Syria

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns

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FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, May 26, 2015 a man makes a phone call as he walk past a mosque in Oullins outside Lyon, central France. The mosque won an unusual case last week against a Salafi worshipper taken to court after months of tension. The case was thought to be the first in France by Muslims against a Muslim invoking a 1905 law to guarantee secularism _ used by the government to pass bans on headscarves and face-covering veils. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins. Read the rest of this entry »

Spreading Tentacles: The Islamic State in Bangladesh

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Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 3   February 6, 2015 11:08 AM

Samiun Rahman, a British man of Bangladeshi origin, was arrested due to his alledged involvement with recruting for terrorist organizations in Bangladesh (Source: Alamy).

Growing evidence suggests that the influence of the Islamic State organization has reached the South Asian, Muslim-majority country of Bangladesh. The country has long been home to small, but significant, numbers of radicals from both local militant groups, such as the Jama’at ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the country’s most significant local jihadist group, and those linked to transnational jihadist formations, such as al-Qaeda. However, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate and the promise of it’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to return to all Muslims their “dignity, might, rights and leadership” seem to have infused a renewed Islamist fervor within a section of Bangladeshi youths and among existing radical elements. [1]

Arrests Expose Militant Links

One of the clearest indications of this development came in late September 2014 when the government’s arrest of a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Samiun Rahman (a.k.a. Ibn Hamdan), who lived in the capital Dhaka’s Kamalapur area, unearthed an apparent Islamic State recruitment drive in the country (Daily Star [Dhaka], September 30, 2014). Read the rest of this entry »

Iran News Round Up September 29, 2014

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English: Army of the Guardians of the Islamic ...
English: Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution & Islamic Republic of Iran Army used many zu-23 in Iran-iraq war. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Diana Timmerman, and Marie Donovan.

 (E) = Article in English

Military and Security

  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Haji Zadeh said:
    • On Iran’s downing of an Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): “After this action, some large countries sent us messages of congratulations… the Israeli aircraft did not post information online; but the information was stored in it, so by destroying it,  [the UAV] did not send any information.”
    • “This is a spy plane, and usually countries do not comment on these UAVs, but given what we know of them in Syria and in some other places such as Karabakh, we are already familiar with this type of aircraft…”
    • “Fighter aircraft are created for carrying out military operations and targeting certain parts of the country, and if we can discover them, we can see the damage; but the spy planes are primarily small and secretive… detection, interception, and destruction of these aircraft is very, very difficult.” (Sepah News) Read the rest of this entry »

New jihad appeal makes policing even harder

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Soldiers patrol at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Frenchman Herve Gourdel, 55,  was abducted in Algeria on Monday by a splinter group from al-Qaida's North African branch. The Jund al-Khilafah, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, said it would kill him unless France halts it airstrikes in Iraq within 24 hours. French forces on Friday joined the U.S. in carrying out airstrikes against extremists who have overrun large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group’s call on Muslims to go after the “filthy French” and other Westerners multiplies already deep security concerns in nations targeting the militant organization.

The appeal made public Monday makes intelligence tracking of potential suspects virtually impossible and opens up Muslims in the West to the possibility of being unfairly put under suspicion or stigmatized.

Nations are honing mechanisms to monitor Westerners who head to Syria and Iraq to fight in the jihad, the better to catch them when they return home with deadly skills. But how do you track someone who reads the Islamic State group’s call in a newspaper or on a mainstream website, and then carries out a spontaneous attack? Read the rest of this entry »

ISIS cyber capability judged more ‘aspirational’ than operational

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By Sean Lyngaas  Sep 17, 2014

Shutterstock image: unfunctional computer.ISIS terrorists have announced their intention to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.

Interviews with cybersecurity experts and questions posed to public officials reveal an assessment of the cyber warfare capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that, while potentially dangerous, remains more aspirational than operational.

It is common for a terrorist group like ISIS to develop cyber capabilities to complement their ambitions to carry out violent attacks, experts say. But being slick with social media is a world apart from being able to hack segments of U.S. critical infrastructure.

ISIS terrorists have said online that they aim to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. infrastructure, according to a Sept. 14 Fox News report. Doing so might prove difficult, but it wouldn’t cost much to begin probing networks. One could buy a tablet for a few hundred dollars, set up some encryption tools and start running vulnerability analyses of code used by critical infrastructure like the electric grid, said Tony Cole, vice president and global government CTO at FireEye, a network security firm. Read the rest of this entry »

Isis fighters must be allowed back into UK, says ex-MI6 chief

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Counter-terrorism expert Richard Barrett says repentant jihadis ‘can expose true nature of Islamic State

, and The Observer, Sunday 7 September 2014

Isis militants in Mosul

An image taken from a YouTube video allegedly shows Islamic State (Isis) militants taking part in a military parade in Mosul, northern Iraq. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Britain should encourage jihadis fighting in Syria and Iraq to “come home”, the former global counter-terrorism director of MI6 has said.

David Cameron outlined new powers last week for police to seize the passports of terrorist suspects and stop British extremists from returning to the UK. Others, including Boris Johnson, the London mayor, have called for British jihadis to have their citizenship removed.

However, Richard Barrett, a former counter-terrorism chief at MI5 and MI6, said repentant fighters needed “to know that there is a place for them back at home”. Read the rest of this entry »

Pro-Isis Bosnia Salafi Leader Bilal Bosnic ‘Among 16 Detained in Police Sweep’

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By Gianluca Mezzofiore September 3, 2014 11:27 BST

Bilal Bosnic

Bilal Bosnic in his pro-Isis speech in northern Bosnia

Bosnian police have detained 16 people on allegations of funding terrorist activities, recruiting and fighting for the Islamic State (known as Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq.

Among the arrested is Bilal Bosnic, the leader of the Salafi movement in Bosnia Herzegovina who recently called young Muslims to join the ranks of Isis, Avaz news site reported.

The security sweep was made in 17 raids across the Balkan country, according to the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA). “The suspects are connected to financing, organising and recruiting Bosnian citizens to depart for Syria and Iraq, and taking part in armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq, fighting on the side of radical terrorist groups and organisations,” the police statement said.

Hundreds of Muslims from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia are reported to have gone to pursue jihad in Syria and Iraq.

At the end of July, a leading Albanian jihadist fighting in Syria posted photos of himself on social media in which he beheads a young man who he claims was a spy. A recent IS video showed a Kosovo jihadist along with other Balkans fighters destroying their passports after vowing to extend the caliphate to Rome and Spain. Read the rest of this entry »