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February 2, 2016 0

Law Enforcement: A New Target for Domestic Islamic Extremists

2015 saw an unprece­dented num­ber of attacks on law enforce­ment offi­cials by U.S. res­i­dents moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­olo­gies. A shoot­ing of a Philadel­phia police offi­cer in Jan­u­ary 2016 indi­cates that the threat against law enforce­ment will con­tinue into the com­ing year.

There have been eight doc­u­mented instances of vio­lence attempted or plot­ted against law enforce­ment by indi­vid­u­als moti­vated at least in part by Islamic extrem­ism since 2014:

Edward Archer of Pennsylvania shot a police officer

Edward Archer

  • Jan­u­ary 2016: Edward Archer of Penn­syl­va­nia allegedly fired 13 bul­lets at a Philadel­phia police offi­cer Jesse Hart­nett. Hart­nett suf­fered wounds to his arm. Archer claimed that he had acted on behalf of ISIS.
  • July 2015: Harlem Suarez of Florida was arrested for allegedly plot­ting to bomb a Florida beach. Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Suarez had also dis­cussed plac­ing bombs out­side the houses and vehi­cles of law enforce­ment officers.
  • June 2015: Usaama Rahim and David Wright of Mass­a­chu­setts and Nicholas Rovin­ski of Rhode Island allegedly plot­ted to behead Boston-area police offi­cers. Rahim also allegedly drew a knife when approached by a law enforce­ment offi­cer for questioning.
  • June 2015: Munther Omar Saleh of New York drew a knife and attacked a law enforce­ment offi­cer who had been sur­veilling him. Saleh acted together with an unnamed  minor who had been with him at the time. He is sep­a­rately charged with plot­ting a domes­tic attack.

    Fareed Mumuni of New York

    Fareed Mumuni

  • June 2015: Fareed Mumuni of New York attacked law enforce­ment offi­cers who had come to his res­i­dence with a knife. Mumuni is also charged with plot­ting a domes­tic attack together with Saleh and other co-conspirators.
  • April 2015: Noelle Velentzas and Asia Sid­diqui of New York were arrested for allegedly plot­ting a domes­tic attack. Although the tar­get had not been dis­closed, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that the two had indi­cated they wanted to attack a gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary or law enforce­ment target.
  • Feb­ru­ary 2015: Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov of New York were charged with mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror for allegedly attempt­ing to travel to join ISIS. Court doc­u­ments indi­cated that the two had also dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a domes­tic attack that involved killing law enforce­ment offi­cers, tak­ing their weapons, and then mount­ing an attack on the FBI headquarters.
  • Octo­ber 2014: Zale Thomp­son of New York attacked law enforce­ment offi­cers with a hatchet. Thompson’s motive remains unclear and he demon­strated inter­est in a vari­ety of extrem­ist ide­olo­gies; how­ever, his online record indi­cated he had most recently engaged with Islamic extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda and ide­ol­ogy prior to the attack.

In addi­tion, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that Alexan­der Cic­colo, a Mass­a­chu­setts res­i­dent arrested in July, had planned to attack law enforce­ment, mil­i­tary and civil­ians before allegedly decid­ing to attack a uni­ver­sity instead.

The upsurge in attacks against law enforce­ment may be moti­vated in part by pro­pa­ganda by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has called directly for such attacks. A Sep­tem­ber 2014 speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Moham­mad Al Adnani, for exam­ple, stated, “Strike their police, secu­rity and intel­li­gence mem­bers….” ISIS pro­pa­ganda has also called for smaller scale ter­ror­ist attacks than those Al Qaeda adher­ents had been known to plot. A Jan­u­ary 2015 speech by Al Adnani, for exam­ple, called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.” The attacks against law enforce­ment have pri­mar­ily been attempted with small arms.

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January 11, 2016 0

Fighting Anti-Semitism, Fighting for France

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

Roger Cukier­man
Pres­i­dent of CRIF, the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil of Jew­ish Insti­tu­tions in France

This blog orig­i­nally appeared in The Huff­in­g­ton Post

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One year ago this week, an ISIS-affiliated Islamic extrem­ist mur­dered four Jews at the Hyper Cacher kosher super­mar­ket in Paris. That attack fol­lowed the shoot­ings of the Char­lie Hebdo jour­nal­ists and police offi­cers just two days ear­lier, a heinous act also com­mit­ted by ISIS trained terrorists.

In 2012, a ter­ror­ist, who claimed affil­i­a­tion with al-Qaeda, killed three sol­diers in Mon­tauban and days later mur­dered a rabbi and three chil­dren at a Jew­ish school in Toulouse. Accord­ing to leaked doc­u­ments in the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of the mas­sive Novem­ber 13 attacks in Paris, Jew­ish tar­gets also were con­sid­ered by the ISIS-affiliated terrorists.

Anti-Semitism is a core tenet of Islamic extrem­ism, so it should not come as a sur­prise that French Jews are attacked in tan­dem with rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sym­bols of the French Repub­lic: sol­diers, police, and those exer­cis­ing free­dom of the press. For too many years, though, the wave of anti-Semitism that began in 2000 was con­sid­ered by French pub­lic opin­ion and French author­i­ties as sim­ply the import of the Arab-Israeli con­flict and thus not the respon­si­bil­ity of France.

The Hyper Cacher mur­ders marked a turn­ing point toward an under­stand­ing that the French Jew­ish com­mu­nity and the French Repub­lic share more than com­mon ene­mies. They share a com­mon destiny.

In a major speech to the French par­lia­ment just days after the attack, Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls admit­ted that French soci­ety had let down its Jew­ish com­pa­tri­ots by not react­ing suf­fi­ciently. He vowed to imple­ment a multi-pronged strat­egy against anti-Semitism and against rad­i­cal­iza­tion in the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. That work is underway.

French author­i­ties waged a sim­i­lar bat­tle against rad­i­cal­iza­tion and anti-Semitism a cen­tury ago among mostly rural Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties. Pub­lic poli­cies were imple­mented to empha­size crit­i­cal think­ing and sec­u­lar­ism in edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions. Those efforts should be rein­forced to address Islamic extrem­ism in schools today.

In 2015, almost 1,000 stu­dents were iden­ti­fied by their teach­ers as at risk of rad­i­cal­iza­tion. In some schools in France — for­tu­nately a minor­ity of them — the anti-Semitism of the past 15 years pre­saged a rise of other illib­eral ten­den­cies: homo­pho­bia, sex­ism, con­spir­acy the­o­ries, and hatred of the French Republic.

Increas­ing Islamic extrem­ism has con­tributed to the polit­i­cal gains of the far right, which also has a long his­tory of anti-Semitism. The mutual rein­force­ment of these move­ments — with the far right con­tribut­ing to rad­i­cal­iza­tion among French Mus­lims — is not good for the Jews nor does it augur well for demo­c­ra­tic values.

Today the sit­u­a­tion in France is grave and very dif­fer­ent from the con­di­tions famil­iar to Jews liv­ing in the U.S. Com­par­ing eight years of ADL’s records for anti-Semitic assaults in the U.S. and data from SPCJ, the French Jew­ish secu­rity agency, we see that French Jews are nearly 40 times more at risk of being attacked than Amer­i­can Jews (after adjust­ing for the size of the two com­mu­ni­ties). While it is ille­gal in France to keep sta­tis­tics based on eth­nic­ity or reli­gion, strong anec­do­tal evi­dence sug­gests that the over­whelm­ing major­ity of the assailants are young men of North African descent.

Accord­ing to a 2013 sur­vey of Euro­pean Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties by the Euro­pean Union, sixty per­cent of French Jews feared being the vic­tim of an anti-Semitic assault. Half of French Jews always or usu­ally avoid wear­ing any­thing that will iden­tify them as Jew­ish. Fear­ing for their phys­i­cal safety, a grow­ing num­ber of French Jews sim­ply have left their native coun­try. The num­ber of French Jews who moved to Israel dou­bled in 2014 from the prior year to more than 7,000, and reached almost 8,000 in 2015. While no hard sta­tis­tics are avail­able, Jews also emi­grated in large num­bers to the UK, the US, and Canada. More­over, most of these are core mem­bers of the com­mu­nity: fam­i­lies with chil­dren, iden­ti­fied Jews com­mit­ted to their faith, peo­ple who feel that they have been forced to choose between their beliefs and their safety.

If the major­ity of French Jews lose con­fi­dence that their sit­u­a­tion will improve, those num­bers will con­tinue to grow, leav­ing Europe’s largest Jew­ish com­mu­nity much dimin­ished and on the brink of collapse.

Our analy­sis and other polls have shown the French Mus­lim com­mu­nity to be one of the most mod­er­ate Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties in Europe, but the ter­ror­ists who emerged from it have already deeply affected the Jew­ish com­mu­nity. Will Islamic extrem­ists, with their intrin­sic anti-Semitism, rad­i­cal­ize enough French Mus­lims to cause half a mil­lion French Jews to flee? Or, will the endur­ing French val­ues of equal­ity and fra­ter­nity pre­vail among the French Mus­lim com­mu­nity of eight mil­lion as an anti­dote to rad­i­cal­ism? Indeed, let us not for­get, it was a young Mus­lim employee, Las­sana Bathily, who saved six Jews at the Hyper Cacher mar­ket by hid­ing them in a walk-in freezer, an act which could have cost him his life

We all have roles to play. The gov­ern­ment must ensure secu­rity for all French cit­i­zens, allow Jews to live openly as Jews, edu­cate the pub­lic against anti-Semitism, and com­bat rad­i­cal­iza­tion through a vari­ety of means includ­ing bet­ter inte­gra­tion of French Mus­lims into French soci­ety. French Mus­lim lead­ers must encour­age their com­mu­ni­ties to assist the author­i­ties to iden­tify those at risk of rad­i­cal­iza­tion or already rad­i­cal­ized. Polit­i­cal par­ties com­mit­ted to the val­ues of the French Repub­lic must pre­vail over par­ties who oppose those core ideas. Jew­ish lead­ers in France and around the world must con­tinue to raise the alarm and make clear what is at stake: as goes the fight against anti-Semitism, so goes the French Republic.

In the words of Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande, “it is not the Jews who should be leav­ing France, but the anti-Semites,” and of Prime Min­is­ter Valls: because if French Jews leave, “France will no longer be France.”

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January 8, 2016 0

No Sign of Slowdown for Islamic Extremism Arrests in the U.S. in 2016

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Janab, arrested January 6

Aws Mohammed You­nis Al-Janab, arrested Jan­u­ary 6

Two U.S. res­i­dents were arrested on Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror charges in the first week of 2016 and a third allegedly com­mit­ted a shoot­ing on Jan­u­ary 7 on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Fol­low­ing record-breaking num­bers of ter­ror related arrests in 2015, these new arrests por­tend sim­i­larly high lev­els of Amer­i­cans engag­ing in plots and other activ­ity moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy in the com­ing year.

Aws Mohammed You­nis Al-Janab, a res­i­dent of Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on Jan­u­ary 6, 2015. Al-Janab, an Iraqi-born man who had moved to Syria and then come to the U.S. as a refugee from Syria in 2012, is accused of mak­ing false state­ments in a terror-related inves­ti­ga­tion. Al-Janab had orig­i­nally left the U.S. to fight with Ansar al-Islam, a Syr­ian ter­ror­ist group, between 2013 and 2014. Ansar al-Islam had been affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda until August 2014, at which time it merged with ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a res­i­dent of Hous­ton, Texas, was also arrested on Jan­u­ary 6, 2015. Al Hardan, who entered the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq in 2009 and is cur­rently a U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent, is charged with pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by attempt­ing to join the ISIS and with lying in his nat­u­ral­iza­tion application.

A third man, iden­ti­fied as Edward Archer of Penn­syl­va­nia, allegedly attempted to kill a law enforce­ment offi­cer in Philadel­phia on behalf of ISIS. There were at least four instances of Islamic extrem­ism inspired vio­lence against law enforce­ment offi­cers in 2015.

The two indi­vid­u­als arrested were Iraqi born men of Pales­tin­ian descent who entered the U.S. as refugees. They report­edly com­mu­ni­cated with each other regard­ing their extrem­ist aspirations.

The vast major­ity of U.S. res­i­dents engaged in ter­ror­ism related to Islamic extrem­ism are U.S. cit­i­zens.  Between 2009 and 2015, refugees accounted for only three per­cent of the U.S. res­i­dents linked to Islamic extremism.

In 2015, only 3 U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism had entered the U.S. as refugees. One of the three, Harlem Suarez, entered the U.S. as a refugee when he was a child but appears to have con­verted to Islam and rad­i­cal­ized while in the U.S.; Suarez was a U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent when he was arrested for attempt­ing to bomb a Florida beach in sup­port of ISIS.

2015 also saw a spike in attempted domes­tic attacks. There were 18 plots dis­cussed in total in 2015, com­pared to 1 in all of 2014.

78 U.S. res­i­dents in total were linked to ter­ror­ist activ­ity moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015. A full list of the indi­vid­u­als, as well as exten­sive analy­sis, is avail­able in the ADL report, “2015 Sees Dra­matic Spike in Islamic Extrem­ism Arrests.”

In Octo­ber 2015, FBI Direc­tor James Comey indi­cated that there were 900 open inves­ti­ga­tions of sus­pected home­grown extrem­ists, the major­ity of which are related to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since that time, there have been 12 U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror, at least three of whom (San Bernardino shoot­ers Tafsheen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farooq and Farooq’s friend, Enrique Mar­quez) had not been mon­i­tored by law enforce­ment prior to the San Bernardino attack in Decem­ber 2015.

 

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