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February 25, 2015 0

ISIS Related Arrests In Brooklyn Raise 2015 Total To 10

Saidakhmetov promoted pro-ISIS sentiment on his apparent Google Plus profile

Saidakhme­tov, one of the men arrested, pro­moted pro-ISIS sen­ti­ment on his appar­ent Google Plus profile

Update — 4/7/2015: A fourth Brook­lyn res­i­dent, Dilkhayot Kasi­mov, was also charged in this case on April 6, 2015.

Yesterday’s arrest of three New York City men under­scores the per­sis­tent influ­ence of ISIS pro­pa­ganda on indi­vid­u­als resid­ing in the U.S. and the related threat to domes­tic security.

Abdura­sul Juraboev, a 24-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, and Akhror Saidakhme­tov, a 19-year-old U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent with Kazakh cit­i­zen­ship, both cur­rently resid­ing in Brook­lyn, allegedly attempted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of domes­tic attacks if they were unable to do so. Abror Habi­bov, a 30-year-old Brook­lyn res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, allegedly pro­vided the two with funds and encouragement.

All three were arrested last night; one at JFK Air­port while attempt­ing to board a flight to Turkey.

Accord­ing to the FBI, the men spent time online either express­ing sup­port for ISIS or watch­ing the ter­ror­ist group’s propaganda.

A Google Plus page that appears to have been cre­ated by Saidakhme­tov includes a video called “Hon­ored Sheikh inside Syria invite[s] Mus­lims to work for Khi­lafah and imple­ment HT’s con­sti­tu­tion.” Khi­lafah is Ara­bic for Caliphate, a ref­er­ence to ISIS. HT stands for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes theo­cratic gov­er­nance. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not allied with ISIS, but the sen­ti­ment con­veyed in the video was sup­port­ive of ISIS’s goals.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Juraboev was also allegedly recruited online by an ISIS sup­porter resid­ing in Iraq, to whom he said “I need to sneak out of here with extreme cau­tion with­out being noticed.”

In August, accord­ing to the com­plaint, Juraboev wrote a post on an Uzbek-language pro-ISIS web­site ask­ing “is it pos­si­ble to com­mit our­selves [to ISIS] as ded­i­cated mar­tyrs any­way while here [in the U.S.]? What I’m say­ing is, to shoot Obama and then get shot our­selves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”

Saidakhme­tov expressed his intent to attack law enforce­ment.  Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, he stated “it is legal in Amer­ica to carry a gun. We will go and pur­chase one handgun…then go and shoot one police offi­cer…. Then we will go to the FBI head­quar­ters, kill the FBI peo­ple…” The men also allegedly dis­cussed plant­ing a bomb on Coney Island.

The arrests in Brook­lyn fol­low the arrest, also yes­ter­day, of Abdi­rah­man Sheik Mohamud a 23-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio. Mohamud is sub­ject to an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and was not linked to any par­tic­u­lar ter­ror­ist group; court doc­u­ments allege he sent funds and trav­elled to a “Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ist group.”

To date, 10 U.S. res­i­dents have been arrested on Islamic extremist-related ter­ror charges in 2015. The oth­ers include Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, a 25-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio, and six indi­vid­u­als of Bosn­ian descent –U.S. cit­i­zens and refugees resid­ing in Mis­souri, Illi­nois and New York – accused of aid­ing ISIS.

Last year, 19 U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing joined or attempt­ing to join or aid ISIS.

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February 17, 2015 1

New ADL Report: Homegrown Islamic Extremism In 2014

homegrown-terrorism-isis-imageThe rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its increas­ingly sophis­ti­cated social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment strate­gies influ­enced a diverse group of peo­ple from around the world, includ­ing from the United States, through­out 2014.

The ADL’s new report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS and Sus­tained Online Rad­i­cal­iza­tion, presents key find­ings and trends that result from ISIS’s increas­ing reach, and its ram­i­fi­ca­tions on domes­tic security.

The report describes how at least 17 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents moti­vated by the ide­ol­ogy prop­a­gated by ISIS and other Islamic ter­ror­ist groups over­seas were charged in 2014 with terror-related offenses.

Three oth­ers were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing died while fight­ing with ter­ror­ist groups abroad and an addi­tional five minors are believed to have attempted to join such groups but were not charged. Of these 25, nearly all engaged to some degree with online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda and 19 are believed to have attempted to join or aid ISIS.

These indi­vid­u­als range in age from 15 to 44, with 11 in their twen­ties and 7 in their teens. At least one quar­ter were con­verts to Islam. 32% were women.

The report also draws on find­ings from pre­vi­ous years, not­ing for exam­ple that res­i­dents from 20 states have been charged in con­nec­tion with Islamic extrem­ism since 2012.

In addi­tion, the report describes the new phe­nom­e­non of crim­i­nal acts that have not been defined by author­i­ties as ter­ror­ism but that have been influ­enced by ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda – includ­ing mur­ders in New Jer­sey and Okla­homa and an attempted mur­der in New York in 2014.

Finally, it ana­lyzes cur­rent ter­ror­ist nar­ra­tives and recruit­ing tech­niques, includ­ing their use of social media to attract increas­ing num­bers of fol­low­ers and the way anti-Semitism is used to moti­vate recruits.

The full report is avail­able on the ADL web­site.

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November 19, 2014 0

Recent Arrest Highlights ISIS Recruitment of Women

The recent arrest of a Vir­ginia woman on charges related to her sup­port for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) high­lights the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of female mem­bers and sup­port­ers of ISIS – a trend linked to ISIS pro­pa­ganda and recruit­ment efforts aimed directly at women.

ADL doc­u­mented eight female U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents who have been sus­pected of involve­ment with ter­ror­ist groups in 2014 (only four were arrested; the oth­ers were minors).  This is a sharp uptick: ADL doc­u­mented only 12 female U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents arrested on ter­ror charges between 2002 and 2013.

Six of the women believed to have engaged in ter­ror­ist activ­ity 2014 are accused of involve­ment with ISIS. Esti­mates indi­cate that about 10% of the group’s West­ern recruits are female.

Heather Eliz­a­beth Coff­man, the most recent woman arrested in con­nec­tion with her sup­port for ISIS, had allegedly main­tained sev­eral Face­book accounts on which she posted pro-ISIS mes­sages and pro­pa­ganda. Coff­man claimed that she could facil­i­tate travel to join ISIS for poten­tial recruits, offer­ing to con­nect them with ter­ror­ists abroad. She denied these activ­i­ties in an inter­view with law enforce­ment and is charged with lying to fed­eral agents about her involve­ment with ISIS.

ISIS mes­sag­ing to women empha­sizes their poten­tial roles as the wives of fight­ers and moth­ers to the next gen­er­a­tion of extrem­ists. The ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion has even estab­lished media wings aimed at women.


Poster announc­ing the cre­ation of Al Zora Foundation

One such media out­let, Al Zora Foun­da­tion, pub­lishes recipes and first aid sug­ges­tions together with posters of women in burkas declar­ing alle­giance to ISIS. A recipe for dates with mil­let, for exam­ple, is pro­vided as a “fast mild appe­tizer eaten with cof­fee that pro­vides food for the muha­jideen (fighters)…they are high in calo­ries and pro­vide the Mujahideen energy and strength.”

Al Zora has also pro­vided advice to women seek­ing to travel to join ISIS. “How many female Mus­lims are dis­tin­guished from all female Mus­lims where her concern…and her life aspi­ra­tion is the explo­sive belt?” asks one memo, fol­lowed by advice for these women to learn first aid, sewing, and cook­ing, and to par­tic­i­pate in exer­cise and weapons train­ing, as well as extra prayers and sup­pli­ca­tions that they can use to aid the fight­ers and teach other women upon their arrival in Syria. “Imag­ine with me, oh sis­ter,” it states in the sec­tion on sewing, “if a muja­heed, a brother to you in Allah, is mar­tyred and his jihadi clothes that he wore and in which he walked, trained, waged jihad, and afflicted the enemy of Allah, were made by your hands.”


A Khansa media poster announc­ing a new series of posters for female ISIS supporters

Another media out­let, Khansa Media, releases posters and ban­ners with ISIS pro­pa­ganda state­ments set along­side flow­ers and pink back­grounds. It has recently intro­duced a series of posters pro­claim­ing the “virtues of women.” A video announc­ing the relaunch of Khansa media this Sep­tem­ber stated, “We send our mes­sage to [Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter] al-Maliki and his army that we are ready for him, and we will remain as assets and sup­port for our hus­bands and our chil­dren,” fol­lowed by clips depict­ing women train­ing with weapons.

Both Khansa media and Al Zora also reg­u­larly repost and retweet pro­pa­ganda from ISIS’s pri­mary media out­lets. Some­times they also add their logos to the cor­ners of posters prais­ing dead fight­ers and the glo­ries of battle.

Mul­ti­ple female sup­port­ers of ISIS also engage with the group’s con­tent on social media, includ­ing Face­book, Twit­ter, and Ask.FM. These sup­port­ers post typ­i­cal ISIS pro­pa­ganda about fight­ing and behead­ings along­side state­ments about mod­esty and extrem­ist Islam. They empha­size their chil­dren (often their Twit­ter han­dles begin with the word “umm” which means ‘mother of’ fol­lowed by a child’s name) and every­day life, while pro­vid­ing tips to poten­tial recruits and actively encour­ag­ing oth­ers to travel to Syria and Iraq to join the ter­ror­ist group.

Women engag­ing with ter­ror­ist groups is not a new phe­nom­e­non, nor is it ISIS spe­cific. Two of the women arrested in 2014 who were not involved with ISIS are accused of sup­port­ing Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affil­i­ate. In pre­vi­ous years, women have been arrested for causes as diverse as attempt­ing to estab­lish a ter­ror cell abroad to send­ing funds and aid to var­i­ous ter­ror groups to attempt­ing to kill U.S. per­son­nel abroad.

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