florida » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘florida’
June 24, 2016

Law Enforcement: Standing in the Line of Fire

The recent attack on the les­bian, gay, bisex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) com­mu­nity in Orlando that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded is yet another example of law enforcement standing in the line of fire in the fight against domestic extremism.

From 2009 to the present, at least 64 members of law enforcement have been shot by domestic extremists–including anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, domes­tic Mus­lim extrem­ists and oth­ers. Eighteen of those shootings were fatal. Additional officers might have lost their lives had they not been wearing protective vests or, as in the case of the Orlando attack, a Kevlar helmet.

Since January 2009, ADL has tracked 68 separate incidents (including seven so far this year) in which shots have been fired between domestic extremists and law enforcement in the United States. These inci­dents include sit­u­a­tions in which shots were exchanged between police and extrem­ists (shootouts), sit­u­a­tions in which extrem­ists have fired at police but police sub­dued the extrem­ists with­out hav­ing to return fire, and sit­u­a­tions in which offi­cers had to use their firearms to pro­tect them­selves against extremists.

The motivations that led the extremists to violence during these encounters vary. Many were simply trying to escape after police officers caught them engaged in criminal behavior unrelated to their extremist ideology. For others the encounter with police became the catalyst for violent ideological action. In some cases, violence escalated to a “last stand” situation in which the extremist(s) had to have known their actions would likely result in their own deaths. The most disturbing incidents, however, are those (like the Orlando attack) in which the encounter occurred as police responded to and confronted extremists who were in the midst of a directed and planned attack. TW-TargetsofAttacks

Fifteen (22%) of the 68 extremist encounters with law enforcement were the result of direct attacks by the extremists. In other words, these encounters started purely due to the extremist’s ideology. In six of those cases, the extremist(s) conducted planned attacks on civilians–including the LGBT community in Florida, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, and employees of the Transportation Security Administration at the Los Angeles airport. In seven cases, the initial attack was directed at law enforcement, and resulted in the assassinations of three officers. In January of this year, an additional officer miraculously survived an assassination attempt in Philadelphia. In the remaining two cases, extremists attacked members of the U.S. military.

Since 2009, officers have encountered domestic extremists in 28 different states. Several states have experienced multiple incidents. Texas law enforcement has endured 10 of the 68 encounters (nearly 15%). In four of the Texas cases, the extremist(s) were linked to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas or the Aryan Circle, demonstrating the state’s particular problem with large white supremacist prison gangs. In fact, members of racist prison gangs were involved in three of the seven shooting incidents which have already occurred this year—including encounters in Texas, Alabama and Colorado.

Florida has withstood the second highest number of incidents, reaching eight encounters with the addition of the Orlando attack. Colorado officials have faced five incidents, and suffered through the loss of Colorado Springs Officer Garrett Swasey. Swasey, the most recent law enforcement casualty at the hand of domestic extremists, died in the line of duty during a mass shooting by an anti-abortion extremist in November 2015 at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Unfortunately ideological extremists continue to add to the dangers faced by law enforcement. An untold number of lives were saved due to the efforts of the law enforcement officers who confronted the 76 extremists involved in these 68 incidents. These officers put themselves into dangerous situations in order to protect and serve the communities in which they live.

 

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

May 3, 2016

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.

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

December 18, 2015

ADL Reports at Least 75 Anti-Muslim Incidents In US Since Paris Attacks

Fol­low­ing the shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 22 injured, there has been a continued escalation in hos­til­ity and attacks throughout the U.S. against the Mus­lim com­mu­nity and those perceived as Muslim.

Islamic Center of Alameda's boarded up window, after it was shattered by a brick

Islamic Center of Alameda’s boarded up window, after it was shattered by a brick (CBS)

Since the San Bernardino shooting on December 2, at least 27 anti-Muslim incidents have been reported in the U.S., raising the total number of incidents since the November 13 Paris attacks to at least 75.Between the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shooting, ADL tracked approximately 48 anti-Muslim incidents. These numbers are based on reports ADL has collected from media and other sources.

Incidents such as assaults, vandalism, and threats targeting Muslim individuals and institutions in the U.S. tend to noticeably spike in the aftermath of terrorist attacks linked to Islamic extremists in the U.S or abroad.

Below are selected examples of alleged anti-Muslim incidents in the weeks following the San Bernardino attacks, both criminal and non-criminal:

Assaults

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: Aman holding up a convenience store reportedly called the Sikh manager a “terrorist” and suggested he was a member of ISIS before shooting him in the face. (December 12)
  • Queens, New York: A man beat a Muslim store owner in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. The attacker reportedly stated, “I kill Muslims.” (December 5)

Vandalism

  • Hawthorne, California: “Jesus” graffiti and a fake hand grenade were left at two mosques. (December 12)
  • Alameda, California: A brick was thrown through a mosque’s window, shattering the window. (December 10)
  • Palm Beach, Florida: The Islamic Center of Palm Beach was vandalized, its windows smashed and furniture overturned. (December 3)

Threats and Intimidation

  • Cullman, Alabama: KKK fliers try to recruit Alabamans to stop “the spread of Islam.” (December 10)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A severed pig’s head was thrown at a mosque’s door. (December 7)
  • Vandalia, Ohio: A 7th grader threatened to shoot and kill a 6th grade Muslim schoolmate, reportedly calling him a “terrorist,” a “towel head,” and a “son of ISIS.” (December 7)
  • St. Louis, Missouri: A threatening voicemail was left at the Islamic Center of St. Louis. The message reportedly stated “I was a Marine, I killed a lot of Muslims, watched a lot of you die and burn…You want to kill? Come my way. I will cut your f-cking head off.” (December 5)
  • Fredericksburg, Virginia: In advance of a public hearing about a new mosque, anti-Muslim fliers were posted around town that read “No Jihad in Fredericksburg.” (December 5)

 

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