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Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Converts take on larger roles in militant Islam"

That's the title of a story from the Washington Post, via MSNBC:
Converts are prized by radical Islamic groups because they can usually operate freely in Europe, Asia and North America without arousing the suspicion of police. They are also often eager to accept dangerous assignments as a way to prove their devotion, experts said.

"What is new is that with al Qaeda, converts are now considered full members," said Olivier Roy, research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research and an authority on Islamic radicalism. "For al Qaeda, converts are not just tools to get past security. It's a way for them to become a global movement. In just about every al Qaeda cell over the past eight years, we have seen converts. It's structural, not just accidental."

Many converts have become trusted operatives at the highest levels of al Qaeda. Christian Ganczarski, a Polish-born German who trained in Afghanistan and met Osama bin Laden, was arrested in Paris in June 2003. Investigators said he was in direct contact with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, and helped plan at least two attacks in Africa.

Dhiren Barot, a British citizen and alleged ringleader of a scheme uncovered in 2004 to attack financial targets in New York and Washington with weapons of mass destruction, was born to Hindu parents but converted to Islam at age 20. U.S. investigators say Barot took orders from Abu Feraj Libi, a high-ranking al Qaeda planner captured in Pakistan last year.

Other converts who allegedly reported to the top tier of al Qaeda include Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, and Binyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian-born resident of London, both of whom are accused by Pentagon officials of planning "dirty bomb" attacks and other plots against the United States. Richard Reid, convicted of trying to blow up an American Airlines jet in December 2001 with explosives stuffed in his shoes, is another convert who was assigned his mission by top al Qaeda leaders.

Converts are still commonly recruited as foot soldiers as well. On Nov. 9, Muriel Degauque, a 38-year-old Belgian and former Catholic, achieved the distinction of becoming the first female Muslim suicide bomber from Europe when she attacked a U.S. patrol in Iraq, wounding one soldier and killing herself, according to Belgian officials.
Continued at Mystery Achievement.
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Blogger Always On Watch said...

I saw this article on my newspaper's front page this morning but haven't yet had the stamina to read all of it. Not a good start to the new year, IMO.

I've heard Dr. Walid Phares speak of the matter of converts. His web site is here.

Phares' book Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America is also very good. Excerpt, which speaks of terrorists' indoctrination which directly affects the United States, from page 233:
But the "ethnic bomb" the jihadists hope to explode is not limited to African Americans. Another group is Hispanic Americans. Again following the path of conversion first, indoctrination after, the network aims at recruiting terrorists-to-be from that growing community....With Padilla, the first seed was planted at the early stage of conversion. Once the ideological seed was planted, political recruitment followed. The dilemma in the counterterrorism commubnity has always been how to distinguish between a normal religious conversion into Islam--one protected by freedom of religion--and recruitment for jihad terrorism.....Jihadists interest has also developed within other immigrant ethnic groups, such as Asians, with a particular emphasis on ethnicities from Muslim areas such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the southern Philippines, and so on. Interest is also focusing on Europeans, especially from the Balkans, such as Bosnians and Kosovars. [This infomation is substantiated in the London Times, July 12, 2005]

The imam doing the conversion makes a lot of difference. Sufis are more peaceful, with emphasis on mysticism. Salafis are jihadists.

From my own research, I have learned that many of the recent, post-1990 mosques have been funded with Saudi dollars. Saudi is rife with Wahhabists. Since approximately 1990, Sufis have been on the decline, at least as far as imams and Islamic teachers go.

From the article you cited, here is the flashpoint: "What is new is that with al Qaeda, converts are now considered full members"!

Sunday, January 01, 2006 8:07:00 pm  
Blogger Elmers Brother said...

Racial profiling will have to be replaced - eh?

Sunday, January 01, 2006 9:45:00 pm  
Blogger Avi Green said...

There is also the case of Joel Henry Hinrichs in Oklahoma (you can go here for more). While it may not have been made clear, some of the details that were given about him, such as the beard he grew, seem to imply that he could've been close to being a convert, and he'd visited a local mosque as well. (A report on that can be found here).

Sunday, January 08, 2006 4:18:00 pm  

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