2013 July » ADL Blogs
July 31, 2013

Pittsburgh Man Drawn To Syrian Front Underscores Emerging Trend

amiir-farouk ibrahim-passport-syria

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim’s passport

An Egyptian-American man born in Pittsburgh is reportedly the latest American to join the conflict in Syria on the side of rebels fight­ing against the Assad regime.

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim may also be the latest American casualty.

Ibrahim’s American and Egyptian passports were discovered earlier this month after Kurdish fighters overran a compound once held by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization composed of several Sunni insurgency groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

If dead, Ibrahim would be the second American known to have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Mans­field, a con­vert to Islam from Michi­gan, was killed in Syria in May 2013.

Ibrahim’s family reportedly indicated that he traveled to Turkey before crossing into Syria earlier this year. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University in 2008.

Ibrahim’s Facebook page contained numerous posts suggesting that he subscribed to a radical interpretation of Islam consistent with Al Qaeda’s ideology. For example:

  • February 1: Ibrahim posted an image calling for a boycott of French products because of the French military campaign against Al Qaeda in Mali.
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted several photos of a house on an island with the caption, “So you can imagine how paradise would look like.” He posted a comment on one of the photos asking God to make him “one of the people of Paradise.”
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted a photo for Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch–Moroccan convicted of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The comment on the post reads in part, “The lion Mohammed Bouyeri (May God release him from his prison) did an operation that will be recorded with gold in the history of Islam.”
  • December 2, 2012:  Ibrahim posted a YouTube video that features the popular jihadi song “Madin Kas-Sayf” [Sharp like the Sword].
  • October 18, 2012: Ibrahim posted a comment calling upon Muslims to embrace Jihad and support the Sunni Muslims in Syria against the Shia’a.

As ADL reported in June, there have been three other pub­licly dis­closed cases of Amer­i­cans involved in fight­ing with rebels. Each has been linked to Jab­hat al-Nusrah (JN), a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is unknown how many Amer­i­cans have entered the con­flict on the side of rebel fac­tions unaf­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

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July 31, 2013

Remembering the Hate Crime Victims at Oak Creek – And Acting

Update – August 5, 2013: ADL has joined a coalition of groups urging the White House to also take steps to address religious-based violence and discrimination.

On August 5, 2012, six Sikh worshippers were killed, and four others wounded, by a white supremacist skinhead at their Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  The shooter then turned his gun on himself.  Less than a week after the tragedy, US Attorney General Eric Holder. Jr.  participated in a memorial service for the victims, stating that the crime was “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”  sikh-temple-shooting-oak-creek-anniversary

Now, one year later, we observe the anniversary of this tragedy, honoring the memory of the victims by elevating the fight against discrimination and hate crimes – and by working to ensure that all places of worship will be safe.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, our nation has experienced a disturbing number of backlash attacks against Muslim, Sikhs, Arabs, and South Asians.  In fact, the first bias-motivated murder after 9/11 was Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona. 

After the Oak Creek Gurdwara murders, ADL Chicago/Upper Midwest Regional Office Director Lonnie Nasatir participated in a program in Oak Creek with the US Attorney and FBI officials to show support for the community and ADL professionals across the country reached out to Sikh organizations to provide resources on how to keep their community institutions safe.

ADL has been the national leader in promoting improved hate crime data collection by law enforcement authorities.  Since 2008, the League has supported requiring the FBI to collect and report specific data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus.  

The murders at Oak Creek provided additional impetus to make this change.  And the issue was examined and promoted in September 19 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearings on “Hate Crime and the Threat of Domestic Extremism,” to which the League submitted comprehensive testimony. 

Working with Congressional champions, like Rep. Joseph Crowley, the League helped to coordinate a coalition effort to urge the FBI to include these new hate crime data categories as part of the Bureau’s annual hate crime report prepared under the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act.   In May, an FBI Advisory Policy Board recommended that the Bureau take this action.  

As we commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy at Oak Creek, we can take some solace in knowing that our communities have done something positive to address that horrific incident.  Collecting specific data on hate crimes directed against individuals will increase public awareness, encourage victims to report these crimes, and expand existing engagement and relationships between law enforcement authorities and these communities. ADL has joined a coalition of groups urging the White House to also take steps to address religious-based violence and discrimination. 

Our attention now turns to working with the FBI and local law enforcement officials to provide training and education on these crimes.

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July 29, 2013

Bradley Smith Targets Holocaust Education At Georgetown

Holocaust denier Bradley Smith, founder of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), has reached out to Georgetown University to “inform” them that the university’s Jan Karski Institute for Holocaust Education is promoting Holocaust myths for financial gain.

In a letter to Georgetown’s president, Smith claims that the Institute for Holocaust Education is merely the money-making ploy that celebrates the “bloody vengeance wreaked on Germans and Germany for lo, these 68 years so far, with no end to the gore-worshipping festivities yet in sight.”

Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith

He claims to be sending the same information to “hundreds” of student organizations and “other campuses and venues.”

In an interview on the anti-Semitic online radio program “Saturday Afternoon with Carolyn Yeager” on The White Network, Smith claimed that he is targeting Georgetown because the academics there “are overwhelmingly Gentile and Christian and we are trying to find out if any of them have the simple decency…to take into consideration the material that we will give them.”  The White Network describes itself as “Whites talking to Whites about White interests.”

Smith explained his strategy to Yeager, a fellow anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, saying that American universities, as well as the American government and media outlets, have been “totally taken over” by Jews and the Jewish lobby. However, this supposed Jewish control is partially the fault of Gentiles who “are willing to go against the truth to please the Jews.”

When asked if he believes the Holocaust is promoted through a Jewish conspiracy, Smith replied that it’s “not a conspiracy. It’s a project. It’s wide open.”

Bradley Smith is most notorious for placing ads in college newspapers encouraging students and professors to question the Holocaust. In addition to espousing Holocaust denial through CODOH, Smith also started a website with Yeager. She currently runs a site called “Elie Wiesel Cons the World,” which asserts that it is “dedicated to exposing the false Testimony of the world’s most famous Holocaust survivor.”

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