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April 28, 2015 0

U.S. Islamic Extremism Arrests In 2015 Exceed 2014 Numbers

Christopher Lee Cornell, arrested in January 2015

Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, arrested in Jan­u­ary 2015

Thirty-one indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in the U.S. have been linked to ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy in the first four months of 2015. This sur­passes the total in each of the past two years: 26 indi­vid­u­als  liv­ing in the U.S. were linked to such ter­ror­ism in all of 2014 and 22 in 2013.

ADL has issued a new report that sheds light on the demo­graph­ics of these indi­vid­u­als and may pro­vide con­text for think­ing about the approx­i­mately 180 unknown Amer­i­cans believed to have trav­eled to join the con­flict in Syria and Iraq, an unknown num­ber of whom may have joined ter­ror­ist organizations.

The report details the affil­i­a­tions, plans and aims of U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror­ism moti­vated by the ide­olo­gies of Islamic extremism.

About 81% of the U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­olo­gies since 2014 have sup­ported ISIS, influ­enced at least in part by the group’s sophis­ti­cated use of social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment, as well as by the high vol­ume of cov­er­age sur­round­ing its activ­ity and the ongo­ing pres­ence of con­flict in Syria and Iraq.

Tairod Pugh, arrested in March 2015

Tairod Pugh, arrested in March 2015

Of those indi­vid­u­als linked to ter­ror­ism in 2015, 16 indi­vid­u­als are believed to have trav­eled or planned to travel to join ter­ror groups abroad, 3 are believed to have attempted to aid other Amer­i­cans in join­ing ISIS, and 7 were attempt­ing to fund ISIS.

Eleven of the indi­vid­u­als were also engaged in domes­tic plots. Five out of the 7 plots dis­cussed were directed against mil­i­tary insti­tu­tions or per­son­nel – long­stand­ing tar­gets for such vio­lence.

The report also exam­ines demo­graphic sta­tis­tics of the indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing age, gen­der, eth­nic­ity and geo­graphic distribution.

The indi­vid­u­als arrested in 2015 range in age from 16 to 47.

At least seven of them, or just under one-quarter, were con­verts to Islam. That per­cent­age is com­pa­ra­ble to the per­cent­age in 2014.

Nine of the 31 indi­vid­u­als had fam­ily mem­bers who have also been impli­cated in Islamic extrem­ist activity.

Ramiz and Sedina Hodzic, arrested in February 2015

Ramiz and Sed­ina Hodzic, arrested in Feb­ru­ary 2015

Five of them were women, result­ing in a total of 14 women linked to Islamic extrem­ism since the start of 2014. Women engag­ing with ter­ror­ist groups is not a new phe­nom­e­non, but these num­bers rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant increase, which may result in part from direct recruit­ment of women by ISIS.

Islamic extrem­ism related arrests in 2015 have taken place in 11 states, includ­ing 6 indi­vid­u­als arrested in New York, 4 each in

Min­nesota and Illi­nois, 3 in Mis­souri and 2 each in Ohio, Cal­i­for­nia and Kansas One Amer­i­can was arrested in Pak­istan but was orig­i­nally from Texas.

The full report is avail­able on the ADL website.

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March 6, 2013 0

Miami Imam Convicted of Supporting Pakistani Taliban

Hafiz Khan, a Miami imam, was con­victed of four charges per­tain­ing to his sup­port of the Pak­istani Tal­iban on Monday.

Khan was arrested, along with two of his sons, in May 2011. They were accused of solic­it­ing funds to be dis­trib­uted to the Pak­istani Tal­iban, a State Depart­ment des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion. The charges against one of his sons were thrown out by the judge and charges against the other were with­drawn by the prosecution. 

At trial, Khan main­tained that he had sent money to a reli­gious school in Pak­istan and to help his fam­ily.  He tes­ti­fied that he only voiced sup­port for the Pak­istani Tal­iban in an effort to raise funds from a real Tal­iban sup­porter (who turned out to be an infor­mant) that he intended to be used for other purposes. 

The pros­e­cu­tion main­tained that “his whole defense is a lie” and that he in fact did sup­port the Pak­istani Tal­iban and intended the funds to reach the ter­ror­ist organization.

The Pak­istani Tal­iban, based in the tribal regions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan bor­der and allied with Al Qaeda, seeks to over­throw the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment, expel West­ern and allied forces from the region, and estab­lish an Islamic state.  Although the group focuses its attacks pri­mar­ily in that region, the group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bomb­ing in Times Square in 2010

Khan faces a poten­tial sen­tence of 15 years in prison for each charge.

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