Jersey City Islamic center fire under investigation

March 1, 2014

 

JERSEY CITY (WABC) — Authorities are trying to find out what caused a fire Friday morning at an Islamic center in Jersey City.
The blaze caused extensive water and fire damage at the Al Tawheed Islamic Center.
“All the rooms inside, everything and the roof, too, its big damage,” said Mohamed Osman, a mosque member.
It was around 5:30 a.m. Friday when flames and smoke were shooting through the roof of the mosque on Westside Avenue as several people were showing up for morning prayer.
Bilal Arshad never made it inside.
“All that smoke came in my face; I went away from the door. It was just, way too much to handle,” Arshad said.
By late morning, members of the mosque’s executive board made other arrangements for their midday prayer service.
It was held at the armory in Jersey City.
Investigators are now trying to figure out just how the fire began.
“My investigators have not given me any indication that they’re comfortable where it started yet, but we will, wherever it started, we will find out,” said Jim Shea, Jersey City Public Safety Director.
No one was injured in the blaze, which reached three-alarms. The structure was destroyed.
Firefighters were working in extreme cold conditions which caused water to freeze.

ABC: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_jersey&id=9448408

Young Couple Arrested in Netherlands for Assisting Girl’s Transit to Syria

January 15, 2014

 

Two individuals have been arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of helping a 15 year old girl travel to Syria. Friends of the girl contacted the police, who stopped the girl before she boarded a plane. The investigation into the girl’s plans led to the couple – a 20 year old man and 17 year old woman – who were then arrested.

Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/01/two_arrested_after_15-year-old.php

Islam, the Milanese Judges in the Abu Omar Case: “Extremists Cultivated in Viale Jenner”

January 15, 2014

 

The written judgment that sentenced Abu Omar to six years in prison for international terrorism explained that the sentence was greatly reduced due to unlawful seizure by the CIA and Omar’s subsequent unlawful detention.

For at least two years, between 2001 and 2003, in the mosques of Milan’s Viale Jenner and Via Quaranta Omar, the imam, would instruct his flock to sacrifice themselves in the “battle” of “all Muslims against all non-Muslims ” or Jihad which involves the duty to “kill people.” The spiritual guide was “one of the main nodes in Lombardy to the “terrorist group Ansar al- Islam, also linked to Osama bin Laden.“On 17 February 2003, Abu Omar, of Egyptian origin, was illegally seized through “extraordinary rendition” in Milan by the CIA and taken to Egypt, where he was also tortured.

THE INVESTIGATION The imam kidnapped by the CIA Abu Omar was sentenced to six years in jail for international terrorism, on the one hand there are dozens and dozens of pages of wiretaps and documents proving that the former imam recruited “soldiers” in Milan who were ready for “martyrdom” in Kurdistan and on the other hand the imam was unlawfully abducted by 007 Americans. According to the indictment, the CIA was given the green light by SISMI, the Italian military secret service.

According to the preliminary hearing judge Stefania Milan Donadeo, although Abu Omar does not deserve the “extenuating circumstances given the seriousness of the facts” and his ” dangerousness,” and in “accordance with Article 133 of the Penal Code, the court had to take into account the illegitimate detention suffered.” The kidnapping of former imams has been brought to light in 33 convictions.

The sentence for Abu Omar, who was brought to trial in absentia (he is still in Egypt) by deputy prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli, came almost 11 years after his abduction. Before being seized, the former imam had already been under investigation for international terrorism by Digos , coordinated by the anti-terrorism PMs Armando Spataro and Ferdinando Pomarici . According to the indictment, between 2001 and 2003 he was a member, along with 13 other foreigners, of an association, which had “the purpose of committing acts of violence for the purposes of terrorism in Italy and abroad.”

 

La Repubblica: http://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2014/01/15/news/islam_i_giudici_milanesi_su_abu_omar_cos_formava_martiri_in_viale_jenner-76042412/

Bolton science teacher arrested by counter-terrorism officers over Syria links

January 7, 2014

 

A science teacher from a Bolton school who was highly regarded by his pupils has been arrested on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism in Syria. Jamshed Javeed, who lives in Manchester and teaches at Sharples High School, was arrested by a regional counter-terrorism unit on 22 December, according to police.

It is understood that Mr Javeed, who is from Levenshulme, had not travelled to Syria, but was alleged to have been preparing to do so. Parents were sent a letter from the school’s headmistress. It said: “Mr Javeed, who is one of our science teachers, was arrested and is on bail, but not charged, as part of an investigation into concerns around possible travelling to Syria for reasons as yet unknown. I want to reassure you that there is no suggestion that Mr Javeed’s alleged activities have involved anyone at the school or the school itself.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “The investigation focuses on concerns over an individual travelling to Syria for purposes that are as yet unknown, but are believed to potentially involve terrorism. There is nothing to suggest that any of the wider community in Manchester has been under threat.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/bolton-science-teacher-arrested-by-counterterrorism-officers-over-syria-links-9045061.html

French spies plotted to assassinate Abu Hamza on streets of London

November 25, 2013

 

French spies planned to assassinate the extremist preacher Abu Hamza on a London street after they grew frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it has been claimed. According to a major investigation by the organisation HOPE Not Hate, French intelligence services dubbed the UK capital “Londonistan” because of a growing reputation for harbouring Europe’s Muslim fundamentalists.

Seeking to take advantage of the fear surrounding the London nail bombings by the neo-Nazi militant David Copeland, security officials from Britain’s European neighbour hatched a plot to kill the cleric and blame it on the far-right extremist group Combat 18. Spies got as far as identifying the weapons they would use to mimic those favoured by the organisation, and would have sent Hamza faked death threats pretending to be from the group. It is not clear why the plans were not carried out.

In a completely separate earlier plot, the French spying network Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) contemplated kidnapping Hamza from his West London home, putting him in a ferry and moving him to France. Those plans came amid fears that Algerian terrorists were going to target the 1998 football World Cup in France.

Reports of the two plots come from the extensive investigation entitled “Gateway to Terror” and published today by the HOPE Not Hate group. It looks into the influence of the now-banned al-Muhajiroun group and its links to Hamza and the British Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/french-spies-plotted-to-assassinate-abu-hamza-on-streets-of-london-8961725.html

Gateway to terror: British Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary ‘sent hundreds to join al-Qa’ida in Syria’

November 25, 2013

 

A network of groups led by the Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has become the “single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history”, according to a major investigation. Groups linked to Mr Choudary have “facilitated or encouraged” up to 80 young Muslims from the UK – and 250 to 300 people from across Europe – to join al-Qa’ida-linked forces fighting President Assad in Syria, the Hope Not Hate report suggests.

The investigation also highlights links between Mr Choudary’s al-Muhajiroun network and the perpetrators of several major terrorist attacks, including the 7/7 suicide bombings in London. Mr Choudary is known for his controversial statements and has developed a reputation as a pantomime villain, but Hope Not Hate said he should be considered a “serious player on the international Islamist scene”.

Despite two decades of activism, the 46-year-old Briton has only ever been fined £500 for organising an illegal protest outside the Danish embassy in London over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In January 2010, shortly before he become Prime Minister, David Cameron said Mr Choudary needed “to be looked at seriously” because he strays “extremely close to the line of encouraging hatred, extremism and violence”. In June, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told a Commons committee that they were “constantly assessing” whether any of Mr Choudary’s “proclamations are breaking the criminal law”.

The report stressed there was no evidence he or his associate Omar Bakri Mohamed had “directly instigated any terror plots”, but added: “We do believe they have given people the encouragement to take extreme actions”. The Syrian-born Mohamed founded the now-banned group al-Muhajiroun, but was refused permission to return to Britain after going to Lebanon.

Hope Not Hate said at least 70 people linked to al-Muhajiroun and its successor organisations had been convicted of terrorism, terrorist-related offences in the UK or died overseas during the last 14 years. The report claimed the 7/7 suicide bombers had links to al-Muhajiroun network. The report said Mr Choudary had “his own international network of affiliated and partner organisations” that often used the name Sharia4 followed by the name of the country, such as Sharia4Pakistan. This network was “best described as the Global Sharia Network”.

Mr Choudary said the idea that his groups were a “gateway to terror” was “fanciful thinking” by Hope Not Hate. “We’re not a gateway to anything,” he said. “Hope Not Hate have jumped on the so-called terrorism bandwagon. They are trying to point the finger at us for everything since 9/11.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/gateway-to-terror-british-islamic-preacher-anjem-choudary-sent-hundreds-to-join-alqaida-in-syria-8960883.html

“Industrial” Islam

October 19, 2013

 

In Catalonia, mosques continue to be pushed further away from the city centers and placed into industrial spaces.
From the 200 existing mosques in Catalonia, between 15 and 20 of them are located at industrial spaces, according to sociologist expert Jordi Moreras. Moreover, an investigation by the Mossos d’ Esquadra (local police) warned about the radical expansion of Salafism in these small mosques. Of the five places of worship which cultivate salafism, four of them are located in industrial spaces: Tarragona, Reus, Roda de Bara, and Torredembarra.

 

El Pais: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/10/19/catalunya/1382203257_281728.html

Religious, civil rights groups demand investigation of NYPD spying

October 25, 2013

 

A coalition of 125 religious, civil rights, and community-based organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday (Oct. 24) urging a civil rights investigation into a New York City Police Department program that spies on Muslims.

Groups from several faith traditions signed the letter including the Presbyterian Church (USA), the National Council of Jewish Women, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Sikh Coalition. Civil rights groups include the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, South Asian Americans Leading Together, and the National Network for Arab American Communities.

The NYPD program is already the target of two federal lawsuits, one filed in June by the ACLU and the City University of New York Law School’s Center for Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility, and the other filed in June 2012, by several Muslim plaintiffs represented by Muslim Advocates and the law firm Bhalla and Cho.

“Putting a class of Americans under surveillance based on their religion is a clear violation of our Constitution’s guarantees of equality and religious freedom,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, said in a statement. “The NYPD’s surveillance program has stigmatized Muslims as suspect and had deeply negative effects on their free speech, association, and religious practice.”

 

www.religionnews.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/25/religious-civil-rights-groups-demand-investigation-nypd-spying/

CAIR-CT, NAACP Seek Investigation of Hate Graffiti

October 25, 2013

 

The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) and the New London Chapter of the NAACP today called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate hate graffiti scrawled on a New London sidewalk.

CAIR said a local resident discovered the graffiti as she was walking to work early Friday morning. The phrase “Get a job blacks” and a Nazi swastika were spray-painted on the side walk facing a house where an African-American family lives.

Later today, CAIR-CT, NAACP New London, City and faith leaders will hold a press conference to address this disturbing incident.

 

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12226-cair-ct-naacp-seek-investigation-of-hate-graffiti.html

Feds charge New York home improvement store clerk with trying to join al-Qaida-related group

October 19, 2013

 

For 25 years Marcos Alonso Zea lived in America, working most recently as a clerk at a home improvement store on New York’s Long Island.

But federal authorities have arrested the U.S.-born man, charging him with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, attempting to support terrorists and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and obstruction of justice.
Zea, who nodded at his parents as he was escorted into the court room at his arraignment Friday, pleaded not guilty and was detained without bail.

“Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country and attempted to travel to Yemen to join a terrorist organization and commit murder,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said.

Federal prosecutors accused Zea of planning to travel overseas to wage violent jihad on the perceived enemies of Islam, including Yemen’s secular government.

They said he flew to London en route to Yemen in January to join Ansar al-Sharia, which the U.S. has declared an alias for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. But he was rejected by customs officials in the United Kingdom and returned to the United States.

Zea was inspired by terrorist propaganda, said George Venizelos, head of the FBI’s New York office.

Among violent Islamic extremist materials found on Zea’s computer, authorities said, were issues of an al-Qaida publication that promotes violent jihad. The publication contained articles such as “Which is Better: Martyrdom or Victory?” “’Why did I choose al Qaeda?” and “What to Expect in Jihad?”

Investigators said they also found an al-Qaida-produced video depicting detonation of an explosive device on a vehicle carrying western military personnel.

After learning he was under investigation, Zea directed an associate to erase a hard drive on his home computer and gave an associate two more hard drives to destroy, though investigators recovered them anyway, authorities said.

Lynch said once investigators were on his trail, “he engaged in a desperate effort to cover his tracks by attempting to destroy evidence — a tactic that only confirmed his violent aims.”

Kaliebe, who was arrested in January as he tried to board a plane in New York to go to Yemen, has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support.

He told a judge at his plea hearing that he had brought money to give to the al-Qaida group and he had discussed with others his desire to support the group by “providing money, equipment and ourselves.” A prosecutor said the government had audio recordings of Kaliebe expressing his desire to join al-Qaida in Yemen.

He awaits sentencing in December.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the arrest “a vivid reminder of the threat we continue to face from domestic Islamic terrorists.”
Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/feds-charge-new-york-home-improvement-store-clerk-with-trying-to-join-al-qaida-related-group/2013/10/19/71ba7e32-387e-11e3-89db-8002ba99b894_story.html