ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS ARE BECOMING MORE CONFIDENT IN WESTERN COUNTRIES
Our regular author, Candidate of Political Sciences Dmitry Nechitailo, a specialist in Islamic extremism, recently gave an interview to the columnist of the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" on a topic that is not quite common for our publication. For it was not about the" profile " countries of Asia and Africa for the magazine, but about the states of Europe and the United States. More precisely, about Islamic extremism, its activists and adherents, which is raising its head higher and higher on the European and American continents. The problem, according to D. Nechitailo, is extremely serious. And if you ignore it, pretend that it does not exist or is still irrelevant, then you create conditions for the emergence of many acute problems in the future. And, most likely , in the near future.
- Recently, while turning the handle of the radio receiver, I accidentally got on some English-language radio station broadcasting music in the now popular style of "rap". The language was English, and not bad English, but the words were strange, non-English and even non-European: "Kalashnikov" ... "Hezbollah" ... "Hamas" ... "Jihad" ... And the melody was clearly harsh, aggressive, somewhat reminiscent of the fascist marches of the 30s. What do you think it was?
- Most likely, you were able to hear the CD of a very popular rapper in the West, Muhammad Kamil Mustafa, nicknamed "al-Ansari", who now lives in England. He is the son of the imam of the Finsbury Park mosque, Abu Hamza al-Masri, a rumored secret al-Qaeda activist. "Al-Ansari", despite its young years, is even considered the " founding father "of a new direction in" rap", which is also called"jihadrap". Recently, he created the group "Lions of the Desert". What is he singing about? That he wants to be a soldier, take up a Kalashnikov assault rifle, participate in jihad, and defend his religion - the most "correct" in the world...
- And so easily, absolutely freely sings, in fact, about terror? Yes, and in London, where, probably, you have not forgotten the recent terrorist attacks on buses, which brought many victims? I understand that in the West, freedom to express one's opinions is sacred, and it is impossible to bring a rapper who is an adept of terror to justice on a legal basis. But there are still forms of expressing public protest - you can, for example, boycott his concerts...
- On the contrary, they are very popular. As well as the concerts of the bands "Fan-de-mental" and "Blackstone" in the UK, "Medina" in France, "Zenki Flow" in the Netherlands. They all sing about terror and jihad, and a lot of people like it. And not only to young people from European Muslim communities, but also to native Londoners and Parisians... Now there is a fashion among young people, you know, on such topics, tickling the nerves...
- Do the interests of this audience lie exclusively in the musical sphere?
"Not at all. In Western countries, there are dozens of youth associations that rally around the ideas of Islam. Moreover, it is significant that they are usually very superficially familiar with these ideas and cannot even explain what their essence is, they do not even have a basic knowledge of the Islamic religion. All their appeals are a protest against the war in Iraq, support for Iran's nuclear program, and protection of Chechen separatists.
In the same London, a youth movement called "Muslim Guys"has recently gained popularity. One of his groups operates in the south of the British capital and is engaged almost exclusively in criminal activities-from robbery to drug trafficking. It consists mainly of black young people, originally from Africa or the Caribbean region. They don't even know about the need to give praise to Allah five times a day. According to them, they pray twice a day: when they go "to work" and when they return home after committing a crime. At the same time, they do not stop at threats, attracting new members to their ranks. And two years ago, they even executed a 24-year-old Briton for refusing to accept their faith.
- Is the Muslim Guys an underground organization?
- More like a semi-underground one. Members of this and other similar organizations, of course, do not advertise their criminal activities. But they walk the streets with bin Laden badges, openly view jihad videos in clubs, and install images of terrorist attacks on their mobile phones.
- What, in your opinion,is the "typical portrait" of a European Islamic extremist?
- This is a very young or middle-aged person, a native of an Asian or African country in the first or second generation, who has not found a worthy place in the European environment. There are also representatives of the" middle class "for whom belonging to Islamic extremist communities is a kind of" front", a way to emphasize their Muslim identity, assert themselves or protest against the morality of the"consumer society". Europeans join such movements because of the growing interest in Islam everywhere, although they are usually introduced to extremist Islam rather than orthodox Islam, and they often credulously accept the propaganda escapades of religious fundamentalists at face value.
- What are the reasons for the popularity of
How many ideas of Islamic extremism are there in the West? It seems that there are no reasons for special sympathy for him, rather the opposite?
- In broad terms, this is a reflection of the general moral crisis of Western society, especially its young part. There is a process of spreading subculture, which is a combination of nihilism, the cult of power and extremism, leading to alienation from the rest of society. This crisis primarily affected young people from Muslim areas-ghettos of European cities. In the minds of this public in general, an unimaginable "cultural and ideological mess"reigns. They dress in a modern way, drive decent cars, but at the same time use alcohol and drugs, are fond of gangster films, and are prone to delinquency.
In a more specific context, this crisis is the result of blatant and widespread discrimination against immigrants from Asian and African countries in European cities on ethnic grounds, and ethnic and racial prejudice among the majority of the so-called "indigenous population". Voluntary or involuntary self-isolation from the indigenous population, housing segregation due to ignorance or lack of knowledge of the local language, discrimination create a psychological ghetto for them and greatly hinder their assimilation of new life rules and ideas.
In an effort to take revenge on a society in which young people do not have a decent place, they reject the morals and norms of behavior adopted in it, refuse to consider themselves citizens of the host country, resort to illegal actions, join the ranks of criminal groups. Islam is also being turned to as a last resort by the" new Muslims "of the middle class, who seek to emphasize their" self " often only in protest against their rejection by Western society, for the sake of self-affirmation. Among young people, there is a resurgence of interest in religion, often in its fundamentalist and extremist forms.
A superficial understanding of Islam in the youth environment allows various radical Islamist forces to use such groups to their advantage, to introduce into them authoritative, past the "hot spots" of the Mujahideen.
- Judging by the media reports, various manifestations of radical Islamism in Europe are purely "urban"; there are almost no incidents of religious fanaticism in rural areas. But thousands of people from Africa and Asia are employed in agricultural work in Western countries. What is the reason for this?
- Radical Islam in Europe has long been spread almost exclusively in the urban environment. Muslim immigrants usually settled in large and medium-sized cities. However, over the past few years, there has been a tendency for radical Islamist structures to move to rural areas. This is especially true in Southern European countries-Spain, Italy, and France, where seasonal agricultural work is carried out by immigrants from North Africa. Here, prayer houses are being set up in rural areas, where radical imams often deliver sermons. Taking advantage of the fact that there are few mosques on the periphery and minimal control by small police detachments, Islamic extremists are stepping up their activities here. French authorities recently uncovered an Islamist network in Toulouse that trafficked volunteers to Iraq. She was related to a Syrian living in the village of Artigat. His community lived in isolation and followed the strict rules of Sharia law. Some Muslims in Toulouse brought young people to Artigate to spend some of their time in the environment of " pure Islam."
In July 2007, a special operation called "Hamam" was carried out in Italy, during which Mustafa al-Kurci, the imam of a mosque in a small village near Perugia, and Muhammad al - Absi, the imam of a mosque in the village of Pier Antonio, were arrested. Al-Qurchi trained his supporters in urban warfare tactics. The cell members received all the necessary methodological materials from the Internet. Then, various forums on the World Wide Web discussed various methods of warfare. After that, they were trained at a training base located near the mosque. During the search of al-Qurchi's apartment, about 60 different chemical components for the production of explosives were found. By the way, almost all of them were on open sale, i.e. they were quite affordable.
- Recently, a new state of "Islamic orientation" appeared in the center of Europe, in the Balkans - the Republic of Kosovo. And although it is not recognized by all countries of the world (in particular, it is not recognized by Russia), this fact cannot be ignored. Did Muslim extremists play a role in the events in the Balkans? Should we fear the emergence of a new center of Islamism, including radical Islam, in the immediate vicinity of many European countries?
- Yes, there is such a danger. Thus, the youth of Bosnia clearly sympathizes with foreign volunteers who took part in the fighting on the side of Muslims in the early 90s and then decided to stay in the country. Currently, 15 thousand former volunteers from Muslim countries who came to support their brothers in faith in the fight against the Serbs have received citizenship and are permanently residing in the country. Many of them are representatives of the so-called Arab Afghan movement. Bosnian authorities say that the Muslim community has been unable for a decade and a half to oppose anything to the radical Islamist ideology that foreign Mujahideen brought with them. They especially stepped up their recruitment efforts after the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2007, in some parts of the country, Islamic radicals began to put pressure on mosque imams who refused to accept their ideology.
According to the country's intelligence services, the activities of radicals in Bosnia are financed from Western European countries. In particular, according to the testimony of the Supreme Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, Austria became such a center. He asked the authorities of several European countries to take measures to neutralize radical support centers in Bosnia. A special commission was appointed by the authorities
to study this group of migrants. During the investigation, 620 people were found to have false documents, many are wanted in their homeland for crimes committed. The issue of deporting them to their homeland is being raised.
In particular, the authorities intend to expel Tunisian Kamal bin Ali (Abu Hamza), the organizer of protests against moderate Muslims in the country. He received Bosnian citizenship during the war, when he was a field commander of the Mujahideen, then married a Bosnian woman. According to intelligence agencies, Abu Hamza, along with 20 Mujahideen from the radical Egyptian group al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya, came to the city of Zenica in 1992 and lived in Bosnia, using seven names based on false Egyptian and Yemeni documents. It is known that in Tunisia, he was sentenced in absentia to 13 years in prison. Some members of his group are already in prison in Bosnia for various crimes. Abu Hamza was associated with the radical imam of Zenica Y. Barsic, after whose death he took his place and began to preach radical Islamist ideas. Barsic has repeatedly openly stated that his activities are financed by a radical group based in Vienna.
Another Austrian citizen, N. Imamovich, founded a radical Islamist community in the Bosnian village of Gornja Maoča. In October 2007, Bosnian Asim Ceivanovic was arrested in an attempted terrorist attack. 2 kg of explosives were found in his apartment. Tseyvanovich was linked to another Islamist, M. Djudjic, the main organizer of the terrorist attack. In turn, Djudjic was familiar with the previously mentioned Y. Barsic.
Another trend is the activation of radical Islamist groups in Eastern European countries, especially in those that have recently joined the European Union or will soon become its members. These countries attract extremists because their special services have no serious experience in countering the activities of radical Islamist groups. There is a black market for weapons and forged documents, as well as the ability to move to other EU countries, and a high level of corruption, which provides radicals from Islam with greater freedom of action.
"Let's move on to America. Are there any people and organizations professing radical Islamism there? After all, after the events of September 11, 2001, they seem to have been put up with such barriers and networks - not a single "Islamic fly" will fly by?
- One of the key figures of the modern Islamist movement is Adam Gadan, nicknamed Azzam al-Amriki. He is an American, about 30 years old. Al-Amriki regularly delivers addresses aimed primarily at the English-speaking audience. Experts call it the English-language mouthpiece of Al-Qaeda and bin Laden. Addressing the White House administration and the general American public, he calls for the withdrawal of soldiers, military advisers and instructors from Muslim countries - "from Afghanistan to Zanzibar." "As long as there is at least one American spy or soldier left in Muslim territory, we will have an excuse to continue our defensive jihad against your nation and people." In addition, Azzam al-Amriki calls on the United States " ... to stop military, political, and economic assistance to 56 apostate regimes in the Muslim world and transfer their fate to the hands of the soldiers of Islam. If this is not done, then it will be enough for us to continue fighting and killing Americans." It demands that the West not interfere in the educational, school and information programs of the Islamic world, and ban all radio and television broadcasts that defame Islam, morals and values of Muslims. Al-Amriki's demands include the release of Muslim prisoners from prisons and camps, and non-interference in the creation of a truly Islamic state designed to unite Muslims around the world. Failure to comply with these conditions, according to Azzam al-Amriki, will be the basis for using "live bombs" and committing terrorist attacks against citizens of the United States and other Western countries.
Thus, he emphasizes that the actions of the world jihad movement will primarily be a response to the policies pursued by Western countries towards Muslims.
Al-Amriki advocates holding anti-war demonstrations, rallies, and protest marches, and believes that this will put pressure on governments that should withdraw their troops from the territories of Muslim countries. Otherwise, Western citizens become "legitimate" targets for terrorist attacks.
- According to American newspapers, a radical website recently published an article about the so-called "lone wolf strategy". What are these" wolves", where did they come from, and what is the "strategy"?
- The anonymous author of the same article on the site claims that Al-Qaeda's "lone wolves" deprive FBI agents of sleep and peace. He speaks of cell members "roaming the streets of Western cities." In his opinion, it is these loners who are most concerned about the FBI: "Everyone knows that those who are well prepared, professional and experienced can move freely with the least risk of being detained by special services. Indeed, the failure of one will lead to the defeat of the entire cell. A lone wolf will never worry about being betrayed."
The author lists what can contribute to the survival of a Mujahid if he is in the United States. First, excellent knowledge of the spoken language, street jargon. Secondly, his appearance, which should never give him away belonging to the Arab or Muslim world in general. Third, knowledge of Spanish is desirable, as an Arab can easily pass himself off as a Latin American. We recommend using a foreign name. The author also advises buying fake documents directly in the United States, where, according to him, they are cheap and of high quality. You will need them to purchase weapons, night vision devices, etc. Fourth, the "lone wolf" should not live among "whites", but settle in" black " neighborhoods. However, the author of the article warns, these areas are "teeming" with drug dealers, and, accordingly, the risk of being detained during raids conducted by special services increases. Fifth, you must have an excellent command of the computer and the Internet, as well as the skills of their safe operation. Sixth, the ability to detect an observation is necessary
special services and get away from it. Seventh, to use American-made weapons, to make suicide belts, as well as explosive devices for their subsequent installation in cars.
- Islamic extremists have repeatedly stated their intention to use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against the United States. How big is the risk of such a development? Can such weapons end up in the hands of terrorists?
-Abu Musab al-Suri, a well-known ideologist of world radical Islam, has repeatedly stated such intentions. In January 2005, he published a treatise entitled " A Call for Worldwide Islamic Resistance." In it, he said that if he had to instruct the participants of the September 11 terrorist attack, he would advise them to take weapons of mass destruction on board the plane. He argues that the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States remains a difficult but feasible task. According to al-Suri, the destruction of the United States is possible by conducting so - called strategic operations using WMD-nuclear, chemical or biological. "The Mujahideen should get these weapons in any way, cooperating with anyone who already has them."
- Are there any Native Americans who are sincere supporters of radical Islamists - people who share the political beliefs of the latter and are ready to act in the same inhumane ways as they do?
- The number of radical Islamists in the United States has been growing recently. Some citizens of the country take part in fighting on the side of Islamists in various "hot spots" and can later be used to commit terrorist attacks in the United States. In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, one of the leaders of the Somali Union of Islamic Courts, Sheikh Hassan al-Harsi, said that among his Mujahideen there are also Americans.
So, Mahmoud Farouk Brent (Mahmoud al-Mutazzim) from Ohio was trained in the military training camp of the radical Pakistani Islamist group "Lashkare Toiba". He then returned to Baltimore, where he was arrested in August 2005. He was associated with Tariq Shah, who provided all the necessary supplies to the Islamists of a military training camp located in one of the mountainous regions of the United States. The radical Islamist cell also included Seifullah Chapman, a former Marine who was later sentenced to 65 years in prison.
During the investigation, the FBI was able to find out that there are several groups operating in the United States, whose members were trained in Pakistan. One of them, the 11 - member Jihad Group in Virginia, was led by Ali al-Tamimi, the son of an Iraqi embassy lawyer. It is known that when he was 15 years old, his family moved to one of the Persian Gulf countries, where he first showed an interest in Islam. After returning to the United States, he defended his dissertation in biology. In addition, he taught Islam and actively collaborated with the Islamic Assembly of North America. The group was funded by one of the Persian Gulf countries. Its mission was to promote the Salafi version of Islam. At-Tamimi's connections in the student community were useful, where he recruited his supporters, almost openly preached radical Islamist ideas, and called for the destruction of the American military. Al-Tamimi maintained contacts with the radical Egyptian ideologist Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Khalid and translated his works into English. Members of his group were trained at Islamist military training bases in Pakistan. In the future, they were supposed to be used to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.
- They say that radical Islamist organizations operate with impunity in many American universities...
- According to the website" Campus Watch", run by the famous political scientist Daniel Pipes, Islamist organizations are really trying to increase their influence in US universities. They use the procedure adopted in American universities, when the selection of academic subjects directly depends on sponsorship money. Numerous "charitable foundations" based in the Persian Gulf countries transfer funds to finance Islamic studies courses at American universities. After that, local Muslim communities send their own activists to the university, who play the role of "political correctness controllers"in the classroom. If any of the teachers allow a critical understanding of Islamic norms, they immediately raise a scandal and disrupt classes. Islamic activists then warn the university authorities that the sponsor will stop funding if such and such a professor does not change his views or is dismissed. As a result, "Islamic studies courses" at American universities are gradually becoming an arena for anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Since the late 1980s, the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir (Liberation Party) has been active in the United States. Its leaders are Palestinians Iyad Hilali and Muhammad Malkawi, a computer programmer from Chicago. For a long period of time in their homeland, they were members of this organization. In their work, they adhere to the regime of strict secrecy. For example, its members are not allowed to pronounce the name of the organization.
A new generation of American followers of the" Liberation Party " sells shoes and clothing with the organization's symbols through online stores. Propaganda is carried out through various Internet chats.
Thus, considering Washington as the No. 1 enemy, the Islamists seek to transfer military operations to the territory of the United States itself. At the same time, they rely both on groups operating independently and on individual Mujahideen, the so-called "lone wolves", who are able to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States as part of the overall Al-Qaeda strategy, without receiving direct orders from anyone. It should be recognized that both in Europe and in the United States there is ground for the emergence of such a category of radicals. They may also attempt to use any type of WMD. But the probability of such a development is extremely small. Humanity has gradually learned and continues to learn how to resist terrorists and extremists. And there probably won't be a repeat of September 11, 2001.
The interview was conducted by N. PETROV
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