The Identity Crisis Fueling European Muslim Radicalization

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
June 7, 2017

When tanks entered the streets of Istanbul and Ankara last summer in an attempt to overthrow the Turkish government, people swarmed the streets to fight them off. At the urging of their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they pushed back against the coup, some waving Turkish flags, others waving guns. “What else would you do?” A friend in Istanbul asked me some months later. “When your government and your country are attacked, you fight back. It’s to be expected.”

Less expected, however, were the crowds of Turkish-Europeans who also took to the streets in cities like Rotterdam, where dozens demonstrated on the city’s Erasmus Bridge, waving Turkish flags and, in some cases, crying out “Allahu Akbar.” For many non-Turkish Europeans, the action felt almost threatening: Were these people Turkish or European? Could they reasonably be both? Or did they represent a fifth column, aiming to overtake Europe from within?

In Holland, members of Leefbaar Rotterdam (Livable Rotterdam), the populist political party founded by the late Pim Fortuyn, determined to address the issue head-on. They held a public panel discussion last week to debate the question of who these demonstrators were: traitors? Dual citizens with torn allegiances? Could they be true to both their Turkish heritage and to the Dutch culture in which they were born and raised?

Left unspoken were the more pressing questions, the ones the non-Turks really meant: do Dutch Turks identify more with the Islamist policies and values of Erdogan and his regime, or with the secular Enlightenment, the democratic culture of the West? What, after all, to think of the fact that the vast majority of European Turks voted for Erdogan in the November 2015 elections, and again voted against democracy in Turkey’s April 16 referendum, which gave him virtually limitless powers until 2029?

While this particular debate took place in Rotterdam, once the home of the Renaissance humanist Erasmus, these questions have hovered over all of Europe since the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid and, even more, the 2005 attacks in London – and not only about the Turks, but about Muslim immigrants in general.

With Europe facing a near-continual onslaught of Islamist terrorist attacks often perpetrated by homegrown extremists, those questions feel more urgent than ever.

But both the issue and its urgency are far more complex than a matter of allegiance. For many second- and third-generation immigrant youth, especially those from Turkey and Morocco, it is also a matter of identity. As dark-skinned immigrants with names like Fatima and Mohammed, they are often discriminated against in their home countries. The values of their families and their religious leaders do not always mesh with the values of their communities and governments. But when they visit their cousins and grandparents in Anatolia and rural Morocco, they find they don’t fit in there, either.

Many counterterrorism experts maintain that this situation makes Muslim European youth especially vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment by terror groups. As Belgian-Palestinian jihad expert Montasser AIDe’emeh has noted of Belgian Moroccan extremists such as the Paris and Brussels attackers, “The Islamic State is giving them what the Belgian government can’t give them – identity, structure. They don’t feel Moroccan or Belgian. They don’t feel part of either society.” And speaking to PBS’s Judy Woodruff, Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, observed that “the cause [of radicalization] is ultimately a conflict of identity. It is about second- or third-generation descendants of Muslim immigrants no longer feeling at home in their parents’ or grandparents’ culture, at the same time not being accepted into European societies.”

If this is true, then what to make of the Turkish-European dual citizens choosing, as most have, to support Erdogan’s Islamist policies while living in the liberal West? Are they integrated, assimilated, into the cultures in which they live, as most insisted during the Rotterdam debate? Or are they rather true to the norms of a Turkey that is becoming increasingly religious, turning increasingly eastward, and to a president who is gradually unraveling the secular Western vision of the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk?

At the same time, does waving the Turkish flag when the country is attacked mean they are not actually Dutch? Should Dutch Jews not fly the flag of Israel, or Dutch-Americans have left their stars and stripes at home after 9/11?

“It’s more than just flags,” Ebru Umar, a Dutch-Turkish journalist who moderated last week’s event, explained in an e-mail. “The flags symbolize who they are…. They claim to be soldiers of Erdogan.” Hence, she said, “the people [demonstrating] on the [Erasmus] bridge were and are seen as not integrated. Ask them and they’ll answer they are integrated. And [yet] they tell you of course they adore Erdogan.” Indeed, she noted, they even stated it at the debate: “‘You can’t ask a child whom they love more: mum or dad.'”

It is a false equivalency, however. This is not about loving one parent more than another, but about accepting one of two opposing sets of values: those of secular democracies, or those of Islamist theocracies. There is no combining the two. There is no compromise.

Which is what makes these questions so very critical right now – not just for the Dutch, but for all Europeans, as they confront a complex, existential dilemma. Should they continue to alienate the growing population of young Muslims, and should those same young Muslims continue to resist assimilation, they will together be laying out the welcome mat for recruiters for jihad. But should Europe instead accept the Islamist leanings of those same Muslim youth, it will soon discover there was a fifth column after all – a movement to Islamize the West. And it will have succeeded.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.

Half of Prominent Jihadis Tied to “Non-Violent” Islamism, New Study Shows

by IPT News  •  Apr 30, 2017

Half of the prominent jihadists profiled in a new study by The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics had ties to supposedly non-violent Islamists prior to joining terrorist organizations.

The study’s authors – Mubaraz Ahmed, Milo Comerford, and Emman El-Badawy – explore pathways to militancy among 100 prominent figures within the wider Salafi-Jihadi movement. The individuals examined derive from the Middle East and Africa, across multiple generations. Some of the findings suggest that membership or ties to non-violent Islamist organizations can be associated with an individual’s trajectory towards violence and terrorism.

51 percent of the terrorists under study were previously connected to Islamist groups that claim to be non-violent, including “bodies that are not necessarily political activist organizations but form a functioning arm of existing Islamist groups, such as youth wings, student associations, and other societies.” Since membership in Islamist groups is often secretive and sometimes prohibited in various Middle Eastern countries, the authors acknowledge that the proportion of jihadists with Islamist affiliations are likely higher.

Some of the case studies explored in the report include Djamel Zitouni, the leader of the Armed Islamic Group who was previously a member of an Islamist organization that supposedly eschewed violence – the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Senior Al-Qaeda leaders, including Abdullah Azzam and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, were involved with or direct members of the Muslim Brotherhood before turning to violent jihad.

One in four of the jihadists examined had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliated groups.

Another interesting finding shows that 65 percent of the sample had been imprisoned at some point throughout their lives, some of whom served time before engaging in violent jihad. There has been growing concern for years about Islamist radicalization of potential terrorist recruits in prisons worldwide.

The study shows that personal networks are critical in the formation and development of the global Salafi-jihadi movement.

“Our data links the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS today to the forefathers of the movement through people they met in prison, at university, and on the battlefield,” write the authors.

Purportedly non-violent Islamist groups not only serve as potential incubators for radicalization and violence – they also continue to engage in violent incitement, encouraging others to carry out terrorist attacks.

For example, on Wednesday, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, ‘Izz Al-Din Dwedar, called for an “intifada” targeting Egyptian embassies around the world, in a Facebook post translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In protest of death sentences handed to members of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Dwedar suggested for violent action on May 3.

Egyptians abroad should “protest [outside] Egyptian embassies and lay siege to them, and steadily escalate [their actions], up to and including raiding the embassies in some countries, disrupting their work and occupying them if possible, in order to raises awareness to our cause,” wrote Dwedar.

Maryland Mosque Lauds Pakistani Assassin

FaceBook photo January 2, 2015

FaceBook photo January 2, 2015

by IPT News  •  Feb 15, 2017

On Sunday, an American mosque glorified a terrorist responsible for killing a Pakistani governor who was critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, the Rabwah Times reported.

Salman Taseer, the former governor of Punjab province, became an instant target for radical Islamists after he defended a Christian woman facing blasphemy charges. In 2011, Taseer’s own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri shot and killed him.

When Qadri was executed for the killing last year, more than 100,000 Pakistanis paid their respects at his funeral.

The Gulzar E Madina Mosque in Pikesville, Md. apparently shared in the mourners’ zeal, hosting a celebration Sunday in Qadri’s memory. The mosque held a traditional “Urs” ceremony usually reserved for holy figures, the Rabwah Times story said.

Days earlier, the mosque advertised the event in the Urdu Times, America’s most distributed Urdu language newspaper. The event featured several speakers spewing radical views, including Syed Saad Ali, an Islamist scholar based in New Jersey.

“Warrior Mumtaz Qadri kissed the noose in love for Prophet Muhammad,” Ali said. “When Qadri was in jail for 5 years what did we do? What effort did we make (for his release)? Why did we not go where he was being held? Qadri did everything for us, and for the love of Islam and we could not even stand by him. People say Islam teaches peace…I say Islam teaches us Ghairat (Honor). Who will now stand up?”

According to the Rabwah Times, the event was “attended by dozens of people including young children and teenagers.”

Pakistan has charged about 1,000 people with blasphemy since 1987, and convictions can carry the death penalty. These laws especially target members of Pakistan’s minority communities, including the Ahmadi and Christians. But the law can be also applied to anyone that is seen as a threat to the government.

Sunday’s event in Maryland is another example of a radical mosque in the United States glorifying terrorists and inciting violence among younger generations. Impressionable children in these contexts view terrorists as heroes and are encouraged to support and violence for Islamist objectives.

Also see:

Jihadist Tactics 101 – Going on the Dole

imamby Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
October 17, 2016

Milking the system for all they can get now appears to be a strategy employed by radical Islamic extremists. While counter terrorism investigators were busy searching for the funding terrorist organizations used to plan attacks and get out their message of violence against all non-believers, there is one place nobody thought to look: the social welfare line.

We now know that some of the individuals involved in the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels were supported by benefits supplied by Europe’s social welfare net.

Some of the money came from unemployment claims and some came from student assistance claims submitted by the terrorists while they were planning the attacks.

“We’ve identified that the benefit system is vulnerable to abuse for terrorist financing purposes,” Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London said. And then he posed the question, “What are we going to do about that?”

One of those who received benefits was Anjem Choudary, the radical Islamic preacher who for more than 20 years proselytized and recruited people to a radical form of Islam that encourages jihad as a necessary tenet of the faith. He did it on street corners, mosques, and in front of television cameras.

Choudary received more than £25,000, or roughly $40,000 a year, in social benefits.  He had the audacity to call those payments “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance.”  He described it to his flock of potential jihadists as a form of jizya.

According to the Quran and the Hadiths, the jizya is a per capita yearly tax historically levied by Islamic states on certain non-Muslim subjects permanently residing in Muslim lands under Islamic law. Choudary taught that milking the social welfare system was another form of collecting the payment that was owed to Muslims.

Sly like a fox, he avoided prosecution for years because no direct contact between him and a terrorist organization could be proven. But then British authorities uncovered a video of Choudary pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. He was convicted of providing material support to a terrorist organization and was sentenced to a mere 5½ years in a specialized maximum security unit.

A similar case is taking place right here in the United States. Suleiman Anwar Bengharsa has been an Islamic cleric in the Baltimore area for more than 10 years. During that time he has drawn FBI attention for his fiery sermons, which, like Choudary’s, walk right up to the legal line of incitement. But it has yet to be proven that he crossed it.

1871Bengharsa founded the Islamic Jurisprudence Center, which calls for the death of homosexuals. He has also been implicated in the case of Sebastian Gregerson, a Muslim convert who was arrested in July for possessing explosive devices. According to the New York Times, an FBI affidavit from last year that was mistakenly filed publicly said that Bengharsa gave Gregerson $1,300 in June 2015. Gregerson, who also goes by the name Abdurrahaman Bin Mikaayl, then used the money to buy grenades and other weapons.

The reason for them, according to the agent who wrote the affidavit was clear: “Based on the totality of the aforementioned information and evidence, there is reason to believe that Bengharsa and Gregerson are engaged in discussions and preparations for some violent act on behalf of the Islamic State.”

And yet Bengharsa, like Choudary did for so many years, has avoided being charged with any crime.

Bengharsa is a former civil servant employed by both the federal government and the state of Maryland. He worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce as an international trade specialist, a position that paid over $80,000 a year.

Bengharsa resigned in 2006 after admitting to plagiarism, records show. He filed for unemployment compensation, which was contested by the Department of Commerce and upheld by a D.C. administrative judge. From there Bengharsa applied to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to be a prison chaplain. He worked in the state prison system until 2009 when he filed for worker’s compensation, alleging he was hurt lifting a box of books.

The more alarming fact is that someone like Bengharsa, who holds radical Islamic views and preaches a message of hate, was even considered to work in the prison environment.

Authorities have known for quite some time that prisons are fertile soil for recruiting potential Islamic terrorists, and that one of the catalysts in the radicalization process is the presence of clergy or religious volunteers holding extremist views. Bengharsa’s dismissal from that sensitive position should have occurred before he was able to apply for a financial benefit from Maryland taxpayers. The social safety net was designed to help those in our society who truly need a hand up. Not a radial Islamist who wants a handout.

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

Soros Money, Muslim Advocates Leader, Helped Weaken Homeland Security Policies

osfby John Rossomando
IPT News
October 7, 2016

A Muslim legal group, girded with $1.8 million in grant money from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF), has helped influence major policy changes in the war on terror, including the Department of Homeland Security’s screening of individuals with suspected terror ties and the FBI’s training program for its agents working in counterterrorism.

Internal records, made public by the hacking group DC Leaks, show OSF spent $40 million between 2008 and 2010 on programs aimed at weakening U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Muslim Advocates’ Executive Director Farhana Khera played a key role in shaping the foundations’ spending. Khera co-authored a 2007 memo that “informed” the foundations’ U.S. Programs Board’s decision to create the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC), a Sept. 14, 2010 OSF document discussing the program’s reauthorization, shows.

The NSHRC’s goals included:

  • Closing Guantanamo Bay, eliminating torture and methods such as the extraordinary rendition of prisoners, and ending the use of secret prisons;
  • Ending warrantless and “unchecked” surveillance;
  • Ensuring that anti-terrorism laws and law enforcement activities do not target freedom of speech, association or religious expression;
  • Reducing ethnic and religious profiling of people of Muslim, Arab or South Asian extraction;
  • Decreasing secrecy and increasing oversight of executive actions, and expose U.S. government or private individuals who abuse or violate the law.

Some of these policies, such as closing Guantanamo and ending enhanced interrogation techniques, already were also advocated by Obama administration. OSFclaimed its work laid the groundwork for implementing those policies. The Edward Snowden leaks cast light on the depth of the government’s warrantless surveillance activity. The other goals are more difficult to assess.

Muslim Advocates was founded in 2005 as an offshoot of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. It often criticizes U.S. counterterrorism strategies that use sting operations and informants as discriminatory.

Papers released by the anonymous hacker group DC Leaks show that OSF budgeted $21 million for the NSHRC from 2008-2010. OSF spent an additional $1.5 million in 2010. The NSHRC also received a matching $20 million contribution from Atlantic Philanthropies, a private foundation established in 1982 by Irish-American Chuck Feeney billionaire businessman.

OSF made 105 grants totaling $20,052, 784 to 63 organizations under the NSHRC program. An Investigative Project on Terrorism tally shows Muslim Advocates received at least $1.84 million in OSF grants between 2008 and 2015.

A funders’ roundtable created by OSF in 2008 helped coordinate the grant making among several left-leaning foundations, ” in order to “dismantle the flawed ‘war on terror’ paradigm on which national security policy is now based.” At least “two dozen” foundations participated in the roundtable’s strategy sessions as of the end of 2008.

Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, called the Soros foundations’ $40 million program both hypocritical and ironic. He noted that the 2011 OSF-funded Center for American Progress report “Fear, Inc.” complained that seven conservative foundations donated $42.6 million to so-called “Islamophobia think tanks between 2001 and 2009.” The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other major Islamist groups routinely use the $42.6 million funding number to portray their opponents as being pawns of dark forces.

“It’s amazing that one foundation donated an amount that CAIR and [Muslim] Advocates say is the huge sum of money that funds the entire anti-jihad campaign,” Jasser said. “… That wasn’t from one foundation. That was an addition of [the money given to] everybody that they threw under the bus.”

By contrast, OSF and Atlantic Philanthropies spent $41.5 million in just three years. OSF dedicated another $26 million to the NSHRC program from 2011-2014.

OSF additionally funded a study by the New America Foundation equating the terror threat posed right-wing extremists with al-Qaida. An Oct. 17, 2011 memo discussing NSHRC grants notes that New America received $250,000, partly to write two reports. The first aimed at creating a “‘safe space’ in which Muslims in America feel free to hold controversial political dialogues, organize without fear of unwarranted government surveillance.” The second aimed to “correct mistaken public beliefs that Al-Qaeda’s brand of terrorism is unique to Islam and that most terrorists are Muslim.”

The paper promised “to show how adherents of each extremist ideology use different language to justify very similar political means and goals. By demonstrating parallels among militant groups, this paper will aim to separate politically focused terrorism from the religion of Islam.”

Arguments from this report continue to help frame how Democrats and their allies talk about the jihadist threat. New America’s statistics and arguments recently came up in a House hearing about the threat from homegrown Islamic terrorists.

“According to the New America Foundation, there have been more incidents of right-wing extremist attacks in the United States than violent jihadist attacks since 9/11. I’m not minimizing jihadist attacks. In that light, can you explain what your office plans to do with respect to domestic right-wing extremism?” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., asked Department of Homeland Security Office of Community Partnerships Director George Selim during a House subcommittee hearing last month.

New America’s effort to conflate right-wing extremists with al-Qaida glossed over a major difference – namely al-Qaida’s reliance on mass casualty attacks and suicide bombings.

New America’s latest data shows that jihadists have killed more people since 9/11 than right-wing extremists.

“What you’ve uncovered is the fact … that the Soros foundation works to obfuscate on national security,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates clearly is a prime example of the sickness in Washington related to dealing with the central reforms necessary to make within the House of Islam.

“You’ll see that the Soros foundation is spending money on organizations that deny the very principles they are defenders of, which are feminism, gay rights, individual rights. Muslim Advocates’ entire bandwidth is spent on attacking the government and blocking any efforts at counterterrorism.”

Muslim Advocates also opposes discussion on reform within the Muslim community and supports those who have theocratic tendencies, Jasser said.

“You have evidence here that the Soros foundation is part and parcel of the reason for the suffocation of moderation voices – reformist voices – in Islam,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates really ought to change their name to Islamist Advocates, and what the Soros foundation really is doing is just advocating for Islamists.”

OSF also contributed $150,000 in 2011 and $185,000 in 2012 to a donor advised fund run by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It used this money to pay Hattaway Communications, a consulting firm run by former Hillary Clinton adviser Doug Hattaway, to develop a messaging strategy for Muslim Advocates and similar organizations. Hattaway’s message strategy painted Muslims as victims of American national security policies.

Khera used Hattaway’s strategy to paint the New York Police Department’s mosque surveillance strategy as “discriminatory.”

OSF funded groups, including Muslim Advocates, the ACLU, and the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed lawsuits challenging the NYPD’s surveillance program as unconstitutional. Police Commissioner William Bratton ended the policy in 2014.”Their only ‘crime’ is that they are Muslim in America,” Khera wrote in a June 6, 2012 op-ed posted on CNN.com.

The NYPD monitored almost all aspects of Muslim life ranging from mosques and student associations, to halal butcher shops and restaurants to private citizens.  A federal district court dismissed the suit, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in October 2015. New York settled the lawsuit in January, placing the NYPD under supervision of an independent observer appointed by City Hall.

Downplaying Radicalization and the Jihadist Threat

OSF accused conservative opponents of “borrowing liberally from Joe McCarthy’s guilt by association tactics.” It complained in a Sept. 14, 2010 memo to its U.S. Programs Board that the “homegrown terrorism narrative” resulted in “discriminatory” targeting of Muslims by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI.

Khera often expresses similar sentiments. She accused the FBI of engaging in “entrapment operations” to target “innocent” Muslims after former Attorney General Eric Holder called sting operations an “essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing terror attacks.”

Khera likewise characterized law enforcement training materials discussing the Islamic extremist ideology as “bigoted, false, and inflammatory” in her June 28 testimony before a Senate Judiciary  Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, Federal Courts.

She and her organization played a central role in late 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive. FBI counterterrorism training materials about Islam contained “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims,” she complained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter. She objected to describing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an,” says that zakat can be used to help “those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America issued a 2011 fatwa saying zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Following Khera’s letter, then-White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan announced a review of “CVE-related instruction across all levels of government.” This review resulted in a purge of 700 pages of material from 300 presentations. This included PowerPoints and articles describing jihad as “holy war” and portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as group bent on world domination.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws describe these ultimate ambitions and imply the need for violence: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.”

Khera’s influence with the Obama administration

Khera enjoys close connections with the Obama White House. Visitor logs show that Khera went to the White House at least 11 times.

Khera played a central role persuading the Obama administration to purge Department of Homeland Security records related to individuals and groups with terror ties, former Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) Agent Phil Haney told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

His superiors ordered him to “modify” 820 CPB TECS records about the Muslim Brotherhood network in America, Haney said. Irrefutable evidence from the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas financing trial proved that many of these groups and individuals assisted Hamas, Haney said.

The HLF trial substantiated deep connections between American Islamist groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a Hamas-support network created by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.

A 2009 OSF funding document claims credit for helping persuade then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to order a review of border screening procedures. It also reveals that Muslim Advocates worked with “DHS staff to develop a revised border policy.”

The Muslim Advocates’ report recommended the “review and reform of … [Customs and Border Patrol policies and practices that target Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans for their First Amendment protected activities, beliefs and associations; and … law enforcement and intelligence activities that impose disparate impacts on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.” It also asked DHS to prevent CPB agents from probing about political beliefs, religious practices, and contributions to “lawful” charitable organizations.

Muslim Advocates claimed a pivotal role in getting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reverse a new 2010 policy enhancing the screening on travelers from 14 countries, many of them predominately Muslim. The rule was proposed in the wake of the attempt by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a Detroit-bound plane weeks earlier.

Muslim Advocates and several OSF grantees met with Napolitano and other top DHS officials, and the policy was canceled three months later. Muslim Advocates claimedthat the Obama administration “made special mention” of its role in reversing the TSA policy.

“This broke into the open with the great purge of 2011 and 2012,” Haney said, recalling Brennan’s letter to Khera announcing that materials she complained about would be removed.

The purge accompanied a practice of meeting with Islamist groups as community partners, Haney said.

In addition to the purge of training material, documents related to people and groups with terrorism ties such as Canadian Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi and the Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement also disappeared from CPB records. (Tablighi Jamaat often serves as a de facto recruiting conduit for groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban.)

Investigators might have had a better chance of thwarting the San Bernardino and the June Orlando shootings had those Tablighi Jamaat records remained available, Haney said, because the shooters’ respective mosques appeared in the deleted 2012 Tablighi Jamaat case report.

The Obama administration’s “absolute refusal to acknowledge that individuals who are affiliated with networks operating here in the United States, and their deliberate deletion of any evidentiary pieces of information in the system, has made us blind and handcuffed,” Haney said. “The proof of it is San Bernardino and Orlando.

“They obliterated the entire [Tablighi Jamaat] case as if it never existed.”

Haney’s claims have met with some skepticism. Haney stands by his claims and says critics “made a lot of factual errors.”

Still, Muslim Advocates’ success reversing the TSA policy was among the accomplishments showing that it “has proved itself to be an effective advocate on the national stage,” an April 25, 2011 OSF document said. It recommended renewing a $440,000 grant to “support the core operating costs of Muslim Advocates.”

In doing so, the Soros-funded OSF weakened U.S. national security and potentially left it vulnerable to the jihadi attacks we have been seeing in the homeland since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

No Sacred Cows? The Washington Post Continues Carrying CAIR’s Water

cair23by Steven Emerson
IPT News
July 5, 2016

Let’s say the Church of Scientology launched a program it said was aimed at creating healthy work environments and bridging family divides, even those involving church critics.

What would the news stories read like? After all, there are ever-expanding accounts of former Scientologists who say they were physically abused, or who werecut off from loved ones deemed hostile to the church.

Virtually any news story about the new program would cover this context in detail. It’s reasonable to expect major news outlets would devote entire stories comparing the new claims to the church’s history. It would be inconceivable to omit that background even if the new program proved to be a smashing success.

This is what makes the Washington Post‘s coverage of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) so confounding. The newspaper, which rarely hesitates to investigate the backgrounds of politicians, companies and more, has never seen fit to delve into CAIR’s checkered history.

Independence Day brought yet another story casting CAIR as a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and Islamist extremism. CAIR’s Florida chapter, the headline says, “is doing what the government has so far failed to do.” It tells the story of “intervention teams” on alert in South Florida to help cases of radicalized Muslims who might be thinking of committing violence. Some of the seven individuals identified so far have been referred to law enforcement, the story says.

There’s no way to know if that assertion is true. It is a claim taken at face value.

There’s also no way – short of doing their own independent searches – for readers to know that CAIR itself has direct, court-acknowledged connections to a terrorist group. They don’t know because the Post didn’t mention it in this, or any other story, since the information came to light in 2007.

From its first days, CAIR was a cog in a Hamas-support network called the Palestine Committee, records show. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood created the committee to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

1675At least three original CAIR officials, Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad and Nabil Sadoun, are on the Palestine Committee’s telephone list. Mousa Abu Marzook, a longtime Hamas political leader, is the first name listed. Ahmad, who sometimes was identified as “Omar Yehya,” also is listed on the Palestine Committee’s executive board.

Eyewitnesses told federal investigators that Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood connections shared by CAIR founders were widely known when the organization was founded.

Bylaws establish that the Muslim Brotherhood executive office created the Palestine Committee “to serve the Palestinian cause on the U.S. front.” A 1991 document repeatedly refers to the Brotherhood’s role directing Palestine Committee activities. Among the instructions that year: “Collecting of donations for the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] from the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] and others.”

Another report from around that time explicitly states that the committee sees its charge as “defending the Islamic cause in Palestine and support for the emerging movement, the Hamas Movement.”

This is the mission into which CAIR was born.

Omar Ahmad, a co-founder and longtime CAIR national chairman, was described as “a leader within the Palestine Committee” in testimony by FBI Special Agent Lara Burns.

Nihad Awad, the only executive director in CAIR’s history, joined Palestine Committee colleagues during a weekend-long emergency meeting in 1993 to discuss ways to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. The deal was hailed as a potential peace breakthrough and created an autonomous Palestinian Authority.

That was unacceptable to the Palestine Committee because it sidelined the Islamists in Hamas, and because it included Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence. Concerned that the American public would see them as terror supporters, the group’s officials instructed members never to mention Hamas by name, instead choosing to reverse the spelling and talk about “Samah.” Awad, in this FBI transcript, did just that.

The group also discussed creating “a new organization for activism” which might be better received publicly because “we are marked.”

CAIR was created the following summer, where it promptly appeared on the Palestine Committee’s next meeting agenda.

The exhibits described above have never been reported in the Post.

When the Post has written about CAIR’s background, it has been at the most superficial of levels: CAIR minimizes its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas Hamas-financing trial in which these documents became public record; a “fact-check” which concludes that the unindicted co-conspirator label “is one of those true facts that ultimately gives a false impression.”

Would the Scientologists receive similar kid-glove treatment? Would a candidate for office?

This is not a case of differing perspectives. The documents were seized from the participants and reflect real-time Palestine Committee activities.

While CAIR was never charged, prosecutors made it clear in court filings that they had evidence showing CAIR was part “of the conspiracy” and acted “in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

“CAIR has been identified by the Government at trial as a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which CAIR never withdrew,” they wrote.

The Post is led by Marty Baron, a man who has demonstrated the tenacity to take on religious organizations as mighty as the Catholic Church when they might be engaged in improper activity. So far, however, that same gritty determination has not been focused on the Islamists who run CAIR, despite their profile and their organization’s checkered history.

That is a shame.

Also see:

How Radicalization Was Allowed to Fester in Belgium

belgiumby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
April 19, 2016

These are the numbers, the hard facts: Twenty months. Three terrorist attacks. One hundred seventy dead. And almost all the killers grew up in or at one time lived in Belgium.

Squeezed into a corner bounded by France, Germany and the Netherlands, tiny Belgium has produced more jihadists than any other Western country (relative to its population) since 9/11. The most recent attacks, at the Brussels Maalbeek metro station and Zaventem Airport on March 22, killed at least 32 people and wounded dozens more. On Nov. 13, gunmen from the Brussels district of Molenbeek killed 130 men and women in Paris at a soccer stadium, a restaurant, and concert hall. And in May 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, a returnee from Syria, shot and killed four people at the entrance to Brussels’ Jewish Museum. Since then, the media has been filled with reports on Belgium as a “new hotbed of terrorism,” while politicians have looked at one another blankly, asking “why?”

But the other hard fact is that there is nothing especially new about any of this. Belgium has been a center for Islamic terrorism for more than 20 years, most notably in the aftermath of a series of 1995 and 1998 bombings in France. Those attacks, which targeted, among others, the Paris Metro and the Arc de Triomphe, were committed by the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, an Algerian militant group affiliated with al-Qaida, many of whose members lived in Belgium.

Indeed, most of the earlier Islamist terror attacks in Belgium and France were committed by Algerian GIA members, including Farid Melouk, who plotted, among other targets, to bomb the 1998 Paris World Cup. Sentenced to nine years in 1998 for his involvement in terrorism, Melouk is believed to have known and influenced Chérif Kouachi, one of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last January.

Only later, with the growth of al-Qaida after 9/11, did recruiters turn more to Moroccan immigrants like Abdelhamid Abbaoud, the mastermind of the Nov. 13 strikes, andKhalid Zerkani, believed to have served as a mentor to the current generation of Belgian jihadists.

But not all these 1990s jihadists were strictly GIA: in the aftermath of the 1995 Paris attacks, for instance, during a raid on the home of one Belgian GIA member, policediscovered among the weapons a “training manual,” dedicated to Osama bin Laden. There have also been reports of computer disks containing al-Qaida manuals found in Belgium around this time, but they remain unconfirmed.

But most notable is a report that Belgium repeatedly did little to combat the threat. Rather, according to journalist Paul Belien, Belgian authorities “made a deal with the GIA terrorists, agreeing to turn a blind eye to conspiracies hatched on Belgian soil in exchange for immunity from attack.”

If the deal was real, it did nothing to protect Belgian Muslims from radicalization. Those include converts like Muriel Degauque, who in 2005 earned the dubious distinction of being Belgium’s first female suicide bomber when she blew herself up in Baghdad, killing five.

Moreover, the radicalization of Belgian Muslims has become nearly a local institution, through national political groups like Sharia4Belgium and, previously, the Arab European League (AEL). Founded In 2000 by Lebanese immigrant Dyab Abou Jahjah, the AEL spread briefly beyond Belgium to France and the Netherlands before eventually petering out around 2006. But in its short life, it stirred pro-Islamist sentiment among many Belgian Muslim youth, helping to pave the way for Sharia4Belgium, and its recruiting of warriors for ISIS.

Alongside both of these movements has been the one-man operation of Khalid Zerkani, who is known to his followers as “The Santa Claus of jihad,” the New York Times reports. Zerkani, Belgian federal prosecutor Bernard Michel told the Times, “has perverted an entire generation of youngsters,” including various Molenbeek residents who were involved in the Zaventem killings, and Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, the Paris attack leader. Other Zerkani disciples have joined the Islamic State in Syria. On April 14, Zerkani, who was arrested in 2014, was sentenced to 15 years in Belgian prison for jihad recruiting. But – despite ongoing arrests in Molenbeek and other regions throughout Belgium – his influence, like that of Sharia4Belgium and the relics of Belgium’s terrorist past, continues to walk free on Europe’s streets.

Timeline of Jihadist Events in Belgium

1990s – Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Algerian terrorist group, forms cells in Belgium and France.

1995

July 25 – GIA sets off bombs at the Saint-Michel station of Paris RER, killing eight and wounding 80

August 17 – bombs set by GIA at the Arc de Triomphe wound 17

August 26 – GIA bomb found on railroad tracks near Lyon

September 3– car bomb at Lyon Jewish school wounds 14

October 6– explosion in Paris Metro wounds 13

October 17– gas bottle explodes between Musee d’Orsay and Notre Dame stations of Paris metro, wounding 29

1998

March 6 – Belgian officials storm a Brussels residence, arresting Farid Melouk, suspected leader of Belgian GIA and organizer of Paris attacks.

Six other GIA operatives are also arrested, all linked to various Paris bombings.

March 22 – Belgian police uncover GIA plot to bomb the World Cup soccer event in France that June. During a raid in Brussels, police uncover explosives, detonators, Kalashnikovs, and thousands of dollars in cash. Again, Farid Melouk is believed to be associated.

May 26 – Police raid homes in Brussels and Charleroi based on evidence found in a GIA safe house in Brussels earlier. Ten people are detained.

1999

May 15 – Farid Melouk sentenced to nine years in Brussels court.

2000

February – Dyab Abou Jahjah establishes the Arab-European League in Antwerp, declaring that “assimilation is cultural rape,” and calling for Islamic schools, Arab-language education, and recognition of Islamic holidays. His goal is to create what he calls a “sharocracy” – a sharia-based democracy.

2001

September 11 – Al-Qaida hijackers plow commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; a fourth jet, believed to be headed for the White House, is downed by passengers who overtake control. About 3,000 people are killed. The event marks a turning point for Muslim extremism and the rise of Muslim terrorism throughout the West.

September 13 – Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian, is arrested in Belgium and charged with plans to bomb a US-NATO military base.

September 30 – Sixteen additional suspects are also arrested in what prosecutors call a “spider’s web of radicals.”

2003

October 1 – Belgian courts convict 18 accused terrorists with suspected ties to al-Qaida, including Trabelsi, who receives a 10-year sentence.

2005

November 9 – Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert, blows herself up in Baghdad near a group of policemen, killing five.

2009

December – After uncovering believable plans for an attack in Belgium, Antwerp police arrest 10 men, charging them with membership in a terrorist organization. Most members of the alleged terror cell are believed to live in Antwerp. Some are Dutch nationals.

2010

March – Fouad Belkacem establishes Sharia4Belgium.

November – Belgian officials arrest 10 members of a local terrorist cell suspected of planning attacks locally. Counterterrorism officials admit they are facing growing radicalization among the country’s Muslim youth, in part through the work of Sharia4Belgium, which seeks to transform Belgium into an Islamic state.

2012

September 15 – 230 radicalized Muslim members of Sharia4Belgium are arrested during anti-American riots in protest against the film “Innocence of Muslims.” In 2015, officials would discover that 70 of those arrested had joined the jihad in Syria. “The list [of those arrested then] reads today like a passenger list for the Syria-Express,” one investigator told Dutch TV program Een Vandaag.

2013

October 3 – Nizar Trabelsi, having served out his term in the 2001 bombing plot , is extradited to the United States. He is charged “with conspiracy to kill U.S Nationals outside of the United States; conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction” and providing material support to terrorists.

2015

January 7-9 – In Paris, a rash of terrorist attacks take the lives of 17 people, including most of the staff of controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and four Jews at a kosher market outside the city. Cherif Kouachi, responsible for the Charlie Hebdokillings, had had earlier contact with Farid Melouk. The attackers all claim to be sworn to the Islamic State.

November 13 – Further terrorist attacks in Paris – at the Stade de France stadium, Bataclan concert hall, and several restaurants – kill 130 people and injure more than 350. Most of the perpetrators come from (or have lived in) the Molenbeek region of Brussels, including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud is also suspected of having been radicalized by Zerkani. ISIS claims responsibility.

November 14-early 2016 – ongoing arrests and investigations in Molenbeek lead to several additional arrests.

2016

March 15 – Police sweep down on a residence in Vorst, a section of Brussels, arresting four suspects believed to be planning an attack. A fifth, Algerian Mohamed Melkaid, is shot and killed while firing his Kalashnikov at the police. An ISIS flag is found at the scene.

March 18 – Saleh Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the terrorist team that attacked Paris in November, is arrested in Molenbeek following a shootout. Evidence found in the house in Vorst helped lead them to Abdeslam, who had been in hiding for 120 days, mostly in plain sight in Molenbeek.

His arrest leads to riots among Muslim youth in the district.

March 22 – Coordinated attacks at Brussels-Zaventem airport and the Brussels Maarbeek metro stop kill 32. Two of the suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, had been involved in planning the November Paris attacks; a third, Najim Laachraoui, is suspected as having made the bombs for both Paris and Brussels attacks. Laachraoui is also suspected of having had connections with Melkaid.

March 23-ongoing – Belgian and French police and counterterrorism forces continue to arrest terrorist suspects connected to either the Paris or Brussels attacks, all of them linked with Belgium-based terror cells. One suspect, Osama Krayem (aka Naim Hamed), a Swedish national, admits having backed out of plans to bomb a second metro station, and agrees to cooperate with Brussels police.

April 14 – Kahlid Zerkani receives the maximum 15-year sentence in Brussels courts. The sentence, delivered on appeal, is an increase over the previous sentence of 12 years.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.