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February 25, 2015 0

ISIS Related Arrests In Brooklyn Raise 2015 Total To 10

Saidakhmetov promoted pro-ISIS sentiment on his apparent Google Plus profile

Saidakhme­tov, one of the men arrested, pro­moted pro-ISIS sen­ti­ment on his appar­ent Google Plus profile

Update — 4/7/2015: A fourth Brook­lyn res­i­dent, Dilkhayot Kasi­mov, was also charged in this case on April 6, 2015.

Yesterday’s arrest of three New York City men under­scores the per­sis­tent influ­ence of ISIS pro­pa­ganda on indi­vid­u­als resid­ing in the U.S. and the related threat to domes­tic security.

Abdura­sul Juraboev, a 24-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, and Akhror Saidakhme­tov, a 19-year-old U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent with Kazakh cit­i­zen­ship, both cur­rently resid­ing in Brook­lyn, allegedly attempted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of domes­tic attacks if they were unable to do so. Abror Habi­bov, a 30-year-old Brook­lyn res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, allegedly pro­vided the two with funds and encouragement.

All three were arrested last night; one at JFK Air­port while attempt­ing to board a flight to Turkey.

Accord­ing to the FBI, the men spent time online either express­ing sup­port for ISIS or watch­ing the ter­ror­ist group’s propaganda.

A Google Plus page that appears to have been cre­ated by Saidakhme­tov includes a video called “Hon­ored Sheikh inside Syria invite[s] Mus­lims to work for Khi­lafah and imple­ment HT’s con­sti­tu­tion.” Khi­lafah is Ara­bic for Caliphate, a ref­er­ence to ISIS. HT stands for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes theo­cratic gov­er­nance. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not allied with ISIS, but the sen­ti­ment con­veyed in the video was sup­port­ive of ISIS’s goals.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Juraboev was also allegedly recruited online by an ISIS sup­porter resid­ing in Iraq, to whom he said “I need to sneak out of here with extreme cau­tion with­out being noticed.”

In August, accord­ing to the com­plaint, Juraboev wrote a post on an Uzbek-language pro-ISIS web­site ask­ing “is it pos­si­ble to com­mit our­selves [to ISIS] as ded­i­cated mar­tyrs any­way while here [in the U.S.]? What I’m say­ing is, to shoot Obama and then get shot our­selves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”

Saidakhme­tov expressed his intent to attack law enforce­ment.  Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, he stated “it is legal in Amer­ica to carry a gun. We will go and pur­chase one handgun…then go and shoot one police offi­cer…. Then we will go to the FBI head­quar­ters, kill the FBI peo­ple…” The men also allegedly dis­cussed plant­ing a bomb on Coney Island.

The arrests in Brook­lyn fol­low the arrest, also yes­ter­day, of Abdi­rah­man Sheik Mohamud a 23-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio. Mohamud is sub­ject to an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and was not linked to any par­tic­u­lar ter­ror­ist group; court doc­u­ments allege he sent funds and trav­elled to a “Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ist group.”

To date, 10 U.S. res­i­dents have been arrested on Islamic extremist-related ter­ror charges in 2015. The oth­ers include Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, a 25-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio, and six indi­vid­u­als of Bosn­ian descent –U.S. cit­i­zens and refugees resid­ing in Mis­souri, Illi­nois and New York – accused of aid­ing ISIS.

Last year, 19 U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing joined or attempt­ing to join or aid ISIS.

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February 24, 2015 2

Al Shabaab Video Threatens Jewish and Western Targets

The video calls for attacks on "Jewish-owned Westfield shopping centers"

The video calls for attacks on “Jewish-owned West­field shop­ping cen­ters” and other shop­ping cen­ters in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

A new video released by Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s affil­i­ate in Soma­lia, that encour­ages attacks against “Amer­i­can and Jewish-owned shop­ping cen­ters around the world,” high­lights the role of anti-Semitism in ter­ror­ist narrative.

The video focused on Al Shabaab’s Sep­tem­ber 2013 siege of the West­gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which lasted for three days and resulted in at least 67 fatal­i­ties. At the time of the attack, Al Shabaab claimed to have tar­geted that mall because it had “Jew­ish and Amer­i­can owned” shops. The new video affirmed Al Shabaab’s inter­est in Jew­ish targets.

Its release comes as other ter­ror­ist groups, includ­ing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, have issued calls for home­grown attacks in the West as they vie against each other for power and followers.

“West­gate shop­ping mall…is a four-story Israeli-owned com­plex,” the video’s nar­ra­tor stated, and in response to the attack, “Israeli secu­rity spe­cial­ists and FBI teams were…on the ground.” The video also put the nation­al­ity “Israeli” first in a list of nation­al­i­ties of the deceased.

Show­cas­ing the 2013 attack enables Al Shabaab to show off its accom­plish­ments to poten­tial new recruits, but the group also appar­ently hopes it may inspire copy­cat attacks. Address­ing West­ern sym­pa­thiz­ers, the nar­ra­tor stated, “We call upon our Mus­lim broth­ers, par­tic­u­larly those in the West…. imag­ine what a ded­i­cated mujahid (fighter) in the West could do to the Amer­i­can and Jewish-owned shop­ping cen­ters across the world.”

It then went on to issue more spe­cific threats: “What if such an attack was to call in the Mall of Amer­ica in Min­nesota, or the West Edmon­ton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street, or any of the hun­dred or so Jewish-owned West­field shop­ping cen­ters dot­ted right across the West­ern world…”

Although Al Shabaab has not staged any sig­nif­i­cant attack out­side East­ern Africa, it has posed a sig­nif­i­cant threat to U.S. secu­rity. At least 50 U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been charged with pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to the group or are believed to have joined it. Some of those cit­i­zens are now actively recruit­ing U.S. cit­i­zens to join ISIS and other ter­ror­ist organizations.

Another recent Al Shabaab video, released in May 2014, called for lone wolf attacks in the West.

Anti-Semitism is at the core of Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy, and ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing Al Shabaab reg­u­larly use anti-Semitism to attract and rad­i­cal­ize poten­tial recruits. In the past, Al Shabaab declared an “open bat­tle” against Israel, which it called the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity,” and against Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa. In an English-language mag­a­zine released in 2012, the group called Jews, “the worst enemy of Islam.”

The new video also high­lighted the impor­tance of social media as a vehi­cle for dis­sem­i­nat­ing ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda, claim­ing that “HSM Press (the Al Shabaab Twit­ter feed) soon became the most cred­i­ble source of infor­ma­tion on the attack,” and noted that Al Shabaab had live-streamed the attack on Twit­ter. The video itself was cir­cu­lated on YouTube and on links from Twit­ter to file-sharing sites.

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February 17, 2015 1

New ADL Report: Homegrown Islamic Extremism In 2014

homegrown-terrorism-isis-imageThe rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its increas­ingly sophis­ti­cated social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment strate­gies influ­enced a diverse group of peo­ple from around the world, includ­ing from the United States, through­out 2014.

The ADL’s new report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS and Sus­tained Online Rad­i­cal­iza­tion, presents key find­ings and trends that result from ISIS’s increas­ing reach, and its ram­i­fi­ca­tions on domes­tic security.

The report describes how at least 17 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents moti­vated by the ide­ol­ogy prop­a­gated by ISIS and other Islamic ter­ror­ist groups over­seas were charged in 2014 with terror-related offenses.

Three oth­ers were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing died while fight­ing with ter­ror­ist groups abroad and an addi­tional five minors are believed to have attempted to join such groups but were not charged. Of these 25, nearly all engaged to some degree with online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda and 19 are believed to have attempted to join or aid ISIS.

These indi­vid­u­als range in age from 15 to 44, with 11 in their twen­ties and 7 in their teens. At least one quar­ter were con­verts to Islam. 32% were women.

The report also draws on find­ings from pre­vi­ous years, not­ing for exam­ple that res­i­dents from 20 states have been charged in con­nec­tion with Islamic extrem­ism since 2012.

In addi­tion, the report describes the new phe­nom­e­non of crim­i­nal acts that have not been defined by author­i­ties as ter­ror­ism but that have been influ­enced by ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda – includ­ing mur­ders in New Jer­sey and Okla­homa and an attempted mur­der in New York in 2014.

Finally, it ana­lyzes cur­rent ter­ror­ist nar­ra­tives and recruit­ing tech­niques, includ­ing their use of social media to attract increas­ing num­bers of fol­low­ers and the way anti-Semitism is used to moti­vate recruits.

The full report is avail­able on the ADL web­site.

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