‘Halal days’ for French Muslims

The fourth annual “halal days” were held May 18-21 and took place in schools, associations, and other Muslim organizations. The event aimed to “raise awareness about the importance of eating halal and eating well.”

Participating organizations agreed to open their doors to the public to better understand “the foundations of halal food, its culture, and its characteristics, as well as the processes used by all to guarantee that products are halal compliant.” Last year, 1,250 people signed up for the events.

“It was mostly attacks by the National Front on the halal market in 2014 that made us think of this event, to create a zone conducive to debate,” explained Lynda Ayadi, the director of the marketing company Heaven Strategy which organizes the “halal days.”

“We felt a strong demand from the Muslim community to provide perspective and information on the halal market,” she added. “More recently, this feeling was reinforced following the polemic sparked by the animal protection association L214’s video of French slaughterhouses, which they blamed for animal suffering.”

Ayadi insisted that the event’s goal was not to “spread propaganda,” and invited those who oppose halal “to come and participate in the debates.”

CNRS study measures French youth support for terrorism

A recent CNRS study has attempted to measure support for “radical beliefs” among high schoolers in France following the November 2015 attacks. 7,000 students, ages 14-16, were interviewed about their opinions on radical religion and violence, the combination of these two factors demonstrating a possible susceptibility to jihadist propaganda.

Regarding religion, a minority adhere to “fundamentalism”: 11% believe there is “one true and correct religion” and that “religion is [more correct] than science,” regarding the Earth’s creation. This figure is 6% for those who are Christian and 32% for those who are Muslim.

Moreover, 25% of those interviewed believed in “violence and deviance”–33% among Muslims interviewed. They believed it was “acceptable” to “participate in violent action in support of one’s beliefs.” Researchers predicted this population is likely to “face run-ins with the police” in the future. “There is, among certain segments of the youth, a culture of violence and delinquency that has become commonplace,” stated Olivier Galland, one of the researchers. “When this culture combines with radical religion, it becomes very worrying.”

 

 

Was Orlando Shooter Really Acting for ISIS? For ISIS, It’s All the Same

The revelation that the 29-year-old man who opened fire on Sunday in a gay nightclub had dedicated the killing to the Islamic State has prompted a now-familiar question: Was the killer truly acting under orders from the Islamic State, or just seeking publicity and the group’s approval for a personal act of hate?
For the terror planners of the Islamic State, the difference is mostly irrelevant.
Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group’s propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group’s core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers.

France asks US Internet giants to “help fight terror”

The French government has requested that Google, Facebook and Twitter cooperate with French officials during investigations and asked that they immediately take down any extremist propaganda that is discovered, said minister of the interior Bernard Cazeneuve.

“We emphasized that when an investigation is under way we don’t want to go through the usual government to government channels, which can take so long,” said the interior minister after a meeting with representatives from the US tech giants while visiting Silicon Valley.
“It’s important to have full cooperation and quick reaction,” he added

Cazeneuve’s comments came after the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks which claimed 20 lives, including the three gunmen. Twitter and Facebook officials stated that they work to prevent radical propaganda but didn’t comment as to whether they would heed the minister’s request.

“We regularly host ministers and other governmental officials from across the world at Facebook, and were happy to welcome Mr. Cazeneuve today,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism.”

When asked whether Twitter would comply with French investigators, a spokesperson stated: “We review all reported content against our rules, which prohibit direct, specific threats of violence against others.”

An email to Google requesting comment was not immediately answered. According to US intelligence officials the number of foreign fighters leaving to join ISIL has grown, with at least 3,400 coming from Western nations out of the 20,000 from around the world.
“I told them we can figure this out together, we can come up with counterterrorism speech and block these sites that are enticing the most vulnerable members of our society to commit terrorist acts,” said Cazeneuve.

France is also pushing to treat “jihadi material” on the internet like child pornography, a task that few had heard of before the attacks in Paris, but is now widely acknowledged by Europe’s top officials. Cazeneuve believed the meeting was a solid foundation for building a strong relationship between the tech companies and the French government.

He said he invited them to go to Paris in April to continue the conversation.

Will the French government’s anti-jihad campaign be effective?

The French government began a campaign aimed at dissuading young Frenchmen from leaving France to fight in Syria and launched a video to combat jihadism. The video is primarily aimed at showing the “myths surrounding jihadism” by explaining what awaits them as foreign fighters. To combat the propaganda used by ISIL and rebel groups the video contrasted the promises made by jihadi recruiters with the harsh reality: war, violence and massacres.

It targets both young men and women. One line says, “They tell you: come make a family with one of our heroes. In reality, you will raise your children in the midst of war and terror.” The film ends with: “The indoctrination speeches made by jihadists lead to new victims every day,” followed by the hash tag #stopdjihadisme. The site contains several other sections, such as “Understand the terror threat,” “Decipher jihadist propaganda,” and “React-The state’s action,” and “Mobilize-Together.”

Each section is composed of several chapters containing interviews with experts, explanations, historical references and links to other sites. For example, anthropologist Dounia Bouzar explains how the Internet’s popularity allows jihadi recruiters to establish contacts, especially with young people.

“We are going to widely circulate this video on social networking sites in order to reach the most people who might be influenced by these claims and these sirens. We hope to create shock among them. And the site proposes solutions, remedies, and help for young people, their families and their friends,” said Christian Gravel, director of the Government Information Services. (SIG)

“Do they think they’ll scare or dissuade with such a site?” Asked Florian Philipport, Vice President of the FN. “Is this a firm enough response to the grave danger to which France is exposed? This communication operation only serves to mask the blatant inaction of those with political power,” he said.

In a Midi Libre poll, 71.6% of respondents said they don’t believe the government’s anti-jihad initiative will be effective, 18.6% think it will be, and 9.8% didn’t have an opinion.

Islamic State launches online magazine in French

15 pages of jihadist propaganda in color and in French can now be found on the Internet. The new magazine entitled Dar al-Islam has been available online since December 22. Previously the other major foreign language magazine was “Daqib,” a publication in English. (Photo: Twitter/Figaro)
15 pages of jihadist propaganda in color and in French can now be found on the Internet. The new magazine entitled Dar al-Islam has been available online since December 22. Previously the other major foreign language magazine was “Daqib,” a publication in English. (Photo: Twitter/Le Figaro)

15 pages of jihadist propaganda in color and in French can now be found on the Internet. The new magazine entitled Dar al-Islam has been available online since December 22. Previously the other major foreign language magazine was “Daqib,” a publication in English. The two magazines are released by the media communications branch of ISIL, Al-Hayat, which was founded in May 2014. The communication arm of ISIL often uses Twitter as its main platform. A recent Twitter post reads:

#Al-Hayat presents the first edition of the magazine “Dar Al-Islam”
— fr-alhayat (@fralhayat) 22 Décembre 2014

The magazine’s first edition is entitled “The Islamic state extends its territory.” In the introduction, the authors celebrate being “witnesses to a new era,” that of the restoration of the caliphate, which would allow Muslims to live according to Islamic law.
The magazine’s title translates to “abode of Islam.” One of its article’s reads: “It’s why the magazine is named Dar al-Islam, to remember the immense blessing it is to live under Allah’s law, among believers.”

The magazine is filled with grammatical errors, passages from the Qur’an and words in Arabic, and seeks to convince French Muslims to pledge allegiance to the caliphate. The authors denounce the “idolatrous”: “those who change the law of Allah,” and “the crusaders who love the cross and call a child the Lord of heaven.”

For Mathieu Slama, specialist in “crisis communication,” the magazine serves two purposes. The first is as a recruitment method. The last page of the magazine shows a French passport being burned. The second purpose is to show ISIL’s a willingness to institutionalize. The magazine uses Western journalistic methods: catchy titles, photos and summaries, shows the West that ISIL is becoming a legitimate institution.

Manuel Valls said he could not definitively ban this type of propaganda. The Cazeneuve law of November 2014 hardened provisions that punish the glorification of terrorism, especially on the Internet. However the European Commission must meet to discuss if the magazine can be banned, and the decision would not take effect until late February or early March 2015.

In Washington DC Metrobus ads, pro-Israel group features photo of Hitler

Provocative, issue-oriented advertising isn’t new in Washington’s transit system. Interest groups often plaster Metro’s buses, trains and stations with head-turning messages, occasionally using language and images that some find offensive.

Now comes a photo of Adolf Hitler.

The pro-Israel group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), angered by anti-Israel ads that recently appeared on some Metrobuses, has countered with a big ad of its own, featuring the Nazi dictator.

“Our ads are in response to the vicious Jew-hating ads … unleashed on Washington DC Metro buses last month,” AFDI says on its Web site. AFDI, based in New York, has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights organization that monitors extremist groups.

The “Jew-hating” ad in question, paid for by the Illinois-based group American Muslims for Palestine, appeared on 20 Metro buses from mid-March to mid-April.

The AFDI ad shows Hitler meeting with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian nationalist and grand mufti of Jerusalem who allied himself with the Third Reich before and during World War II. Besides making propaganda broadcasts for the Nazis and recruiting European Muslims to serve in the Waffen SS, Husseini backed Hitler’s policy of exterminating Jews.

In September that year, AFDI bought ad space in four subway stations for this message: “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Jury Selection Begins at Trial of Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law

March 4, 2014

 

In the days and weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, a Kuwaiti-born cleric, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, became a familiar figure in propaganda videos for Al Qaeda, appearing in some with Osama bin Laden, and other times alone, issuing blistering threats against the United States.

“The storms shall not stop, especially the airplanes storm,” he said in one speech, a federal indictment charges. Mr. Abu Ghaith, who later married Bin Laden’s daughter Fatima, was captured last year and brought to the United States on terrorism charges. His trial started on Monday in Manhattan with jury selection which resumes on Tuesday morning. He is the most senior Bin Laden adviser to be tried in a civilian court since the Sept. 11 attacks, experts say.

“Abu Ghaith held a key position in Al Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime,” George Venizelos, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s office in New York, said last year. Unlike Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Abu Ghaith has not been accused of having advance knowledge of the attacks or being involved in terrorist operations. But prosecutors portray him as a trusted adviser and confidant of Bin Laden’s, and they believe he was probably aware of the plot in which Richard C. Reid tried unsuccessfully to blow up an airplane on a trans-Atlantic flight by detonating explosives in his shoes.

The trial, coming more than four years after the disputed and since abandoned plan to try Mr. Mohammed in Manhattan, may further the debate over whether international terrorism cases should be tried in civilian court.
Mr. Abu Ghaith, 48, has pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support for terrorists; if convicted, he could face life in prison. The New York Police Department declined recently to discuss any security measures related to the trial, which is expected to last about a month. “This is a high-profile case,” Stephen Davis, the department’s top spokesman, said, “and we’ll take the necessary steps to ensure safety in and around the courthouse and the city.”

At least two men who had been involved in terrorism who are now cooperating with the authorities are expected to testify for the government against Mr. Abu Ghaith. They are believed to be Saajid Badat, who had agreed to carry out a shoe-bomb attack but later backed out, and Sahim Alwan, a member of the “Lackawanna Six,” a group of Buffalo-area Yemeni-Americans.
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/nyregion/bin-laden-relatives-trial-may-fuel-debate-over-trying-terrorism-cases-in-civilian-courts.html?action=click&module=Search&_r=0
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/nyregion/bin-laden-aide-began-qaeda-propaganda-day-after-9-11-us-says.html?action=click&module=Search&gwh=677A49224F0D0A3EC6B79A8BBC5455C8&gwt=regi

American Jihadist Is Believed to Have Been Killed by His Former Allies in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya — A young man from Alabama who traveled to Somalia and became an infamous Islamist militant, commanding guerrilla forces and earning a $5 million American bounty on his head, was believed to have been killed by his former extremist allies on Thursday, according to news reports and Islamist Web sites.

The jihadist, Omar Hammami, known for his rap-infused propaganda videos for the Shabab, a brutal Islamist group in Somalia, was reported killed in an ambush on Thursday morning. If true, his death would bring to a close one of the more unusual chapters in more than two decades of fighting in the Horn of Africa.

 

But Mr. Hammami, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, “the American,” has been declared dead before, only to resurface alive.

There is little question that Mr. Hammami has been on the run from his former comrades. His recent troubles brought to the surface rifts within militant circles in Somalia, particularly between foreign fighters and Somalis. In a Twitter message in April, Mr. Hammami said the group’s leader had “gone mad” and was “starting a civil war.”

J. M. Berger, the editor of the Web site Intelwire.com and author of the book “Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam,” said that it appeared this time that Mr. Hammami had indeed been killed.

Mr. Berger, who has been monitoring hundreds of Shabab-related social media accounts for over a year, cited a death notice on a Jihadi Web site that had supported the American militant and posted interviews with him in the past.

 

The son of a Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Mr. Hammami was raised in Daphne, Ala., where he was a gifted student and high school class president. He later embraced the ultraconservative form of Islam known as Salafism before ultimately moving to Somalia in 2006 to fight for the Shabab.

 

The charismatic American fighter was a propaganda coup for the Somali militants. He worked on recruitment and handled financial affairs for the group. But Mr. Hammami was more than just a YouTube sensation and back-office militant. He is believed to have personally commanded forces in the field and organized guerrilla attacks.

 

He did not consider his native land off limits. “It’s quite obvious that I believe America is a target,” he wrote in an e-mail to The New York Times in 2010.

 

Growing up in Daphne, a city of 23,000 on Mobile Bay, Mr. Hammami loved Kurt Cobain and Nintendo and dabbled in drugs. But he also attended Bible camp. His decision to join a violent group responsible for beheadings and forced amputations was especially bewildering to family and friends.

 

Islamists in Spain are able of committing murders like the ones of London

26 May 2013

The main International Terrorism investigator from the Real Instituto Elcano, Fernando Reinares, believes that “in Spain there is a small but significant number” of Islamic fundamentalists who justify “moral and utilitarian” terrorism and, therefore, may take actions such as the killing of the British military in the street.

In his view, Western governments should “above all, identify and locate the segments of the population who are vulnerable to jihadist propaganda and prevent the propagators of this ideology to spread it, either through the pulpit or through the Internet.”

He also added that it should be “kept within the law, an appropriate monitoring of suspects, to prevent them from developing activities related to terrorist mobilization.” And finally, “urging Muslims to make their voices heard against the Jihadists and Salafists”.