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May 3, 2016 3

Medina Arrest Highlights Threats of Anti-Semitism in Islamic Extremism

James Medina

James Med­ina

James Gon­zalo Med­ina, a 40-year-old res­i­dent of Hol­ly­wood, Florida, was arrested on May 2, 2016, for allegedly plot­ting to use an explo­sive device in a Florida syn­a­gogue on Passover. Court doc­u­ments indi­cate that he wanted to leave a notice with the bomb attribut­ing the attack to ISIS.

Vio­lent expres­sions of anti-Semitism, includ­ing encour­age­ment of attacks against Jews and Jew­ish or Israeli insti­tu­tions, have been at the core of pro­pa­ganda dis­trib­uted by Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamic extrem­ist ter­ror­ist groups for decades. Last year, the ADL released a report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy,” which describes the way in which ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions rely on depic­tions of a Jew­ish enemy to recruit fol­low­ers, moti­vate adher­ents and draw atten­tion to their cause.

Medina’s plot was never oper­a­tional because he had been work­ing closely with an under­cover infor­mant. ADL joined with the South Florida Mus­lim com­mu­nity in issu­ing a press state­ment con­demn­ing the plot, which is avail­able on the ADL web­site.

How­ever, Med­ina is not the first U.S. res­i­dent appar­ently moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­olo­gies to plot attacks against a syn­a­gogue. Oth­ers included New York res­i­dents Ahmed Fer­hani and Moham­mad Mam­douh, arrested in May 2011 for plot­ting to attack a syn­a­gogue in New York City and four New York res­i­dents who plot­ted to attack syn­a­gogues in the Bronx and to shoot down air­planes at a mil­i­tary base in New­burgh, New York in 2009.

More recently, there have been a num­ber of U.S. res­i­dents inspired by Islamic extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions who con­sid­ered attack­ing Jew­ish or Israeli insti­tu­tions or oth­er­wise indi­cated that anti-Semitism was an impor­tant ele­ment of their ide­ol­ogy. They included:

  • Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, arrested in 2016 for allegedly attempt­ing to bomb a masonic tem­ple in Wis­con­sin, had ini­tially expressed inter­est in trav­el­ing to Israel to kill sol­diers and civil­ians in the West Bank, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. He allegedly changed his plan for logis­ti­cal reasons.
  • Tairod Pugh, arrested for allegedly attempt­ing to join ISIS in 2015, wrote a Face­book post that stated, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves,” and posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our Gd is Lucifer.” He also shared an image on Face­book that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children.
  • Nader Elhuza­yel, arrested in 2015 for allegedly attempt­ing to join ISIS, report­edly expressed excite­ment at the pos­si­bil­ity of ISIS attack­ing Israel. Court doc­u­ments claim that he wrote, “Look­ing for­ward to see some yahoodi (Jew­ish) heads rolling, or dead bod­ies car­ry­ing their own yahoodi heads, and jihadi john (iden­ti­fied as the beheader in sev­eral Screen­shot from Al Shabaab video call­ing for attacks on “Jewish-owned West­field shop­ping cen­ters” 9 ISIS videos) doing this stance on them…” as part of an Inter­net exchange in Decem­ber 2014.
  • Nadir Soofi, one of men who allegedly fired shots at a Gar­land, Texas com­mu­nity cen­ter in 2015, advanced con­spir­acy the­o­ries sug­gest­ing Jew­ish involve­ment in the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks in online forums.
  • Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, arrested in 2015 for allegedly plot­ting to bomb the U.S. capi­tol and shoot gov­ern­ment offi­cials, report­edly expressed a desire to attack the Israeli Embassy in an inter­view con­ducted in prison fol­low­ing his arrest.
  • Shan­non Mau­reen Con­ley, arrested in 2014 for allegedly attempt­ing to join ISIS, threat­ened a church in her home town repot­edly in part because of the church’s sup­port for Israel.
  • Basit Javed Sheikh, arrested for attempt­ing to join Jab­hat al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria) in 2014, advanced a con­spir­acy the­ory on online forums that there was a Jew­ish con­spir­acy to pro­mote mod­er­ate Islam, which he viewed as inau­then­tic, over fun­da­men­tal­ist or extrem­ist views of Islam

The ADL pro­vides secu­rity resources for Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, includ­ing best prac­tices for Jew­ish Insti­tu­tional Secu­rity and a Guide to Detect­ing Sur­veil­lance of Jew­ish Insti­tu­tions. Indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions can con­tact their local ADL offices for more infor­ma­tion and resources, includ­ing requests for secu­rity train­ing or to sign up to receive ADL’s Secu­rity Bul­letins and Alerts.

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June 25, 2013 0

’93 Landmark Plot Foreshowed Domestic Terror Threat

landmark-plot-omar-abdel-rahman

Omar Abdel Rahman

Yes­ter­day marked the 20th anniver­sary of the arrest of eight fol­low­ers of rad­i­cal Egypt­ian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rah­man for con­spir­ing to carry out a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism against New York City land­marks and officials.

The arrests not only fore­shad­owed efforts to attack New York City in the years since 1993 — most hor­rif­i­cally on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 — but also how ter­ror­ists link their oppo­si­tion to Amer­ica with their hatred of Jews and Israel.

The major land­marks that were tar­geted in the 1993 plot included the United Nations Head­quar­ters, the Lin­coln Tun­nel, the Hol­land Tun­nel, the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge and the FBI office. Notably, the plot­ters also dis­cussed attack­ing New York’s dia­mond dis­trict, an area largely pop­u­lated by Jew­ish busi­ness­men, which, accord­ing to one them, would be like “hit­ting Israel itself.”

The arrest came four months after a car bomb­ing at Tower One of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York City killed six peo­ple and wounded more than 1,000 oth­ers. Ramzi Yousef, the mas­ter­mind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jew­ish neigh­bor­hoods in Brook­lyn, but set­tled on the World Trade Cen­ter because “the major­ity of peo­ple who work in the World Trade Cen­ter are Jews,” accord­ing to Abdul Rah­man Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.

In the 20 years since the foiled land­marks plot and first World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ide­olo­gies remain a core fea­ture in the pro­pa­ganda dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, every issue of Al Qaeda’s Inspire mag­a­zine, which has influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Boston Marathon Bombers, has been sat­u­rated with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel nar­ra­tives. The abil­ity for Al Qaeda to dis­sem­i­nate such pro­pa­ganda online and recruit would-be Jihadists around the world was vir­tu­ally unheard on in June 1993.al-qaeda-new-york-threat

But while the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment has sig­nif­i­cantly changed, efforts to attack New York remain unchanged, as do the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel moti­va­tions. Sev­eral post-9/11 plots and con­spir­a­cies tar­get­ing Jews have taken place around the coun­try and in New York in par­tic­u­lar. For example:

  • In May 2011, Ahmed Fer­hani, a legal res­i­dent from Alge­ria, and Moham­mad Mam­douh, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen of Moroc­can decent, were arrested for plot­ting to attack a syn­a­gogue in New York City in order to advance their rad­i­cal ide­o­log­i­cal goals. Dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing, Fer­hani said, “I repeat­edly discussed…my anger towards Jews based on what I believed and per­ceived to be their mis­treat­ment of Mus­lims through­out the world. I intended to cre­ate chaos and send a mes­sage of intim­i­da­tion and coer­cion to the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of New York City, warn­ing them to stop mis­treat­ing Mus­lims.” New York Police Com­mis­sioner Ray­mond Kelly said Fer­hani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a syn­a­gogue more easily.
  • Zarein Ahmedzay, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Afghanistan, admit­ted in fed­eral court that he and two other New York­ers planned to det­o­nate home­made explo­sives on New York City sub­way lines dur­ing the days fol­low­ing the eighth anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11 ter­ror attacks. While enter­ing his guilty plea, Ahmedzay stated that “the real ene­mies of this coun­try are the ones destroy­ing this coun­try from within” and con­demned “a spe­cial group of Zion­ist Jews” who want to “estab­lish a per­ma­nent shadow gov­ern­ment in the United States of America.”
  • A sim­i­lar plot occurred in 2009, when four men, includ­ing three Amer­i­can Mus­lim con­verts, planned to attack syn­a­gogues in the Bronx and a mil­i­tary base in New­burgh, in response to per­ceived Amer­i­can actions against Mus­lims around the world. The men planted what they believed to be bombs in cars out­side of the Riverdale Tem­ple and the nearby Riverdale Jew­ish Cen­ter.  In a con­ver­sa­tion with an under­cover infor­mant, one of the plot­ters, James Cromi­tie, stated his desire to “destroy” the Jews. “The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is bet­ter than 10 bil­lion Yahudi (Jews),” Cromi­tie stated.  “With no hes­i­ta­tion, I will kill 10 Yahudis.”
  • In 2007, Rus­sell Defre­itas, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Guyana, and three other men were arrested for plot­ting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy Inter­na­tional Air­port. The men planned the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplo­matic rela­tion­ship with Israel. Defre­itas later report­edly told an infor­mant that Mus­lims “incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass,” and that he “wanted to do some­thing to get those bas­tards.” Court doc­u­ments have also alleged that Defre­itas had sug­gested tar­get­ing a nearby Jew­ish school or a pre­dom­i­nately Jew­ish neighborhood.
  • In 2004, Amer­i­can cit­i­zen James Elshafay and Sha­hawar Matin Siraj, a Pak­istani who was in the U.S. ille­gally, plot­ted to bomb New York’s Her­ald Square sub­way sta­tion. In con­ver­sa­tions secretly recorded by an under­cover infor­mant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of “Zion­ists” and his sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. The men also watched ter­ror­ist videos at the book­store where Siraj worked, and Siraj gave Elshafay books that claimed the Jews were con­spir­ing to take over the world’s economy.

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