Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Radicalization in the USA? "You betcha..."

Many deny radicalization is happening within American communities.

But it is - both inside and outside of the prison system.

Here are five of my favorite examples just from the past year...

On January 16, 2008 former congressman Mark Deli Siljander (left) was charged with a 42-count indictment stemming from an investigation into more then $130,000 that Siljander allegedly raised, laundered and provided to a U.S. designated global terrorist.

On March 5, 2008 former U.S. navy sailor and African American convert to Islam, Paul R. Hall (right) was convicted of disclosing classified material as well as supplying support to terrorists.

On June 6, 2008 the U.S. appeals court upheld the conviction of Ahmed Abu Ali, 28, (left) an American citizen who “turned to al-Qaeda” in 2001 after he began religious studies in Saudi Arabia. Raised just outside the nation’s capital, Ali was charged with planning to assassinate former President George W. Bush.

On June 13, 2008 three men from Ohio were convicted of planning attacks, in the U.S., against American soldiers in Iraq. The men engaged in combat training (including with firearms and explosives) both in the U.S. and in Iraq and attempted to solicit funds and engage in recruitment efforts to further their operation, which also included threats against the President.

On February 26, 2009, African American convert Christopher Paul (right) – member of al-Qaeda who fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia - was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction on U.S. soil;

On February 23, 2009 FBI Director Robert Mueller told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that young American Somali men were being radicalized and recruited for in Minnesota. Mueller said, “A man from Minneapolis (Shirwa Ahmed, left) became what we believe to the first citizen to carry out a suicide bombing… It raises the question of whether these young men one day come home, and, if so, what they might undertake here.” He also pointed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen as locations where young American men traveled to in hopes of joining the Jihadist cause.

Over the course of the last year, Pennsylvania has had three (one, two, three) criminal incidents, one resulting in the death of a police officer, that led to the arrest of five African American converts to Islam (four of whom converted while in prison); three of them dressed in hijabs to disguise themselves while committing the armed robbery of a bank.

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