, the organization’s news agency said Saturday, as France’s top cop announced for the first time investigators believed the attacker had been “radicalized.”

It remains unclear whether the Islamic State directed the attack, was taking responsibility for an assault it inspired, or was simply seeking publicity from an event that it had no direct hand in.

“It seems” that the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, “radicalized his views very rapidly, very swiftly. These are the first elements that our investigation has come up with,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday, without offering further details about how investigators came to that belief.

“We are now facing individuals who are responding positively to the messages issued by the Islamic State without having had any special training and without having access to weapons that allow them to commit mass murder,” Cazeneuve said.

The Islamic-State-connected Amaq news agency, citing an “insider source,” said Bouhlel “was a soldier of the Islamic State.”

“He executed the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations that fight the Islamic State,” the news agency wrote.

Separately, the Islamic State Bayan radio station said Bouhlel used “a new tactic” to wreak havoc. “The crusader countries know that no matter how much enforce their security measures and procedures it will not stop the mujahedeen from striking,” the station said.

But the oblique claim of responsibility left open the question of whether Bouhlel had acted alone or had any prior communication with the group, which has also claimed ties to the attacks that struck Paris twice last year and Brussels in March. French authorities have been scrambling to determine whether Bouhlel had a support network in Nice, where he appears to have been living for at least six years.

Investigators on Saturday detained three additional people in connection with the attack, including one person who is believed to have spoken to Bouhlel by phone minutes before he started his deadly journey down Nice’s Promenade des Anglais,  and an additional man was detained late Friday, according to the office of Paris prosecutor François Molins. Authorities also detained Bouhlel’s ex-wife Friday and were questioning her.

Nice, meanwhile, was trying to return to normal Saturday by reopening the seaside Promenade des Anglais to traffic, 36 hours after Bouhlel turned it into a killing field. Beaches were also set to reopen, even as flowers and tributes piled up at a makeshift memorial near the spot where the deadly truck came to a halt. French President François Hollande convened an emergency meeting of his top security advisers to discuss the investigation.

The scale of the carnage wrought by a Bouhlel came into grim focus Friday, with 10 children among the dead and 202 people injured. Among the wounded, 50 were “between life and death,” according to French President François Hollande.

The attack with a 19-ton rented Renault truck — the third mass casualty assault to hit to France in 18 months — shocked the nation and sparked questions about whether authorities had done enough to safeguard a country that is an obvious target of terrorist groups. Many witnesses said Friday that the packed corniche had been only lightly guarded by police during fireworks on the gently warm night. Bouhlel, a truck driver, was easily able to drive around police fences blocking Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais before jamming on the accelerator and zigzagging his way through the crowds in a method that seemed calculated to generate maximum bloodshed.

The identities of the victims testified to France’s diverse society and to the international appeal of the tony French Riviera. A vacationing father and his 11-year-old son from Lakeway, Tex. A headscarf-wearing Muslim woman who came to celebrate Bastille Day with her nieces and nephews. A French high school teacher, his wife, daughter and grandson. Others from Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Australia.

There were so many victims early Friday that survivors grabbed tablecloths from seaside cafes to cover the bodies strewn across the asphalt. The dead were marked by rectangular orange and white traffic-control barriers that stood like rows of tombstones.

Read more

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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

Neighbors Launch Drive to Close Orlando Terrorist’s Mosque, as FBI Investigates Third Terror Suspect at Islamic Center

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If they’re successful in shuttering the mosque, organizers say they’d like to erect a memorial site “to honor all the lives that have been lost.”

CounterJihad, by Paul Sperry, June 23, 2016:

As FBI agents investigate a third male suspect at the nightclub terrorist’s mosque in Florida, neighbors complain the small Islamic center has become a hotbed for terrorist activity and have launched a petition drive to shut it down.

Many local residents say they feel afraid for their safety living near a mosque that has graduated two deadly terrorists in the past two years, and where federal investigators are now actively questioning additional worshipers in connection with long-time member Omar Mateen’s June 12 massacre in Orlando.

Close the Mosque organizers are planning to hold a large protest rally outside the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, but have run into difficulties obtaining permits from county government officials. Their movement has attracted more than 400 supporters. If they’re successful in shuttering the mosque, organizers say they’d like to erect a memorial site “to honor all the lives that have been lost.”

“The mosque leaders in Fort Pierce are complaining and scared for their lives after two killers came out of there,” wrote a local resident posting on the “Close the Mosque” Facebook page as Anthony Profeta. “Well, I got news for you: I’m scared your[sic] going to kill my kids, so pack up your things, close that mosque and leave town … your[sic] training future killers.”

Added Fort Pierce resident Joel Matt: “Time to shut that place down until further investigation is done.”

“Bulldozer that place,” another local remarked.

On Friday, two FBI agents met with an unidentified member of the Islamic center, a fellow worshiper of Mateen, for more than a half hour before Friday prayers started. I’m told investigators plan to interview more members of the mosque this week. Agents are following up on a lead from a gun store operator, who told authorities he overheard Mateen, an Afghan-American, speaking to a possible co-conspirator “in a foreign language” several weeks ago when Mateen came into his gun shop looking to buy body armor and bulk ammo.

About two years ago, agents paid leaders at the same Islamic center a visit to investigate the mosque’s ties to another worshiper, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who is believed to be the first American suicide bomber in Syria. Mateen prayed alongside Abu-Salha, who left his car in the mosque parking lot before flying to Syria.

The renewed focus on the mosque as a terrorism hub has neighbors spooked.

“How many people that attend your mosque are going to become radicalized before we have to ask what the f*** are you teaching in there?” a local resident identifying himself as Brad Mulcahy posted on the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce’s Facebook page.

Mateen, who was shot dead by police after shooting an unprecedented 102 innocent people, killing 49, at the gay Pulse club in Orlando, regularly attended the Islamic center for more than a dozen years, praying there up to four times a week. In fact, Mateen prayed at the mosque the night before his terrorist attack.

His three sisters worked at the mosque, located on Midway Road, and property records show two of them own homes on the same street. His father, a Taliban-supporting immigrant from Afghanistan, sat on the mosque’s board of directors and once served as its vice president, as CounterJihad.com first reported last week.

Mosque leaders deny that Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, was radicalized at the Islamic center; and they maintain that they did not interact with him and were unaware of any extremist religious or political views that he held.

The president and imam of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Dr. Syed Shafeeq Rahman, said it is merely “a coincidence” that two deadly terrorists prayed at his mosque.

“This is a coincidence,” he said. “There is no teaching given about extremism in this mosque.”

He claims the mosque has received death threats and has had to hire private security after the St. Lucie County sheriff’s office declined to provide a security detail. St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said his agency is limited by staffing and other security contracts.

The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce was founded in the 1990s to accommodate a growing number of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who settled in the area famous for its orange groves in the 1970s after Democrat-sponsored federal legislation opened up U.S. immigration to such regions.

The Midway Road mosque was converted from an old Christian church. A sister mosque — The Islamic Center of Muslim Friends of Florida — operates in an abandoned building with no signage a little more than a mile away.

Thanks to immigration, the Muslim population has exploded across the state of Florida, allowing some of the 9/11 hijackers to blend in in nearby cities and take flight lessons before the 2001 attacks. Many terrorist cells remain secreted throughout the state, terrorism experts say.

“There are a lot of cells here in Florida, trust me,” former CIA case officer Bob Baer warned.