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 »
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. 
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 »
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.
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group’s five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
The Islamist known as “Abu Hamza al-Austria,” fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.
“The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist.” — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
“Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria.” — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
“We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions.” — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.
The Austrian government has announced plans to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in an urgent effort to crack down on would-be jihadists in the country.
The decision by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to recruit 20 new intelligence officers to focus exclusively on the threat posed by radical Islam comes after police in Austria arrested nine Chechen immigrants who were on their way to wage jihad in Syria.
The move also comes amid growing concerns that Austria’s shiftless Muslim youth are becoming increasingly radicalized and vocal in their support of the jihadist group Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »
Al Qaeda’s ultra-extremist Syrian offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is stepping up efforts to recruit Americans and other westerners for jihad in Syria and possibly for future domestic terror attacks, according to U.S. officials.
A new media outlet affiliated with ISIL recently began producing recruiting materials in both English and German that U.S. intelligence analysts say is a sign they are targeting western jihadists for recruitment.
It is the first time ISIL, one of the most prominent ultra-violent jihadists among Syria rebels groups, has set up a western-oriented media arm.
ISIL also is leading the major military operations now under way in Iran that has produced the group’s take over of several Iraqi cities, including Mosul, the second largest. Read the rest of this entry »
A suicide bomber who attacked an Iraqi army base last November was a Calgary business analyst who disappeared after his wife divorced him, friends said Wednesday amid rising concerns about the flow of Canadians to overseas terror groups.
Those who knew Salman Ashrafiin Calgary said they had lost all contact with him after he left Canada in late 2012. And now they know why: He apparently died seven months ago after detonating a car bomb north of Baghdad.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria posted his photo online in March, calling him Abu Abdullah Al Khorasani, but a Calgary Muslim community leader said the man was Ashrafi, a privileged Pakistani-Canadian.
“He seemed like a regular guy and he was one of those guys that actually had a career, had a wife,” the man said.