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May 4, 2015 1

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.

garland-texas-twitter-threat

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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April 2, 2015 9

AFA Radio Host Bryan Fischer Tweets Offensive Holocaust Analogy

Bryan Fis­cher, a radio host and blog­ger for the Amer­i­can Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion (AFA), tweeted an offen­sive Holo­caust anal­ogy on April 1. Fis­cher likened the tem­po­rary clo­sure of a restau­rant in Indi­ana, whose own­ers said they would refuse to cater a gay wed­ding, to Kristall­nacht, a vio­lent pogrom car­ried out by Nazi storm troop­ers in Ger­many and Aus­tria in 1938.  Kristall­nacht led to the destruc­tion of thou­sands of Jew­ish syn­a­gogues, homes and busi­nesses as well as arrests and the deaths of Jews and opened the door to the per­se­cu­tion and destruc­tion of Euro­pean Jewry. Fis­cher also blamed the restaurant’s deci­sion to close due to the public’s neg­a­tive reac­tion on the “Gay Gestapo.”

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fis­cher

In Jan­u­ary 2015, the AFA dis­missed Fis­cher as a spokesper­son for the orga­ni­za­tion but he con­tin­ues to host a radio show for the AFA and to write blogs on the AFA web­site that demo­nize the LGBT community.

Fis­cher often invokes the Holo­caust to dis­cuss con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can polit­i­cal issues, par­tic­u­larly with regard to the LGBT com­mu­nity. He has made a num­ber of state­ments liken­ing LGBT activists to Nazis and con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians to Jews who were per­se­cuted under Hitler’s regime. He also com­pared the Supreme Court to Nazis after it struck down the Defense of Mar­riage Act in 2013.

There is no com­par­i­son between cur­rent polit­i­cal issues and the actions of Hitler’s regime dur­ing the Holo­caust. Such inap­pro­pri­ate analo­gies only serve to triv­i­al­ize the Holo­caust and are deeply offen­sive to Jews and other sur­vivors, as well as those Amer­i­cans who fought valiantly against the Nazis dur­ing World War II.

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March 13, 2015 1

Under Attack, ISIS Threatens Jews and Israel

Screenshot from the ISIS video

Screen­shot from the ISIS video

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) increas­ingly finds itself under attack in Iraq and Syria, it has used the mur­der of an indi­vid­ual it alleges was a Mossad spy to threaten Jews and Israel and thereby attempt to rally its supporters.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ments are reg­u­larly uti­lized as tools by ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing ISIS to build sup­port and mobi­lize followers.

The mur­der is depicted in a video with nar­ra­tion promis­ing to con­quer Jerusalem, prais­ing the killing of Jews, and refer­ring to anti-Semitic vio­lence in France. Like the threats ISIS issued against Israel this sum­mer, it main­tains that the group is cur­rently occu­pied in Syria and Iraq but aspires to attack Israel in the future.

Some quotes from the video include:

  • “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your fol­low­ers in your own strong­hold in France”
  • “As for the near-term, you will wit­ness the legions of the Khi­lafa pound­ing your lands and your fortresses. They will lib­er­ate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission”
  • “Today we say to you, the Islamic con­quests have begun, and the Jews have become fright­ened because the promise is near.”
  • “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem”

The video’s vic­tim, an Arab-Israeli named Mohamed Musal­lam, is shot on cam­era by a boy who appears to be between 10 and 12 years old. Both the boy and the man super­vis­ing him are appar­ently French cit­i­zens, accord­ing to offi­cials and news reports. Some experts believe that the man is Sabri Essid, report­edly the half-brother of Mohammed Merah. Merah is respon­si­ble for a 2011 shoot­ing in a Jew­ish school in Toulouse, France, that left four dead, includ­ing three children.

At its con­clu­sion, the video also names 13 other indi­vid­u­als, all of whom have Arab names, who it claims are spies for Israel. Sev­eral appear to be Musallam’s fam­ily mem­bers, includ­ing his father and brother. The video pro­vides their names and maps their addresses. It also pro­vides sev­eral pic­tures for most of the indi­vid­u­als it named. This infor­ma­tion was reposted in a JustPaste.it doc­u­ment that was also shared on Twitter.

Accord­ing to his fam­ily, Musal­lam had trav­eled to Syria to join ISIS but later changed his mind and wanted to leave the group.

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote "Here is teh good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow-God's willing - those cubs will kill the Jews."

An ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter wrote “Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.”

Some ISIS sup­port­ers attempted to ensure the video was seen by Israelis by pro­mot­ing the link with a trend­ing Hebrew-language hash­tag that trans­lates to “the end that they don’t tell you.”

ISIS sup­port­ers online also responded to the video with addi­tional anti-Semitic sen­ti­ments. One sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted, “For those who said why don’t you fight Israel. Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.” The term cubs is a ref­er­ence to youth being indoc­tri­nated to sup­port ISIS, such as the boy in the video. ISIS mil­i­tants are some­times referred to as lions.

ISIS and its sup­port­ers have used anti-Semitism and threats against Israel to appeal to fol­low­ers on mul­ti­ple occa­sions, includ­ing through  threats against Israel this sum­mer, a video issued in June 2014 that threat­ened Jews, and in a promi­nent speech by ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani that alleged Jews con­trol U.S. for­eign pol­icy and are respon­si­ble for Amer­i­can inter­ven­tion in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS sup­port­ers have also recently estab­lished a cyber-alliance with anti-Israel hack­ers in an attempt to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

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