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Monday, November 26, 2007


November 26, 2007

Suspected al-Qaeda Terrorists Face Trial in Nigeria
Voice of America
The five men were arrested in northern Nigeria earlier this month. Three of them were said to have traveled to a terrorist camp in Algeria to receive training with intent to cause insurrection in Nigeria. Nigerian prosecutors said the suspects, all in their 30s, had planned to attack government facilities in three of Nigeria's largest cities. They allegedly planned to use the assault rifles and explosions found in their possession to this end. Western diplomats have cautioned that Nigeria, which has a large Muslim population, could become a breeding ground for international terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. The US Embassy warned in September that Nigeria was at risk of "a terrorist attack." Muslim leaders in Nigeria have rebuffed reports that terrorist groups may be gaining a foothold in the predominantly Muslim north. But Shehu Sani, a researcher who had done extensive studies into religion-inspired violence in northern Nigeria, says there is sufficient evidence to warrant concerns about clandestine groups in northern Nigeria. "There have been conflicting arguments on whether there are terrorist cells present in Nigeria, specifically the northern part or not," said Sani. "But it is a fact that there are groups and individuals with links to organizations outside this country, who get their training, funding and affiliation without the knowledge of the authorities."
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Serial Bombs Kill at Least Six at Three Indian Courts

Channel NewsAsia
A series of near-simultaneous blasts outside courts in three north Indian cities left at least six people dead and many more wounded on Friday, police said. Four lawyers died at Faizabad, in Uttar Pradesh, and two more people in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, state police chief Vikram Singh told AFP. "This a terrorist attack on the advocates of our state," said Inspector General of Police Brij Lal. "Three blasts took place in Varanasi, two in Lucknow and two more in Faizabad," said Uttar Pradesh home ministry secretary J. N. Chamber. About 20 people were also hurt in a "shed" used by lawyers at Faizabad and 10 more wounded in Varanasi, police said. A lawyer told NDTV news channel no one had been hurt in Lucknow. The blasts came a week after the Uttar Pradesh bar council unanimously decided not to defend Islamist militants facing charges in the state. NDTV showed footage of at least two lifeless bodies being dragged off in Varanasi and said they were dead. Several bleeding people were also shown amid wreckage strewn over the ground. In March 2006, Varanasi was hit by a triple bomb attack in which 23 people died and 68 were wounded. Faizabad is a twin town of Ayodhya, a hotbed of Hindu-Muslim rivalry where Hindus tore down a 16th-century mosque in 1992 sparking nationwide riots that left 2,000 died. India's junior home minister said the blasts seemed to be acts of terror.
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Radical Islamist Cleric Faces Extradition to US

The Australian
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who faces charges related to a hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998 during which an Australian tourist was killed, could be extradited to the US. A British court ruled last night that Hamza, who has one eye and a hook for a righthand, could be extradited to face terrorism charges including trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon. Egyptian-born Hamza, 49, serving a seven-year jail term in Britain for inciting his followers to murder non-believers, is wanted by US authorities on 11 charges. Hamza, who applauded the attacks on New York and Washington of September 11, 2001, faces charges that he was involved in plotting the taking of 16 Western hostages in Yemen in 1998. Four of the hostages, Australian tourist Andrew Thirsk and three Britons, were killed when the terrorists used the hostages as human shields during a gunfight that broke out after Yemeni forces launched a rescue attempt. The US indictment accuses Hamza of attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, from 1999 to early 2000, and supporting al-Qa'ida and the Taliban. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 100 years in prison.
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Middle East:
Red Cross Gives War Lessons in Gaza

BBC News
Thirty hooded gunmen sit at desks around a flip chart, pen and paper in hand, listening to a lecture on the laws of war by the international Red Cross. All the Palestinian armed factions have signed up to the course, though they are being taught in individual groups. The head of Gaza operations for the Red Cross, Anthony Dalziel, said the course was part of his organization's worldwide effort to teach international humanitarian law to all parties in armed conflict. "We've taught regular armies and militia groups all over," he said. "Congo, ex-Yugoslavia, Darfur, Colombia."...But will these men change their behavior outside the classroom? I asked Abu Hotheifa, one of the gunmen on the course. "There are things we learned here that surprised us. Things we weren't aware of but as to whether our actions will change on the ground, that is up to our leaders. They decide. Not us." Civilians are often the victims in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in Palestinian in-fighting. Gunmen use busy streets, even private homes, as battlegrounds. Armed Palestinian groups fire rockets at Israeli towns like Sderot, just over the Gaza border, almost every day. Sometimes using public areas, like schools, as launch sites. Abu Khaled is a local factional leader in Gaza. He told me his fighters were told to take the Red Cross course to show the world they are not as many see them. "People think we are terrorists," he said. "But actually the Islamic law we follow is far stricter than international law in its rules of how to protect civilians and prisoners in war.
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North America:
CAIR Seeks Removal of 'Co-Conspirator' Label

Washington Times
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is seeking help from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. to pressure the Justice Department to change the group's status as a co-conspirator in a terrorism case. CAIR officials recently met with Mr. Conyers, Michigan Democrat, and then wrote a letter asking him to lobby the new attorney general on behalf of the group, and to hold hearings. CAIR is among several hundred Muslim groups listed as unindicted co-conspirators in a recent federal terrorism trial in Dallas into activities by the Holy Land Foundation Inc., a group linked to funding the Palestinian Hamas terrorist group. The trial recently ended in a mistrial and prosecutors have said they plan to re-try the case. Despite its uncertain outcome, the trial has produced a large amount of information and evidence identifying U.S. and foreign groups sympathetic to or direct supporters of international Islamist terrorists. A 1991 internal memorandum from the radical Muslim Brotherhood identified 29 front groups, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), that are part of a covert program by the Brotherhood in the United States to subvert American society. CAIR officials have requested that Mr. Conyers ask the Justice Department to explain why it publicly identified the 306 co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial. "Those on the list suffer negatively as a result of the label 'unindicted co-conspirator' as it impresses upon the typical member of the American public that those listed are involved in criminal activity," the group said in a letter to Mr. Conyers. "In reality, those so named have neither been charged with a crime nor offered any recourse for challenging the allegation." The group said the conspirator designation is being used by counterterrorism advocates to block government funds from being used to conduct outreach programs to Muslim groups. Pending fiscal 2008 legislation would block the Justice Department from using any funds for participation in conferences sponsored by a group or person identified by the government as a criminal unindicted co-conspirator.
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South America:
Colombia Cancels Chavez's Hostage Mediation

International Herald Tribune
Mediation by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela with Colombia's largest rebel group was canceled late Wednesday night by President Álvaro Uribe, thwarting hopes for the release of dozens of hostages, including three American military contractors held since 2003. The move raises international tension surrounding the captives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France urged Uribe to reconsider; among the FARC's 45 or so political hostages is Ingrid Betancourt, a former presidential candidate here who holds Colombian and French citizenship. But Uribe, who had welcomed Chávez's mediating role last August, said Thursday that he had no intention of changing his mind, basing his surprising decision on what he viewed as a breach of protocol by Chávez with General Mario Montoya, the top commander of Colombia's army. Chávez, with the help of a Colombian lawmaker assisting him in the talks, had telephoned Montoya on Wednesday to request information on the hostages, despite a request from Uribe to refrain from direct contact with high-ranking military officials, the government here said in a statement. "Chávez is not known for respecting protocol and Uribe's strength is not flexibility," said Michael Shifter, vice president for policy at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington research group that specializes in Latin America...The United States sends Colombia about $600 million a year to combat drug smuggling, the FARC and a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, making Colombia the largest recipient of American aid in the Americas. The FARC was demanding the release of about 500 imprisoned guerrillas in order to release its captives.
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South Pacific:
3 Dead in Bomb Blast at Philippine Congress
Channel NewsAsia
The death toll from a powerful bomb blast in the Philippine House of Representatives has risen to three after an employee injured in the explosion died of her wounds, officials said Wednesday. The aide to a congressman died in hospital, becoming the third fatality of the blast. Congressman Wahab Akbar and a driver were also killed. Nine other people were injured in the blast, which hit the south lobby of the sprawling complex in the capital Manila late Tuesday, shortly after most congressmen had left for the evening. Troops were immediately placed on high alert and security forces threw up checkpoints around Manila as President Gloria Arroyo ordered a national police probe into the blast...Lawmaker Wahab Akbar was killed along with the driver for congresswoman Luz Ilagan who suffered minor injuries. Local television footage showed doctors frantically trying to revive Akbar as he was wheeled into surgery...Manila police chief Geary Barias said initial investigations showed the bomb was planted on a motorcycle parked near Akbar's car, prompting media to speculate the congressman may have been the target of the attack. Akbar, 47, had spoken in the past of his links with the founder of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, Abubakar Abdurajak Janjalani. He had twice served as governor of Basilan, the southern Philippine island used by the extremist Abu Sayyaf as a base to launch kidnapping and bombing raids, including some of the deadliest in the nation's history.
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Al Taqiyya: The Islamist Terrorist's Weapon of Deception
Frank Salvato/Basics Project
Western civilization’s delinquent knowledge of the Islamic faith leaves us naïve to many of its tenets. Many among us would be hard pressed to explain the differences between the Sunni and the Shi’ite, let alone the reasons why they have remained in conflict for almost the entire existence of the Islamic faith. This delinquency in understanding Islamic culture and doctrine makes those they consider non-believers – or kafirs – vulnerable both individually and collectively. This is especially true when we examine the Islamic concept of taqiyya.

Taqiyya is defined literally as:

“Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury."

In essence, taqiyya can be generally defined as the legitimization of deception in times of danger.
[read article]

Pakistan Loses Swat to Local Taliban
Christine Fair/Jamestown Foundation
In recent weeks large swathes of Pakistan’s idyllic mountainous region of Swat—a mere 90 miles from Islamabad—have fallen to militants purportedly led by Maulana Fazlullah, whose Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shari’at-e-Mohammad (Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws, or TNSM) shaheen (fighters) may number as many as 4,500. Swat’s residents are fleeing to safer ground as the security forces, largely comprised of the poorly trained and under-equipped Frontier Corps, are no match for Fazlullah and his following of belligerents. With Swat and other areas increasingly in the hands of militants, Pakistanis must rise to the challenge of combating an ideology that is fast encroaching into more settled areas.
[read article]

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