British Army seeks to recruit more Muslim troops

British Muslims share information about Islam during Islam Awareness Week at the army's headquarters in Andover. (Photo: Library, UK Government/Armed Forces)
British Muslims share information about Islam during Islam Awareness Week at the army’s headquarters in Andover. (Photo: Library, UK Government/Armed Forces)

More must be done to recruit soldiers from ethnic minorities and in particular the Muslim community, the Head of the British Army has admitted. General Sir Nicholas Carter, who took up the role of Chief of the General Staff last year, said that ethic minority representation in the military is “nowhere near where it needs to be”.

“We have to do more. My highest priority is ensuring we continue to have the best possible talent throughout our Army,” he said. Figures released by the Ministry of Defence reveal there are only 480 Muslims serving in Army.

That is only 0.54% of the total regular force of 88,500. Moreover, not all of those Muslims are British – some joined from Commonwealth countries. Overall, all ethnic minorities – including black, Asian, Sikh, Hindu and Fijian people – make up less than 10% of the force.

The military’s Islamic Religious Advisor welcomed General Carter’s comments.
“In my view, the values of the Armed Forces are fully compatible with the values of Islam as well as other faiths,” said Imam Asim Hafiz.

“Anybody wishing to pursue a career in the Services, Regular or Reserve, and is prepared to work hard can be assured of a very rewarding experience.”

Senior figures in the military and Ministry of Defence recognise that conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to negative perceptions of the military in Muslim communities. General Carter wants that to change through closer interaction and engagement with ethnic minority communities.

Debate stirs over US-Taliban captive swap

June 2, 2014

WASHINGTON — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can expect a buoyant homecoming after five years in Taliban hands, but those in the government who worked for his release face mounting questions over the prisoner swap that won his freedom.

Even in the first hours of Bergdahl’s handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate in Washington over whether the exchange will heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees — several senior Taliban figures among them — would find their way back to the fight.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Bergdahl’s health and safety appeared in jeopardy, prompting rapid action to secure his release. “Had we waited and lost him,” said national security adviser Susan Rice, “I don’t think anybody would have forgiven the United States government.”

And in Kabul Monday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry called the swap “against the norms of international law” if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees’ will. The ministry said: “No state can transfer another country’s citizen to a third country and put restriction on their freedom.”

Tireless campaigners for their son’s freedom, Bob and Jani Bergdahl thanked all who were behind the effort to retrieve him. “You were not left behind,” Bob Bergdahl told reporters, as if speaking to his son. “We are so proud of the way this was carried out.” He spoke in Boise, Idaho, wearing a long bushy beard he’d grown to honor his son, as residents in the sergeant’s hometown of Hailey prepared for a homecoming celebration.

In weighing the swap, U.S. officials decided that it could help the effort to reach reconciliation with the Taliban, which the U.S. sees as key to more security in Afghanistan. But they acknowledged the risk that the deal would embolden insurgents.

Republicans pressed that point. “Have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?” asked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?”

Europa exports jihadists, case of Spain

March 20, 2014

 

Between fifty to a hundred Spanish individuals are believed to have joined jihadist groups. Most of them come from Ceuta and Melilla, where networks are working to recruit and dispatch Jihadist volunteers.
The route from Syria to Spain via Ceuta begins with the transfer by ferry to Algeciras and then by taking a plane to Istanbul from Malaga or Madrid. Once in Turkey , internal flights take them to the border province of Hatay. From this point on, Jihadists groups, such as Jabhat al Nusra or The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are in charge of bringing them into Syria.

One of the Ceutis that did this route was Rachid Wahbi who along with five other boys of the autonomous city, left for Syria. This taxi driver was 33 years old when he immolated himself in a suicide attack with a truck full of explosives into the headquarters of the Army of Al Assad in the city of Idlib , as evidenced in a video posted on the Internet .

 

Source: http://www.esglobal.org/La-Lista-Europa-exporta-yihadistas#.UysnNrsBZPo.twitter

Washington: Arrested Man Is Accused of Seeking to Join Militants in Syria

March 18, 2014

 

A California man who prosecutors said was on his way to Syria to join a Qaeda group was arrested on Monday near the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash., on a terrorism charge, federal officials said. The Department of Justice said in a statement that the man, Nicholas Teausant, 20, an American-born convert to Islam, had planned to cross into Canada and travel to Syria to join Islamist militants. A student at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., he was also a private in the United States Army National Guard but was in the process of being released as of December, according to the complaint.

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/us/politics/washington-arrested-man-is-accused-of-seeking-to-join-militants-in-syria.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%231&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry19%23%2FIslam%2F7days%2Fallresults%2F2%2Fallauthors%2Fnewest%2F

Seven-year sentence for Laurel man who tried to join up with al-Shabab terrorist group

January13, 2014

 

A 26-year-old Laurel man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison after he admitted traveling to Africa to try to join the terrorist group al-Shabab and trashing his home computer so federal investigators could not track him, authorities said.
Craig Baxam was arrested by Kenyan authorities in December 2011, and he soon told FBI agents of his haphazard plan to elude them and connect with al-Shabab because he wanted to live somewhere that rigorously adhered to sharia, or Islamic, law, court papers say. He pleaded guilty to a charge of destroying records that might be used in a terrorism investigation and received the seven-year sentence as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, authorities said.

Federal investigators have long worked to root out so-called homegrown terror suspects, and Special Agent Stephen E. Vogt, who heads the FBI’s Baltimore division, said in a statement that Baxam’s case “highlights the FBI’s highest investigative priority, the prevention of terrorist acts.” But the resolution of the case seems to demonstrate that Baxam did not precisely fit the bill of a would-be terrorist.

Baxam was not convicted of the initial charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and his attorney, Linda Moreno, said he never advocated specific violence, nor did he procure weapons or attend any terrorist training camps.
A 2005 graduate of Laurel High School who was born in Takoma Park, Baxam had experience in the Army and admitted to investigators that he was willing to commit violence, according to the criminal complaint against him. But he said that he felt offensive jihad was questionable, and his main use for violence would be to defend al-Shabab’s Somali territories from potential invaders, according to the complaint.

Moreno said that the violence he spoke of was only hypothetical, “based on interviews with the FBI where the FBI asked him what if this happened, what if that happened, what if the following.”

“Craig wanted to live and practice his religion in a country where he felt that Muslims were not oppressed,” Moreno said. “This was not a terrorism case.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/seven-year-sentence-for-laurel-man-who-tried-to-join-up-with-al-shabaab-terrorist-group/2014/01/13/539c5d8a-7c80-11e3-95c6-0a7aa80874bc_story.html

The Army takes measures in face of the eruption of radicalism in its ranks

November 18, 2013

 

The Army is concerned about the outbreaks of “ideological, religious or criminal” radicalism in its ranks and has implemented a monitoring system to neutralize the suspects. “The conduct of these individuals is a weakness for the institution and may pose a threat to security,” declared a member of the Army office.

 

El Pais: http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/11/18/actualidad/1384805934_740169.html?rel=rosEP

Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) note

December 12, 2013

 

We, the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) view with concern the alarming news about the replacing of Muslim staff and of other religious convictions in certain areas of the Army, based on of religious prejudice and discrimination.

 

UCIDE: http://www.ucide.org/es/content/defensa-y-lealtad-demostrada-espa%C3%B1

Fort Hood gunman who killed 13 forcibly shaved in military prison

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shooting rampage has been forcibly shaved, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan began growing a beard in the years after the November 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 30 wounded. The beard prompted delays to his court-martial because it violated Army grooming regulations. He was convicted of all charges last month at his court-martial at the Central Texas Army post and sentenced to death.

Now, Hasan is an inmate at the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., home to the military death row. Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday that Hasan had been shaved. He did not specify when or provide details, however.

Officials at Fort Leavenworth previously had said Hasan would be subject to Army regulations.

Hasan said he grew the beard because his Muslim faith required it and was not meant as a show of disrespect. However, Col. Gregory Gross, the original judge presiding over Hasan’s court-martial, ordered Hasan to be clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved before his trial.

The dispute over that decision led to appeals that delayed the trial by more than three months before the appeals court ousted the judge. The appeals court ruled that Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over Hasan’s case and that the command, not a judge, is responsible for enforcing military grooming standards.

 

McCain Slams Fox’s Kilmeade for Objecting to ‘Allahu Akbar’: Like ‘Christian Saying Thank God’

Arizona Senator John McCain pushed back against Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, and their earlier guest Laura Ingraham, strongly announcing that he was not “bailing out” PresidentBarack Obama, and that the Syrian Free Army was not comprised of Muslim extremists, but moderates whom the U.S. should be arming.

Host Brian Kilmeade played a clip of Syrian rebels yelling, “Allahu Akbar” after shooting down a fighter jet, and wondered if McCain, who had met with Syrian rebels, was comfortable supporting an army that might contain “Muslim extremists.”

“I have a problem helping those people if they’re screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said.

McCain was flabbergasted. “You have a problem with that? Would you have a problem with an American, a Christian, saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on. Of course they’re Muslims. But they’re moderates, and I guarantee you that they are moderates. I know them and I’ve been with them. For someone to say ‘Allahu Akbar’ is about as offensive as someone saying ‘thank God.’”

 

Military jury sentences Army psychiatrist to death for 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas — A military jury on Wednesday sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, handing the Army psychiatrist the ultimate punishment after a trial in which he seemed to be courting martyrdom by making almost no effort to defend himself.

 

The 13-member panel spent less than two hours deliberating privately, and the president — or forewoman– announced the finding in open court with a clear voice, that Hasan “be put to death.”

The rare military death sentence came nearly four years after the attack that stunned even an Army hardened by more than a decade of constant war. Hasan walked into a medical building where soldiers were getting medical checkups, shouted “Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great!” — and opened fire with a laser-sighted handgun. Thirteen people were killed and 32 others were wounded.

 

The convicted killer said nothing as the decision was announced, and had appeared emotionless earlier in the morning when dramatic closing arguments in the sentencing phase were held without his participation.

 

The judge quickly accepted the verdict; the matter now goes to the “convening authority” — an Army general who will review the four-week court-martial proceedings and make the binding decision whether to accept the guilty verdict and capital sentence.

 

It is a process that could take a few more months, and only then will the verdicts become official.

The convening authority has the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison without parole. The defendant will then have the right to appeal through the military justice system.

 

Appeals could take years

 

If swift justice is the goal, history may not be on Hasan’s or the government’s side. The last military execution was in 1961, and only five servicemen face lethal injection. Three are African-American, two are white.

 

If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won’t let him go down without a fight — whether he likes it or not.  But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won’t be allowed to represent himself.

The mandatory appellate process could take years, even if Hasan voluntarily foregoes many of the procedural steps available to any defense.

 

John Galligan, a retired Army colonel who was Hasan’s former lead civilian counsel, said he doesn’t believe Hasan is seeking execution, as his appointed standby lawyers at trial have suggested. He has met with Hasan frequently during the trial and said several civilian attorneys — including anti-death penalty activists — have offered to take on his appeal. Galligan estimates the military has already spent more than $6 million on Hasan’s trial. He said that will triple during appeals, which he believes will take longer than Hasan’s remaining life expectancy.