Two L.A. gang members are apparently fighting for Syria’s Assad

March 3, 2014

 

Two Los Angeles gang members appear to have joined the flow of foreigners flocking to fight in Syria – in this instance, on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. In a video posted online, the two men boast that they are on the front lines and fire their guns in the direction of what they call “the enemigos.”

One of the men identifies himself as Creeper from the Sur-13 or Surenos, a loose affiliation of southern California gangs linked to the Mexican mafia. He rolls up his sleeves to show his gang tattoos and greets fellow gang members Capone-E and Crazy Loco.  The other says he is called Wino, and belongs to a gang called Westside Armenian Power. Members of the Armenian Christian minority in Syria are known to be staunch supporters of Assad.

The two men don’t reveal much about what they are doing or why they are fighting for Assad. “It’s Syria, homie, we’re in Syria, homie. … Frontline, homie, frontline, homie,” says Wino. “In Middle East, homie, in Syria, still gangbanging,” says Creeper, in comments typical of the 2 1/2-minute video.

Warning: the video, posted here, contains strong language. This version is provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, and contains subtitles.

It was also unclear whether they are U.S. citizens. So far, there have been no reported instances in which Americans have volunteered to fight in Syria on behalf of Assad, though at least 50 U.S. citizens are believed to have traveled there to join the rebels, according to congressional testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last month. Thousands of Arabs, Europeans and Sunni Muslims of other nationalities who have flooded into Syria, most of them joining radical Islamist groups.

Thousands of Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite Muslims are meanwhile reported to be fighting on the side of Assad’s government, as well as Iranians, some Russians and smaller numbers of Afghans, Pakistanis and other Arabs, making this a truly international war.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/03/two-l-a-gang-members-are-apparently-fighting-for-syrias-assad/

Shia Muslims celebrate the Shura

26/11/2012

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Spain commemorated this weekend the day of Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the third Shiite Imam, Imam Hussein along with his 72 companions.
In Spain’s capital, Madrid, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran organized religious ceremonies from the first day of the month of Moharam which hosted both Muslims and Christians of Spain.
In the capital of the of Catalonia, Barcelona, also similar acts where staged such as religious processions, despite the process of Catalan elections were held on Sunday.

In America, Shiite Muslims Establish A Foothold

QUINCY, Mass. (RNS) Sayed Mohammad Jawad Al-Qazwini was 12 years old when his family fled Iran and settled in Los Angeles. Now 28, he sat with some 70 Shiite Muslims at the Iman Islamic Center on a recent Friday night, preaching about the Mosque of the Trash Picker in Iran, and a Turkish mosque peculiarly named “As if I have eaten.”

The variation in the proper way to pray is one among several differences that exist between Shiites, who make up about 15 percent of Muslims globally and in America, and the majority of Sunnis. Until recently, those differences mattered little in the United States, where the two groups bonded as Muslim minorities and prayed in the same mosques.

“There weren’t enough of either to justify the cost of building sectarian mosques, and because in general, early generation immigrants were less focused on establishing formal houses of worship,” said Andrea Stanton, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

That is changing, however, as American Shiites are increasingly establishing their own mosques. According to “The American Mosque 2011,” a survey sponsored by several Muslim American organizations, 7 percent of roughly 2,100 mosques in America are Shiite, and most have been built in the last 20 years.

One reason: Shiites have become numerous and financially strong enough to manage the expensive process of buying or building their own mosques. Another factor: the growth in Shiite populations as immigrants flee persecution in Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where Taliban gunmen recently executed at least 22 Shiite bus passengers.

Many Shiite Muslims say that while American mosques profess to be open to any and all Muslims, they tend to be Sunni in practice and can be hostile to Shiite beliefs and practices.

While American mosques once offered a reliable refuge from this persecution, Shiite immigrants who have come more recently have found some mosques unwelcoming to their creed.

Document shows NYPD sought to spy on Shiites, based on shared religion with Iranian terrorists

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on their religion, as a way to sweep the Northeast for signs of Iranian terrorists, according to interviews and a newly obtained secret police document.

The document offers a rare glimpse into the thinking of NYPD intelligence officers and how, when looking for potential threats, they focused their spying efforts on mosques and Muslims. Police analysts listed a dozen mosques from central Connecticut to the Philadelphia suburbs. None has been linked to terrorism, either in the document or publicly by federal agencies.

The May 2006 NYPD intelligence report, entitled “US-Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City,” made a series of recommendations, including: “Expand and focus intelligence collections at Shi’a mosques.”

The NYPD is prohibited under its own guidelines and city law from basing its investigations on religion. Under FBI guidelines, which the NYPD says it follows, many of the recommendations in the police document would be prohibited.
The secret document stands in contrast to statements by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the NYPD never considers religion in its policing. Kelly has said police go only where investigative leads take them, but the document described no leads to justify expanded surveillance at Shiite mosques.

Ohio Muslims unite behind Obama

Ahead of the March 4th presidential primary in Ohio, many Muslims in Ohio are lending their support to Barack Obama. While a large majority of Muslims backed George W. Bush eight years ago, there is strong support among American Muslims coalescing around Obama. Exasperation among Cleveland’s 60,000 Muslims, who are mostly middle-class and naturalize citizens, are feeling frustrated with the on-going war in Iraq, the stigmatization of Islam after September 11th, and hold concern for their civil rights. Shiite Muslims in the Shiite Unity Center supported Bush in 2000 – but now says he is voting for Obama. Though a Christian, many cite his diverse background, and precisely a relatable background, as attractive in the presidential hopeful.