texas » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘texas’
June 20, 2014 3

Texas Terror Arrests Highlight Ongoing Travel Threat

texas-terror-michael-todd-wolfe-rahatul-ashikim-khan

Rahatul Ashikim Khan & Michael Todd Wolfe

The arrests of two 23-year-old U.S. cit­i­zens in Texas in sep­a­rate inci­dents on Tues­day for allegedly plan­ning to join ter­ror­ist groups over­seas under­scores the ongo­ing con­cerns over Amer­i­cans join­ing ter­ror­ist groups abroad and the con­tin­ued allure of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

Dozens of Amer­i­cans and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been charged in recent years in con­nec­tion with attempts to jointer­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab in Soma­lia and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula in Yemen, as well as ter­ror­ists groups in Syria.

Michael Todd Wolfe of Austin, Texas, is alleged to have attempted to travel to join a ter­ror­ist group fight­ing in Syria. The crim­i­nal com­plaint filed against him indi­cates that he was ini­tially inter­ested in join­ing Jab­hat al Nusra, an Al Qaeda affil­i­ate, but later decided instead to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which broke with Al Qaeda ear­lier this year.

Wolfe, a con­vert to Islam who grew up in Texas, was arrested at George H.W. Bush Hous­ton Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port just before he attempted to board a flight to Europe, en route to Syria.

Author­i­ties say the sec­ond indi­vid­ual, Rahatul Ashikim Khan of Round Rock, Texas, con­spired with oth­ers to recruit peo­ple who would “travel over­seas to sup­port ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties includ­ing com­mit­ting vio­lent jihad,” in par­tic­u­lar with Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Soma­lia and Kenya. Khan is a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen orig­i­nally from Bangladesh, and is a col­lege stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, Austin.

Demon­strat­ing the cen­tral role the Inter­net plays in online rad­i­cal­iza­tion and recruit­ment, both Wolfe and Khan had used the Inter­net to abet their activ­i­ties. Wolfe allegedly watched videos online of ter­ror­ism in Syria. Khan called him­self a “jihadi” and used an online chat room to iden­tify poten­tial ter­ror­ists between March 2011 and Jan­u­ary 2012, accord­ing to court documents.

Khan allegedly spent time on a chat room ded­i­cated to Abdul­lah al-Faisal, a Jamaica-born Mus­lim preacher who served four years in a British prison for urg­ing his fol­low­ers to kill non-Muslims, includ­ing Amer­i­cans, Hin­dus and Jews. Al-Faisel was also the “imam and spir­i­tual advi­sor” of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM), a New York-based fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years.

Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing abroad to join ter­ror­ist groups have been a con­sis­tent threat since 2001, with three dis­tinct waves of travel appar­ent. Between 2001 and 2005, Amer­i­cans trav­elled mostly to join Al Qaeda Cen­tral and the Tal­iban. Between 2007 and 2011, travel and sup­port were espe­cially directed at Al Shabaab. Travel to Syria – the great­est threat since 2011 – has been the third wave; since the start of the Syr­ian civil war, as many as 100 U.S. cit­i­zens are believed to have trav­elled to Syria to join the fighting.

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

April 3, 2014 0

Houston Terror Suspect Allegedly Behind Conspiratorial Facebook Page

robert-talbot-anti-muslim

Robert Tal­bot Jr.

Last week, the FBI arrested Robert Tal­bot Jr. on charges of plan­ning a vio­lent attack on a Houston-area mosque. A look into Talbot’s his­tory reveals that he not only fos­ters a deep-seated hatred of Mus­lims and Islam, but also sub­scribes to con­spir­acy the­o­ries of an alleged Mus­lim Broth­er­hood takeover of the U.S. and the need to com­bat the so-called “New World Order.” Talbot’s plan to attack the mosque and Mus­lim insti­tu­tions is the lat­est in a recent string of vio­lence directed toward the Muslim-American community.

Accord­ing to the FBI, Talbot’s plan was to recruit “like-minded” accom­plices to “blow up gov­ern­ment build­ings, rob banks, and kill law enforce­ment offi­cers.” In addi­tion, Tal­bot tar­geted Islamic cen­ters and mosques. Tal­bot allegedly planned to enter a mosque dur­ing Fri­day prayers and shoot wor­ship­pers dur­ing ser­vices. FBI offi­cials have also stated that it was part of Talbot’s plan to rob an armored car and attack a mosque with a machine gun. To jus­tify these acts of vio­lence, Tal­bot said that he would be “doing the Will of God.”

Law enforce­ment offi­cials state that Tal­bot is behind the con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Muslim and anti-government Face­book page, Amer­i­can Insur­gent Move­ment (AIM).  In posts attrib­uted to him, Tal­bot expressed racist and anti-Muslim con­spir­a­to­r­ial sen­ti­ments that the U.S. has been infil­trated by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that he intended to send “that White House worth­less piece of dirt and his Mus­lim Broth­er­hood a mes­sage they will never forget.”

In a Novem­ber 23, 2013 post, Tal­bot claimed that he is “not a racist per­son, but I’m only racist to those cul­tures whom show it, and this is why I don’t like Chinks, Mus­lims and a few other…” Tal­bot has also made threats against Obama admin­is­tra­tion advi­sor Valerie Jar­rett, who was born in Iran and who Tal­bot alleged is “a Muslim.”

The ‘About’ sec­tion of AIM’s Face­book page states that it is a group intended for indi­vid­u­als seek­ing to “restore Amer­ica Pre-Constitutionally and look for­ward to stop­ping the Regime with action by blood­shed.” Addi­tion­ally, many of Talbot’s post­ings allude to the need to fight “New World Order,” a con­spir­acy the­ory typ­i­cally revolv­ing around claims that the U.S. gov­ern­ment is try­ing to enslave, coerce, intim­i­date, scare, poi­son, or kill U.S. cit­i­zens on a mass scale.

In a March 1, 2014 post on the Face­book page, Tal­bot claimed that the NWO seeks “to turn Amer­i­can [sic] into their Marx­ist Mus­lim dream,” and that the “NWO can be stop [sic] and will be stopped.” In an ear­lier post from Feb­ru­ary 7, Tal­bot wrote that AIM is “Look­ing ONLY for ex-military or self-trained men who trained in guer­rilla war­fare and under­stand war/battle to the fullest.”

Talbot’s alleged plot is the lat­est in a series of recent inci­dents tar­get­ing Mus­lims and Mus­lim insti­tu­tions:

  • March 2014: The Prayer Cen­ter of Orland Park, located in a Chicago sub­urb, was fired at dur­ing early morn­ing prayer ser­vices by an unknown attacker. A bul­let allegedly struck the gold metal dome of the mosque.
  • March 2014: Sev­eral shots were fired at the Islamic Cen­ter of Hat­ties­burg, Mis­sis­sippi in the mid­dle of the night. Law enforce­ment stated that it is con­sid­er­ing the inci­dent as a “mali­cious mis­chief case.”
  • March 2014: An Iraqi immi­grant was gunned down in a shop­ping cen­ter park­ing lot in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia by an assailant who has expressed hatred for peo­ple of Mid­dle East­ern descent. Law enforce­ment is treat­ing the inci­dent as a hate crime.

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

March 7, 2014 5

Anti-Immigrant Movement Dealt Three Major Blows In One Day

Ear­lier this week, two U.S. Supreme Court orders and a set­tle­ment agree­ment out of South Car­olina dealt major blows to the anti-immigrant movement’s agenda.supreme-court-east-facade

On March 3, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by the cities of Hazle­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Farm­ers Branch, Texas, let­ting stand lower court rul­ings that had struck down both cities’ anti-immigrant ordi­nances.  Hazle­ton and Farm­ers Branch gained national noto­ri­ety when they passed ordi­nances bar­ring undoc­u­mented immi­grants from rent­ing prop­erty in the towns. 

In both cases, lower courts struck down the ordi­nances as uncon­sti­tu­tional and pre­empted by fed­eral law.  The Supreme Court’s orders deny­ing the appeals requests end the legal bat­tles, which have been ongo­ing since 2006, and secure a per­ma­nent vic­tory for immi­gra­tion and civil rights groups. 

On the same day as the Supreme Court’s orders, South Car­olina offi­cials set­tled a law­suit with immi­grant and civil rights groups over the state’s anti-immigrant laws.  In 2011 South Car­olina passed a law sim­i­lar to Arizona’s SB 1070 that, among other things, required local law enforce­ment to inves­ti­gate people’s immi­gra­tion sta­tus if they had rea­son to believe the per­son was undocumented. 

The pro­vi­sion, com­monly known as “papers please,” effec­tively required local law enforce­ment offi­cers to func­tion as immi­gra­tion enforcers.  In a let­ter sub­mit­ted to the court signed jointly by the Attor­ney Gen­eral and the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral, ear­lier this week South Car­olina agreed that local law enforce­ment would not hold peo­ple purely to deter­mine immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  The let­ter fur­ther con­ceded that the law does not per­mit state and local offi­cials to arrest or hold any­one believed to be undoc­u­mented “for any pur­pose, even to trans­fer the indi­vid­ual to fed­eral custody.”

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are major defeats for the anti-immigrant move­ment and its “attri­tion through enforce­ment” agenda. In the early to mid-2000s, the move­ment crafted this agenda, also known as “self-deportation.”

The goal was to make life so dif­fi­cult for immi­grants that they would “self-deport” from the city or state and move to another, or ulti­mately back to their coun­try of ori­gin.  Kris Kobach, the Kansas sec­re­tary of state and a lawyer with the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the extreme anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), is the mas­ter­mind behind attri­tion through enforce­ment and one of the lead­ers pro­mot­ing the agenda today. Kobach helped to draft and defend the ordi­nances in Farm­ers Branch, Hazel­ton, and many other cities as well as Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are part of a wider trend of defeat for the anti-immigrant move­ment.   Since the begin­ning of 2013 there has been a major decline in anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion intro­duced at the state level nation­wide. Pro-immigrant leg­is­la­tion is on the rise and the anti-immigrant move­ment is on the defense, attempt­ing to stop this influx of leg­is­la­tion instead of con­tin­u­ing to draft “attri­tion through enforce­ment” bills. These lat­est devel­op­ments send a clear mes­sage to the anti-immigrant move­ment and state and local leg­is­la­tors that anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion not only divides com­mu­ni­ties but it does not hold up in court.

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