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May 4, 2015

Alleged Garland Shooter Indicated His Intent Online

Elton Simpson

Elton Simpson

Authorities have identified one of the alleged shooters at the shooting at a Garland, Texas, community center yesterday as Elton Simpson, a 30-year-old resident of Phoenix, Arizona. He and an accomplice, identified as 34-year-old Nadir Soofi, who was reportedly Simpson’s roommate, are the 33rd and 34th Americans linked to terrorism motivated by Islamic extremism this year, and their shooting marks the eighth domestic terror plot motivated by Islamic extremism in 2015. These numbers represent a significant spike over previous years, and are likely related at least in part to the extensive and sophisticated online propaganda campaigns promoted by ISIS and its supporters.

Simpson maintained an active presence on Twitter, with at least 8 accounts that he used to network with ISIS supporters and share extremist ideas. Prior to the attack, ADL had been monitoring at least one account believed to be his, under the name “Sharia [Islamic jurisprudence] is Light.” His profile picture was that of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American propagandist for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, killed in 2011, who is regularly quoted in terrorist circles and has been cited as an inspiration by many American Islamic extremists. Simpson used the profile to tweet propaganda favoring the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as to share the names of new ISIS supporter accounts that replaced accounts previously suspended for promoting terrorism.

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An ISIS supporter encouraged violence against the event on Twitter

In recent days, terror supporters on Twitter had been calling for violence against the event in Texas, which featured anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, as well as a contest in which participants were asked to draw cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohamed. One ISIS supporter, for example, tweeted, “Brothers in Garland Texas Please go to there with your weapons, bombs or with your knives. Threaten your enemies & the enemies of Allaah,” and, “I think thy forgt the previous attack [against the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which printed cartoons about Mohamed] done by our french bros, walahi [indeed] we wil kill u if u dare to insult our Prophet. Following the attack, that same individual tweeted that Simpson “was favouriting my stuff about the Texas event.”

About half an hour before the shooting, Simpson appeared to claim responsibility on Twitter, writing, “The bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [allegiance] to Amirul Mu’mineen [literally ‘Prince of the Believers,’ a reference to the Caliph and, in context, to the head of ISIS]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen [fighters]. Make dua [prayer] #texasattack.”

Simpson's claim of responsibility on Twitter

Simpson’s claim of responsibility

ISIS and its supporters have been vocal in calling for homegrown attacks against Western  countries and have used the purported defamation of Muhammad as a rationale for violence. Following the Paris attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket, ISIS supporters launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #FightforHim, ‘him’ being a reference to Muhammad, advocating “the duty of killing those who insult our Prophet Muhammad.”

Simpson had been under investigation for terrorist activity in the past.  In 2009, he allegedly indicated interest in Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affiliate, telling an informant, “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother. We know plenty of brothers from Somalia. We’re going to make it to the battlefield. It’s time to roll.” He was arrested in 2010 and found guilty of making false statements to federal agents, after which he was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Since 2014, ISIS has succeeded Al Shabaab as the foremost recruiter of American militants. A number of Americans who previously supported Al Shabaab, including Americans who joined Al Shabaab and act as recruiters from abroad, have since become advocates for ISIS.

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October 24, 2014

Images Reveal Extreme Anti-Immigrant Activists At PFIR Conference

An independent photographer published images from the October 13, 2014 conference of the anti-immigrant group Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) revealing anti-immigrant extremists and activists with a history of making bigoted statements in attendance. The annual conference takes place around the same weekend as other anti-immigrant gatherings, namely the advisory board meeting of the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Social Contract Press Writers Workshop.progressives-for-immigration-reform

The images reveal that racist Wayne Lutton attended the PFIR conference. Lutton is edi­tor of the anti-immigrant jour­nal The Social Con­tract (TSC), pub­lished by racist John Tan­ton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. In one image from the conference, Lutton is speaking to Roy Beck, founder of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA. In addi­tion to his edi­tor­ship of TSC, Lut­ton has been on the edi­to­r­ial advi­sory board of the Occi­den­tal Observer, which pub­lishes racist and anti-Semitic material. In a 2010 issue of TSC, Lutton wrote an editorial calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States. Lutton has spoken at white supremacist gatherings in the past, such as American Renaissance and Council of Conservative Citizens conferences.

The Montana-based anti-immigrant activist Paul Nachman also attended the PFIR conference. Nachman is a regular contributor to the racist website VDARE, founded by white supremacist Peter Brimelow. Nachman has contributed hundreds of articles for VDARE, dating back to 2006. In one VDARE column, Nachman promoted the work of extremist John Vinson. In the same column, Nachman called the burning of Korans by anti-Muslim activist Terry Jones an “educational demonstration.”

Canadian Madeline Weld also attended the conference. Weld is an advisory board member with Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization (SEPS) an anti-immigrant group attempting to coax environmentalists and others into taking an anti-immigrant stance. In the autumn 2013 issue of the journal Human Perspectives, Weld wrote, “Multiculturalism may be an invitation to abuse, but none have been more diligent in making the most of this invitation than Muslims, because Islam alone among the religions and cultures brought to the West has a supremacist politico-religious agenda whose ultimate goal is world domination.”  In June of 2013, Weld purportedly signed a petition calling for anti-Muslim bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer to be allowed entry into the UK after the British government banned the pair for making statements which could “foster hatred” and cause “inter-community violence.

Anti-immigrant activists with a history of making bigoted statements and racists have also attended PFIR’s conference in previous years, including Peter Brimelow and K.C. McAlpin, John Tanton’s right- hand man.

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May 23, 2014

Anti-Muslim Group Uses Hitler Imagery In Latest Anti-Muslim Ad

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AFDI’s “Islamic Jew-Hatred” ad in Washington D.C.

Pamela Geller and her anti-Muslim organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has taken its hateful anti-Muslim message once again to the public in the form of paid advertisements on public transportation.

The latest controversy is just one of many inflammatory advertising campaigns sponsored by Geller and her organization in a bid to influence public discourse on the difficult issues of religion and the Middle East conflict.

Geller’s newest ad campaign, which began appearing on buses in the Washington D.C. Metro area, states, “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran.” The ad also includes a 1941 photo of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, having a conversation with Adolf Hitler.

Geller has a long history of promoting her bigoted anti-Muslim views through inflammatory messages in public spaces, stretching back at least to 2010. These ad campaigns are designed to expose Americans to what Geller and her organization consider the biggest threats posed by Islam.

Some notable examples include:

  • July 2012: Geller submitted an ad that ran on 75 Metro North train stations stating, “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01 and counting. It’s not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.”
  • September 2012: After a New York federal district court ruled that the New York City MTA violated Geller’s First Amendment right, AFDI’s “Savage” ad appeared in subway stations. The inflammatory ad read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
  • 2010 “Honor Killing Awareness Campaign”: A series of ads were placed on buses and taxi cab tops purportedly to address young Muslim women facing threats from their family for rejecting Muslim values or becoming “too Americanized.” The campaigns appeared under several names, including “Refuge From Islam” and “Leave Islam Safely.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has criticized Geller and AFDI for “consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam;” however, acknowledges that the ads are protected political speech under the First Amendment. ADL is also on the record stating that “Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim. And support for Israel is not built on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotypes.”

Geller’s latest ad campaign is in response to an April 2014 anti-Israel ad by the virulently anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). AMP also has a history of promoting extreme anti-Israel views through inflammatory ads on public transportation aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel. In March 2013, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, AMP unveiled an ad on several New York City Metro North stations falsely accusing Israel of “apartheid.”

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