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March 21, 2012 1

Toulouse Jewish Day School Shooter Linked to Banned Forsane Alizza

Update: French author­i­ties have con­firmed the death of Mohammed Merah after a 30-hour stand­off at his home. A for­mer spokesman for For­sane Alizza denied that Merah was ever a mem­ber.
 
French media is report­ing that Mohammed Merah, the sus­pect behind Monday’s deadly shoot­ing at a Jew­ish day school in Toulouse, France, has links to For­sane Alizza, a rad­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion that was banned by the French gov­ern­ment in Jan­u­ary 2012 for sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism and prepar­ing its mem­bers for “armed struggle.” 
 
Dur­ing a stand­off today between Merah and French author­i­ties, Merah report­edly said he is a mem­ber of Al Qaeda and that he car­ried out the attacks as revenge for Pales­tin­ian chil­dren and as a reac­tion to French mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion over­seas. Merah, a French cit­i­zen of Alger­ian decent, has also been linked to two ear­lier attacks on French military.
 
For­sane Alizza (Ara­bic for “Knights of Honor”), which advo­cates a Salafist ide­ol­ogy that rejects democ­racy, sought to recruit mem­bers with mar­tial arts train­ing. “We are look­ing for all kinds of skills but sol­diers above all,” read a state­ment on the group’s web­site. “So if you enjoy mar­tial arts and are quick to respond when we call on you, then you are a good fit, inshal­lah [God will­ing].” The web­site, which fea­tured videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, also expressed the group’s sup­port for “mujhaideen wher­ever they are in the world.”
 
The group, which advo­cates for BDS on its web­site, orga­nized sev­eral protests against Israel in France. In Sep­tem­ber 2011, its mem­bers dis­rupted the El Al counter at Roissy air­port in Paris, shout­ing “Death to Israel!” and “Death to Jews!” In June 2010, they protested at a McDonald’s, telling cus­tomers that McDonald’s sup­ports Israel. Two mem­bers of the group were con­victed by a French court on charges of “incit­ing racial hatred” and shout­ing anti-Semitic remarks at the restau­rant. That same month, the group par­tic­i­pated in a pro-flotilla rally in Paris.
 
For­sane Alizza seems to be cur­rently oper­at­ing with “Force de Défense Musul­mane sur Inter­net.” Its stated goal is to remove online mate­ri­als that they con­sider to be offen­sive to Mus­lims and Islam and to pro­vide resources to those who are engaged in the same activ­ity. Its activ­ity is sim­i­lar to that of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that was based in New York and that attracted a rad­i­cal fol­low­ing online.
 
French author­i­ties indi­cated that Merah has been under sur­veil­lance for at least sev­eral years due to his rad­i­cal beliefs. There have also been reports that he trav­eled to Afghanistan and Pak­istan for mil­i­tant train­ing, but French author­i­ties say that they have no evi­dence that he had been in con­tact with ter­ror­ist groups.

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February 24, 2012 0

Denver-area Shooting Latest in String of Extremist-Related Violent Confrontations with Police

 Police inves­ti­gat­ing a stolen vehi­cle in the Den­ver sub­urb of Engle­wood on Feb­ru­ary 23, 2012, unex­pect­edly found them­selves fac­ing an armed white suprema­cist with a his­tory of violence—an encounter that even­tu­ally turned fatal. 
Jere­miah Barnum’s Col­orado Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions photo
Source: Den­ver Westword
Ear­lier that day, Engle­wood police took two sus­pects into cus­tody in con­nec­tion with an allegedly stolen vehi­cle. Two offi­cers remained behind to fin­ish up paper­work, when they allegedly spot­ted a vehi­cle parked nearby whose dri­ver was a “known asso­ciate” of the arrested sus­pects. The dri­ver, later iden­ti­fied as Jere­miah Bar­num, a long-time white suprema­cist with a his­tory of vio­lence, allegedly threat­ened police, who report­edly noticed that he had a “weapon” in his waist­band (a gun was later found in the car). Accord­ing to offi­cers, Bar­num “made a move like he was reach­ing for a gun” and the offi­cers opened fire, wound­ing Bar­num fatally.  An inves­ti­ga­tion into the shoot­ing is pending.
In 1997, Bar­num had briefly been infa­mous in Den­ver, after he and another white suprema­cist, Nathan Thill, were arrested for the bru­tal hate crime mur­der of an African immi­grant, Oumar Dia. Thill even­tu­ally pleaded guilty in return for a sen­tence of life with­out parole. Bar­num was ini­tially con­victed of mur­der, but his con­vic­tion was over­turned by a judge. He even­tu­ally pleaded guilty to acces­sory to mur­der and received a 12-year sen­tence. Dur­ing his stint in prison, he fre­quently appeared on lists of “Aryan Pris­on­ers of War” cir­cu­lated by white suprema­cists to get sup­port for impris­oned fel­low racists. He also became a mem­ber of the 211 Crew, a Colorado-based racist prison gang (Thill also became a 211 Crew member).
This shoot­ing inci­dent was merely the lat­est in a long string of con­fronta­tions across the coun­try in which shots were fired between police and adher­ents of extrem­ist move­ments.  Since 2009, ADL has iden­ti­fied some 24 such inci­dents, most of them related to white suprema­cists or anti-government extremists. 
The bulk of the inci­dents involved actual shootouts or exchanges of fire between police and extrem­ists, while a hand­ful of inci­dents were officer-involved shootings—typically after extrem­ists attempted to draw weapons on the offi­cers (or, in one instance, actu­ally attempted to fire at police, only to have the gun jam). Six police offi­cers have died in such con­fronta­tions, as well as a num­ber of extrem­ists, while oth­ers have been wounded or injured.

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