Italian prosecutors criticize international terrorism “blacklists”

By Luigi Ferrarella Milan – “The mere insertion” of the name of a person “on the so-called blacklists” of suspected financiers of international Islamic terrorism, compiled by the UN and the Council of the European Union, along the lines of what the United States has done after the Twin Towers massacre of 11 September 2001, “cannot represent a relevant element against someone during a judicial procedure,” because “the insertion onto blacklists (and the subsequent freezing of assets ) takes place, with bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union, within the framework of a procedure that moves chiefly on the basis of political choices and proposals, that is, without the obligation that they are preceded by any definitive judicial establishment of facts.” But for exactly this reason, the blacklist “when it does not stem from any judicial inquiry,” can constitute “only a cue to start them or enrich them,” while…

Mosque leader accused of immigration fraud: Imam’s arrest sparks protest outside court

By Shelley Murphy The spiritual leader of a mosque in Sharon was arrested yesterday on federal immigration fraud charges, sparking a protest outside the courthouse in Boston by a group of religious leaders and civil rights advocates who called the case a witch hunt. Muhammad Masood, 49, imam of the 1,500 member Islamic Center of New England, is accused of lying repeatedly to federal immigration officials between 2002 and 2006 in a bid to obtain a green card and ultimately become a US citizen. The criminal charges follow administrative charges brought by immigration officials last year. That case also drew wide protest from local Muslim leaders, who have accused authorities of ignoring efforts to smooth relations with members of various cultures…

Muslim league chairman says Italy “full of dangerous fundamentalists”

Text of report by Italian newspaper La Stampa on 22 July [Interview with former Italian ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of Muslim League in Italy, by Giacomo Galeazzi in Rome; date not given: “‘Too Many Fanatics. Italy, Look Out'” – first paragraph is La Stampa introduction] Rome – “We are looking at real criminal activities here. It is no coincidence that the imam of Perugia is a Moroccan. Italy is full of dangerous fundamentalists who flee moderate Islamic countries and come over here to commit crimes, dealing in drugs and work permits.” [Former] Ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of the Muslim League in Italy, and a member of the Consultative Committee for Islam, was “very worried,” and made no secret of the fact. “The Perugia affair is a huge case of the inappropriate use of a place which ought to be devoted to religion – he said – Within the Islamic community there is a lack of any control, only the secret services can uncover such serious violations of the law.” He added: “An official register is needed for imams in Italy. And a training course is necessary. Monitoring of the Muslim community is needed. But this does not prevent an individual from carrying out illegal activities, such as those in Perugia, or as happened in Britain. In these instances, it is the intelligence services and the police which can intervene.” {[Galeazzi] So do you agree with the alert at the Viminale [interior ministry] over fundamentalism?} [Scialoja] Yes, without doubt [Interior] Minister Giuliano Amato has every cause. The Perugia investigation shows that threatening, underground networks are in action. Fortunately, the intelligence services and the DIGOS [Division for General Investigations and Special Operations] are proving to be efficient, and are being fairly successful in preventing crime, and bringing the crimes to light. According to information from my friends at the interior ministry, in Italy there 630 mosques and prayer rooms. Five have ended up under investigation for illegal activities, but often the examining magistrates have acquitted the people who have had reports made out against them. This is the point: the fact that the cases which have emerged are isolated, to date, does not make the phenomenon less worrying. They are extreme and dangerous fringe groups which take action in the shadows.

Italian magistrates investigate second imam in Perugia terror probe

There is another imam among the people placed under investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in Perugia. The man’s name is Muhammad El Absi, a member of the mosque in Pierantonio di Umbertide, not far from Ponte Felcino, the place where investigators claim the “school of terror” was located. During one of the searches on the preacher’s premises, a number of CDs were seized which, according to his defence, are “completely irrelevant”; in the view of his attorney, “there is no link with the charges contemplated over Ponte Felcino.” But the Pierantonio imam has reportedly ended up on the list of persons under investigation precisely because he used to frequent the mosque which is at the centre of the investigation. In the meantime, new details are emerging regarding the investigations currently under way. According to the case against him, the plans of Mustapha El Korchi, the imam currently under arrest, and of his collaborators were geared towards radicalizing the main mosques in Umbria. This fact appears to be confirmed by the heightening in recent months of conflicts within the Islamic community in Perugia, which culminated in the protests against the imam in Umbria’s main city [Perugia], which historically has been the expression of a moderate stance. But, according to the preventive detention warrant, the Ponte Felcino cell looked beyond this too, maintaining numerous contacts abroad.

Italian Police Charge Imam and 2 Aides With Training Terrorists

The Italian police were hunting for a fourth suspect on Sunday after arresting the imam of a mosque in central Italy and two of his aides over the weekend on suspicion of running a ”terror school” that trained children in bomb making and guerrilla combat. The police said they confiscated as many as 60 types of chemicals from the home of the imam, materials that they suspect could have been used for bomb making. All three of the men arrested were Moroccan. The police identified the imam as Korchi el-Mostapha, 41, and his two aides as Mohamed el-Jari, 47, and Driss Safika, 46. The raid was part of a two-year investigation that involved monitoring of telephone and Internet communications. Arturo De Felice, the police chief in Perugia, where the men were arrested, said investigators raided the mosque on Saturday morning. He said the imam’s home was near the mosque. The police said they found computer files including video and documents on weapons training and instructions on how to prepare poisons and explosives, pilot a Boeing 747 and send encrypted messages. The police also said the suspects had contacts with members of the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group who were arrested two years ago in Belgium. The Islamic group is believed to have ties to Al Qaeda and has been linked to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco. Chief De Felice said he did not believe that those arrested Saturday were planning an attack but rather were focusing on training. He said he was confident that the fourth suspect would be caught within days.

Terrorist threat raises fears in Italy, Germany

ITALY/ GERMANY: Italy and Germany experienced fresh concerns about Islamic terrorist activity over the weekend. Three Moroccans accused of running a “terror school” were arrested near Perugia, central Italy, last Saturday. On the same day Germany’s deputy interior minister August Hanning warned that al-Qaeda activists are targeting Germany for attack. Imam Korchi El Mostapha (41) and two aides, Mohammed El Jari (47) and Driss Safika (46), were arrested in a dawn raid in the village of Ponte Felcino, 7km north of the well-known Umbrian university town, Perugia. Anti-terror police reported they had found evidence of training in explosives and poisons, chemical supplies including cyanide and acids and instructions on how to fly a Boeing 747. “The evidence has shown that, in the Ponte Felcino mosque, there was sustained training for terrorist activity. We have discovered and neutralised a real “terror school, part of a widespread terrorist system made up of small cells that act on their own”, commented anti-terror police chief, Carlo De Stefano. According to police, activities at the mosque included the storage of potentially dangerous chemicals and the screening of films which contained instructions on bomb making, the detonation of bombs via mobile phone and on how to stage a bomb attack. Police also said that the three men arrested on Saturday had been in contact with the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, GICM, in Belgium two years ago. GICM is believed to have ties to al-Qaeda and may have had a role in attacks in Casablanca in 2003 and the Madrid train bombings of 2004. Saturday’s arrests were the result of a two-year investigation based in Perugia, a popular tourist destination and home to a prestigious University For Foreigners, where hundreds of international students are enrolled. In a related raid, 20 foreign students were also arrested whilst police have a warrant for another man, believed to have left Italy.

Germany Worried About Increased Terrorism Threat

Concerned about reports of German Islamists being trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan and an increased danger level, security officials and politicians are pushing to expand the catalogue of anti-terrorism measures. Security officials voiced concern over the weekend about a growing terrorism threat after a newspaper reported that German Islamists, who had been trained in camps in Pakistan, had returned to Germany in June. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said the German interior ministry knew about 14 Islamists from Germany who had been in Pakistan or were still there. It added that authorities were calculating that more individuals from Germany would be trained in al Qaeda-run terrorist camps.

Cartoon 4 caged

FOUR Muslims who raged in Britain against Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were jailed for a total of 22 years yesterday. They had joined 500 demonstrators outside the Danish Embassy in London 17 months ago, calling for terror atrocities. Judge Brian Barker told them at the Old Bailey: “You subjected the multicultural citizens of London to a constant barrage of hatred.” Abdul Muhid, 24, of Whitechapel, East London; Umran Javed, 27, of Birmingham, and Mizanur Rahman, 24, of Palmers Green, North London, got six years each for inciting murder. Abdul Saleem, 32, of Poplar, East London, got four years for race hate.

Islamic Creationist and a Book Sent Round the World

By CORNELIA DEAN In the United States, opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schools has largely been fueled by the religious right, particularly Protestant fundamentalism. The book says that creatures today are just like creatures that lived in the fossil past, so evolution must be impossible. Now another voice is entering the debate, in dramatic fashion. It is the voice of Adnan Oktar of Turkey, who, under the name Harun Yahya, has produced numerous books, videos and DVDs on science and faith, in particular what he calls the deceit inherent in the theory of evolution. One of his books, Atlas of Creation, is turning up, unsolicited, in mailboxes of scientists around the country and members of Congress, and at science museums in places like Queens and Bemidji, Minn.