Archive for the ‘Islamic State in Europe’ category

A bloodied ISIS staggers on

March 26, 2017

A bloodied ISIS staggers on, Israel Hayom, Prof. Eyal Zisser, March 26, 2017

(According to the first sentence in the article, “Europe is learning the hard way what Israel learned decades ago.” If so, Europe must be an extremely slow learner. More likely, it resembles a terminally ill lung cancer victim who continues to smoke cigarettes and to inhale the smoke in hopes that it will cure him. Please see also, Islam, Not Christianity, is Saturating Europe. — DM)

Europe is learning the hard way what Israel learned decades ago. The war on terror is an ongoing struggle with ups and downs, and always painful failures. This fight requires patience and determination. There is no magic knockout punch, not by a spectacular military operation in the Syrian hinterlands or the assassination of some terrorist cell or another in a Paris or London suburb. A fight such as this can go on for years, as the reality prevalent in Europe is not about to change.

An equally important lesson, which Europe is also about to learn, is that terror constantly changes shape. In the past, al-Qaida spearheaded the waves of terrorist attacks in Europe. Now Islamic State has taken the reigns, and we can assume that if it fades and disappears, another Islamist group will take its place. The name and the headlines will change, to be sure, but the ideology will remain the same; the targets will continue to be innocent civilians across Europe, and the attackers will continue to be the same Muslim youths so enraptured by religious madness. It will be no different than our experience in Israel.

The terrorist attack perpetrated by Islamic State in London came on the heels of stinging defeats in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The organization’s dream of establishing an Islamic caliphate is on the verge of falling apart with the approaching fall of its government centers in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, which serves as its capital. The organization has already lost nearly half the territory it once held, and the signals being sent by the new administration in Washington point to U.S. President Donald Trump’s willingness and even determination to send American troops into the fray to fight the organization in a decisive manner.

Islamic State’s defeat will apparently induce a monumental battle between the winners — Iran and its allies — on one side, and Turkey and the moderate Arab states on the other. Iran, to be certain, will try filling the void left by Islamic State by establishing a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut. Its adversaries, meanwhile, will try preventing the Islamic republic from achieving its goals. All this, while Russia and the U.S. will watch from the sidelines and perhaps even fan the flames in order to advance their own interests in the region.

What is important to understand, however, is that the defeat of Islamic State and the fall of the country it created in the Middle East will not be the end of the story, not for the organization itself and certainly not for the ideology it espouses. We must keep in mind that Islamic State is first and foremost an extremist ideology, which enjoys support from local populations in the Middle East and from Muslim communities across the globe.

It is also an organization that rallies support from disenfranchised populations in the region — which feel persecuted by their centralized governments — whether these are Sunnis in Iraq or eastern Syria, or Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula. Thus, even if the state it created in eastern Syria and northern Iraq crumbles, we can assume Islamic State will withdraw deep into the desert from which it came and shift to operating as a ruthless underground organization that still enjoys support from local populations. Case in point, in Sinai the group continues to operate successfully despite being pummeled by Egypt.

Islamic State also has other areas within which it can operate, such as Libya or Yemen, where it has established footholds under the cover of the civil wars persisting there unabated. There has been a great deal of speculation recently over the possibility that the group could transfer its government centers to these places. Finally, sentiment for the organization and its ideas will continue to inspire and compel Muslim youths from across the globe to carry out terrorist attacks. Other radical Islamist organizations, which are more than willing to pick up where Islamic State ends, are also vying for the hearts and minds of these youths.

The waves of terror, therefore, will continue crashing into Europe, despite all the efforts to stop them and despite the military successes against Islamic State’s leaders and commanders in Syria and Iraq. Yet the fight must remain unrelenting, as this is the nature of the war against terror. It is the only way to ensure normal life in Europe. As the Israeli experience teaches, this should be the goal, even with the knowledge that terror has not been completely defeated.

ISIS Terrorists Tapping Organized Crime to Infiltrate Europe

February 11, 2017

ISIS Terrorists Tapping Organized Crime to Infiltrate Europe, Investigative Project on Terrorism, February 10, 2017

With the help of organized criminal elements, Islamic State terrorists reportedly are buying legitimate British passports that can evade security detection from security authorities, the Daily Beast reports.

An Italian intelligence investigation into the Camorra mafia discovered an advertisement on the deep web that linked to a Naples firm capable of producing sophisticated biometric passports.

“We are selling original UK Passports made with your info/picture. Also, your info will get entered into the official passport database,” the advertisement reads. “So its (sic) possible to travel with our passports. How do we do it? Trade secret! Information on how to send us your info and picture will be given after purchase! You can even enter the UK/EU with our passports, we can just add a stamp for the country you are in.”

Other investigations also shed light onto the broader ties between terrorists and European criminal organizations, including in the smuggling of weapons and forged documents.

Last year Italian authorities arrested an Iraqi man in Naples for facilitating weapons and document transfers to the Islamic State.

“Naples has been, for many years, a central logistics base for the Middle East,” prosecutor Franco Roberti told the Daily Beast last year, adding that “the Camorra (mafia) is also active in the world of jihadist terrorism that passes through Naples.”

Terrorists are diversifying their funding sources through various criminal means to underwrite their violent and nefarious activities. The criminal-terrorism nexus manifests itself in several ways: mainly in the form of cooperation between terrorist groups and organized criminal elements, and crimes by terrorists which are conducted to finance their own operations. Terrorists’ reliance in counterfeiting in particular has attracted more attention recently with the rise of Islamic State networks in Europe and other parts of the world.

Lacking a formal state sponsor, and facing setbacks in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State may start to depend more on criminal relationships to fuel their operations and to infiltrate terrorists into Western for the purposes of carrying out attacks abroad.

Islamic State top dog from Kosovo returns to Europe with 400 jihadis

December 30, 2016

Islamic State top dog from Kosovo returns to Europe with 400 jihadis, Jihad Watch

What could possibly go wrong? Refugees welcome! Not to allow these enemy combatants to return would be “Islamophobic”!

lavdrim-muhaxheri

“Disguised as refugees and able to cross borders without being identified: ISIS general who blew up a hostage with a rocket and decapitated another prisoner is ‘back in Europe with 400 soldiers’ after fleeing Syria,” by Julian Robinson, MailOnline, December 29, 2016:

An ISIS general once pictured decapitating a prisoner is back in Europe with up to 400 of his most trusted soldiers after fleeing the war zone in Syria, it has been claimed.

Ex-NATO soldier Lavdrim Muhaxheri and his men are among thousands who have fled after ISIS suffered devastating losses in war-torn Syria, according to sources in the Italian intelligence services.

Many of the fighters are feared to have disguised themselves as refugees in order to cross borders to get into Europe without being identified, according to information leaked from the spying agency.

Muhaxheri, also known as Abu Abdullah al Kosova, is not only a Kosovo Albanian ISIS leader but also one of the most public figures because of his foreign roots and his efforts to recruit other foreign jihadi fighters.

He left for Syria in late 2012 and has appeared in several propaganda videos, calling Albanians to join jihad, and has uploaded photographs of himself appearing to decapitate a man, as well as a video where he kills a captive with a rocket.

On September 24, 2014, the US State Department designated Muhaxheri as a global terrorist.

Italian newspaper ‘L’Espresso’, quoting the intelligence services, said that between 300 and 400 members of the Islamic ‘caliphate’ had come to Kosovo with him.

His arrival coincided with plans for an attack on Israel’s national soccer team and other targets which he is believed to have masterminded after arriving back in the country.

Prosecutors say Muhaxheri and fellow ISIS fighter Ridvan Haqifi planned attacks on international and state institutions, ultimately with the intent to establish an Islamic state.

They say he planned to attack the Israeli football team during a match in Albania and Kosovo government institutions, as well as Serbian Orthodox Church sites, were also potential targets….

Europe: Let’s Self-destruct!

November 25, 2016

Europe: Let’s Self-destruct!, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, November 25, 2016

A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities?

Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a country from stripping a returning ISIS fighter of his citizenship in order to prevent him from entering the country?

The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

 

Roughly 30,000 foreign and European Islamic State fighters from around 100 different countries, who have gone to Syria, Iraq and Libya, could spread across the continent once the terror group is crushed in its Iraqi stronghold, warned Karin von Hippel, director-general of the UK military think tank, Royal United Services Institute, speaking to the Express on October 26:

“I think once they lose territory in Iraq and Syria and probably Libya… they will likely go back to a more insurgent style operation versus a terrorist group that wants to try and hold onto territory… There has been about 30,000 foreign fighters that have gone in from about 100 countries to join. Not all of them have joined ISIS, some have joined al-Qaeda, Kurds, and other groups, but the vast majority have gone to join ISIS. These people will disperse. Some of them have already been captured or killed but many will disperse and they’ll go to European countries…They may not go back to where they came from and that is definitely keeping security forces up at night in many, many countries”.

Perhaps these scenarios are really keeping security forces up at night in many countries. Judging by the continued influx of predominantly young, male migrants of fighting age into Europe, however, one might be excused for thinking that European politicians themselves are not losing any sleep over potential new terrorist attacks.

According to a report by Radio Sweden, for example:

“Around 140 Swedes have so far returned after having joined the violent groups in Syria and Iraq. Now several municipalities are preparing to work with those who want to defect. This could include offering practical support to defectors.”

The municipality of Lund has dealt with this issue, and Malmö, Borlänge and Örebro have similar views. As Radio Sweden reports:

“Lund’s conclusion is that defectors from violent extremist groups should be handled like defectors from other environments, such as organized crime. After an investigation of the person’s needs, the municipality can help with housing, employment or livelihood.”

According to Sweden’s “national coordinator against violent extremism,” Christoffer Carlsson:

“…You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need a driver’s license, debt settlement and shelter. When people leave, they want to leave for something else, but they do not have the resources for it, so it is difficult for them to realize their plan. If they do not receive support, the risk is great that they will be unable to leave the extremist environment, but instead fall back into it.”

Anna Sjöstrand, Lund’s municipal coordinator against violent extremism, says that people who have served their penalty should all have support. Last year, the Municipality of Örebro received criticism for offering an internship to a young man who returned after having been in Syria.

“There may be such criticism, but for me it is difficult to think along those lines. They get the same help as others who seek help from us. We cannot say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society,” says Anna Sjöstrand.

According to Sweden Radio, several of the municipalities stress that people who commit crimes should be sentenced and serve their penalties before they can receive support. According to Amir Rostami, who works with the national coordinator against violent extremism:

“If you are suspected of a crime, the investigation of the crime always comes first. But as long as there is no suspicion of a crime, then it is in our own interest to help those that come out of this extremist environment. The consequences for society are quite large if you do not.”

So, in Sjöstrand’s words, travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, a bestial Islamic terrorist organization with its sexual enslavement of women and children, rapes, brutal murders of Christians, Yazidis, and other Muslims is just “a wrong choice.” You know, similar to embezzling money or getting into a drunken brawl at a bar, just ordinary garden-variety crime, which should not intervene with your “right to come back and live in our society”. In other words, it seems to support the standard European idea that the terrorist is the victim, not the innocent people he is out to maim, rape, and kill.

According to the Swedish view, burning Christians and Yazidis alive, gang-raping and murdering women and children, and other such “wrong choices” should not get into the way of one’s “rights.” It also seems to ignore the rights of members of the peaceful society who are vulnerable to being attacked. It would be logical to posit that traveling for the express purpose of joining a terrorist organization such as ISIS, which has as its explicit goal the destruction of Western nations such as Sweden, should actually lead to the forfeiture of the “right to come back and live in our society” — especially as those former ISIS fighters evidently do not consider Swedish society “their society.”

Another word that comes to mind is treason. But not for Sweden, such logical moral and political choices. Better to have another go at politically correct policies, doomed to failure, at the expense of the security (and taxpayer money) of law-abiding Swedish citizens, whose rights to live without fear of violent assault, rape and terrorism clearly ceased to matter to Swedish authorities a long time ago.

This hapless attitude towards ISIS increasingly resembles criminal negligence on the part of Swedish authorities. It was recently reported that Swedish police received a complaint of incitement to racial hatred, after an unnamed Syrian-born 23-year-old used a picture of the ISIS flag as a profile picture on social media. Prosecutor Gisela Sjövall decided not to pursue legal action against the man. The reason, according to Sjövall?

“IS expresses every kind of disrespect; it is against everyone except those who belong to IS itself. There is the dilemma, it [offends] too big a group… You could say that merely waving a flag of IS in the current situation cannot be considered hate speech. It is not an expression of disrespect towards any [particular] ethnic group. It has been said there could possibly be some form of incitement, that IS urges others to commit criminal acts such as murder, but that is not the case.”

Since ISIS hates absolutely everybody, according to Swedish law they can apparently engage in as much hate speech as their hearts desire. The terrorists, who are vying for a world-dominating caliphate, must be laughing their heads off.

Sjövall added that because the Nazi swastika is intrinsically linked to inciting anti-Semitism, this contravenes Swedish laws, and that maybe the ISIS flag would be considered as contravening Swedish law in 10 years.

At the rate that Swedish society is self-destructing, there may not even be much of Sweden to speak of 10 years from now.

1752On June 7, 2016, it was reported that British citizen Grace “Khadija” Dare had brought her 4-year-old son, Isa Dare, to live in Sweden, in order to benefit from free health care. In February, the boy was featured in an ISIS video, blowing up four prisoners in a car (pictured above). The boy’s father, a jihadist with Swedish citizenship, was killed fighting for ISIS.

In neighboring Denmark, in March 2015, a Danish MP for the Social Democrats, Trine Bramsen, said about returning ISIS fighters:

“Some constitute a danger or can become dangerous. Others need help. We have actually seen that many of those who come home have experienced such horrors that they need psychological help”.

The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

Denmark happens to be the European country with the most ISIS fighters returning from Syria, according to a report released in April by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. The report shows that 50% of the people who left Denmark to fight with ISIS in Syria have returned to Denmark. The UK is second, with 48%, and then come Germany (33%), Sweden (29%), France (27%), and Austria (26%).

In Denmark, four Syrian ISIS fighters were arrested in April when they returned from Syria.

The head of the Strategic Institute of the Defense Academy in Denmark, Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, told a Danish newspaper in April that there are not enough resources to monitor all returning ISIS fighters and thereby ensure their arrest, adding:

“But then again, not all [ISIS fighters] are identical. Some will come home and be a threat to society, whereas others will return disillusioned. If we treat everyone in the same manner, we risk pushing some of those who are in doubt even further in. If someone returns and it cannot be proven that he has committed crimes and if he, besides that, is disillusioned, then he should get help to get out.”

How do you determine with certainty that someone is “disillusioned,” when he could in fact be a ticking bomb waiting to commit terror?

In Denmark, the authorities decided on a prohibition to travel to Syria to join ISIS. That, however, does not solve the problem of what to do with the returning ISIS fighters. It also does not do much to prevent those potential ISIS fighters who have been frustrated in their efforts to join ISIS, from unleashing their terror on European soil instead — as ISIS has in fact commanded them to do.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have considered revoking the citizenship of returning ISIS fighters, thereby preventing them from returning. This is certainly feasible in those cases where the person in question has dual citizenship. Political obstacles aside, however, one of the main legal obstacles to countries taking this path is the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which prohibits governments from revoking a person’s nationality if it leaves them stateless.

A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities? Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a country from stripping a returning ISIS fighter of his citizenship in order to prevent him from entering the country?

Presumably, the European people care more about staying alive than the intricacies of international law. When will European leaders mobilize the political will to act?

Europe’s Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat

October 19, 2016

Europe’s Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, October 19, 2016

(Please see also, Sweden: Returning Islamic State jihadis to get free housing, driver’s license, tax benefits. — DM)

1469-1

Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe’s terror threat. The following examples came during a 24 hour window earlier this month: “Schiphol Airport Was Possibly A Target Of Terror Cell That Attacked Paris;” “Police In Brussels Stabbed In Possible Terror Attack;” and “MI5 Missed Chance To Foil Paris And Brussels Attacks.”

It is news to no one that Islamic terrorism is everywhere now, and principally in Northern and Central Europe. But the three news stories, and the Schiphol and MI5 revelations in particular, demonstrate the enormity of the challenges now facing European counterterrorism officials.

Intelligence and law enforcement continue to fumble in handling the threat, often through no real fault of their own. The perpetrators are slippery and elusive. Sometimes they travel under false names. Some slip in as refugees, using false passports and false histories. Others are returnees from Syria whose activities and encrypted Telegram communications slide beneath the radar, even as they are being watched. And overtaxed law enforcement agencies have made any number of mistakes, overlooking suspicious behavior or releasing suspects without adequate investigation – in part a consequence of political pressures and the fear of being accused of “Islamophobia” by politicians and the press.

As it turned out, the suspect in the Brussels knife attack was a former Belgian military officer already known to the police for his connections to fighters in Syria. To date, officials have not determined whether he has been to Syria or ISIS territory in Iraq.

But the contact with ISIS and other terror groups in the self-declared caliphate is a common link, not only among the known perpetrators of last November’s Paris attacks and the March attacks in Brussels, but among their alleged colleagues planning to attack Schiphol airport. Those two men, identified as the Tunisian Sofien Ayari and Syrian-Swedish Ossama Krayem, traveled by bus from Brussels to Amsterdam on Nov. 13, the day of the Paris massacre. Both used false IDs. They returned, still undetected, the following day.

Four months later, police raided a safe house used by the terror cell in Schaarbeek, a Brussels neighborhood, and retrieved a laptop computer containing files labeled “13 November.” Included in those files were documents referring not only to “Stade de France” and “Bataclan” – both targets in the Paris killings – but also to a “Schiphol group.”

It is not clear why Ayari and Krayem returned to Brussels without executing an attack on the Dutch airport, and the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) office will not comment on the case, leaving information sketchy.

But there may be clues: Ossama Krayem was also spotted on CCTV at the Brussels Metro station that was bombed on March 22; his lawyers maintain that he decided against detonating his backpack. Did he panic and back out of the Schiphol attack, as well?

Following a worldwide manhunt, Belgian police arrested Salah Abdeslam, one of the few surviving organizers of the Paris attacks, on March 18 in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. Little notice was given at the time to the other man arrested with him: Sofien Ayari. Three weeks later, after the March 22 attack on Zaventem airport and Brussels’ Maalbeek metro station, police also captured Mohamed Abrini, frequently referred to as “the man in the hat” and a key player in the Zaventem bombing. Also arrested, though also little noted at the time, was Ossama Krayem. All four remain in detention.

While it has likely been known for some time by French prosecutors, the connection to the Schiphol airport plot was only released publicly earlier this month.

Indeed, the latest disclosures show that the Paris-Brussels cell reached as far as Amsterdam and the UK, as members traveled back and forth among all four countries. No one even noticed. Worse, UK officials put a stop to an undercover investigation of a British group with connections to Abrini months before the attacks, citing insufficient evidence. Had that probe continued, it may have led them to Abrini – who frequently visited the British group under orders from Syria-based leaders, experts believe.

Why would that have mattered? Because Abrini was allegedly receiving orders from Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attacks and of “at least four” foiled terror plots across the country, according to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. And Abaaoud, said to be one of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s right-hand men, was regularly going back and forth between Syria and France. According to CNN, Abaaoud allegedly bragged in ISIS’s online magazine, Dabiq, “I was able to leave and come to Sham (Syria) despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary.”

Experts agree that returnees like Abaaoud form the greatest terror threat right now. It isn’t simply a matter of their ability to bring the lessons of the battlefield – bomb-building, sharp-shooting, and an emotional resistance against killing – to Europe’s villages and cities. It is their ability to recruit new “soldiers for ISIS,” some of whom will follow the returnees back to Syria, and others who will be ordered to remain and carry out attacks at home. And while most European countries have severe penalties for those found guilty of aiding terrorist groups, many returnees, like Abaaoud, simply don’t get caught.

Moreover, because there is rarely hard evidence available of violence or terrorist acts in Syria, convicting returning ISIS fighters for their actions there is more difficult than it might seem. Smart-phone data from some returnees, however, has occasionally offered up photographs, videos, and other material that can be used as evidence. Consequently, their sentences can be comparatively light, less than 10 years in Germany and the UK, and usually lower for those who cooperate with authorities.

Others may not face prison at all. A report by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD points out that many returnees come home disappointed by the realities they encountered. Those who were not seen as fit to fight were reduced to menial jobs like housekeeping, and cannot be said to have engaged in terrorist activity, and so, cannot be convicted.

At the same time, often “even those who did not fight continue to be involved in jihadist circles” when they come home, the AIVD reports. Others, according to a separate report published by the NCTV, join criminal groups, possibly as a way to raise money to send back to Syria and Iraq. And while many appear to retreat, having little social interaction, the NCTV says, this does not mean that they have given up their jihadist visions. Quite likely they are encouraging others through social media, in mosques, and in small groups.

And so the cycle continues.

There is some good news. Through new initiatives, European intelligence bureaus aresharing more information, making it less likely that someone like Abaaoud would be able to cross borders undetected. Such alerts would also bring attention to those returnees and other suspected jihadists might meet with, even in a foreign country (as Abrini met with British jihadists before the Paris strike).

More important are de-radicalization programs, which aim to change either the behavior (known as “disengagement”) or the mindsets of jihadists, essentially challenging and discrediting their radical Islamist ideas. How well these programs work is still uncertain, though experts increasingly agree that altering violent behavior alone is not enough.

Because jihadists work by spreading an ideology, it is that ideology that needs to be attacked. And because prisons are often precisely where radical Islamic ideologies are preached and spread, counterterrorist experts are starting to say that sending jihadists to prison is not sufficient.

“We’ve seen in many other countries that when you arrest one, you create three other extremists,” German deradicalization expert David Kohler told Frontline. “It helps to spread the idea, and proves to the movement that they are right, that they are under attack.”

Granted, this is hardly a short-term strategy. But as the number of people returning from Syria to the West grows, and as their reach into the hearts and minds of Western Muslims deepens, it may be the one chance that we have to bring the cycle of Islamist terror to an end.

Sweden: Returning Islamic State jihadis to get free housing, driver’s license, tax benefits

October 18, 2016

Sweden: Returning Islamic State jihadis to get free housing, driver’s license, tax benefits, Jihad Watch,

Some people’s balloon never lands. These besotted multiculturalists live in a fantasy world of their own making. Probably even as they are being beheaded by a returning jihadi, they will be congratulating themselves in their final moments for being “welcoming” and “non-judgmental.”

islamic-state-eradicate-judaism-video-1

“Breaking: IS terrorists to get free license and housing in Sweden,” translated from “Nu klart: IS-terrorister får gratis körkort och bostad i Sverige,” Fria Tider, October 18, 2016 (thanks to Fjordman):

Muslims who return to Sweden after joining the terrorist organization Islamic state, IS, in the Middle East can be offered tax benefits which include drivers education, free housing and even debt restructuring.

Radio Sweden spoke to Christoffer Carlsson, author of a report for the national coordinator against violent extremism, which gathers examples of how the terrorists are to be “reintegrated” into Swedish society with the help of state funds.

“It’s directly through social, economic and material means. You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need to have a driver’s license, debt settlement and shelter. When people leave, they want to leave for something else, but they do not have the resources to do so, so it is difficult for them to realize their plans,” says Christoffer Carlsson.

Without these kinds of benefits at the Swedish taxpayers’ expense, there is a risk that terrorists “do not succeed” in leaving the Muslim extremist environment, stresses Carlsson.

Anna Sjöstrand, municipal coordinator against violent extremism in Lund, also participated in Radio Sweden’s report. She points out that one cannot deny the terrorists tax benefits just because they made a “wrong choice.”

“We cannot say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society, said Anna Sjöstrand to SR.

Why not, exactly? The Islamic State is at war with Sweden. What evidence does Anna Sjöstrand have that the returning jihadis will not continue to pursue this war?

“Municipalities prepare for defection from violent extremism,” translated from “Kommuner förbereder för avhopp från våldsbejakande extremism,” Radio Sweden, October 18, 2016 (thanks to Fjordman):

Around 140 Swedes have so far returned after having joined the violent groups in Syria and Iraq. Now several municipalities are preparing to work with those who want to defect. This could include offering practical support to defectors.

One of the few known cases where someone defected after having joined the IS is in Lund. Although violent extremism existed in Lund before that, this case raised the issue of what to do when Swedes began to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight with extremist groups.

“When the subject first came up, we thought ‘Oh God, how should we handle this,’ but pretty quickly we realized that we should deal with this in the same way. This is a concern like any other concern whatsoever,” says Anna Sjöstrand, who is the municipal coordinator against violent extremism.

Lund’s conclusion is that defectors from violent extremist groups should be handled like defectors from other environments, such as organized crime. After an investigation of the person’s needs, the municipality can help with housing, employment or livelihood.

This approach is supported by a report by the national coordinator against violent extremism. The report’s author, Christoffer Carlsson, says that a person who wants to leave extremist environments often needs support to be able to do it.

“It’s directly through social, economic and material means. You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need to have a driver’s license, debt settlement and shelter. When people leave, they want to leave for something else, but they do not have the resources to it, so it is difficult for them to realize their plans,” says Christoffer Carlsson.

“If they do not receive support, the risk is great that they will be unable to leave the extremist environment, but instead fall back into it,” says Christoffer Carlsson.

“Then they might make an attempt and fail because they do not have anything holding out another chance to them, so instead there is always something to go back to, namely the group they left,” says Christoffer Carlsson.

Malmö, Borlänge and Örebro also have similar views on how to support defectors. Last year, the Municipality of Örebro received some criticism for offering an internship to a young man who returned after having been in Syria.

Anna Sjöstrand, municipal coordinator against violent extremism in Lund, does not agree with the criticism. It is wrong to assume that people have to serve any punishment; they should all have the same support, she says.

“There may be such criticism, but for me it is difficult to think along those lines. They get the same help as others who seek help from us. We cannot say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society,” says Anna Sjöstrand.

ISIS in Europe: How Deep is the “Gray Zone”?

April 4, 2016

ISIS in Europe: How Deep is the “Gray Zone”? Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, April 4, 2016

(How many supporters of and sympathizers with the Islamic State and similar jihadist groups are there in Obama’s America? — DM)

♦ Among young European Muslims, support for suicide bombings range from 22% in Germany to 29% in Spain, 35% in Britain and 42% in France, according to a Pew poll. In the UK, one in five Muslims have sympathy for the Caliphate. Today more British Muslims join ISIS than the British army. In the Netherlands, a survey shows that the 80% of Dutch Turks see “nothing wrong” in ISIS.

♦ Even if these polls and surveys must be taken with some caution, they all indicate a deep and vibrant “gray zone,” which is feeding the Islamic jihad in Europe and the Middle East. We are talking about millions of Muslims who show sympathy, understanding and affinity with the ideology and goals of ISIS.

♦ How many Muslims will this ISIS virus be able to infect in the vast European “gray zone”? The answer will determine our future.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Europe was terrorized by a war declared by Communist armed groups, such as the Germany’s Baader Meinhof or Italy’s Red Brigades. Terrorists seemed determined to undermine democracy and capitalism. They targeted dozens of journalists, public officials, professors, economists and politicians, and in Italy in 1978, even kidnapped and executed Italy’s former prime minister, Aldo Moro.

The big question then was: “How deep is the ‘gray zone’?” — the sympathizers of terrorism in the industrial factories, labor unions and universities.

In the last year, the Islamic State’s henchmen slaughtered hundreds of Europeans and Westerners. Their last assault, in Brussels, struck at the heart of the West: the postmodern mecca of NATO and the European Union.

We should now answer the same question: How deep is the “gray zone” of the Islamic State in Europe?

Peggy Noonan recently tried to give an answer in the Wall Street Journal:

“There are said to be 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. … Let’s say only 10% of the 1.6 billion harbor feelings of grievance toward ‘the West’, or desire to expunge the infidel, or hope to re-establish the caliphate. That 10% is 160 million people. Let’s say of that group only 10% would be inclined toward jihad. That’s 16 million. Assume that of that group only 10% really means it — would really become jihadis or give them aid and sustenance. That’s 1.6 million.”

That is a lot.

According to a ComRes report commissioned by the BBC, 27% of British Muslims have sympathy for the terrorists who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris (12 killed). An ICM poll, released by Newsweek, revealed that 16% of French Muslims support ISIS. The number rises to 27% percent for those aged 18-24. In dozens of French schools, the “minute of silence” to commemorate the murdered Charlie Hebdo’s journalists was interrupted by Muslim pupils who protested it.

How deep is ISIS’s popularity in Belgium? Very deep. The most accurate study is a report from Voices From the Blogs, which highlights the high degree of pro-ISIS sympathy in Belgium. The report monitored and analyzed more than two million Arabic messages around the world via Twitter, Facebook and blogs regarding ISIS’s actions in the Middle East.

The most enthusiastic comments about ISIS come from Qatar at 47%; then Pakistan, at 35%; third overall is Belgium, where 31% of tweets in Arabic on the Islamic State are positive — more than Libya (24%), Oman (25%), Jordan (19%), Saudi Arabia (20%) and Iraq (20%). This shocking data exposes the success of the network and its easy pro-ISIS recruitment in Belgium.

In other European countries, after Belgium, Britain is at 24%, Spain 21%, France 20%.

In the UK, one in five Muslims have sympathy for the Caliphate. Today more British Muslims join ISIS than the British army.

In the Netherlands, a survey conducted by Motivaction shows that the 80% of Dutch Turks see “nothing wrong” in ISIS.

Among young European Muslims, support for suicide bombings range from 22% in Germany to 29% in Spain, 35% in Britain and 42% in France, according to a Pew poll.

The level of ISIS’s popularity in the Arab world has been exposed by many surveys: the Clarion Project published a report based on multiple sources a March 2015 poll by the Iraqi Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies, a November 2014 poll by Zogby Research Services, a November 2014 poll by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and an October 2014 poll by the Fikra Forum. The result: 42 million people in the Arab world sympathize with ISIS.

After the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, Al-Jazeera conducted a survey asking, “Do you support Isis’s victories?” 81% of respondents voted “yes.”

Even if these polls and surveys must be taken with some caution, they all indicate a deep and vibrant “gray zone,” which is feeding the Islamic jihad in Europe and the Middle East. We are talking about millions of Muslims who show sympathy, understanding and affinity with the ideology and goals of ISIS.

Anthony Glees, an English scholar of political radicalism, revealed the “gray zone” of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof terror group: “By 1977, the West German Federal Criminal Agency had a terrorist index which contained the names of some 4.7 million suspects and sympathisers, many of them university students.”

The terrorist leaders at that time all came from good German families: Andreas Baader was the son of a professor of history, Ulrike Meinhof was the daughter of a museum director and a famous journalist, Gudrun Ensslin was the daughter of an evangelical pastor, Horst Mahler was the son of a judge.

The Islamic State today has a much deeper gray zone of sympathizers in the Muslim communities of Europe.

1539In the 1970s and ’80s, Europe was terrorized by Communist armed groups, such as the Germany’s Baader Meinhof (pictured in black and white), which had a “gray zone” of millions of suspected sympathizers. Today’s European jihadists, such the late Paris attack mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud (right), have a much deeper “gray zone” of sympathizers in the Muslim communities of Europe.

If Baader-Meinhof was at war with the “schweine” (bourgeois “pigs”) and targeted specific political figures, the Caliphate’s volunteers are at war with all the “kuffar” (unbelievers). ISIS loyalists target the patrons of restaurants, theaters and stadiums in Paris; a café in Copenhagen which held a debate on freedom of expression and Islam; Western tourists at a resort in Tunisia; commuters at the Maelbeek metro station and passengers at the Brussels airport.

For ISIS, it is an eternal war in the name of the prophet. As Graeme Wood explained in “What ISIS Really Wants,” ISIS “hungers for genocide … and it considers itself a harbinger of — and headline player in — the imminent end of the world.”

A book just published in French by Ivan Rioufol, a journalist for the newspaper Le Figaro, eloquently titled “The Coming Civil War,” details the dangers posed by the “apocalyptic ideology” of radical Islam in Europe. How many Muslims will this ISIS virus be able to infect in the vast European “gray zone”? The answer will determine our future.