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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Ontario Imam Tells Muslims Not to Apologize for Foiled ISIS Suicide Attack

Mazin-AbdulAdhim

“It’s amazing that Muslims continuously ignore the fact that our Creator gave us our own system and obligated it upon us.”

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Aug. 244, 2016:

Islamists often blame the foreign policies of Western governments in attempt to mask the despicable acts of terrorism committed by jihadists. This type of scapegoating switches the fault from radical Islam to the West, and finds traction with Westerners that succumb to the white privilege/collective guilt mindset furthered by leftist academics.

An Ontario imam named Mazin AbdulAdhim, who is connected with the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, continues to condemn the West  after the stymied terror attack by ISIS supporter Aaron Driver on August 10. Take a look at AbdulAdhim’s Facebook post, allegedly posted the day after the thwarted attack:

Aaron Driver, a Muslim convert from my city, was killed in a confrontation with the RCMP yesterday. They allege that he detonated a device inside a taxi, hurting himself and someone else, and was shot when he tried to detonate another one.

It is important to not jump to conclusions about this information until details are made clear. The media clearly has a campaign against Islam and Muslims, and so we should be careful how we respond to news like this.

Even if the information is true, we must not allow these sorts of events to cause us to be pressured to apologize for actions that we are not responsible for, nor should this cause us to become afraid of speaking the truth. The governments of the West kill and help kill dozens of innocent civilians every day, and the crimes they have committed against humanity through their foreign policies are orders of magnitude worse than anything these individuals have committed or tried to commit…

It’s funny how Islamists like AbdulAdhim say the media is out to get Muslims, when many media outlets push the contrived ‘Islamophobia’ narrative. For example, the BBC recently ran a story that implied that opposition to Sharia law is ‘Islamophobia’ – apparently interrupting an interview by stating, “There’s no Sharia law here.”

AbdulAdhim also flips morality on its head and thinks that alleged crimes resulting from the foreign policies of Western governments are a much greater evil than Islamic terrorism. This is another leftist tactic of using moral relativism to justify the most absurd of viewpoints – for example, drone strikes that seek to minimize collateral damage are apparently more evil than a suicide bomber aiming to murder innocent people. This is the reasoning behind actual terrorist groups like Hamas who blame Israel for terrorism when Israel’s military inadvertently kills or injures civilians because the leaders of Hamas purposely hide their militants in schools and hospitals to ensure collateral damage.

AbdulAdhim also provides a Facebook posting that’s indicative of how anti-Western the Sharia mindset is at its core. Purportedly posted after the Orlando massacre, the anti-democratic/anti-capitalist post states:

…It’s amazing that Muslims still have not absorbed the fact that this is not our system, these are not our laws, and these are not our governments. This system does not represent us, and it will not protect us if those behind it decide that we are no longer worth protecting.

It’s amazing that Muslims continuously ignore the fact that our Creator gave us our own system and obligated it upon us, and He will never allow us to solve these countless problems we face today until we return to His system that He ordained for us in His final message…

…We are the ones who have turned away from the systems revealed by Allah (swt), and look at this most miserable life we live, constantly apologizing, lacking in dignity, and never having proper representation of the proper implementation of Islam.

And we are the ones who have caused the spread of corruption throughout the land and the sea, since we abandoned our positions in implementing Islam on the political level, and left those positions for the worst of humanity to occupy…

Unlike the Islamists of the Hamas-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organizations like Hizb ut-Tahrir are more forthright about their political goals and what Sharia law entails. As suggested from AbdulAdhim’s previous statement, political Islam is not compatible with democracy and a capitalist system.

We know in Sharia “that only Allah can righteously create laws that are binding on human beings[;]” therefore, laws conceived by humans are invalid. From this perspective there’s no reason to have a democracy since the laws that likely come out of the democratic process are inherently wrong, and there’s no reason to have a free-enterprise system when Allah has already stipulated what is permissible (halal) and what is forbidden (haram) – for example, usury (riba) is prohibited (Quran 2:275-280). Also, the elevation and promotion of Islam and Muslims is another key element of Sharia. How is a government governed by Sharia supposed to give equal rights to Muslims and non-Muslims (Kafirs) alike if non-Muslims are systematically discriminated against in Islamic texts that make up Sharia like the Quran (2:221)? It can’t, and AbdulAdhim knows that.

The use of violence is one of the few differences between Islamists and jihadists (even though some Islamists subscribe to violence). As we have already seen Islamists oftentimes downplay Islamic terrorism or blame it on supposed Western aggression, thus helping to advance their Sharia agenda. Furthermore, Islamists like AbdulAdhim are enemies to Western civilization and the Western countries they inhabit. Leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cannot identify the threat stemming from radical Islam because they are too steeped in political correctness. The threat of Sharia won’t go away on its own – the West must confront its enemy.

***

This panel discussion with Bill Maher is an example of how hard it is to confront Western Islam apologists with the truth: (h/t Bill Warner)

Kerry in Nigeria: ‘Trouble Finding Meaning’ of Life Leads ‘Too Many’ to Terrorism

Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwai at the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto, Nigeria, on August 23, 2016. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwai at the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto, Nigeria, on August 23, 2016. (State Department photo)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, AUGUST 23, 2016:

On a visit to Nigeria today, Secretary of State John Kerry declared there are “far too many” who join terrorist groups like Boko Haram “because they have trouble finding meaning or opportunity in their daily lives.”

“Because they are deeply frustrated and alienated — and because they hope groups like Boko Haram will somehow give them a sense of identity, or purpose, or power,” Kerry said after meeting with local religious leaders to discuss community building and countering violent extremism in Sokoto, Nigeria.

“We see this in every part of the world — whether we are talking about the Lake Chad Basin or the Sahel, or a village in the Middle East or a city in Western Europe, it’s the same. When people — and particularly young people — have no hope for the future and no faith in legitimate authority — when there are no outlets for people to express their concerns — then aggravation festers and those people become vulnerable to outside influence,” he added. “And no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups, which regularly use humiliation and marginalization and inequality and poverty and corruption as recruitment tools.”

Kerry stressed that “one of our central tasks — and almost every single religious leader I just heard in the other room talked about this task — has to be to remove the vulnerabilities in our own position.”

“To effectively counter violent extremism, we have to ensure that military action is coupled with a reinforced commitment to the values this region and all of Nigeria has a long legacy of supporting — values like integrity, good governance, education, compassion, security, and respect for human rights,” he said.

The Obama administration has been critical of Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram, charging that human rights are being violated as they target suspected terrorists.

“It is understandable that in the wake of terrorist activity, some people are tempted to crack down on everyone and anyone who could theoretically pose some sort of a threat. I caution against that today,” Kerry said. “Extremism cannot be defeated through repression or just creating fear. Fear instilled through repression invites not confidence; it invites contempt. It creates terrorists — trust creates citizens.”

Nigeria is about half Muslim and 40 percent Christian, with indigenous religions making up the balance. Kerry told the Nigerians that “those who would tear our communities apart — pitting one religion or one sect against another — they can only be defeated by citizens’ unyielding commitment to unity and mutual understanding.”

“Equality and tolerance; justice and mercy; compassion and humility — these are values that transcend religions, ethnicities, and all kinds of moral codes,” he said. “They are certainly in keeping with the teachings of Islam that have enriched the world for centuries.”

Kerry’s trip also included a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and a sit-down with northern governors.

The Nigerian Army claimed Monday that “believed to have fatally” Boko Harm leader Abubakr Shekau. The army claimed the same back in 2014, only to have Shekau emerge alive and well.

“In what one could describe as the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid, we have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded,” spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka said in a statement, claiming the terrorists were killed during Friday prayers.

Deaths and injuries from Boko Haram attacks jumped 190 percent in 2015. Over the same period, the Nigeria-based terror group’s use of suicide bombers rose 167 percent. They pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014.

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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Keep Iran at arm’s length

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, reviews Revolutionary Guard cadets during a graduation ceremony in Tehran in 2015.  Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via The Associated Pres

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, reviews Revolutionary Guard cadets during a graduation ceremony in Tehran in 2015.
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via The Associated Pres

National Post, by Shabnam Assadollahi and David B. Harris, August 22, 2016:

Even before the West made the last in the continuing series of concessions that became the disturbing P5+1 Iranian nuclear deal, a campaigning Justin Trudeau asserted more than a year ago that he would “re-engage” with Iran and reopen Canada’s diplomatic mission in Tehran. The mission was closed by a Harper government fearful of state-supported assaults on Canada’s representatives there, and concerned about Iran’s subversive activity in this country.

The ensuing pre-election storm sent the candidate’s Liberal party minders scrambling.  A Trudeau government would move cautiously, they assured us. There would be no precipitous re-establishing of relations with the regime commonly dubbed the leading state-sponsor of terror.

But by mid-February, Stéphane Dion, Trudeau’s foreign affairs minister, was all about “engagement” and — relying on the Iran nuke deal — ended significant Canadian Iran sanctions. And later, even as Canadian professor Dr. Homa Hoodfar was held in Iran and Ontario’s superior court authorized victims of Iranian-backed terror to extract compensation from non-diplomatic Iranian assets, Dion admitted that the Trudeau government was in official talks with the regime. These talks are apparently aimed at re-establishing relations between the countries.

Despite various countries’ diplomatic presence in Iran during the sanctions years, the regime’s human rights-abuse continues. Weeks after Trudeau’s June 2015 declaration, 40 of Iran’s state-run media organizations jointly solicited British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie’s killing by putting a $600,000 bounty on his head. Executions in Iran increased to almost 1,000, including children. Gays, Baha’is and others are hunted. Officials animated by Islamist religious doctrine prevent young, soon-to-be-executed female political prisoners from going to paradise by having them raped before being murdered: no virginity, no paradise.

Internationally, Tehran’s dictatorship is implicated in extensive violence: assassinations in Germany and France, major bombings in Lebanon and Argentina and operations in the United States. With Hezbollah, its terrorist progeny, Iran increasingly operates in South America. No surprise: in the 1990s, wrote Sohrab Ahmari, current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was a key player in a “campaign of terror against Iranian dissidents in Europe.” Today, Iran and Hezbollah prop up Syria’s Assad by facilitating sectarian bloodletting. Tehran threatens the Persian Gulf region and reinforces Yemen’s butchery.

Meanwhile, Iran masquerades as a nuclear-nonproliferation “partner.” But Iran’s Fordow, Natanz, and Arak atomic facilities were built in secret, in violation of international law. Reports say Iran plans to develop deployable electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, which could cripple power grid infrastructure and electronic equipment across thousands of kilometres. In April, American EMP experts reminded the Canadian Senate’s national security committee about U.S. Congressional EMP Commission warnings: EMP weapons could utterly destroy the U.S. — and presumably, Canadian — electrical grid on which our technological civilization depends for its literal survival. In the meantime, and contrary to UN Security Council resolutions, Iran tests ballistic missiles, at least one with a promise to destroy Israel inscribed on its side.

To cap things off, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei advertises Iran’s terror support. “Hezbollah and its pious youth,” he told the Union of Islamic Pupils’ Associations, “are shining like the Sun and they are a source of honour for the Muslim world.”

All this, when Tehran should be on its best behaviour, if only to advance its sanctions-busting, militarist objectives.

Nor has Canada been spared the ayatollahs’ untoward attentions.

Iranian regime-backed Canadian residents intimidate dissident expatriates in Canada. Hamid Mohammadi, a former senior Iranian diplomat in Ottawa, was exposed calling on Iranian Canadians not to integrate. He apparently wants them to infiltrate the Canadian government and work subversively for the motherland. Before it was shuttered, Iran’s Ottawa embassy was pushing its education agenda — including glorifying child-martyrdom — in a cultural program at Ottawa’s Lady Evelyn public school. Iran’s Hezbollah terror organization continues to operate and fund raise in Canada, as well.

Rapprochement with Iran – through exchanges of ambassadors or otherwise – will bring no advantage other than to the fortunes of the mullahs’ malevolent, emboldened rule. Tehran’s fanatical, aggressively destabilizing regime, and its friends and influencers in Canada, already have enough of a presence in this country and beyond.  Rather than weaken, we must limit the ayatollahs’ avenues into our nation, contain this global threat, and embrace sound international efforts to encourage constructive democratic change in Iran.

Former Iranian political prisoner Shabnam Assadollahi is an award-winning human rights defender in Canada, where she writes and broadcasts. Lawyer David B. Harris directs the Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc., and recently testified before the U.S. Senate homeland security committee.

Iran Expanding Terror Network in Latin America

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, is welcomed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in Havana, Cuba / AP

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, is welcomed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in Havana, Cuba / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Aug. 23, 2016:

Iran is solidifying its foothold in Latin America, sparking concerns among U.S. officials that the Islamic Republic will enlist these regional allies in its push to launch terror attacks on U.S. soil, according to conversations with congressional sources.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been on a diplomatic tour through key Latin American countries known for hostility towards the United States, including Cuba, Venezuela, and a host of other countries believed to be providing shelter to Iranian terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah.

As Iranian-ally Russia boosts its spy operation in the region, sources have raised concerns about the rogue nations working together to foster anti-U.S. unrest.

Zarif’s trip through the region has raised red flags among some senior congressional sources familiar with the region. For example, Zarif took aim at the United States and touted the regime’s desire to align with anti-American countries during his stay in Cuba.

One senior congressional source who works on the issue said to the Washington Free Beacon that Iran is seeking to recruit “potential terrorists who want to cause the U.S. harm.”

Increased ties between Iran and these Latin American nations are setting the stage for terrorists to penetrate close to U.S. soil with little detection.

These individuals “can travel easily to Venezuela, and once there, they can get to Nicaragua or Cuba without passports or visas, which poses a national security risk for our nation,” the source explained.

Iran has also reopened its embassy in Chile, a move that has only added fuel to speculation among U.S. officials that the Islamic Republic is making moves to position its global terror network on America’s doorstep.

“The threat to U.S. national security interests and our allies should be setting off alarm bells,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement about Zarif’s Latin American tour.

“The Obama administration has failed to prevent Russia and China from expanding in our Hemisphere, and now Iran is once again stepping up its efforts to gain a greater presence to carry out its nefarious activities,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “I urge the White House to stop downplaying the Iranian threat and take immediate action to prevent the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from establishing a regional safe haven in the Americas.”

Asked to comment on Zarif’s trip and the potential repercussions on Monday, a State Department official said to the Free Beacon that the administration had no comment.

Ros-Lehtinen said the high-profile trip by Zarif should serve as a warning.

“The timing of Zarif’s trip is significant as Iran could use many of these rogue regimes to circumvent remaining sanctions, undermine U.S. interests, and expand the drug trafficking network that helps finance its illicit activities,” she said. “Tehran’s classic playbook is to use cultural centers, new embassies or consulates, or cooperative agreements on various areas to act as façades aimed at expanding Iran’s radical extremist network.”

The renewed concerns about Iran’s footprint in Latin America comes nearly two years after the State Department said Tehran’s influence in the region was “waning.”

“The timing of Zarif’s trip speaks volumes,” said the senior congressional aide who would discuss the issue only on background. It “is worrisome that as we just celebrated the 22nd year of the horrific terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina, Iran can now have personnel nearby in a new embassy in Chile.”

“Just recently, a Hezbollah member was picked up in Brazil, an explosive device was found near the Israeli embassy in Uruguay, and Hezbollah members are reportedly traveling on Venezuelan passports,” the source added. “It was not too long ago that Venezuela offered flights to Iran and Syria, and as of last week, Hezbollah cells were found in the West Bank where Venezuela lifted its visa requirements for Palestinians.”

Zarif slammed the United States on Monday during a speech in Havana.

“Iran and Cuba could prove to the U.S. that it cannot proceed with its policies through exerting pressure on other countries,” Zarif said, according to Iran’s state-controlled media.

“Now the time is ripe for realizing our common goals together and implement the resistance economy in Iran and materialize [Cuban dictator Fidel] Castro’s goals of reconstruction of the Cuban economy,” Zarif added.

Zarif went on to note that Iran “has age-old and strong relations with the American continent and the Latin American countries.”

Zarif is reported to have brought along at least 60 Iranian officials and executives working in the country’s state-controlled economic sector.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that Iran has boosted efforts to engage Latin America in the wake of last summer’s nuclear agreement.

“Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif is aggressively continuing Iran’s diplomatic outreach, a policy which began early in the Rouhani administration and was kicked into high gear in the aftermath of the JCPOA—last summer’s nuclear deal,” he said. “Zarif’s sojourn into the Western hemisphere follows on the heels of his May visit to the region. Zarif’s trip symbolically commences in Havana, Cuba, where the Iranian foreign minister harped on themes of steadfastness and resistance to American legal and economic pressure.”

The Iranian leader’s goal is to “build on this experience to help promote an anti-American and anti-capitalist world order,” he added. “What’s most clear however, is that in addition to seeking to solidify the anti-American political orientation of these states, Iran aims to capitalize on the increasingly detached stigma of doing business with it in the aftermath of the nuclear accord. Therefore, we can expect to see trade deals or memorandums of understanding inked. In short, Iran will be looking to deepen to its footprint in Latin America.”

FBI Investigating Possible ISIS-Inspired Stabbing Attack in Virginia

Wasil-Farooqui.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 22, 2016:

The random stabbing of a couple in Roanoke County, Virginia, on Saturday is now being investigated as a possible ISIS-inspired terror attack, according to reports.

Witnesses to the incident say that the suspect under arrest, Wasil Farooqui, was shouting “Allah Akbar” while attacking a man and woman at their apartment building Saturday evening.

Several media outlets are reporting the FBI’s involvement in the case:

The Roanoke Times reports:

Roanoke County Police arrested a man in connection with a Saturday night stabbing that injured a man and a woman at The Pines Apartments, off Virginia 419.

Wasil Farooqui, 20, went to a hospital to seek medical care for his own injuries. He matched the description of the suspect and, following further investigation, was arrested, according to a news release.

Farooqui is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and is being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond, according to the release.

Officers went to the 4300 block of Banbury Lane after receiving a call around 8 p.m. on Saturday indicating that a man and woman had been attacked with a knife while entering the apartment building. The man fought off the attacker, who then fled, according to the release.

Police believe the attack was random, and that Farooqui has no connection to the victims, according to the release.

WDJB7 adds these details:

The FBI is now involved in a stabbing investigation in Roanoke County.

Wasil Farooqui is charged in the incident that seriously hurt a man and woman at the The Pines Apartments on Saturday.

Witnesses told police that during the attack Farooqui was yelling “Allah Akbar.”

He remains in jail tonight without bond.

Earlier today a woman wearing a hijab injured three people with a machete in Uccle, Belgium, a suburb of Brussels, and was later shot in a confrontation with police.

Here is video of the confrontation with the woman filmed by a bystander:

Predictably, authorities invoked the woman’s “mental illness”.

The incidents in Roanoke County over the weekend and Belgium today are added to a growing list of incidents as ISIS calls on supporters to use baseball bats and power screwdrivers in a new video released this weekend, as reported by Bridget Johnson here at PJ Media yesterday.

Update from Patrick Poole on twitter:

Virginia ISIS attacker Wasil Farooqui attempted to go to Syria, was on law enforcement radar. Yet another #KnownWolf

Southern Command Warns Sunni Extremists Infiltrating From South

A Mexican soldier patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border wall on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico / AP

A Mexican soldier patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border wall on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Aug. 22, 2016:

Sunni extremists are infiltrating the United States with the help of alien smugglers in South America and are crossing U.S. borders with ease, according to a U.S. South Command intelligence report.

The Command’s J-2 intelligence directorate reported recently in internal channels that “special interest aliens” are working with a known alien smuggling network in Latin America to reach the United States. The smuggling network was not identified.

Army Col. Lisa A. Garcia, a Southcom spokeswoman, did not address the intelligence report directly but said Sunni terrorist infiltration is a security concern.

“Networks that specialize in smuggling individuals from regions of terrorist concern, mainly from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the Middle East, and East Africa, are indeed a concern for Southcom and other interagency security partners who support our country’s national security,” Garcia told theWashington Free Beacon.

“There are major hubs that serve as entry points into the region for migrants from those areas of concern attempting to enter the U.S. along our border with Mexico,” she said.

The infiltrators from terrorist states and unstable regions exploit vulnerabilities in commercial transportation systems and immigration enforcement agencies in some of the countries used for transit, Garcia said.

“In 2015, we saw a total of 331,000 migrants enter the southwestern border between the U.S. and Mexico, of that we estimate more than 30,000 of those were from countries of terrorist concern,” she said. [emphasis added]

Another problem in dealing with migrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia is a lack of information among the governments of the countries used by potential terrorists for transit.

The exploitation of alien smuggling networks by terrorists until recently had been dismissed by both American security officials and private security experts as largely an urban myth.

However, the Southcom intelligence report revealed that the threat of Islamist terror infiltration is no longer theoretical. “This makes the case for Trump’s wall,” said one American security official of the Southcom report. “These guys are doing whatever they want to get in the country.”

Adm. Kurt Tidd, Southcom’s commander, said last week that the lack of information is hampering security efforts against alien smuggling.

“An element that has been long recognized is that our ability to track people moving through transportation systems is an area that we must continue to devote efforts on, and the ease with which human traffickers are able to use our transportation systems to move people through the networks relatively undetected should give us all concern,” Tidd said.

Special interest aliens are described by the U.S. government as aliens who pose a potential terrorism threat coming from 34 nations in the Middle East, Africa, Southwest Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia. The list of states of concern includes Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Eritrea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump last week called for stepped up counterterrorism measures that he said would involve “extreme vetting” of immigrants in a bid to better screen out potential terrorists.

Trump also has made a campaign theme the construction of a wall across the United States’ southern border as part of efforts to better control the flood of illegal immigrants.

Joel Vargas, head of Contingent Security Services and a consultant to law enforcement agencies, said there is no evidence Sunni extremists are creating new relationships with alien smugglers. However, he said in an email that “existing smuggling networks from Central America are increasing their access.”

“We have intercepted immigrants coming from Asia but we have been unable to determine if they are extremists,” Vargas said. “Our Sunni illegal migration coming from [Latin America] is very small. On the other hand, they can use the networks set up by the Shia.”

A report produced by Vargas for the International Airport, Seaport and Transport Police states that the Iran-backed Shiite terror group Hezbollah mainly has ties to Latin American through overseas Lebanese expatriates.

Hezbollah recently increased support in transnational crime in the region by supply arms and training to various groups.

“Hezbollah’s current goals appear to be focused on accruing resources rather than conducting offensive operations, however the group’s growing capabilities are still a clear threat to regional U.S. interests,” the report said. “Iran’s involvement in Latin America is also increasing, and Hezbollah will likely be able to use these budding political and economic ties as cover for its operations.”

Vargas said Hezbollah’s networks in Latin America could be used by Sunni extremists to get to the United States. “That is a workable situation,” he said. “If they disclose they are ISIL or any other group, I doubt that even the Shias will help out. Even [drug] cartels are killing anyone who appears extremist. It is bad for their business.”

According to Vargas, Guatemala remains a weak link for regional security services. A sophisticated alien smuggling operation that is capable of moving foreign nationals into the United States from Africa and other states has been centered in that Central American state for at least the past six years.

The Washington Times reported in June that an international alien smuggling network centered in Brazil helped sneak illegal immigrants from Middle Eastern states to the United States, including an Afghan linked to a terror plot in North America.

At least a dozen Middle Easterners reached the Western Hemisphere through this alien smuggling ring that facilitated travel to Mexico, the Times reported, quoting internal government documents.

The aliens involved Palestinians, Pakistanis, and the Afghan man with ties to the Taliban.

Some of the aliens were stopped before entering the United States but others succeeded in crossing the U.S. border.

One transit route used in the past by alien smugglers was identified in a recent Justice Department alien smuggling case that traced illegal immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to Honduras, then to Guatemala and finally to Mexico and into the United States.

The cost of getting into the United States can reach $400 or more per person, and the illegal immigrants are provided with transportation, covert smuggling contacts along routes into the country, as well as instructions on how to illegally cross the U.S. border. The instructions in the past have included armed guides who ferry illegal aliens across U.S.-Mexico border rivers on inner tubes.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified during a Senate hearing in February that Islamic State terrorists would try to infiltrate the United State posing as immigrants.

“That’s one technique they’ve used is taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow,” Clapper said. “As well, they also have available to them—and are pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers as well.”

What’s the Number of Terrorists We’ll Accept from a U.S. Mosque Before We Start Asking Questions?

Screen-Shot-2016-08-19-at-9.27.56-AM

In an age of religious terror, of course you need surveillance to monitor religious sites.

CounterJihad, by Shireen Qudosi, Aug. 19, 2016:

In the aftermath of one of Islamism’s bloodiest summers, Western countries are stepping up efforts to filter for potential threats. Germany has held raids targeting Islamist preachers suspected of recruiting ISIS supporters. Belgium launched a police hunt for an imam’s son who walked down the street loudly praying to Allah for the annihilation of all Christians. And France recently banned the “burkini” – the Muslim adaptation of a swimsuit. At this point, it’s a bandage on a gaping wound. More aggressive and strategic measures need to be taken to target the environment where Islamic supremacism flourishes, rather than just the behavior it produces. One place is in U.S. mosques.

For the last year, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has rallied for greater U.S. mosque surveillance. He’s introduced a series of ideas that are both shocking and bold in a climate where one more serious domestic terrorist attack could very likely escalate the situation beyond our control.

Principal among them, Giuliani proposed electronic monitoring tags and bracelets for Muslims on the terror watch list. The problem with this is ensuring the right people are on that list. If that watch list is anything like the TSA no-fly list (easy to get on, impossible to get off of), we have a problem. And just like with mosque surveillance that is made public, tracking radical threats doesn’t deter their activity. Islamic extremists have a start-up mentality: they are extremely flexible and expect to adapt to the environment. In the case of next generation Muslims, that activity will shift to universities, social venues, and online. This is why announcing a surveillance program is an ill-advised move. Don’t announce it, just do it.

The fact is, 80% of U.S. mosques are known to be complicit in promoting violence. The Islamic Society of Boston is one of them. At this one mosque we find, not only inciters of violence and hatred, but the inevitable result of that incitement: actual violent jihadists who’ve drawn blood. In the case of the ISB, it was perpetrators of the Boston Marathon Massacre in 2013.

And when Islamists complain about the need for mosques, chatter among Millennial Muslims show a growing frustration for mushrooming mosques at the expense of diminishing community services for Muslims in need.  In other words, Muslims themselves say the mosques aren’t necessary.

However, tracking activity within mosques is necessary given the causal relationship between extremism and mosque affiliation. For Giuliani, the imperative on tracking red-flagged Muslims with bracelets comes after a string of Western attacks by extremists who were on a terror watch list – or had at some point been detained for questioning. Though active monitoring can be implemented, there’s a greater question of resources. The reason many of these red-flagged terrorists went under the radar was because officials were simply overwhelmed with data.

The solution to curtailing America’s terror threat isn’t just one extreme solution or another; it’s a combination of extreme measures paired with creative initiatives. This starts with recognizing that mosques are a portal for Islamism and extremism. This is not to say that every mosque is hoarding ammunitions in the backroom, but rather mosques (1) aren’t challenging their own narratives of Islamic supremacy within their congregation and community, and (2) aren’t rejecting hate preachers who hold an animosity toward at West.

In addition to more sound surveillance programs that perhaps works with progressive Muslims, it would be advisable to put searing pressure on mosques, leaders, organizers and Islamic organizations that makes it clear that ambivalence, acceptance, and/or embrace of radical Islamic philosophy will not be tolerated. This means that as a collective society, we need Muslim Reformer-lead conversation about Islamic philosophy, a principle tenet in Trump’s foreign policy speech.

Alongside, the U.S. government has to recognize it’s in an ideological war, meaning that empowering counter narratives among Muslim reformers and critical thinkers – and funding initiatives and centers spearheaded by them – is no longer an option to be explored; it must be supported. This doesn’t mean additional funds for CVE or vague counter-terrorism funding. It means funds for hoisting the flag of reform and making it possible for true progressive to establish ideological lighthouses that build a movement.

But there’s a larger problem: a total lack of solidarity between party lines and across national and state agencies.

Giuliani correctly pointed out the need for continued surveillance programs, especially after the Orlando Shooting – an attack that is strongly suspected to have been triggered in part by radical imams. These programs were in place under Bloomberg but were halted under current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The New York City Police Department has also faced wavering support for its efforts to combat Islamic extremism in the city that has faced the most brutal Western assault by Islamic extremists. Though a post 9/11 era saw support for increased surveillance and controls, that support has dwindled with each changing of the guards – at a national stage from Bush to Obama, and more regionally, between NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to newcomer Bill Bratton. Bratton disbanded a critical undercover police unit assigned to look for terrorist activity in New York Mosques and social venues popular among local Muslims. Bratton also chose to shelf an instrumental 92 pages report that was heralded as groundbreaking.

And nationally, while the CIA and the FBI joined forces post 9/11 to pool resources and create efficient information networks, the FBI has largely failed in their attempt to recruit and deploy undercover agents. Caught between fruitless community relations with Islamists and a failure to put into action credible undercover assets, the FBI has faced a backlash from the Muslim community for entrapment scenarios that have actually created viable threats.

It’s clear that any plan moving forward is going to need having everyone on the same page. That starts with recognizing we’re dealing with an ideological problem that goes beyond jihadi training grounds overseas. We’re dealing with a mindset that goes beyond mosques and borders.

***

BREAKING: Jewish rabbi stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in French religious attack

The scene in Strasbourg

The scene in Strasbourg

A JEWISH rabbi has been stabbed by an attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” in the city of Strasbourg, sparking fears France has fallen victim to another Islamist-inspired terror attack.

Express, by Tom Batchelor,, Aug. 19, 2016:

The attacker, who is understood to have been arrested, shouted the Islamic phrase meaning God is great during the attack, according to reports in French media.

The 62-year-old victim, who is described as belonging to the orthodox Hasidic sect, was injured in the attack in the Jewish Quarter, 500 metres from the Great Synagogue of Strasbourg.

Named locally as Chalom Levy, he took refuge in a nearby bar befofe being taken to hospital.

Mendel Samama, a Strasbourg rabbi who visited him at the hospital, said Mr Levy described surviving the attack as a “miracle”.

He said: “He was shocked. He is weak. He was hit in the abdominal region a few centimetres from a vital organ.”

Mr Levy was said to be wearing items of clothing that would identify him as a Hasidic Jew.

Initial reports said the perpetrator was suffering from psychological problems and was known to the authorities for carrying out a similar attack in 2010.

The incident on Friday morning is the latest in a string of religiously-motivated attacks on French soil.

The Grand Rabbi of Strasbourg, René Gutman, said the attack was carried out by “one person” and did not reflect general tensions in the city.

But he requested that “steps be taken” to improve security.

He said: “If this person can stand out in the city and when he sees a person in yarmulke, assault them with a knife, this is a problem.”

The attack took place in the north of the city close to Brasserie des Vosges on a major thoroughfare.

Strasbourg, in north-east France close to the German border, is one of the seats of the European Parliament.

It is home to a large community of Jews, with around 15,000 living in or near the city, accounting for around five per cent of the population.

Sources close to the investigation apparently ruled out terrorism early on although the motive of the attack remains unknown. [CJR – Huh!???]

Around France, people are on edge, security is tight and several events have been cancelled following a string of attacks over the past two years.

The government has maintained a state of emergency put in place after 130 people were killed in Islamist attacks in Paris in November.

At the end of July, knife-wielding attackers interrupted a church service in northern France and murdered the priest in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

In that incident two ISIS extremists shouted “Allah Akbar” before slitting the victim’s throat in front of terrified parishioners.

French jews were targeted in January 2015 during the siege of a Kosher supermarket in Paris in which four people were killed.

An elderly man, the son of a distinguished Rabbi, a teacher and a shop worker who was saving up for his marriage were killed in the attack at the Jewish store by jihadist Amedy Coulibaly.

It followed the murder of journalists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.

Also see:

This week in jihad: ‘If we lose Africa, we lose the War on Terror’

Boko HaramConservative Review, by Nate Madden, Aug. 18, 2016:

As Turkey arrests tens of thousands of political prisoners following last month’s coup attempt, and ISIS horrifically executes dozens of captives accused of spying, Boko Haram’s new leader and new mission in West Africa highlight the precipitous state of jihadism on the continent.

It has been over two years since almost 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in April 2014.

New video released Sunday by Nigerian-based ISIS-affiliate Boko Haram highlights the sad and troubling reality that the insurgency — now the deadliest terror group in the world — is still terrorizing West Africa, with a new focus on targeting Christians.

According to a report from the Associated Press:

The video posted Sunday on Twitter shows a young woman, covered in a hijab with just her face showing, who was one of the students abducted from a remote school in northeastern Nigeria in April 2014. She claims that some of her kidnapped classmates died in aerial bombardments by the Nigerian Air Force. She also said that 40 have been “married” to fighters.

The video shows a militant warning in the Hausa language that if President Muhammadu Buhari’s government battles Boko Haram with firepower, the girls won’t be seen again.

“Presently, some of the girls are crippled, some are terribly sick and some of them, as I had said, died during bombardment by the Nigerian military,” the fighter says, appearing before a group of more than 40 young women in hijabs, some holding babies.

The video’s release comes just two weeks after news broke of an internal shakeup in the Boko Haram’s organization’s ranks, in which its long-time leader Abu Bakr Shekau was reportedly replaced by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who has pledged to re-focus the group’s terror focus on Christians and churches while ending attacks on markets and mosques.

In an interview published by ISIS and reported by SITE Intelligence on August 8, al-Barnawi vowed to respond to what he called attempts to “Christianize the society” by “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those (Christians) who we find from the citizens of the cross.”

Al-Barnawi, who was confirmed by ISIS’ English language magazine, Dabiq, as the new governor of its so-called West Africa Province — a name that Boko Haram adopted last spring — had been a spokesperson for the group for over a year, speaking in lieu of the mysterious Shekau, leading to speculation of the latter’s death.

Boko Haram’s new announced strategy in West Africa echoes sentiments laid out in the latest issue of Dabiq, in which the multinational insurgency focused attacks directly at Christianity with articles as titled “Break the Cross” and “Why we hate you and why we fight you.”

Elsewhere in Africa, a Ugandan Islamist group hacked at least 64 people to death with machetes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The massacre was carried out by the Allied Defense Forces in the town of Beni, according to a report at the Daily Mail. The ADF is known as a quasi-jihadist militant group initially focused on overthrowing the Ugandan government with the intention of installing Sharia law in the East African country.

As pointed out in a previous two-part series at Conservative Review, the continued violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and the spread of jihadism in other regions is largely a result of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failed and reckless Africa policies. These have helped increase the jihadist footprint on the continent.

“We’re on the verge of losing the whole continent of Africa,” to jihadist groups Counterterrorism expert Patrick Poole told Conservative Review in a phone interview for the series.

“Africa is the war on terror,” he added. “If we lose Africa, we lose the war on terror.”

Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religion and culture. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate has previously written for The Washington Times, Catholic News Service, Patheos, and The Christian Post. Follow him @NateMadden_IV.

ISIS Is Winning the Twitter War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACT CHECK: Islamic Terrorists Have Killed More In Domestic Attacks Since 9/11 Than the ‘Right Wing’

Fact-Check.sized-770x415xcPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 17, 2016:

In recent years the establishment media has pushed a narrative that right wing terrorism has been exploding while domestic Islamic terrorism posed very little threat to Americans at all.

Just last year, media outlets claimed that so-called “right wing” terrorists had killed more since 9/11 than Islamic terrorists. Even now the establishment media repeat this claim, despite the fact that even using their own preferred data sources, such claims are no longer true.

When that narrative was being spun last year, including by the New York Times, the data was at best questionable; after the jihadist terror attack in Orlando this past June, the claim isn’t even debatable.

In fact, the number of those killed at the Orlando Pulse night club by Omar Mateen (49) was more than all the deaths from “right wing” terrorism since 9/11 COMBINED (48).

This false media narrative is so ubiquitous that just yesterday Anthony De Rosa, digital production manager for “The Daily Show” was invoking it:

But according to the most recent data from New America – the same source cited last year by the New York Times and other media outlets, including taxpayer-supported NPR – shows that domestic jihadists have killed 94, while those attributed to “right wing” killers is 48.

JihadvsRWattackdeaths-1024x348

And yet the media “right wingers kill more than Islamic terrorists” narrative continues to circulate despite a string of deadly jihadist terror attacks in the U.S. since the media began circulating the claim last year.

When the media began to push this narrative in earnest in June 2015, the New America numbers cited in all the press articles claimed jihadists only were responsible for 26 deaths, while the “right wing” was blamed for 48 (note, that number hasn’t moved since).

But when those articles appeared last year, some noted the suspicious attributions by New America on the “right wing” side of the ledger included suspects whose “right wing” credentials were far-fetched at best.

Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle noted several “right wing” cases in New America’s data set that were dubious at best:

Counting the other types of extremist terrorism is a little murkier. Some of them are fairly obvious: When a white supremacist starts shooting people at a Sikh temple, I don’t think we need to wonder too hard what his motives were. On the other hand, the data set The Times relies on also includes Andrew Joseph Stack, who you may remember piloted a small plane into an IRS building in Austin. Stack left a manifesto behind, and it doesn’t exactly read like an anarcho-capitalist treatise. Oh, he’s mad at the government, all right, but he’s mad about … the 1986 revision to Section 1706 of the tax code, which governs the treatment of technical contractors […]Its closing lines are “The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.” Labeling this as a “deadly right-wing attack” is beyond a stretch; it’s not even arguably correct.

McArdle identifies several other eye-rolling examples of New America’s “right wing” killers.

Florida State Professor Andrew Holt also looked at New America’s data and criticized their cooked statistics for not including several cases of Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks, including DC Beltway snipers John Allen Mohammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who modeled themselves on Osama bin Laden and conducted their attacks to extort money from the federal government to set up a terror training camp in Canada to wage war against the United States.

Professor Holt notes other cases excluded from New America’s data set:

In June of 2006 in Denver, a man shot four of his co-workers and a swat team member, killing one. He later claimed he did it because it was “Allah’s choice.” In December of 2009 in Binghamton, a Saudi Arabian graduate student named Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani killed Richard T. Antoun, a non-Muslim Islamic studies professor who served on al-Zahrani’s dissertation committee, in revenge for “persecuted” Muslims. Prior to the killing one of al-Zahrani’s roommates tried to warn the university administration that he had been acting “like a terrorist.” In 2012 in Houston, in two separate incidents in January and in November, two people were shot to death by a Muslim extremist for their roles in his daughter’s conversion to Christianity. In March of 2013 in Ashtabula (Ohio), a Muslim convert walked into a Christian Church during an Easter service and killed his father, claiming it was “the will of Allah.” In August of 2014 in Richmond (California) killed an Ace Hardware employee by stabbing him seventeen times, claiming he was on a “mission from Allah.”

So if New America is going to include a 2004 Tulsa bank robbery, why would they also not include the May 2008 bank robbery in Philadelphia by three burqa-clad suspects inspired by “jailhouse Islam” that killed Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski who died trying to apprehend them?

And if you’re going to include the 2009 Pittsburgh police shootings (the circumstances of which McArdle raised issue whether it would be classified as “right wing”), why wouldn’t you include the April 2009 killing of Philadelphia Police Officer John Powlowski by Rasheed Scruggs, aka Rasheed Abdulghaffer, who Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said may also have also been inspired by “jailhouse Islam”?

The reason is that the establishment media and organizations like New America are driving an agenda trying to spin up fears about looming “right wing terrorism” while simultaneously downplaying domestic terror attacks.

It should be noted that the string of articles last year came right after the attempted terror attack on a Mohammed drawing contest in Garland, Texas, where law enforcement authorities killed the would-be jihadists before they could injure any civilians, and about a month before the Chattanooga terror attack that killed five.

The media has a history of bad luck spinning up the “right wing terror” narrative.

Take for instance the New York Times oped by a former State Department counter-terrorism official noting, “The Declining Terror Threat” — eight weeks before the 9/11 attacks.

Or a Peter Bergen opinion piece at CNN warning of the “Growing Threat of Right Wing Extremism” — eleven days before the Boston bombings.

There are other media failures pushing the “right wing terrorism” narrative. That’s not to say that some would-be Timothy McVeigh could kill dozens of Americans and up-end these statistics.

But the whole agenda of warning about deaths from “right wing terrorism” compared to Islamic terrorism becomes clear when you observe that these data sets begin their count THE DAY AFTER 9/11, something both Megan McArdle and Professor Andrew Holt note.

To talk about terrorism deaths on American soil while intentionally excluding the largest and most lethal terror attack in modern history is laughably lame. It would take a terror attack on an unimaginable scale for “right wing” terrorism to ever catch up to Islamic terrorism’s death toll.

And for anyone in the media to still repeat the now false claim that “right wing” terrorism is more lethal than Islamic terrorism, without fact checking the claim following a string of shockingly deadly jihadist attacks over the past year, is grossly irresponsible.

But don’t be surprised when you still see the false claim bandied about by the establishment media and political hacks. Just note the agenda.

Obama Authorizes “Reckless” Release of 15 Dangerous Guantanamo Bay Detainees

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It’s difficult to argue that the release of hundreds of jihadists has helped combat radical Islam.

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Aug. 17, 2016:

Former U.S. President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” required unconventional tactics and methods for detaining terrorists or unlawful combatants that don’t follow the general laws of war.

This is one of the reasons that led to the creation of Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba – creating a system that does not give cold-blooded terrorists the same legal protections afforded to Americans under the U.S. Constitution while also considering their humanity by providing for their basic human needs.

Leftists like President Obama buy into the theory that Gitmo is a recruitment tool for jihadists. While Gitmo might provide some political fodder for jihadist videos it’s absurd to think that giving jihadists constitutional rights would help defeat Islamic terrorism.

It’s even more preposterous than the kind of reasoning that says providing jobs and economic assistance will stop radicalization. While things like increases in economic opportunity may provide extra incentives that help deter jihadist recruitment, they do not address the root causes of the problem – for example, the evil ideology.

So, keeping in line with his ideology and promises to close the facility President Obama has decided to release more Gitmo detainees.

Fifteen jihadists (twelve Yemeni and three Afghan nationals) have recently been released from Gitmo and transferred to the UAE – making it “the single largest release of detainees during the Obama administration[.]”

Monday’s release dwindles the prison’s population down to only sixty-one detainees. According to the New York Times over the years about 780 individuals “have been detained” at Gitmo, while 710 individuals “have been transferred” (nine individuals died in detention).

It’s difficult to argue that the release of hundreds of jihadists has helped combat radical Islam. In fact, we have seen the opposite with the emergence of killing machines in groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

While the number of released Gitmo prisoners returning to battlefield is disputed, former CIA official Gary Berntsen suggests that at least one third of released detainees are back fighting – making for a high recidivism rate.

These kinds of moves put American troops and workers in serious danger of attack. In fact, a couple months ago The Washington Post reported “that at least 12 detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have launched attacks against U.S. or allied forces in Afghanistan, killing about a half-dozen Americans[.]”

So, taking into account the recidivism rate we will unfortunately expect to see several of the fifteen recently released jihadists with alleged links to radical groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban back to waging jihad and possibly murdering more Americans. Until our leaders get serious about jihadists and their Sharia ideology we will continue to see the rise in Islamic terrorism.

***

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: July 2016

“Islamist terrorism has arrived in Germany.”

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, August 17, 2016:

  • Figures released in July by Destatis, the government’s statistics agency, showed that more than 2.1 million people migrated to Germany in 2015.
  • More than 33,000 migrants who are supposed to be deported are still in Germany and are being cared for by German taxpayers. Many of the migrants destroyed their passports and are believed to have lied about their countries of origin to make it impossible for them to be deported. Others have gone into hiding so that immigration police cannot find them.
  • An investigative report by Bavarian Radio BR24 found that deradicalization programs in Germany are failing, because many Salafists do not want to become deradicalized.
  • “My impression is that we all underestimated a year ago what was in store for us with this big refugee and migration movement. Integration is a Herculean task that does not end with a three-week language course.” — Jens Spahn, CSU politician.

July 1. A court in Bavaria ruled that a law that prohibits Muslim legal trainees from wearing headscarves is illegal. The district court in Augsburg ruled in favor of Aqilah Sandhu, a 25-year-old law student who filed a lawsuit against the state for barring her from wearing the headscarf at public appearances in court while performing legal training. The ruling said there was no legal basis for the restriction and “no formal law that obligates legal interns to a neutral worldview or a religious neutrality.” Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback, arguing that legal officials as well as trainees in the court needed to present the appearance of impartiality, said he would appeal the ruling.

July 3. A 24-year-old woman, raped by three migrants in Mannheim in January, admitted to lying about the identity of her attackers. Selin Gören, a Turkish-German woman, initially said that her attackers were German nationals, when in fact they were Muslim migrants. In an interview withDer Spiegel, Gören, the spokeswoman of Germany’s left-wing youth movement, Solid, said she lied because she was afraid of fueling racism against migrants.

July 4. The newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reported that the 30 biggest German companies listed on the DAX blue-chip stock market index have employed only 54 refugees, including 50 who were hired as couriers by the logistics provider, Deutsche Post. The report casts doubt on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s promise to integrate the 1.1 million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015 into the German labor market as quickly as possible. Company executives say the main problem is that migrants lack professional qualifications and German language skills.

July 4. A court in Frankfurt sentenced a 35-year-old German-Turkish Salafist to two-and-a half-years in prison for weapons possession, but absolved him of charges relating to terrorism. Halil D. was originally accused of plotting to attack a bicycle race in Frankfurt. At the time of his arrest, police found an arsenal of weapons, including a pipe bomb, in his basement. Halil D. claimed he built the bomb to spring open the contents of a cigarette vending machine. Police also found Islamic State propaganda videos, as well as copies of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online magazine, on his computer. At the time of his arrest, Halil D. said: “I believe in the Sharia. German laws do not apply to me.” The court said there was insufficient proof that Halil D. was a terrorist.

Halil D. was accused of plotting to attack a bicycle race in Frankfurt. At the time of his arrest, German police found an arsenal of weapons, including a pipe bomb, in his basement, as well as Islamic State propaganda materials on his computer. The court said there was insufficient proof that Halil D. was a terrorist.

July 7. The Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, unanimously approved changes to the criminal code to expand the definition of rape and make it easier to deport migrants who commit sex crimes. Under the bill, also known as the “No Means No” (“Nein heißt Nein“) law, any form of non-consensual sex will now be punishable as a crime. Previously, the only cases punishable under German law were those in which the victims could show that they physically resisted their attackers. As Germany’s politically correct justice system, is notoriously lenient when it comes to prosecuting, sentencing and deporting foreign offenders, however, the reforms are unlikely to end Germany’s migrant rape epidemic.

July 7. More than six months after mobs of Muslim men sexually assaulted more than 1,000 women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve, a German court issued the first two convictions: The District Court of Cologne gave a 20-year-old Iraqi, identified only as Hussain A., and a 26-year-old Algerian, Hassan T., a one-year suspended sentence and then released both men. Hussain, who was 20 at the time, was sentenced under juvenile law and was ordered to attend an integration course and do 80 hours of community service. The newspaper, Bildpublished photographs of a jubilant Hassan smiling as he left the courtroom. An observer said the light sentence was a mockery of justice and would serve as an invitation for criminal migrants to do as they please with German women.

July 8. Teachers at the Kurt Tucholsky secondary school in Hamburg boycotted this year’s graduation ceremony to protest a Muslim student who refused to shake hands with a female staff member. The school’s director Andrea Lüdtke, sided with the student: “I accept his decision,” she said. A German columnist, Heike Klovert, defended Lüdtke by arguing that teachers should not be tasked with integrating students:

“She took her Muslim student seriously. She did not try to bend him to adapt to a supposedly German way of doing things. She understands that respect is not dependent upon a handshake, and that not everyone who does not want to shake hands is a misogynist extremist.”

July 10. A Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) inquiry into the sex attacks in Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and other German cities on New Year’s Eve found that more than 1,200 women were victims of attacks, which were perpetrated by more than 2,000 men, many of whom are believed to be from North Africa. BKA President Holger Münch admitted: “There is a relationship between the attacks and the strong wave of migration in 2015.”

July 10. More than a hundred Shia Muslims took to the streets of Bonn to commemorate the death of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed. Ali was assassinated in 661. Evoking scenes from seventh century Iraq, 130 shirtless men, hypnotically beating their chests and chanting to beating drums, wound their way through downtown Bonn for more than five hours (pictures here). Local health officials reminded doctors they had a legal responsibility to treat anyone with self-inflicted injuries.

July 11. In a new survey, the Pew Research Center found that 61% of Germans believe the recent influx of refugees will “increase the likelihood of terrorism in our country.” The survey also found that 61% of Germans believe Muslims in their country “want to be distinct from the larger society.”

July 13. The Platanus-Schule, a private bilingual school in Berlin, apologized to a Muslim imam after a teacher at the school called him “misogynistic” and “ill-adapted to German life” because he refused to shake her hand. The imam’s lawyer said the apology was insufficient; critics accused the school of “capitulating” and endangering the principle of gender equality in Germany. CDU politician Philipp Lengsfeld wrote on Twitter: “The essence of the handshake debate is not about religion or an individual’s opinion, it is about the authority of the state and gender equality.”

July 14. Figures released by Destatis, the government’s statistics agency, showed that more than 2.1 million people migrated to Germany in 2015. More than 633,000 arrived from Asia, including 309,000 from Syria, 84,000 from Afghanistan and 65,000 from Iraq. More than 113,000 migrants arrived from Africa.

July 14. During a parliamentary investigation into the migrant sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, it was revealed that one of the women who was raped became pregnant. She failed to report the attack to police because she felt ashamed.

July 14. Ruprecht Polenz, a former secretary general of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that the German law which regulates name changes (Namensrecht) should be amended to make it easier for Muslim migrants in Germany who feel discriminated against to change their legal names to Christian-sounding ones. German law generally does not allow foreigners to change their names to German ones, and German courts rarely approve such petitions. By custom and practice, German names are only for Germans.

July 15. At least 24 women were sexually assaulted at a music festival in Bremen. The attacks were similar to the “taharrush gamea” [collective harassment] attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Police have been able to identify only five perpetrators, all of whom are migrants from Afghanistan. Harald Lührs, the lead investigator for sex crimes in Bremen said: “We have never experienced such massive attacks in Bremen. That groups of men surround women in order to grope them, this has never happened here in this magnitude. This is a new problem that the police have to deal with.”

July 16. A document leaked to the newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, revealed that more than 33,000 migrants who are supposed to be deported are still in Germany and are being cared for by German taxpayers. Many of the migrants destroyed their passports and are believed to have lied about their countries of origin to make it impossible for them to be deported. Others have gone into hiding so that immigration police cannot find them.

July 17. An investigative report by Bavarian Radio BR24 found that deradicalization programs in Germany are failing because many Salafists do not want to become deradicalized. The report also showed that many jihadists who have returned to Germany from Iraq and Syria are producing propaganda videos for the Islamic State.

July 18. An Afghan asylum seeker wielding an axe was shot dead by police after he injured five people on a train in Würzburg. The man shouted “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is the Greatest”] during the attack. Green Party MP Renate Künast criticized the police for using lethal force. In a tweet, she wrote: “Why could the attacker not have been incapacitated without killing him???? Questions!” Künast’s comments provoked a furious backlash, with many accusing her of showing more sympathy for the perpetrator than for the victims. The outpouring of anger against Künast indicates that Germans have had enough of their politically correct politicians.

July 18. Lutz Bachmann, the leader of the anti-migration Pegida movement, announced the formation of a political party, Popular Party for Freedom and Direct Democracy (Freiheitlich Direktdemokratische Volkspartei, FDDV). The move is in response to government threats to ban the Pegida movement.

July 19. Three teenage jihadists who bombed a Sikh temple in Essen on April 16 were formally charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and “bringing about an explosion.” The teenagers, who said they were upset about the way Muslims are being treated by Sikhs in Northern India, were not charged with terrorism offenses.

July 19. The managers of a German Red Cross refugee shelter in Potsdam were accused of covering up the sexual abuse of women at the facility.

July 20. The Federal Labor Office (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) reported that the educational level of newly arrived migrants in Germany is far lower than expected: only a quarter have a high school diploma, while three quarters have no vocational training at all. Only 4% of new arrivals to Germany are highly qualified.

July 22. Ali Sonboly, an 18-year-old Iranian-German who harbored hatred for Arabs and Turks, killed ten people (including himself) and wounded 35 others at a McDonald’s in Munich.

July 23. A mob of men shouting “Allahu Akbar” barged into a nudist beach in Xanten and “insulted and threatened” the beachgoers. Police kept the incident hidden, apparently to avoid negative media coverage of Muslims “in these sensitive times.”

July 24. Mohammed Daleel, a 27-year-old migrant from Syria whose asylum application was rejected, injured 15 people when he blew himself up at a concert in Ansbach. The suicide bombing was the first in Germany attributed to the Islamic State. Daleel had fought with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Iraq before coming to Germany. In a cellphone video made before the attack, Daleel vowed that Germans “will not be able to sleep peacefully anymore.” Although German authorities had tried to deport Daleel in early 2016, the effort was blocked by German Left Party MP Harald Weinberg, who demanded that Daleel get medical care for a knee injury. “After everything I knew at that time, I would decide the same today,” Weinberg told the newspaper Bild.

July 24. A 21-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker murdered a 45-year-old Polish woman and her unborn baby in a machete attack in Reutlingen.

July 24. A 40-year-old migrant from Eritrea raped a 79-year-old woman in a cemetery in Ibbenbüren. The woman, who lives in a local nursing home, was visiting the grave of her late sister at 6AM when the attack occurred. The migrant, who has been living as a refugee in Germany since 2013, was arrested at the scene. He is unlikely to be deported, however, because Eritrea is considered a conflict zone.

July 25. A 45-year-old Palestinian brandishing a “Rambo knife” and shouting “Allahu Akbar” tried to behead a doctor in Bonn. The attacker’s 19-year-old son had complained about the doctor’s treatment for a fractured leg. While holding the doctor down on the floor, the man said: “Apologize to my son. Go down on your knees and kiss his hand.” The attacker was arrested and then set free.

July 25. Sahra Wagenknecht, the leader of the Left Party (Die Linke), lashed out at Merkel’s open-door migration policy:

“The events of the past few days show that the acceptance and integration of a large number of refugees and migrants presents significant problems. It is much more difficult than Merkel tried to persuade us last fall with her reckless ‘We can do it’ [‘Wir schaffen das‘]. The government must now do everything possible to ensure that people in our country can feel safe again.”

July 25. Frank Henkel, a CDU Senator from Berlin, said:

“No one should delude themselves: We obviously have imported some brutal people who are capable of committing barbaric crimes in our country. We have to say this clearly and without taboos. This also means that we must deal aggressively with Islamism. If we do not, we risk that German politics will be perceived as being detached from reality.”

July 25. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière revealed that German authorities are currently investigating 59 refugees because of the “suspicion that they are involved in terrorist structures.”

July 25. Following a series of Islam-related attacks in a week, the President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, said: “We must know who is in our country.”

July 26. Seehofer, said: “Islamist terrorism has arrived in Germany.”

July 27. Police raided a mosque in Hildesheim. They also searched eight apartments belonging to members of the mosque. Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of Lower Saxony, said: “The mosque in Hildesheim is a national hot-spot for the radical Salafist scene. After months of preparation, with these raids today, we have taken an important step towards banning the group.”

July 27. Police in Ludwigsburg arrested a 15-year-old who they said was planning a mass-shooting similar to the July 22 attack in Munich. During a search of the teenager’s home, police found more than 300 rounds of ammunition, as well as knives, chemicals and bullet-proof vests.

July 28. Speaking at an annual summer press conference in Berlin, Merkel insisted there would be no change to her open-door migration stance: “We decided to fulfill our humanitarian tasks. Refusing humanitarian support would be something I would not want to do and I would not recommend this to Germany…. Anxiety and fear cannot guide our political decisions.” She also said: “Let me be clear, we are at war with Islamic State; we are not at war with Islam.”

July 29. Thomas Jahn, the vice chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), lambasted Merkel’s open-door migration policy: “We need to control our borders. That is the most important thing at the moment. And we need to send the dangerous people with Islamist ideology back to the countries outside Europe and the European Union.”

July 30. CSU politician Jens Spahn said: “My impression is that we all underestimated a year ago what was in store for us with this big refugee and migration movement. Integration is a Herculean task that does not end with a three-week language course.” He also called for a burqa ban: “A ban on the full body veil — that is the niqab and the burka — is overdue… I do not want to have to encounter any burqa in this country. In that sense, I am a burqaphobe.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. His first book, Global Fire, will be out in 2016.