France claims Islamic State links to ‘imminent’ terror plot uncovered

French authorities claimed Friday the Islamic State had a direct hand in helping five suspected militants plot “imminent attacks” against possible targets including Paris police hubs and Euro Disney.

French police had earlier said they believed they had foiled attacks planned for Dec. 1 against the Paris headquarters of police and intelligence officers and the Disney theme park, which is especially popular during the holiday season.

But the latest details, made public by a senior prosecutor, draw alleged links to the Islamic State and a core network of suspects — four French citizens who were longtime friends. The suspected fifth plotter, a homeless Moroccan man, was arrested in the southern port of Marseille.

A raid Sunday in Strasbourg uncovered firearms and instructions from “the Iraqi-Syrian region” to acquire more weapons, said Paris prosecutor François Molins. Also found were documents professing allegiance to the Islamic State, he said.

“The state of the threat is and remains particularly high,” Molins said.

The names of the Strasbourg suspects were given only as Yassin B., Hicham M., Samy B. and Zakaria M. Icham E., the suspect arrested in Marseille, was homeless, Molins said.

The revelation of the foiled plot comes before the second and final round of France’s conservative presidential primaries on Sunday. Throughout the campaign, the issue of national security has dominated.

“Obviously, these terrorist have chosen a specific moment: the elections,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism, a Paris-based think tank. “It means the terrorists have a clear political strategy, because, of course, their actions would have an affect in benefiting the extremists.”

 

I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump.

Asra Q. Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement.

A lot is being said now about the “silent secret Trump supporters.”

This is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of color” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some “whitelash.”

In the winter of 2008, as a lifelong liberal and proud daughter of West Virginia, a state born on the correct side of history on slavery, I moved to historically conservative Virginia only because the state had helped elect Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States.

Tuesday evening, just minutes before the polls closed at Forestville Elementary School in mostly Democratic Fairfax County, I slipped between the cardboard partitions in the polling booth, a pen balanced carefully between my fingers, to mark my ballot for president, coloring in the circle beside the names of Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence.

French government under pressure from mayors to release watch list

The French government is resisting pressure from conservative mayors who are demanding access to a confidential list of security suspects, including thousands suspected of Islamist radicalization.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said this week he would not provide the information to mayors who want to act against – presumably by trying to expel – residents of their cities and towns who appear on the so-called S File or S List.

Cazeneuve in a newspaper interview pointed out that people on the list, while they are monitored, are not subject to an arrest warrants “because there is no proof that they are really dangerous. They are only suspects.”

“The need for confidentiality in the investigations is essential,” he added. “Thanks to the confidentiality in the investigations, we have arrested 355 people linked to terrorist networks since January.”

Cazeneuve said the government should find a way to involve mayors in the process of preventing radicalization, but without hampering the efficiency of the intelligence agencies and their work.

Last month Guy Lefrand, the conservative mayor of Evreux, a small town in Normandy, asked intelligence and police agencies to provide him with names of people on the S List living in his city and suspected of being radicalized.

“France is under a state of emergency, and it is the duty of the state to give us access to the S List,” he told reporters at the time. “If the state won’t provide this information, I demand that they take the responsibility for removing these people from my town.”

Several other mayors joined their voices to Lefrand’s. The Association of Mayors of France plans to meet with Cazeneuve in the coming weeks to discuss the issue.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president who is running for a fresh term in elections next year, has promised that if he is elected he will immediately organize a referendum to ask whether citizens agree those listed in the S List should be subject to administrative detention.

First created in 1969, the S (the S stands for State Security) List includes the names of people considered potentially dangerous and therefore subject to surveillance by police and intelligence agencies.

Those listed include gangsters, anarchists, unionists, anti-nuclear campaigners and suspected Islamist radicals or Muslims in the process of radicalization. It includes people who have visited jihadist websites, met with radicals outside mosques in France, or traveled – or tried to travel – to Syria to join the jihad.

Today some 20,000 people are listed, of whom around 10,500 are suspected radicals or individuals in the process of becoming radicalized, according to numbers published at the beginning of 2016. The individuals are under physical and phone surveillance but are only subject to arrest if they commit a crime, or are suspected to be ready to do so.

The list is overseen by France’s internal and external security agencies, and only their staffers, along with senior government officials, have access. Even where police are instructed to monitor someone listed, the agencies do not generally give reasons.

Nathalie Goulet, a center-right senator and vice-chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee, initially supported divulging the names of listed people, but has changed her position.

“I agree with Interior Minister Cazeneuve not to give names to mayors or to anyone else,” she said in a phone interview. “I think it is important that intelligence agencies work in confidentiality. And don’t forget that not only does the list encompass a lot of different people, not all linked to terrorism or radicalization, but that they have not been prosecuted.”

Goulet said some of the mayors who are pressuring Cazeneuve are motivated by the upcoming elections.

“They know that there are only presumptions against the listed people, and nothing else,” she added.

 

Demographic changes reflected in the Finnish name calendar

Name days are a tradition in Finland with roots already in the 14th century going back to the tradition of naming days of the year by Christian saints. Today, all Finnish calendars have a certain or several female and male names added to each of the days of the year and thus the “name day” can be individually celebrated by 84 % of the Finnish population. The National Broadcasting Company YLE reported in June, that Muslims names are to be added to the calendars in the future. Since the 1980’s new names have been added to the calendar by their frequency and since 2010 the requirement has been over 500 Finnish native speakers having the given name. The decision on which name will be added to the national calendars are made in the official calendar office of the Helsinki University and the calendars are updated accordingly every five years.

Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, lecturer in onomastics at the University of Helsinki, commented in an interview for YLE, that popular Muslim names such as Mohammed and Omar will be added to calendars. At the moment there are about 200 persons who are native Finnish speakers and have been named Mohammed, for the name Omar the number is over 100. Saarelma-Paukkala noted that although with the current demographic developments, also partly due to families of mixed cultures Muslim names will reach the requirement of 500 individuals, the addition of the name to the calendar will be discussed separately with the Muslim community as name-days are not an Islamic tradition.

Funding Islamophobia: $206m went to promoting ‘hatred’ of American Muslims

Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California Berkeley report names 74 groups they say contributed to Islamophobia in the US
Inciting hate toward American Muslims and Islam has become a multimillion-dollar business, according to a report released on Monday.
Released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) and University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, the report names 74 groups it says contribute in some way to Islamophobia in the US. Of those groups, it says, the primary purpose of 33 “is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims”.
The core group, which includes the Abstraction FundClarion ProjectDavid Horowitz Freedom CenterMiddle East ForumAmerican Freedom Law Center, Center for Security PolicyInvestigative Project on TerrorismJihad Watch and Act! for America, had access to almost $206m of funding between 2008 and 2013, the report said.

Psych exam ordered for man accused of threatening military

CLEVELAND — A federal judge has ordered a man charged with soliciting people to kill members of the military to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he’s competent to stand trial.
Cleveland.com reports (http://bit.ly/29c333x ) that U.S. District Judge Dan Polster ordered the evaluation Monday after 23-year-old Terrence McNeil appeared to laugh when the judge told him he could face life in prison if convicted of solicitation of a crime of violence and threatening military personnel.
Authorities say McNeil posted online the names and addresses of more than 100 military personnel and asked people to kill them on behalf of the Islamic State group. He was indicted in December.

Rennes: Girl attacked by man who wanted to make ‘sacrifice for Ramadan’

Source: http://www.lepoint.fr/faits-divers/rennes-attaquee-par-un-desequilibre-qui-voulait-tuer-pour-le-ramadan-14-06-2016-2046654_2627.php

June 14, 2016

 

A teenage girl was seriously injured in a stabbing attack in Rennes when a man assaulted her on the street. The attacker, who has a history of psychiatric problems, claimed that he needed to make “a sacrifice for Ramadan.”

 

The girl, 19, was stabbed two times in the wrist and once in abdomen, Rennes prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told journalists, adding that her wounds are not life-threating.

 

The girl’s assailant told a witness that he was a Muslim. He was immediately detained by police at the scene of the crime and later told officers that he was obeying voices in his head that had ordered him to make a sacrifice for Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting that began on June 6.

 

“Voices told him that he had to make a sacrifice on the occasion of Ramadan,” Jacquet said.

 

The attacker, 32, was assessed by a medical specialist immediately after his arrest and sent to a psychiatric hospital. The Rennes prosecutor said that the man had already received special treatment at psychiatric hospitals several times.

 

The assailant later told investigators that he was being treated for schizophrenia and was supposed to receive an injection on Tuesday. An enquiry has been opened into attempted murder.

 

The attack came just a day after another attacker killed a police officer and his partner in the town of Magnanville, 50 kilometers from Paris. The murder was later classified as a terrorist attack. The assailant, who was identified as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

 

Police also found a list of other potential targets at the site of the killing near Paris that included the names of public figures, rappers, journalists, and police officers, Molins added.

Trump’s proposal to keep out Muslims crosses a line for many in both parties

Republican and Democratic leaders leveled their most forceful criticism yet against Donald Trump on Tuesday, widely denouncing the GOP presidential front-runner’s call to bar Muslims from entering the United States and signaling that Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic rhetoric has agitated both parties more than ever.
At the White House, President Obama’s top spokesman said Trump’s proposal “disqualifies him” from the presidency, marking a rare administration foray into the 2016 race. On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the idea was at odds with the values of their party and the United States as a whole.
In working to tamp down anti-Muslim sentiment that erupted after the attacks, Bush repeatedly talked about Islam as a peaceful religion and said the terrorists did not represent Muslims around the world.

New Muslim political party “Denk” lobbies for racism register in Netherlands

Dutch politicians of Turkish descent, Selcuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu were expelled from the Netherlands' Labour Party last year. In response, they recently formed their own party, 'Denk.' (Photo: ANP/Martijn Beekman)
Dutch politicians of Turkish descent, Selcuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu were expelled from the Netherlands’ Labour Party last year. In response, they recently formed their own party, ‘Denk.’ (Photo: ANP/Martijn Beekman)

The newly established political party with an Islam inspired agenda “Denk” established by former Dutch Labour Party members Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk have stated that a new index should be established to register racist statements on the internet. People who’s names would be present on the register should not be in the possibility to occupy a job at the government.

With the so called “R-register” Kuzu and Öztürk want to “clear the government of racists.” Öztürk stated that one could “develop a unit within the police that makes screenshots of racist remarks on social media in a similar manner as the police does when tracing child seducers on the internet. If someone then applies for a job at the government all could see what this person has said on Twitter and Facebook.” The parliamentary members have stressed that they are not aiming for the Netherlands to be a police state and that further thought is yet to be put into the idea.

For more information on “Denk.”

At Averroès Muslim High School in Lille “we feel betrayed and humiliated”

Averroès high school says it has nothing to hide. Former teacher Soufiane Zitouni accused certain students of “cultural anti-Semitism” and others of harboring Islamist tendencies. Following the accusations, the school’s director opened its doors to Metro News.

Even as two inspectors of the academy of Lille came to verify that the school continued to respect its contract with the state, the students appeared carefree and enjoyed themselves in the hallways.

“This inspection, we asked for it,” said the school’s assistant director Eric Dufour. “It’s important that the truth be established.”

“Soufiane Zitouni never told us what he told the media,” stated a current teacher. “We don’t understand his attitude.” Even students were shocked. “We feel betrayed and humiliated,” said Zainab, a first-year student. “How could he say he spent five challenging months here?” His friend Sondos added, “It’s hypocritical on his part. He was always smiling. And why would he talk about his experience? Are we in a zoo?”

Dufour admitted he had one encounter during which the teacher complained. “When I asked him the names of his students who held tendentious beliefs, he refused to specify and left without us being able to take the necessary measures,” he said.

For the moment, the high school affirms its intention to press charges for defamation. The teacher, who confirmed having resigned from his post, is on sick leave until February 21. The classes are now taught by Stephen Urani, who says he is “happy and enthusiastic” to be at Averroès.