Much has been said of the nature of the men who planned to down ten American planes over the Atlantic. The LA Times today has a scary look at the world of Londonistan, the area of London populated by hundreds of thousands of Pakistani Muslims. They were from middle class homes, in their twenties and early thirties, born in Britain, and radicalized on campus or in community centers. They complain that they were frustrated by the racism of British society, and that they could not advance in careers. They grew frustrated at the British response to Islamic Terror and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Especially, they hated Britain for support of the US and Israel.
So how did they respond to theses cultural challenges? They collected around radical preachers who espoused violence, overthrow of Western governments, and destruction of Israel and the USA. They became brainwashed by these Islamic centers, in the heart of London.
Could something like that ever happen in the US? Isn’t America a land of opportunity even for Muslims and people from Southwest Asia, including India and Pakistan? If they could have just gotten a good job, would they not have become terror-wannabes, bent on killing thousands of innocents?
Clearly there is something in the Islamic movement today which ignores non-violent ways to fight perceived injustice. There is something in Islamic teachings that have cast Jews as the most evil creatures on the earth, with Israel being the personification of evil, and America as Evil’s Twin. There is something in the way that Saudi Arabia and Iran have been exporting their own versions of death and destruction, that have poisoned the world.
Based on these new realities, and documenting and following the growth of Islamic movement in the USA today, it can be safely assumed that what was planed in Britain, could be planned here as well. While, many terror groups have been broken up in the USA to-date, they have been foreign born and trained. Now we will begin to see the growth of homegrown American Islamic Terrorists, those from Muslim homes and converts. Case in point: Adam Gadahn, from sunny Southern California.
Gadahn was born Adam Pearlman, the son of 1960s psychedelic musician Phil Pearlman [he converted to Christianity and changed the family name to Gadahn], and raised in Riverside County on a goat farm. He was home-schooled until the age of 15, at which point he moved in with his grandparents in Santa Ana. There he drew close to the Mosque in Garden Grove, converted, and then left for Pakistan seven years ago.
July 07, 2006 1:39 PM
Adam Gadahn, who disappeared from California seven years ago, appeared unmasked on an al Qaeda tape made public on the internet today.
As previously reported by ABC News, the FBI had concluded that the masked man was Gadahn based on voice analysis of previous al Qaeda tapes. On today’s tape, Gadahn is bearded, wearing a turban.
The radicalization of Muslims students at universities in California, such has Fullerton State, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, Orange Coast College, San Fransisco State and UC Berkeley, has spawned fertile ground for more Adam Gadahns.
It seems to be only a matter of time, before a home grown group from Detroit or Orange County try to do the very same thing.
To the Deans and Chancellors of American universities, are you aware what role you are playing in the creation of Islamic terror in the USA by giving full access to radical Islamic groups and speakers? Who will take the blame when they start their campaign? Who will be accountable and who will be the victims?
Seeds of Islamic Militancy find fertile soil in London
Campuses, mosques and community centers are gateways for jihadism to reach alienated youth.
LONDON — The featured speaker at the annual dinner of London Metropolitan University’s Islamic Society thundered with fundamentalist zeal while warning of the rage spreading among young British Muslims.
College students should try to curb their “anger and frustration at injustices I see against myself and my Muslim brothers and sisters in this country and globally,” said cleric Abu Aaliyah, according to an audio feed on the student group’s website.
The next speaker at the March dinner congratulated a biomedical student, referred to as “Brother Waheed,” on his election as president of the society.
Today, that up-and-coming activist, Waheed Zaman, is one of the 23 British Muslims detained by London authorities on suspicion of plotting to blow up at least 10 U.S.-bound jetliners in midair.
Whatever the verdict is on the 21-year-old Zaman, his arrest and that of several other well-educated, middle-class men cast a spotlight on the rise of jihadism here among second- and third-generation members of Muslim immigrant families.
The alleged plot, in which police say they have seized evidence from Internet cafes and homes, and in which extremists reportedly met on campuses and at community centers and mosques, suggests that British militants have found an array of gateways for international jihad.
The phenomenon highlights the especially virulent convergence here of Muslim anger and the opportunity for young activists to connect with experienced militants.
“The unregulated existence on campus life allows the formation of a group of sympathizers,” said Anthony Glees, who teaches politics at Brunel University in London. “It allows the invitation to outsiders, be they imams, be they travelers who may have fought against British troops in Iraq, British and American troops in Afghanistan. They are invited on campuses without anyone knowing and inspire young men and women to their fanatical cause.”
Alienation in Muslim communities across Europe runs high.
In the Netherlands in 2004, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was killed by a Muslim extremist, and the same year in Madrid, Islamic militants planted bombs on commuter trains, resulting in 191 deaths.
But British militants stand out for their willingness and capability to attempt large-scale suicide bombings.
In 2001, Al Qaeda-trained “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to bring down a U.S-bound flight. Subsequently, Britons of Pakistani descent featured prominently in cases including a suicide attack on a Tel Aviv cafe in 2003, a foiled truck bombing in London the same year and the London transit system blasts last year that killed 52 people.
The large numbers of Muslims of South Asian descent plays a role in the amount of homegrown militants in the U.K. Britain has the largest population of Pakistani immigrants in the world, and British radicals find inspiration, training and direction in Pakistan, an outpost for the remnants of Al Qaeda and affiliated networks that operate training camps and hatch plots against the West.
Moreover, critics say, a longtime British policy of tolerating Islamic ideologues has turned London, known sardonically as “Londonistan,” into a haven for holy warriors and allowed extremist ideas to seep into mainstream thinking in Muslim communities.
Britain remains a caldron of Islamic movements and militants whose diversity and volatility are unmatched in Europe: Somali refugees, Saudi financiers, Egyptian scholars, Afro-Caribbean jailhouse converts.
“There are just too many extremist groups in Britain. The British have to make choices about which ones to monitor,” said a senior European anti-terrorist police commander. “The development of Londonistan, combined with the large numbers of Muslim immigrants, created this phenomenon, and it lasted a long time out in the open with little control.
“The British woke up too late. Now the police are working effectively, but the numbers are against them.”
The jihad movement in Britain dates back at least 26 years to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, when a number of young British Muslims traveled to fight with the mujahedin.
Since then, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and British foreign policy have been rallying calls for Muslim activism, which now takes aim primarily at Britain’s partnership with the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan and its support for Israel.
British jihadis are largely the children of parents who immigrated to England and worked hard to support large families. In some ways, those families have fared better than their counterparts in France and Germany: The open, multicultural approach to integrating immigrants in Britain helped a Muslim middle class take root and attain a presence in politics and government.
But the young people, brought up free of the hardships their immigrant parents’ faced, resent the barriers they still find to success in Britain.
Unlike in France, where many children of the North African diaspora aspire to hold a regular job and escape from housing projects, young, educated British Muslims say they feel discriminated against in their efforts to move up the socioeconomic ladder — and see that injustice writ large in British foreign policy.
“There is no equality in jobs,” said Mohammed Khan, 29, a manager of the Foot Market, a shoe store in the shadow of the Brixton mosque, who said he was unable to move up after four years at Barclays Bank despite good performance reviews. “Even when you know you are qualified, you don’t get a job because of your skin color or your name and when you see the injustice in the country’s foreign policy.”
Radicalism among many British-born Muslim university students reveals a bleak irony: Academic achievement and upward mobility do not necessarily prevent radicalization, and may sometimes spur it.
In a poll of Muslim students released last year by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, nearly 25% said they would not notify police immediately if they knew a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack.
Although she said she would never resort to terrorism herself, University of Greenwich management student Mahmada Sultana, 19, acknowledged that there was a strain of sympathy for jihadism among younger Muslims. She attributed it to the frustration some Muslims feel about the bombings that kill Arab civilians in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
“What’s happening in Lebanon isn’t helping,” said Sultana, as she ate lunch with girlfriends, all dressed in traditional head scarves, at a restaurant near the East London mosque. “Iraq is another thing. There are children dying and being bombed.
“It’s for our brothers and sisters,” she said, describing the rationale of jihadists. “The feeling is, ‘I must do something.’ ”
Such anger, combined with the ready access to extremists, increases the potential for violence among Britain’s middle-class Muslims, security experts say. And British-born militants of Pakistani descent, when teamed with terrorist networks in their own country, are ideal operatives because of their European passports, Western ways and language skills.
“Pakistan is an inexhaustible reservoir of combatants, a country full of hatred for the United States, a base for radical madrasas, training camps, terrorist groups,” the anti-terrorist police commander said. “The networks in Pakistan serve as catalysts for the networks in Britain.”
Although Britain clamped down on militant preachers who used inflammatory language in sermons, especially after the transit system bombings last summer, radicals continue to recruit at mosques, said several spokesman for Muslim organizations.
But they are just as likely to get together at a campus prayer room or a lecture.
Often, the sponsors urge their listeners to eschew violence and avoid anger, as did the speakers at the dinner Zaman attended at London Metropolitan University, where many students pursue vocational training. But that does not prevent small groups with extreme views from linking up at such events.
Some two dozen Muslim university students or graduates, most of them born in Britain, have been implicated in terrorist plots or extremist activities, according to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish group that tracks Islamic radical activity in Britain.
Among them have been students killed fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, a convicted accomplice of “shoe bomber” Reid, and the leader of last summer’s transit system bombings, who was a student at Dewsbury College and Leeds Metropolitan University.
The National Union of Students has repeatedly called on universities to ban at least two fundamentalist Islamic organizations, Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Muhajiroun, from speaking or recruiting on campuses. The organizations and others have been involved in clashes between Muslim and Jewish students and Hindu and Sikh students.
Britain has been hobbled in its effort to deal with radicalism because of its long tradition of free speech and attempts to assimilate extreme Muslim figures. Even after the transit system bombings, Britain invited Swiss-born Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, who has been denied entrance to the United States because of his views, to join an advisory committee helping the British government work on Muslim issues.
British authorities say it is easier to monitor extremism and gather intelligence when nonviolent radical activity happens in the open rather than underground. And they say the proper response to hate and intolerance is time-honored values of free speech and democracy.
“We have to address the terrorists’ world view,” said a high-ranking British police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We have to be confident about the strengths of our system…. We don’t want it to be presented that we can’t cope with Muslim free speech. It’s of huge importance how our values are seen.”