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November 22, 2013

New Al Qaeda Video Underscores Threat of Americans Joining Terror Groups In Syria


Man identified as Abu Dujana al-Amriki in ISIS video

An English language video glorifying Islamist rebel groups in Syria and apparently featuring an American was released earlier this month by The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an Al Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria.

The video is part of a new wave of English language recruitment materials by Islamist rebels in Syria and comes at a time of increased concern about Americans and other Westerners travelling to Syria to fight.

The video features an apparently American man with the nom de guerre Abu Dujana al-Amriki. Holding a rifle, he addresses his message “to the people of the West…from the mujahideen (religious fighters) in Syria.” Encouraging others to join, he says that “We’ve come here from all nationalities to defend this land…to spread the Shariah (religious law) of Allah on the face of the earth, and to give our lives and our souls for this jihad and to Jannah (Paradise).”

The video also adds strength to concerns that foreign fighters based in Syria may eventually return to pose a threat to their home countries. In the second part of his speech, al-Amriki states that, “With these simple weapons we will free these lands, and free these people, and we’ll bring the right of Islam to rule all of the entire world, over Europe and America, over Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa,” adding, “And with these weapons we’ll kill the infidels.”

The video comes amidst reports of “dozens” of Americans travelling to Syria and, if true, would indicate that al-Amriki is the 7th named American to have travelled or attempted to travel to Syria this year. Both his presence and his remarks underscore the threat of American citizens and permanent residents travelling to Syria and elsewhere to join terrorist organizations including Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Al Shabaab.

The video concludes with the image of a dead fighter, whom it claims is al-Amriki.

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July 31, 2013

Pittsburgh Man Drawn To Syrian Front Underscores Emerging Trend

amiir-farouk ibrahim-passport-syria

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim’s passport

An Egyptian-American man born in Pittsburgh is reportedly the latest American to join the conflict in Syria on the side of rebels fight­ing against the Assad regime.

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim may also be the latest American casualty.

Ibrahim’s American and Egyptian passports were discovered earlier this month after Kurdish fighters overran a compound once held by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization composed of several Sunni insurgency groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

If dead, Ibrahim would be the second American known to have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Mans­field, a con­vert to Islam from Michi­gan, was killed in Syria in May 2013.

Ibrahim’s family reportedly indicated that he traveled to Turkey before crossing into Syria earlier this year. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University in 2008.

Ibrahim’s Facebook page contained numerous posts suggesting that he subscribed to a radical interpretation of Islam consistent with Al Qaeda’s ideology. For example:

  • February 1: Ibrahim posted an image calling for a boycott of French products because of the French military campaign against Al Qaeda in Mali.
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted several photos of a house on an island with the caption, “So you can imagine how paradise would look like.” He posted a comment on one of the photos asking God to make him “one of the people of Paradise.”
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted a photo for Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch–Moroccan convicted of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The comment on the post reads in part, “The lion Mohammed Bouyeri (May God release him from his prison) did an operation that will be recorded with gold in the history of Islam.”
  • December 2, 2012:  Ibrahim posted a YouTube video that features the popular jihadi song “Madin Kas-Sayf” [Sharp like the Sword].
  • October 18, 2012: Ibrahim posted a comment calling upon Muslims to embrace Jihad and support the Sunni Muslims in Syria against the Shia’a.

As ADL reported in June, there have been three other pub­licly dis­closed cases of Amer­i­cans involved in fight­ing with rebels. Each has been linked to Jab­hat al-Nusrah (JN), a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is unknown how many Amer­i­cans have entered the con­flict on the side of rebel fac­tions unaf­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

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