Austria: Convert to Islam and would-be bomber was dissilussioned or on a jihadi mission?

He is either an idiot or a Jihadi killer. We just have to wait and see…

…it is unclear when, and, most importantly, why, Yusuf O. left Afghanistan for Austria. Apparently he planned to travel to Germany but it remains uncertain whether he had become disillusioned with the combat operation or whether he was part of a DTM operation targeting Germany.

Both scenarios are plausible. Yusuf O. was born in Germany in 1985 but had a Turkish passport. He is thought to be a key member of the DTM. His friend Fatih T. was the boss, and he appeared in videos warning about planned attacks on Germany. Investigators know from other cases that, for a while at least, Yusuf O. maintained regular online contact with German-based supporters of the terrorist group. The DTM urgently needed “ammunition and money,” he wrote in one message. Whoever couldn’t help in person, should send money, he urged.

On the other hand, it is possible that Yusuf O. became disillusioned with the battle in Hindu Kush. There have been several recent cases of Jihadists hailing from Germany who have gone this route, including a married couple from Berlin who were associated with the DTM as well as a young man from Hamburg who had been part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Evidence shows that life on the frontline is grueling and that new German recruits arrive largely unprepared for what awaits them. Statements from those arrested and other sources create a depressing impression of day-to-day life. Lack of food, poor hygiene and mistrust among co-fighters on the frontline were all routine problems, in addition to the ever-present fear of death.

via Terror Plot or Homesickness? Austria Detains Alleged Islamic Extremist – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.

Just one question: if you’re disilussioned, do you write letters asking for “ammunition”? Because I’m sure I don’t.

Malaysia: Islam’s Persecution of Christians


Image by SS&SS via Flickr

An interview with IBA co-blogger The Anti-Jihadist:

Deciding that Islam as an ideology (and not Muslims per se) was my enemy was a personal Rubicon for me, a step that, once taken, could never be retracted. I understood how serious this was, from my own studies of Islam, from my knowledge of what’s happened to other critics of Islam, and from the repeated warnings here in Malaysia regarding ‘insults’ to Islam — i.e. being too truthful about it.  And the pointed Malaysian warnings about being ‘respectful’ of all religions (‘respect’ for Islam is all the government here really cares about) make it very clear that criticism of Islam is a big, big red line that should never be crossed.  Furthermore, in Malaysia it’s quite legal for anyone to be arrested and held indefinitely without charge, trial or access to legal council.  It’s a law called the ‘Internal Security Act’ or ‘ISA’ for short and it’s positively medieval. ISA is one of the reasons that you rarely hear criticism of Islam from anyone in this country, in public and even in private, no matter how outrageous things get.

…On a more personal level, Muslims in Malaysia have on numerous occasions destroyed churches, sometimes with official backing on the flimsiest of pretexts (like for supposed ‘code violations’). The same has also happened to Hindu and Buddhist temples. Bibles are sometimes seized in carload lots by the (Muslim) authorities on one technicality or another. New church construction is heavily discouraged, and it takes years if not decades for new churches to be approved and built. And they must be built in a ‘low profile’ manner if they are allowed to be built at all.

All of these restrictions and the drip-drip-drip of discrimination, or worse, creates a tense and foreboding atmosphere for Christians. It’s pointless for Christians — who are mostly Indians and Chinese — to petition the Malay (Muslim) government for any sort of redress of grievances, because the police, courts and judges here are all owned and operated by Muslims. So increasingly, the ‘infidels’ are leaving — permanently. The same sort of Islamic repression of Christians that has played out in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and virtually every other Muslim-ruled country is also playing out here.

via Islam’s Persecution of Christians in Malaysia | FrontPage Magazine.

Tunisia: Ben Ali sentenced to 35 yrs in absentia

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia ...

Image via Wikipedia

A Tunisian court sentenced former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in absentia on Monday to 35 years in jail, six months after his overthrow in a revolution helped to inspire the “Arab Spring.
Ben Ali, who has been in Saudi Arabia since he was forced from power, was found guilty after just one day of deliberation of theft and of illegally possessing jewelry and large sums of cash.
The same sentence was handed down to his wife Leila Trabelsi, a former hairdresser whose lavish lifestyle and clique of wealthy relatives were symbols of the corruption of the Ben Ali era for many Tunisians.
Ben Ali and his wife flew to Saudi Arabia on January 14 after mass protests against his 23-year rule. The Tunisian government said in February it had asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Ben Ali.

On one hand, this guy has been in Saudi Arabia since he was forced from power, something that says a lot from the theocratic monarchy. On the other hand, the Islamist leader Ghanoucci had returned from London, where he was exiled, and his followers had begun to shout anti-Jewish slogansworrying the country’s security. My view is that Ben Ali should be punished for what he did to the country, though I don’t think that a hardly “moderate” guy is the solution of the future in Tunisia:

“Zionism is both alien and illegitimate in origin: it is a hegemonist and nationalist project rooted and nourished on the traditional European impulse towards expansion and domination. The founding fathers of the Zionist adventure were not in any way believers in Judaism, not even in its distorted, rabbinical form: they were in essence pragmatists who exploited the Jewish heritage as a means to achieve their nationalistic goals. All this, moreover, was done within the broader context of Western strategic hopes for the destabilizing and enfeebling of the Islamic world.”

And though he doesn’t like Israel and the Jooos at all, he is far from being a fan of Western countries (although he has been living for more than 20 years in UK):

Ghannouchi has long been a supporter of anti-American causes. He supported Saddam Hussein during the tyrant’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990. In private, he has been quoted sermonizing about “driving out the American invaders and their allies” to save “the Holy Kaaba and the Tomb of the Noble Prophet from the plots of the enemies of the Arabs and Islam”. While he condemned the September 11th terrorist attacks as a crime, he conditioned his denunciation by asking for Western understanding in “our anger towards America as the greatest supporter of dictatorships in the Arab and Muslims world and elsewhere.” He has gone on to accuse the United States of exploiting the attacks in order to arouse anti-Muslim forces in India, Russia, China, and Israel. And he has even gone so far as to describe Bush Administration Pentagon officials as “a mixture of Zionists and Zionized evangelists, weapon traders, oil companies, and others.” He charges the West as those who “destroyed the Islamic caliphate, colonized our countries, and imposed secularism and partition on us.” It was the West “who implanted in the heart of our Ummah an alien and hostile entity, Israel, so as to sustain division and fragmentation. They are the ones who provide unconditional support to this entity and watch in acquiescence the daily crimes committed by its troops.” Ghannouchi’s hatred for Western civilization is neither new nor satiable.

So, was Ben Ali better or worse than Ghannouci? I can only say that I don’t like any of them, but that the latter is much more dangerous and hates much more.

Pakistan: Govt announces the arrest of a high-ranking officer for alleged connections with terrorism

Pakistan on Tuesday said it had arrested a high-ranking army officer for alleged connections to militant groups, a rare public acknowledgment of possible ties between this country’s military and the organizations it is battling.

The arrest comes amid rising concern that Pakistan’s military is penetrated by Islamists who are sympathetic to insurgent groups that have declared war on the state. Last month, a naval base in Karachi was stormed by heavily armed fighters in an attack that was widely believed to have required inside help.

Yemen: 63 Al-Qaeda members escape from prison

The escape is one part of the state’s plan of generating al Qaeda chaos. There is a high likelihood that the escape was arranged by the head of the security forces like Ahmed, Saleh’s son or one of the nephews. These officials are also the US’s important partners in counter-terror efforts and have been the recipients of millions in counter-terror funding. The Saleh regime has repeatedly released al Qaeda prisoners over the years often in exchange for support as mercenaries. Individual jihaddis were released to go fight in Saada, but larger scale escapes and releases (like the 109 released in 2009 or the escape in 2006) are a habitual characteristic of the Saleh regime and generally part of a much larger deal.

via Saleh cronies allow 62 al Qaeda prisoners to “escape” in Hadramout | Armies of Liberation.

Iran: a rise in the number of gang rapes worries society

Not only Western women are subjected to gang rapes. Of course, “Iranian officials” say that this is because they don’t wear hijabs…, just as Australian imam El-Hilali.

Recent reports of gang rapes in Iran are worrying women and raising questions about social values, reports Mohammad Manzarpour of the BBC Persian Service.

In a religiously conservative town near the city of Isfahan, women at a private party were abducted last month and gang raped at knife point.

One week later, a female university student was attacked and raped by unknown assailants on the heavily-guarded campus in Masshad, a holy city.

In both cases, officials accused the victims of not wearing the hijab or headscarf in the proper fashion and general un-Islamic conduct.

These high-profile cases and the derogatory comments made by Iranian authorities have outraged women’s rights groups who have long complained of the increasingly high rate of sexual harassment.

As the stories dominate newspaper headlines, a political and public debate is raging about the reasons for the apparent rise in sexual crimes in the Islamic state and how to prevent and punish them.

More here.

Turkey: from honor killing to honor suicide

Somalia: the industry of kidnapping vessels

Somalia, that paradise where the Government doesn’t exist…

In Somaliland, in particular, officials are eager to get more serious about combating piracy. With strong support from the European Union, the United Nations has built a brand new prison in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. The two organizations invested roughly $1.5 million in the detention center, which now holds 88 suspected and convicted pirates.
Piracy has become an expensive matter for this seafaring nation. Indeed, a recent study found that piracy off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean has cost the global community somewhere near $10 billion. It also says that average ransoms for ships grew from $150,000 to $5.4 million between 2005 and 2010, and that there have been a record 98 attacks between January and March in this year alone. There are additional costs as well: having ships out of service, the deployment of naval vessels from a number of countries, tankers and freighters needing to take long detours to avoid danger zones, holding court cases and incarcerating the pirates.


Indeed, the pirates have become heroes for many young Somalis. One of the prisoners in Hargeisa is 18-year-old Muhammed Yussuf Abdia, who was sentenced to a year in jail for attacking his father with a machete. The young man has no compunction about saying that he wants to become a pirate — the “commander of a unit,” no less — once he is released. His role model is Farah Ismail Ilie, one of the unofficial bigwigs in the Hargeisa prison.

Discussions with prisoners at Hargeisa reveal the degree to which the situation has escalated. There are often no witnesses to the encounters between naval ships, pirates and the vessels they prey upon. Jama claims to have lost three relatives himself. He says they headed out to sea to go fishing. “We never saw them again,” he says, “only the wreckage of their boat washed up on shore.” No one knows if the boat was the victim of an accident or an attack by a foreign warship. “Many never come back,” says Adam, Jama’s fellow prisoner.

Hargeisa prisoners also provide a clearer picture of how the foreign fleets operate. Naval crews from around the world prefer to take as few pirates into custody as possible. Instead, they stop the suspected pirate boats and, if the pirates haven’t already thrown them overboard themselves, they confiscate weapons, scaling ladders and GPS devices. Sometimes they destroy the outboard motors; sometimes they give the pirates food and water.

More here.