Official Blogs from the Anti-Defamation League » ADL Blogs
providing inside access to our work on topics ranging from anti-Semitism and extremism to anti-Israel activity and much more
November 18, 2015 0

Anti-Refugee Sentiment Reaches New High After Paris Attacks

Since the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris on Novem­ber 13, the coun­try has wit­nessed anti-refugee sen­ti­ment com­ing from var­i­ous cor­ners, includ­ing state gov­ern­ments and the anti-immigrant move­ment. Over 30 gov­er­nors across the coun­try have said they will not accept Syr­ian refugees and have asked Pres­i­dent Obama to halt or sus­pend the country’s refugee program.

Many of the gov­er­nors appealed to fear in the wake of the ter­ror­ist attacks, assert­ing that they could not pro­tect the res­i­dents of their states from poten­tial ter­ror­ists. Later, some Con­gres­sional lead­ers also drove home this fear by advo­cat­ing for the sus­pen­sion of the U.S. government’s refugee program.

Ann Corcoran

Ann Cor­co­ran

The notion that ter­ror­ists can enter the United States through U.S. refugee pro­grams is not new. In Octo­ber of this year, a num­ber of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates said they would not allow Syr­ian refugees into the coun­try and would send back those who have been allowed to set­tle in the U.S.

But the events in Paris have ratch­eted up the anti-refugee rhetoric, equat­ing refugees with ter­ror­ists and ques­tion­ing their abil­ity to assim­i­late into “West­ern cul­ture.” Anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tions such as the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS) and Num­ber­sUSA have all released arti­cles or state­ments declar­ing that the U.S. gov­ern­ment should sus­pend its refugee program.

Dan Stein, the pres­i­dent of FAIR, wrote a col­umn on Novem­ber 16 extolling the pro­gram estab­lished by the Eisen­hower admin­is­tra­tion in the 1950s to deport thou­sands of Mex­i­can immi­grants. After talk­ing about the alleged mer­its of the pro­gram, Stein turned his atten­tion to Mus­lim immi­grants in the wake of the Paris attacks. He wrote, “A dulling ortho­doxy within cer­tain Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties has degen­er­ated [sic] a fanat­i­cal strain that promises an epi­curean par­adise for mass mur­der on earth.”

In a col­umn for National Review, Mark Kriko­rian, head of CIS wrote, “Relo­cat­ing refugees from the Mid­dle East to the U.S. is morally wrong.” He goes on to say that the U.S. should assist refugees by car­ing for them in their “native region”—despite the ter­ror and war that refugees are expe­ri­enc­ing. Num­ber­sUSA released a sim­i­lar state­ments say­ing that the U.S. should help refugees in their home region rather than allow­ing them to come to the U.S.

Ann Cor­co­ran, who runs Refugee Reset­tle­ment Watch, writes daily about the alleged dan­gers of let­ting refugees into this coun­try by appeal­ing to anti-Muslim sen­ti­ment. On Novem­ber 17, she wrote, “All the vet­ting in the world isn’t going to save us from the tod­dlers com­ing in with Mom and Dad from Africa and the Mid­dle East who thumb their noses at the ‘good life’ and become rad­i­cal­ized 20 years down the road.  The only true solu­tion is a com­plete mora­to­rium on Mus­lim immigration.”

The fear-mongering appears to be hav­ing an influ­ence. The media reported on Novem­ber 18 that two refugee fam­i­lies from Syria that had been approved and sched­uled to arrive in Indi­anapo­lis have been told that they are no longer wel­come in the state.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

November 17, 2015 1

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Crop Up In Wake Of Paris Attacks

In the after­math of the wave of coor­di­nated ter­ror attacks across Paris, con­spir­acy the­o­ries link­ing Jews or Israel with the attacks have begun to sur­face in the U.S and abroad.


Tweet from Iran­ian news chan­nel Al-Alam

Sup­posed links between Israel and the Paris attacks have been dis­cussed in inter­na­tional media outlets:

  • Iran’s Fars News Agency (FNA) pub­lished a report on Novem­ber 16 that read in part: “After the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris, it was once again con­firmed that French Jews were informed that the tragedy would hap­pen. Just as it hap­pened in the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks 14 years ago, when Jews work­ing in the Twin Tow­ers did not attend to work.” The report added that “Zion­ist offi­cials wanted to exploit [the attacks] to achieve their spe­cific goals.” The report listed sev­eral con­spir­a­to­r­ial the­o­ries about Jew­ish respon­si­bil­ity for the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks.
  • On Novem­ber 14, Egypt-based Al-Asima TV inter­viewed Colonel Hatem Saber as an expert on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism to com­ment on the Paris attacks. Saber sug­gested that Israel stands behind the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris because France agreed to pro­vide Egypt with arms, which was con­sid­ered threat­en­ing to Israel.
  • A car­toon tweeted by the Iran­ian news chan­nel Al-Alam on Novem­ber 17, shows Israeli PM Netanyahu putting an explo­sive vest on an ISIS ter­ror­ist in the back­drop of the Eif­fel Tower.


    Tweet from Qatari news­pa­per Al-Arab

  • A car­toon depict­ing Israel as the dri­ving force behind the attack was pub­lished in Qatar’s Al-Arab news­pa­per on Novem­ber 17 and cir­cu­lated on Twit­ter. It shows Israel as the ulti­mate oper­a­tor of the small fig­ure in the pic­ture, which rep­re­sents terror.

These the­o­ries about the Paris attacks are sim­i­lar to past con­spir­a­cies that have been cir­cu­lated in the Mid­dle East about Israel being behind ISIS.

In the U.S., fringe anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rists, who rarely miss an oppor­tu­nity to exploit tragedies to pro­mote their hatred of Jews, blamed Jews or Israel for the attacks, much as they did after the Jan­u­ary ter­ror attacks in Paris.

  • Mark Glenn, a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist, posted an image on his blog The Ugly Truth on Novem­ber 15 of a dog think­ing “All the ISIS guys smell like Mossad” in a post titled “France should have beefed up anti-terror laws.”  In a Novem­ber 16 post on the attacks, Glenn wrote “Until peo­ple begin to grasp this sim­ple fact, that there is no such thing as a ‘good Jew’, and that Judaism–AT ITS CORE AND FROM THE MOMENT OF ITS INCEPTION–is and has been the embod­i­ment of religiously-induced men­tal ill­ness, the world will con­tinue to march at break-neck speed towards its own destruc­tion, the peo­ple of the Mid­dle East being its first vic­tims, and then every­one else, one by one, tak­ing their turn as well.”
  • On Novem­ber 16 in Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news, a Pak­istani con­trib­u­tor named Saj­jad Shuakat wrote in an arti­cle titled “Is Israel Behind Paris Attacks?” that “…we are liv­ing in a world of Zionist-controlled media which is very strong and what­ever it release [sic] by con­ceal­ing truth and prop­a­gat­ing Israeli inter­ests as part of the dis­in­for­ma­tion, impress the politi­cians and gen­eral masses in the whole world.”


    Retweet from anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson

  • Kevin Bar­rett, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work, Press TV, wrote a Novem­ber 13 arti­cle in Vet­er­ans Today titled “Another French False Flag?” In the arti­cle Bar­rett states that “Since we now know the Char­lie Hebdo attack was a…false flag by the usual sus­pects (NATO hard­lin­ers and Zion­ists), can we safely make the same assump­tion about these new Fri­day the 13th Paris atroc­i­ties? I think we can.” Bar­rett added “The first ques­tion, as always, is: Who gains? And the answer, as always, is: Author­i­tar­ian insid­ers. Zion­ists. Mil­i­tarists. Islam­o­phobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”
mary-hughes-thompson tweet

Tweet from anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson

At least one anti-Israel activist also linked Jews and Israel to the attacks:

  • On Novem­ber 14, Anti-Israel activist Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza Move­ment, tweeted that “I haven’t accused Israel of involve­ment. Still, Bibi [Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu] is upset about the Euro­pean set­tle­ment boy­cott. So who knows.” She also posted a car­toon on her Twit­ter page depict­ing an anti-Semitic car­i­ca­ture of a Jew­ish man say­ing “Merci [Thank you]” to an ISIS fighter, with the com­ment that “Every­thing is work­ing out as planned. Soon those White goyim will be on their knees.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 17, 2015 3

The Terror Threat to the US in the Wake of the Paris Attacks

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, believed to have been the mastermind of the Paris attacks

Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, a Bel­gian man believed to have been the ring­leader in the Paris attacks

Fol­low­ing the Novem­ber 13 ter­ror attacks in Paris, cities around the world have ramped up secu­rity. While the type of coor­di­nated attacks that have been car­ried out in France can occur in the U.S., an analy­sis of domes­tic Islamic extrem­ist activ­ity and plots in 2015 indi­cates that the U.S. faces a dif­fer­ent threat land­scape than many Euro­pean countries.

Inves­ti­ga­tors still do not have pro­files of all of the indi­vid­u­als alleged to have taken part in the attacks on Paris. How­ever, cer­tain fea­tures of the attack are already apparent.

1. Exter­nal coor­di­na­tion by for­eign ter­ror­ist organizations

The Paris attack is the sec­ond attack in France this year that appears to have been planned, at least in part, by for­eign ter­ror­ist organizations.

By con­trast, only one of the 15 domes­tic attack plots in the U.S. moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy this year appeared to have had pos­si­ble exter­nal coor­di­na­tion: Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud, arrested in Feb­ru­ary, had allegedly been plot­ting an attack with some direc­tion from ter­ror­ists in Syria, although the extent of that direc­tion was unclear.

A sec­ond plot, the shoot­ing of a Draw Mohammed con­test at a Gar­land, Texas com­mu­nity cen­ter, was influ­enced by con­ver­sa­tion with ISIS sup­port­ers online, includ­ing some who are believed to be fight­ing abroad. How­ever, it seems that those online sup­port­ers incited activ­ity against the con­test but did not coor­di­nate the plot with the alleged shooters.

2.  For­eign fighter threat

The attack in Paris was allegedly planned in large part by a Bel­gian cit­i­zen who had spent time fight­ing with ISIS in Syria before return­ing to Europe.

Only one indi­vid­ual in the U.S., Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud, attempted to plot an attack after allegedly fight­ing with extrem­ists in Syria this year. Inter­est­ingly, Mohamud had allegedly fought with Jab­hat al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Syria, and not with ISIS; how­ever, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that he was also sym­pa­thetic to ISIS.

The U.S. also has far fewer indi­vid­u­als who have trav­eled abroad to join ISIS than France or Bel­gium. At least 100 Amer­i­cans are believed to have joined ISIS – approx­i­mately 1 per­son per mil­lion in the U.S. – com­pared with between 1,000 and 1,200, or 18 peo­ple per mil­lion in France and approx­i­mately 440 indi­vid­u­als, or 40 peo­ple per mil­lion, in Bel­gium. As such, the risk of return­ing for­eign fight­ers attempt­ing to per­pe­trate attacks in the U.S. is sta­tis­ti­cally lower than in France or Belgium.

At least 4 indi­vid­u­als believed to have been plan­ning domes­tic plots in 2015 allegedly con­ceived of their plots after find­ing them­selves unable to travel to join ISIS. At least 3 indi­vid­u­als allegedly planned to travel to join ISIS after per­pe­trat­ing an attack.

In total, 29 U.S. res­i­dents arrested in 2015 allegedly attempted to join ISIS.

3. Plot size

At least ten indi­vid­u­als are believed to have taken part in the attacks in Paris.

By con­trast, the major­ity of attack plots in the U.S. this year have been in small groups. Eight plots were allegedly planned by indi­vid­u­als (but not lone wolves, as they were often coor­di­nat­ing with infor­mants or con­tacts on the inter­net); five were planned by two peo­ple work­ing together; two were planned by groups of three. One plot involved a ring of five ISIS sup­port­ers, but only two of the five appear to have been actively engaged in the plot, while the oth­ers were pri­mar­ily plan­ning to travel abroad to join the ter­ror­ist organization.

Again, none of this data should be inter­preted to mean that a large-scale, exter­nally directed plot in the U.S. can­not occur; the 9/11 attacks proved that the U.S. is vul­ner­a­ble to such attacks. How­ever, it does indi­cate that the threat fac­ing the U.S. remains dif­fer­ent than the threat fac­ing Euro­pean countries.

The fol­low­ing is a list of domes­tic attack plots against the U.S. in 2015:

  • Joshua Ryne Gold­berg of Florida was arrested in Sep­tem­ber for allegedly send­ing bomb-making instruc­tions to and devel­op­ing a plot with an under­cover source. The plot involved build­ing a pres­sure cooker bomb and det­o­nat­ing it at a 9/11 memo­r­ial in Kansas City, MO. Fol­low­ing his arrest, Gold­berg claimed he had planned to alert law enforce­ment prior to the bomb’s detonation.
  • Harlem Suarez of Florida was arrested in July for allegedly plot­ting to det­o­nate a bomb at a Florida beach. He also dis­cussed attack­ing law enforce­ment officers.
  • Moham­mad Yousef Abdu­lazeez of Ten­nessee was killed after he opened fire at two mil­i­tary facil­i­ties in Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee in July. The attack resulted in five deaths, in addi­tion to Abdulazeez’s death. Abdu­lazeez was report­edly inspired by Al Qaeda propaganda.
  • Alexan­der Cic­colo of Mass­a­chu­setts was arrested in July as a felon in pos­ses­sion of a weapon. Cic­colo allegedly planned to attack a state university.
  • Justin Nojan Sul­li­van of North Car­olina was arrested in June for allegedly plot­ting an attack that included shoot­ings in pub­lic venues and a bomb plot that involved bio­log­i­cal weapons.
  • Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni of New York were arrested in June after each attempted to attack law enforce­ment offi­cials in sep­a­rate instances. The two had allegedly planned to under­take an attack on a New York City land­mark. Saleh and Mumuni were part of a con­spir­acy that also involved at least three other peo­ple, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, Alaa Saadeh and Saadeh’s brother, but these three were appar­ently more focused on trav­el­ing to join ISIS and the degree of their involve­ment in the plot is unclear.
  • Usaama Rahim of Mass­a­chu­setts was killed when he drew a knife after being approached for ques­tion­ing by law enforce­ment offi­cers. He had allegedly plot­ted with David Wright of Mass­a­chu­setts and Nicholas Rovin­ski of Rhode Island to behead Pamela Geller (head of the anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion Stop Islam­i­ciza­tion of Amer­ica) on behalf of ISIS; the plot later shifted to attempt­ing to behead a police officer.
  • Elton Simp­son and Nadir Soofi of Ari­zona were shot and killed when they attempted to under­take a shoot­ing at a Gar­land, Texas com­mu­nity cen­ter. They were allegedly assisted by co-conspirator Decarus Thomas of Ari­zona, who was arrested in June.
  • Miguel Moran Diaz of Florida was arrested in April on charges that he was a felon in pos­ses­sion of a firearm. Reports indi­cated that he planned to tar­get Miami residents.
  • John T. Booker and Alexan­der Blair of Kansas were arrested in April for allegedly attempt­ing to under­take a sui­cide attack at the Ft. Riley mil­i­tary base.
  • Noelle Velentzas and Asia Sid­diqui of New York were arrested in April for allegedly pur­chas­ing bomb-making equip­ment with plans for an attack.
  • Hasan and Jonas Edmonds of Illi­nois were arrested in March and charged with attempt­ing to join ISIS and plot­ting an attack against a mil­i­tary base.
  • An unnamed minor from South Car­olina was arrested in Feb­ru­ary and accused of for­mu­lat­ing a plot to attack a North Car­olina mil­i­tary base and then travel abroad to join ISIS.
  • Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov of New York were arrested in Feb­ru­ary and charged with mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror. Court doc­u­ments state they were attempt­ing to join ISIS and dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of a domes­tic attack.
  • Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud of Ohio was arrested in Feb­ru­ary and charged in April with join­ing Jab­hat al Nusra. He allegedly returned to the U.S. with the inten­tion of per­pe­trat­ing an attack against a mil­i­tary base in Texas. Court doc­u­ments indi­cate that Mohamud sup­ported both ISIS and Jab­hat al Nusra, although he had fought with Jab­hat al Nusra.
  • Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell of Ohio was arrested in Jan­u­ary for his alleged plot to attack the U.S. Capi­tol after fail­ing to con­nect with ISIS mem­bers abroad.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,