terrorism » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’
January 8, 2016 0

No Sign of Slowdown for Islamic Extremism Arrests in the U.S. in 2016

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Janab, arrested January 6

Aws Mohammed You­nis Al-Janab, arrested Jan­u­ary 6

Two U.S. res­i­dents were arrested on Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror charges in the first week of 2016 and a third allegedly com­mit­ted a shoot­ing on Jan­u­ary 7 on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Fol­low­ing record-breaking num­bers of ter­ror related arrests in 2015, these new arrests por­tend sim­i­larly high lev­els of Amer­i­cans engag­ing in plots and other activ­ity moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy in the com­ing year.

Aws Mohammed You­nis Al-Janab, a res­i­dent of Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on Jan­u­ary 6, 2015. Al-Janab, an Iraqi-born man who had moved to Syria and then come to the U.S. as a refugee from Syria in 2012, is accused of mak­ing false state­ments in a terror-related inves­ti­ga­tion. Al-Janab had orig­i­nally left the U.S. to fight with Ansar al-Islam, a Syr­ian ter­ror­ist group, between 2013 and 2014. Ansar al-Islam had been affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda until August 2014, at which time it merged with ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a res­i­dent of Hous­ton, Texas, was also arrested on Jan­u­ary 6, 2015. Al Hardan, who entered the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq in 2009 and is cur­rently a U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent, is charged with pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by attempt­ing to join the ISIS and with lying in his nat­u­ral­iza­tion application.

A third man, iden­ti­fied as Edward Archer of Penn­syl­va­nia, allegedly attempted to kill a law enforce­ment offi­cer in Philadel­phia on behalf of ISIS. There were at least four instances of Islamic extrem­ism inspired vio­lence against law enforce­ment offi­cers in 2015.

The two indi­vid­u­als arrested were Iraqi born men of Pales­tin­ian descent who entered the U.S. as refugees. They report­edly com­mu­ni­cated with each other regard­ing their extrem­ist aspirations.

The vast major­ity of U.S. res­i­dents engaged in ter­ror­ism related to Islamic extrem­ism are U.S. cit­i­zens.  Between 2009 and 2015, refugees accounted for only three per­cent of the U.S. res­i­dents linked to Islamic extremism.

In 2015, only 3 U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism had entered the U.S. as refugees. One of the three, Harlem Suarez, entered the U.S. as a refugee when he was a child but appears to have con­verted to Islam and rad­i­cal­ized while in the U.S.; Suarez was a U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent when he was arrested for attempt­ing to bomb a Florida beach in sup­port of ISIS.

2015 also saw a spike in attempted domes­tic attacks. There were 18 plots dis­cussed in total in 2015, com­pared to 1 in all of 2014.

78 U.S. res­i­dents in total were linked to ter­ror­ist activ­ity moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015. A full list of the indi­vid­u­als, as well as exten­sive analy­sis, is avail­able in the ADL report, “2015 Sees Dra­matic Spike in Islamic Extrem­ism Arrests.”

In Octo­ber 2015, FBI Direc­tor James Comey indi­cated that there were 900 open inves­ti­ga­tions of sus­pected home­grown extrem­ists, the major­ity of which are related to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since that time, there have been 12 U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror, at least three of whom (San Bernardino shoot­ers Tafsheen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farooq and Farooq’s friend, Enrique Mar­quez) had not been mon­i­tored by law enforce­ment prior to the San Bernardino attack in Decem­ber 2015.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 9, 2015 4

ISIS Videos Underscore Anti-Semitic Backdrop to Terror

Child executioner in the new ISIS video

Child exe­cu­tioner in the new ISIS video

Last week, ISIS released a video titled “To the Sons of the Jews” that depicted chil­dren mur­der­ing alleged cap­tured Syr­ian sol­diers. The video con­tained mul­ti­ple threats against Jews and Israel.

ISIS inten­tion­ally ties the vio­lence of its chil­dren – its next gen­er­a­tion of fight­ers – to future threats against Israel and Jews. The adult instruc­tor in “To the Sons of the Jews,” for exam­ple, stated, “The ambi­tion of those cubs will not be lim­ited to lib­er­at­ing Syria or Iraq…but it is to raise high the ban­ner of the Prophet…over the White House in Amer­ica and in the heart of Tel Aviv.”

The chil­dren made the same point; before com­mit­ting their mur­ders, each said, “We have been raised to con­quer the East and West, and we will restore al-Aqsa (Jerusalem) and al-Andalus (Spain), Allah per­mit­ting.” One of the chil­dren said, “O Obama, we will cut your neck and we will do the same to you and all the Jews.”

The video closed say­ing, “O sons of the Jews, know that when­ever we cut off the head of an apos­tate, your death comes closer.”

The same theme runs through prior ISIS videos fea­tur­ing child executioners.

In March 2015, ISIS released a video fea­tur­ing a child mur­der­ing an indi­vid­ual whom the group alleged was a Mossad spy. The video threat­ened both Jews and Israel; quotes included, “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your fol­low­ers in your own strong­hold in France,” and, “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem.” The con­clu­sion of the video depicted the child exe­cu­tioner stand­ing in front of an image of Jerusalem.

Another video, released in July 2015, depicted a child who appeared to be the exe­cu­tioner of a cap­tured sol­dier, fol­lowed by the state­ment, “Every day we kill and cap­ture your sol­diers and offi­cers. …and what is com­ing is more cun­ning and bit­ter. Our eyes are not only on…Homs nor Dam­as­cus, but our eyes are on Beit al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] and on Rome.”

Child executioner in ISIS video from March 2015

Child exe­cu­tioner in ISIS video from March 2015 in front of Jerusalem

But ISIS’s claim that their chil­dren will kill Jews and over­throw the State of Israel is only part of a larger strat­egy shared by nearly all Islamic extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions that exploits pop­u­lar anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel to recruit and moti­vate adher­ents and to encour­age fol­low­ers to act in the group’s interest.

Just as ISIS threat­ens Jews while exe­cut­ing Syr­ian sol­diers, Al Qaeda and its affil­i­ate groups reg­u­larly urge fol­low­ers to attack the U.S. as an (alleged) way to hurt Jews and Israel. ADL has doc­u­mented these calls, and more, in our report Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy.

Oth­ers have noted sim­i­lar links. In a recent arti­cle in Tablet Mag­a­zine, Liel Liebowitz noted that Jews and Israel serve as a sort of canary in the coal mine of inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism. In Israel, France, and else­where, Jews are often the first vic­tims of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions that go on to attack West­ern sites more broadly. Pay­ing atten­tion to extrem­ist threats against Jews is not only impor­tant to com­mu­nal secu­rity; rather, it is essen­tial for national security.

Some reports have also indi­cated that San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook was “obsessed” with Israel. ADL has doc­u­mented mul­ti­ple instances of U.S. res­i­dents linked to ter­ror­ist plots and activ­ity moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism who reg­u­larly expressed ani­mos­ity toward Israel and Jews; a list of recent exam­ples is avail­able in the ADL report.

Of course, not every­one who espouses anti-Semitic beliefs or hatred of Israel will be a ter­ror­ist. But the link between the two is an inten­tional ele­ment of ter­ror­ist strat­egy, and the impact of that strat­egy on Amer­i­can and West­ern secu­rity is significant.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

December 3, 2015 0

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Back­ground infor­ma­tion on Syed Farook and Tash­feen Malik, the mar­ried per­pe­tra­tors of the tragic mass shoot­ing at the Inland Regional Cen­ter in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, is still sparse, as is clar­ity con­cern­ing the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

How­ever, accord­ing to media reports from the in-progress inves­ti­ga­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among law enforce­ment offi­cials that the shoot­ings may have had a con­nec­tion to Islamic extrem­ism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treat­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceed­ingly rare in tra­di­tional work­place shoot­ings is for there to be mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors, as there was in this case.  As one law enforce­ment offi­cial told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a work­place shoot­ing, and espe­cially not as pre­pared as they were.  He could have been rad­i­cal­ized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dis­pute at work and decided to do something.”

Mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors are cer­tainly com­mon in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the exis­tence of the “lone wolf” phe­nom­e­non.  Women are also fre­quently involved in extremist-related crim­i­nal activ­ity in almost every extrem­ist move­ment in the United States.

How­ever, when one exam­ines recent crim­i­nal cases in the U.S. involv­ing domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, one finds that female part­ners of male perpetrators—even when them­selves involved in crim­i­nal activities—have not typ­i­cally engaged in vio­lence.  Over­seas, women have some­times taken on more vio­lent roles, includ­ing as sui­cide bombers.

If an Islamic extrem­ist motive is con­firmed in the San Bernardino shoot­ings, the fact of husband-and-wife shoot­ers would be a new wrin­kle in the his­tory of the vio­lent tac­tics of that move­ment in the United States.

Extremist-related vio­lence involv­ing hus­bands and wives—or non-married partners—is actu­ally not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very dif­fer­ent source:  right-wing extrem­ism.  Though not what one could call a com­mon phe­nom­e­non, such vio­lent “Bon­nie and Clyde” cou­ples do emerge with reg­u­lar­ity from within both the white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extrem­ism even pro­duced an exam­ple of the exceed­ingly rare phe­nom­e­non of a mar­ried cou­ple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extrem­ists Linda Lyon Block and George Sib­ley.  In 1993, the two sov­er­eign cit­i­zens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run mur­dered an Alabama police offi­cer in a shootout.  Both were exe­cuted in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extrem­ist cou­ples have been involved with every­thing from stand­offs with police to hate crimes to ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies.  But some of the most shock­ing “Bon­nie and Clyde” inci­dents have involved mul­ti­ple homi­cides com­mit­ted by white suprema­cists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young mar­ried cou­ple who adhered to the anti-government ide­ol­ogy of the mili­tia move­ment, tar­geted two Las Vegas police offi­cers for assas­si­na­tion in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restau­rant as they ate their Sun­day lunch.  The cou­ple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in antic­i­pa­tion of a final shootout with first respon­ders, where Amanda killed an armed civil­ian try­ing to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die dur­ing a shootout with law enforce­ment at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing her­self after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Chris­tine Moody, white suprema­cists from Union County, South Car­olina, killed a nearby mar­ried cou­ple in July 2013 in a par­tic­u­larly grisly dou­ble homi­cide in which both vic­tims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had tar­geted the vic­tim because they wanted to kill a reg­is­tered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Inter­net.  They killed his wife because she had mar­ried a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to mur­der in 2014, receiv­ing life sen­tences with no parole, but were unre­pen­tant, with Chris­tine Moody call­ing the day of the mur­ders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Ped­er­sen, a white suprema­cist cou­ple from Ore­gon, embarked upon a multi-state mur­der spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to mur­der Pederson’s father and step­mother, each killing one vic­tim, then killed a young man in Ore­gon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jew­ish.  They killed an African-American man in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia in another car­jack­ing attempt, though they did not end up tak­ing the vehi­cle, then were finally appre­hended by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol.  Grigsby told the arrest­ing offi­cers that they were to Sacra­mento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a vari­ety of crimes and received life sentences.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,