Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retail Terrorism

The recent arrest of Massachusetts terrorists suspect Tarek Mehanna, 27, has reignited fears over the possibility of attacks in our nation's malls... what some would call, the very life force of our capitalist system.

The FBI warned of
shopping center plots in Los Angeles and Chicago as recently as 2007, but little had materialized since.

Mehanna, who wanted to start shooting up a crowded mall, is not the only Western terrorist to think about gunning down or blowing up the Sunday shopping crowd.

Here are some other "retail terrorists" (as I like to call them) who had the same thought...

American born Derrick Shareef, now a U.S. inmate in his mid-twenties, became a more traditional Muslim after a stint with the Nation of Islam. But in 2006, Shareef was arrested in Illinois for plotting to use hand grenades to kill Christmas shoppers at a local mall.

Sulejman Talovic, 18 at the time of his death, was a Bosnian refugee who had escaped the horrors of war when he was relocated to the United States by the United Nations in the 1990s with his family.

A loner who had numerous run-ins with the cops, he was shot and killed by responding law enforcement in February 2007 after he
opened fire in crowded Salt Lake City shopping mall.

British school teacher Saeed Ghafoor, now a 35 year old inmate in the U.K., was charged with terrorism related offenses when it was discovered he was planning an attack on Europe's second largest shopping center using a limousine as an improvised explosive device from his jail cell where he was being held on charges of assault against family member.

Although no definitive plans were made, members of the Chechen network - a European terror network broken up in 2004 - had discussed releasing the deadly toxin Ricin into a crowded shopping mall.

At the heart of the network was the first family of French Muslim terrorism, the
Benchellalis who recruited young European Muslims and smuggled them to and from training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan (one of the sons, Mourad [pictured] even wound up in Guantanamo Bay as a detainee!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Muslims in America

In the new Pew report, Mapping the Global Muslim Population, the Pew Center claims that there are 2.45 million Muslims in America. In my year long (plus) research into radical Islam in the prison system, I examined the question of how many Muslims there are in the U.S.

There is no official figure for the Muslim American population.
Estimates from various sources calculate the population to be as few as two million or as many as seven million individuals, or roughly 2% of the total U.S. population. The very highest estimates place the number of American Muslims at eight or nine million. Despite the lack of authoritative data, the most commonly cited figure for the Muslim American population is somewhere between six or seven million.

But even if the Muslim American population does not exceed four million, this number still represents a six-fold increase since just 1970.

Muslims in the U.S. represent everything but a monolithic block, and are as diverse in perspective as any other racial, religious, or ethnic group in America.

Although more then half of U.S. Muslims are immigrants, no single national group comprises more then 12% of the total Muslim population, within which more then seventy different countries are represented. As a group, American Muslims represent a geographical and cultural microcosm of the world at large.

No single racial group dominates the Muslim community either; in fact Muslims represent an almost equal proportion of White, Black, Asian, and mixed race individuals, with Black Muslims usually cited as representing a slightly larger majority.

The Hispanic Muslim population in America is also beginning to swell and, over the past seven years, the population of Hispanic converts has grown into a significantly noticeable minority. Hispanics make up 12.5% of the U.S. population but it is estimated that Hispanic Muslims represent 10% of all native-born Muslims but only 1% to 6% of all Muslim Americans.

Estimates have placed the entire community of Hispanic Muslims anywhere between 40,000 and 200,000 individuals, most whom are women. The growing number of Hispanic Muslims have not gone unnoticed by Muslim American organizations (some created by Hispanic converts exclusively for Hispanic converts) and the national Muslim leadership who have undertaken efforts to “attract” curious Hispanics to Islam after 9/11.

Hispanic Magazine claims there are almost 400,000 Hispanic Muslims in the U.S. based on estimates made by “Muslim organizations,” although these organizations are not named.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

The following was an excerpt from my 2009 piece entitled, Prislam: The Recruitment and Radicalization of Terrorist Operatives in the Prison System and the Threat to the American Homeland.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Terrorist Sentencing and the Problem With Early Release

Nothing ever good came from releasing hardened terrorists from prison early.

And, no... I'm not talking about people like the Uighers either.

I'm talking about the guys who have been convicted of terrorist related offenses, served time and then get out.

Now I know there is, of course, no stopping the evolution of justice. If one commits a crime for which they are found guilty and they serve out the duration of their sentence in prison without incident, then they, by all fair and just democratic standards, must be released.

But what if they remain a threat to society?

It was reported Monday in the British press

"Up to 30 “high-risk” terrorists — including some of the most dangerous men in Britain — are due to be released from jail in the next year. More are being freed in the wake of a ruling by Britain’s most senior judges that long sentences for terrorist crimes could “inflame” rather than deter extremism."

It is surprising that the Brits are letting these guys go, especially after the uproar last March, when the newspaper headlines read:

"Radical Muslim terrorist released from prison early to ease overcrowding"

A story which led to new headlines, including:

"Early release of terrorists prompts Straw to rethink prisons policy"

In prison, out of prison.... either way radicalism is a problem. But outside of prison, the potential to act on that radicalism is magnified.

Let me give you some examples.

Safe Bourada, a French-Algerian terrorist, was convicted in 1998 for a terrorist attack in Paris in 1995. His sentence? Ten years. Which means he was set to be released in 2008. Now I'm not saying five extra years in the pen would have reformed his warped mind, but after he was released in 2003 he went on to create a new terror cell (converting two of his operatives to Islam) for which he was rearrested in 2005. Sad Safe is pictured, left, at his second terrorism trial in France.

But if he had not been released early, would things have been different?

British national Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the man convicted of participating in the kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl, was first thrown into an Indian prison in 1994 for his role in the kidnapping of a group of British tourists in India. But he was later traded to the Taliban for the release of another set of hostages in 1999.

He went on to train in the Taliban's terrorist camps before pilfering Pearl.

Allekema Lamari member of the Madrid train bomb network which launched an attack which killed 191 people, spent five years in prison for belonging to a terrorist organization. In prison, his extremists views were nurtured and strengthened.

Mitch Silbur of the New York Police Department Intelligence Unit writes about Lamari:

"Allekema Lamari, who had been arrested in 1997 for belonging to an Algerian extremist group, had already been radicalized. However, according to open source, his five year stint in prison nurtured his extremist views and actually intensified his radical mindset. During his incarceration, Lamari joined an Algerian Islamist prison group."

So basically, the authorities knew he was bad news when they let him go, but they had to let him go anyway.

Raphael Gendron (right), a French convert to Islam, was imprisoned for inciting hatred against non-Muslims in 2006. After his release, this high level al Qaeda recruiter was busted with buddy Bassam Ayachi (left) for human smuggling. While in prison, the two were discovered planning an attack on the Charles de Gaulle airport from their cell!

Safe to say, that doesn't bode well for their case.

Members of the Martyrs for Morocco, the group that launched a plot against the Spanish National court, created the organization in prison and recruited inmates, some who went on to be released in hopes of making the plot operational.

The point is, many of those who are actively engaged in the fight against terrorism on a professional level will tell you, the best way to get terrorists is to catch them in the act of a minor crime since conspiracy to commit terrorism is a much more difficult crime to prove in court.

But that also means that sometimes, the system is unable to hand down a significantly deterring sentence as punishment for these terrorists. We need to make sure that if these operatives and their associates present a threat to national security, they are punished and continue to be so accordingly.

Friday, October 2, 2009

GILAD SHALIT is ALIVE (told you so!)

Gilad Shalit is alive and well!

New video released by HAMAS, shows a skinny but healthy twenty-three year old Shalit, smiling, walking and reading.

The video, with subtitles, is below.

But we CANNOT stop now - he still needs safe passage home.

Contact your local government official or Embassy and voice your concern about this extremely important issue.

For more posts on Gilad visit Gilad Shalit In Pictures and then check out the spectacularly successful campaign I created and launched to #Tweet4Shalit this past August.