On Orthodox Christmas Wednesday 7 January 2015 10 French journalists and 2 were French policemen were murdered and 11 other innocent people have been wounded, some critically by 3 Wahhabi Salafi terrorists. French President Francois Hollande has labelled this terrorist attack on the offices of French magazine #CharlieHebdoas an exceptional act of barbarity.
France has been on the highest terrorist level alert since Al Qaeda, and other Wahhabi Salafi extremists called for Muslim’s to commit lone wolf attacks on French people and institutions for their continued opposition to Wahhabi Salafi terrorist insurgencies in Africa and the Middle East.
The world recoils at yet another terrorist attack by Wahhabi’s on the warpath shouting the Takbir (تَكْبِير), ‘God (Allah, nominative Allāhu), is Great (Kabir)’. Whilst it has special non-offensive meanings and uses in everyday Muslim rituals and social intercourse, it has a sinister application when said during violent acts of Wahhabi Salafi terrorism like the beheading of French tourist Hervé Gourdel in Algeria by Wahhabi Salafi militants ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/africa/herve-gourdel-french-hostage-beheaded-algeria.html
Another French Algerian Wahhabi Salafi terrorist Mohammed Merah recorded himself shouting Allahu Akbar as he killed three French paratroopers in the 2012 before going on to murder little children and their father at a Toulouse Jewish kindergarten. Cody, Edward (March 22, 2012). “Mohammed Merah, face of the new terrorism”. The Washington Post.
See my article: “ISLAMO-FASCIST TERRORISM NOW IN FRANCE; WHAT MUST BE DONE TO STOP ITS SPREAD” https://www.moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=136:islamo-fascist-terrorism-now-in-france-what-must-be-done-to-stop-its-spread&Itemid=487
Interestingly Abdelkader Merah, Mohammed Merah’s brother was also involved with recruiting French Salafis to be fighters for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Iraq long before Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi coined his Salafist Al Qaeda group as ISIS. Both al-Zarqawi and al-Baghdadi loved violent jihad and especially beheading Westerners whilst saying “Allāhu Akbar”.
The 9/11 Salafi terrorists like the French-Moroccan Zacarias Moussaoui said in the preparation plans for their attacks 2001:
“When the confrontation begins, strike like champions who do not want to go back to this world. Shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.” Barnett, Tracey (May 3, 2006). “Tracey Barnett: Suicide bombers follow a morality of their own”. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 16,2011.
“Also, in the cockpit voice recorders found at the crash site of Flight 93, the hijackers are heard reciting the Takbīr repeatedly as the plane plummets toward the ground and the passengers attempt to retake control of the plane.
Imam Samudra, who was sentenced to death for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, chanted the phrase upon hearing his sentence.
During the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, witnesses reported that gunman Nidal Malik Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.
Another silent way of gesturing the Takbir (تَكْبِير) is pointing their finger upwards, pointing to heaven
The Wahhabi Salafi vanguard, ISIS from the minarets of its self-styled Caliphate calls for death and terror on the streets of the coalition forces of US, UK, Australia, Canada and Europe and their evil minions take up the carrion call all over the West. ISIS calls for Salafi jihadi’s to run down infidels in cars, randomly behead civilians on the streets, attack the families of military personnel and shoot or knife infidels and their leaders.
In an audio message in September 2014, the ISIS media head Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, put out a call to all Wahhabi Salafi’s around the world to carry out murders of Westerners who opposed ISIS:
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be,”
On Monday 13 October, in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Canada, a new but zealous convert to Wahhabi Salafi Islam 12 months ago, Canadian Martin Couture-Rouleau murdered Canadian soldier Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent by running him and another soldier down in a car pointing his finger to heaven seeking Allah as his justification for doing so.
On 22 October 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau radicalized by KSA funded Wahhabi Salafi BCMA went on a shooting spree in Ottawa Canada that killed one reservist and wounded another at Canada’s War Memorial and then attacked the Canadian Parliament.
On 23 October 2014 Zaim Farouq Abdul-malik (Zale Thompson) already radicalized at a Wahhabi Salafi mosque in Queens NY (radicalized at the Islamic Center of Queens on 37th Avenue Woodside aka Masjid al-Fatima), grabbed an axe and tried to hack 4 policemen to death in Queens New York.
On 15 December 2014, just before Christmas, Wahhabi Salafi convert Man Haron Monis, “Manteghi Boroujerdi” and “Sheikh Haron” armed with a pump action shot gun went into a busy Sydney café and held 17 innocent Australians hostage demanding an ISIS flag and to talk to the Australian Prime Minister. The siege ended early on the morning of 16 December, when he shot one of the hostages and was then killed by police.
See my article: https://www.moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=459:wahhabi-s-on-the-warpath-in-sydney-australia&Itemid=487
Now on 7 January 2015 the Takbir (تَكْبِير) was screamed out by three armed Wahhabi Salafi men with Kalashnikov’s and grenade launchers in Paris as they gunned down 23 innocents.
Among the terrorist murderers were French nationals from Algerian immigrants. The gunmen shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘We have avenged the prophet (Mohammed)’ as they went about their murderous rampage. See CNN video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CIrye0Lz10
The Kouachi Brothers from the predominantly Muslim Parisian enclave of 19th Arrondissement are still on the run after the carnage. They are suspected to be hiding near the town of Crepy in Valois NE Paris.
The #KouachiBrothers like the #TsarnaevBrothers were of immigrant stock who turned on their new Western homelands because of the radicalization by Wahhabi Salafi’s in their local mosques. In the case of the #KouachiBrothers it was the Addawa Mosque located at 39 rue de Tanger (Paris 12th)..
Larbi Kechat is the current Imam of that Mosque and is under a deportation order by the French authorities. http://gotnews.com/breaking-charliehebdo-terrorists-attended-radical-mosque-paris-jesuischarlie/
Cherif Kouachi, 32,
The younger Kouachi brother (aka Abu Issen) born 28 November 1982 was already a petty criminal in Buttes-Chaumont known for thuggery and drugs known terrorist sympathizer when convicted for recruiting French fighters for ISIS. He served 18 months of a three year sentence. He was also suspected of involvement in an attempted prison escape of GIA terrorist Smain Ait Ali Belkacem who is serving life for the attack on the Paris Metro in October 1995 that injured 30 people. His other known associates include Djamel Beghal a terrorist who was plotting to blow up the US embassy in Paris. Beghal is out of jail after serving a 10 year sentence.
The elder Kouachi brother left his passport in the getaway car driven by Mourad.He was born in September 1980, in the 10th arrondissement in Paris.
Hamyd Mourad, 18.
Hamid is not a French citizen. His nationality is unknown.
He was formerly a student at a high school in Charleville-Mezieres, close to the city of Reims. Since graduating he had been homeless.
He turned himself into Police.
Apparently he was the driver of the getaway car (Citroen c3). The Kouachi Brothers did the killing with military precision. This latter aspect is evidence perhaps that justifies the fears of security officials that those associated with ISIS are more dangerous than lone wolf Wahhabi’s because they are well trained in military tactics, use of arms and munitions.
Here is a video of the events from a French perspective: http://www.linternaute.com/actualite/societe-france/charlie-hebdo-les-terroristes-identifies-recherches-a-reims-et-a-pantin-0115.shtml
See Jihadists who support this terrorist attack include Salafist groups like Forsane Alizza (FA- The Knights of Pride) aka ‘Sharia4France’ , ’Force de Défense Musulmane sur Internet’, and al-Muhajiroun (The Immigrants) .
France has some serious soul searching to do about its tolerance of Wahhabi Salafi radicalization. The ability of hate preachers radicalizing Muslims in the West following this latest #CharlieHebdoas atrocity are likely to be severely curtailed by Counter Terrorism legislation and enforcement. The very liberty of France and the West hangs in the balance because of the unrestrained ability by the likes of Mohammed Achamlane, and Larbi Kechat’s to recruit disillusioned Muslim youth from Islamic communities in France like Mohammed Merah or the Kouachi Brothers away from the traditional Islamic faith of their parents who immigrated to France from Morocco and Algiers and instead adopt the death cult of the Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri Jihadi such as ISIS. Their cult made everything from their plight to the perceived injustice of Muslims around the world easily understood in a populist way and in the French vernacular.
“All of these preachers and organisations target second-generation Muslims, explicitly playing on their sense of being victims of racism, exclusion and loneliness in the West, and hence are very successful among Blacks or non-Muslim members of the underclass, as well as gaoled petty criminals. They offer a valorising substitute identity: members of the vanguard of internationalist jihadists who fight the global superpower and the international system.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/front/etc/roy.html
The converts were shown a way out of their sin and into heaven by taking the express lane of radical militancy to attack all enemies of the Wahhabi-Salafi Jihadi’s (the only true Muslims) whether they be Crusader-Zionists in AF-PAK, Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims or Moderate Sunni Muslims (all apostates in the cults eyes to be excommunicated (Takfiri) and worthy of death) or non-Sharia democracies in the West. The deaths of the #CharlieHebdoas journalists and cartoonists will not be in vain if the age of political correctness will now yield to a more sensible truthful evaluation of the risk posed by KSA funded Wahhabi Salafi imams and mosques to modern Western democracies.
Balancing Counter-Terrorism Measures with International Human Rights
In his statement at a special meeting of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee on 6 March 2003, the Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan has noted:
“….Our responses to terrorism, as well as our efforts to thwart it and prevent it, should uphold the human rights that terrorists aim to destroy. Respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law are essential tools in the effort to combat terrorism – not privileges to be sacrificed at a time of tension.”
Acts of terrorism are one of the gravest forms of human rights violations that can potentially shake up the spirit of society. People acquire a hateful approach towards the terrorists and those involved in terrorist activities. Moreover, governments do not hesitate to take all possible hardest actions against terrorism to secure their citizens and nation. It can be understood that any counter-terrorist measure taken to satisfy this sentiment of society will more likely be appreciated rather than being criticized. In the wake of this situation, it becomes crucial for the state and its agencies to observe the human rights laws while enacting and exercising the anti-terrorist measures (OHCHR 2008). It has been found that there exists a continuous struggle between national security interests and the protection of the human rights of individuals. In numerous cases, European and American Courts have preferred human rights over the draconian legislative provisions to curb terrorism. When one is dealing with terrorism, measures taken for counter-terrorism shall give high regard to human rights. If States fail to achieve this balance, they will ultimately defeat the success of their counter-actions. Thus, it is to be remembered that one should not become a demon that they are fighting.
Understanding International Human Rights
Human rights are the core universal values available to every individual and group being a human. It provides fundamental freedoms to individuals and protects them from the arbitrary use of power by the state (OHCHR 2008). International human rights are the rights reflected under various core international human rights treaties and customary international law. It includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and others. Moreover, the prohibition of genocide, torture, and slavery is widely recognized as peremptory norms from which no derogation is possible. All the concerned state parties are under an obligation to protect human rights enshrined under these instruments. They shall not take any action in the breach of their commitments.
The immense importance of human rights raises a few considerations before the state. Whether human rights can be compromised in the name of national security? How should states deal with a situation where human rights fall between their national security or other interests? This short note will try to reflect on these essential issues.
What Is Terrorism?
There exists no universal definition of the term ‘terrorism’ (Acharya 2009); however, General Assembly has tried to define it as “criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them” (UNGA 1995). This term finds its mention under International Humanitarian Law that prohibits ‘terrorism’ and ‘acts of terrorism’ committed during an armed attack (Kaponyi 2007). During peacetime, such acts are dealt with under national laws, international criminal law, and human rights laws. Terrorism has been observed as a criminal act rather than an act of war (Acharya 2009); however, this definition is still evolving.
Terrorism is a controversial term, and its meaning differs from context to context and time to time. A person or group who acts as a terrorist for some might be a hero for others. However, it should be presumed that all such violence and destruction that constitutes terrorism and terrorist activities are done in the breach of human rights. These activities cause severe injury to the life and liberty of the individuals and the unity and integrity of the nation (Kaponyi 2007). In the interest of humanity, the state needs to adopt counter-terrorism measures in its legislation and enforcement actions to prevent and suppress terrorist activities while observing the rule of law.
Interaction Between Counter-Terrorism Measures And International Human Rights
There exists an unavoidable link between counter-terrorism measures and international human rights (Kielsgard 2013). Acts of terrorism provide legal justification to the threatened state to take actions that can cause severe human rights abuses. The interplay between these two concepts aims to address three dimensions of human rights: concerning the victims of the terrorist attacks, concerning the suspected terrorists, and concerning the people subjected to terrorism (Kaponyi 2007). The first category requires the right to life and dignity and the right to justice. The second category talks about the right to life, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary detention, torture and degrading treatment, and the right to asylum. The third category talks about the right to life, right to information, freedom of association, strike, and expression. It is to be noted that the list of these rights are not exclusive and may include other related rights. Therefore, the state’s actions must not defy its international human rights commitments in the guise of national security. There have been instances when courts have curtailed unnecessary and vague security measures found in infringement of human rights.
In Hamdan v Rumsfeld US Supreme Court held that the structure and procedures of the Military Commissions been set up to try detainees of Guantanamo Bay violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Common Article 3 of Four Geneva Conventions, 1949. It was a landmark case that restrained the Presidential power vis-à-vis the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners (Philips 2006). In Hamdi v Rumsfeld Supreme Court rules, US citizens detained as enemy combatants have the right to due process and the ability to challenge their enemy combatant status. However, in Rasul v Bush Supreme Court provided that it has jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions foreign nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay. This case attracted several petitions from foreign citizens challenging the basis of their detention. To prevent a large number of petitions from detainees, the US government came up with Military Commission Act in 2006 that bars foreign nationals from challenging their detention that was ultimately held unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in the case of Boumediene v Bush. It can be observed that the Supreme Court has generally prioritized human rights over its national security issues (Wald 2010).
Similarly, the Court of Appeal in Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department found arbitrary ‘stop powers used against journalistic information’ contained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, 2000 of the UK to violate freedom of expression provided under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In another case of Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom European Court of Human Rights held blanket power to stop and search under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, 2000 to violate the right to respect for private life that later got repealed and replaced by the legislature.
Counter-terrorism measures provide incentives to the government authorities to reinterpret their law justifying interrogation, detention, and ‘targeted killing’ (Sanders 2017). It provides immunity and legitimacy to their acts of human rights abuses with the least accountability. Under its ‘War on Terror’ against the Taliban Government in Afghanistan, the US has denied applying human rights and humanitarian law to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and termed them as “enemy combatant” (Duffy 2005). However, from the International Humanitarian Law perspective, it can be counter-argued that the US is detaining combatants by creating a category based on a weak claim supported by reliable facts. They are arrested for an indefinite period without providing them the rights of prisoners. From the International Human Rights approach, a State is obliged to fulfill its international commitments over the persons who are present under its authority and control. This global outreach of the subject founds its applicability even in the areas beyond national jurisdiction, thus holding the US responsible for Guantanamo Bay that lies outside US territory.
Counter-terrorism measures are abused on the pretext of discrimination (Kaponyi 2007). General Assembly Resolution and UN Council on Human Rights Resolution prohibit discrimination that treats people from one ethnic or racial origin, religion or belief, disability different from the others. The creation of plausible legality of human rights violations by the state establishes a requirement to promote human rights (Sanders 2017). Where the UN General Assembly and Security Council have taken several counter-terrorism measures to combat terrorism, UN bodies also aim to respect human rights even in emergency cases. Law is undoubtedly evident that counter-terrorism measures cannot be fulfilled without considering human rights (Kielsgard 2013). States should respect human rights along with its counter-terrorism and security measures.
The real issue lies in determining the legality of counter-terrorist measures that occasionally fall short of the state’s international commitments under its human rights regime. It has been observed that the absence of any definition of terrorism provides ample scope for the state to interpret the term ‘terrorism’ with a political bias favoring its interest (Kaponyi 2007). Further, a State can easily justify its actions in the name of national security that denies human rights to the individual and ultimately raises questions on the rule of law (Duffy 2005). Under the case laws, judges have shown an inclination to respect the international commitments on human rights regime. However, this cannot be said affirmatively for the legislature and enforcing authorities. It is not the counter-terrorism measures, but their abuse is problematic. Arbitrary and poorly-implemented counter-terrorism measures have their consequences. Co-lateral damage must be proportional. Since both counter-terrorism measures and human rights are important issues for a country; thus, it is essential that a balance be struck between them. It should be noted that fight against terror and the observance of human rights must go hand in hand. The State’s responsibility is to respect human rights and not use counter-terrorism measures as a justification for their violation.
- Acharya, Upendra D. (2009): “War on Terror or Terror Wars: The Problem in Defining Terrorism,” Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol 37, pp 653.
- Boumediene v Bush (2008): 553 U.S. 723
- Duffy, Helen (2005): The “War on Terror” and the Framework of International Law, Cambridge University Press
- General Assembly, Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, A/RES/58/187 (2003)
- General Assembly Resolution, U.N. Doc. A/RES/49/60 (Feb. 17, 1995)
- Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom (2010): ECHR 28 (2010)
- Hamdan v Rumsfeld (2006): 548 U.S. 557 (2006)
- Hamdi v Rumsfeld (2004): 542 U.S. 507
- Kaponyi, Elisabeth K. (2007): “Upholding Human Rights in the fight against terrorism,” Society and Economy, Vol 29, pp 1.
- Kielsgard, Mark D. (2013): “Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: Uneasy Marriage, Uncertain Future,”Journal Jurisprudence, Vol 19, pp 163.
- Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2014): EWHC 255 (2014);
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008): “Human Rights, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” <https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/Factsheet32EN.pdf>
- Philips, Dennis (2006): “Hamdan v Rumsfeld: The Bush Administration and ‘The Rule of Law’,” Australian Journal of American Studies Vol 25, pp 40.
- Rasul v Bush (2004): 542 U.S. 466
- Sanders, Rebecca (2017): “Human rights abuses at the limits of the law: Legal instabilities and vulnerabilities in the ‘Global War on Terror’,” Review of International Studies Vol 44, pp 2.
- UN Commission on Human Rights, Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2003/68: Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, E/CN.4/RES/2003/68 (2003)
- Wald, Patricia (2010): “National Security versus Human Rights: An uneven playing field,” American Society of International Law, Vol 104, pp 458.
Pakistan’s fight against terrorism inside its borders
When Pakistan first appeared on the map, it had little to no idea how its neighbors would harness its land. It came quite clear after the separation of East Pakistan that the land of the pure would require more foresight in dealing with those around it. They might even need to fight to maintain peace on its soil.
Since the birth of Pakistan, it has been subjected to different fights to maintain its status. With all its struggles, finding peace for the valley, and balancing its economy, the country has faced many turbulences. It has proven itself against all sorts of malicious endeavors. Some that had the potential to harm its name in the international society.
It was 9/11 that not only shook the whole world but this nook of the Asian continent as it plunged into instability. It seems like someone was busy hiding a terrorist network in Pakistan. From terrorism attacks on the APS school to the attack on the five-star PC in Gwadar. The country has been struggling to keep its face clear even though it has suffered from Islamophobia in the international community.
Pakistan and its army have been heading strong and determined to keep the citizens of Pakistan safe along with protecting the people on the globe who accept the hostility of the country to open its land for tourism. Since 2010 the country has been busy weeding out terrorist organizations. Many casualties have been taken as the roots of terrorism were attacked. The blood of martyrs has colored the land, but success has come in bits and pieces. The country was not facing armed militia but organized troops funded by the neighbors.
The terrorist funding trail reveals India’s involvement. These are no more allegations, and evidence of 22 billion PKR expenditure for the nourishment of such networks in Pakistan are available. This is quite a question, especially when keeping in mind the economy of the country. Besides, Narendra Modi’s support for extremism is simply a dot that needs to be connected.
The attack on APS was the boiling point for the whole nation. When every eye cried. Investigations were made to let the world know that Pakistan will not tolerate terrorism of any sort. Peace will be kept, and any intention against it will be answered with unpleasant outcomes. It has been, and the number of terrorism incidents has remarkably gone down.
As per the UN charter, the intrusive involvement by patronizing any country’s domestic issues is a clear violation. With ISIS contributing their share to terrorism in further Asia, it has been investigated that Indian intelligence agencies are trying to knit a scarf of deception by linking ISIS by creating “Daesh-e-Pakistan.”Adding firmness to their plan, they have already admitted 30 Indian militants in this organization and relocated them to camps along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Two Indian agency representatives were responsible for handing over these militants to Daesh commander Sheikh Abdul Rahim.
The geographical advantage that Pakistan holds brought a ray of sunshine with the CPEC project. But as the country started working on its economy’s progress, the state has witnessed countable heart-wrenching fights against terrorist groups. While Pakistan struggles to keep global security and safety and fights against incendiary of this terrorism, Indian state policy has internalized terrorism as an instrument. With Modi’s incumbency, the Kashmir valley has burned, but Muslims in Delhi face their wrath.
Hence, the policy was not a joke, it was a serious mission, and satisfactory amounts were sent to sub-nationals through humanitarian assistance to cause unrest in Balochistan. With Peshawar police attack on 11 May 2020 to target killing and eventually linking with a suicide attack on Mardan Judicial Complex in 2016. Pakistan has been highly receptive to all intelligence gathered to averting a colossal attack on 14 August 2020. Maj Fermin Das, an official from Indian intelligence, was found to be the mastermind behind the planning of this attack. This person was operating from Afghanistan, which failed obviously!
It’s been no secret to everyone with Indian involvement in creating instability in Jammu Kashmir. Gilgit Baltistan is not far from it, sharing the same boundaries. Out of 60 implanted IEDs, 22 were successfully diffused, but 38 exploded and took 13 civilian lives and 48 military personnel. The explosives used in those IEDs have been traced back to, you guessed it, India.
No matter how many times Pakistan will try to keep out the pest from its soil, they seem to be crawling back inside. Safety is not just the issue of Pakistan but is the issue of the whole world. Countries funding their neighbors to keep unrest in the continent requires global attention, and determined action should be taken.
Jihadist terrorism in the EU since 2015
Europe has experienced a series of terror attacks since 2015. Who are the terrorists? Why and how do they act?
Jihadist terrorism is not new in the EU, but there has been a new wave of islamist attacks since 2015. What do jihadist terrorists want? Who are they? How do they attack?
What is jihadist terrorism?
The goal of jihadist groups is to create an Islamic state governed only by Islamic law – Sharia. They reject democracy and elected parliaments because in their opinion God is the sole lawgiver.
Europol defines Jihadism as “a violent ideology exploiting traditional Islamic concepts. Jihadists legitimise the use of violence with a reference to the classical Islamic doctrine on jihad, a term which literally means ‘striving’ or ‘exertion’, but in Islamic law is treated as religiously sanctioned warfare”.
The al-Qaeda network and the so-called Islamic state are major representatives of jihadist groups. Jihadism is a sub-set of Salafism, a revivalist Sunni movement.
Who are the jihadi terrorists?
According to Europol, jihadist attacks in 2018 were carried out primarily by terrorists who grew up and were radicalised in their home country, not by so-called foreign fighters (individuals that travelled abroad to join a terrorist group).
In 2019, nearly 60% of jihadi attackers had the citizenship of the country in which the attack or plot took place.
Radicalisation of home-grown terrorists has speeded up as lone wolves are radicalised by online propaganda, while their attacks are inspired rather than ordered by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or IS.
Europol explains that these terrorists may not necessarily be very religious: they may not read the Quran or regularly attend mosque and they often have a rudimentary and fragmented knowledge of Islam.
In 2016, a significant number of the individuals reported to Europol for terrorism were low-level criminals, suggesting people with a criminal history or socialised in a criminal environment may be more susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment.
Europol draws the conclusion that “religion may thus not be the initial or primary driver of the radicalisation process, but merely offer a ‘window of opportunity’ to overcome personal issues. They may perceive that a decision to commit an attack in their own country may transform them from ‘zero’ to ‘hero’.”
The 2020 Europol report shows that most jihadi terrorists were young adults. Almost 70% of them were aged 20 to 28 years old and 85% were male.
How do jihadi terrorists attack?
Since 2015, jihadist attacks have been committed by lone actors and groups. Lone wolves use mainly knives, vans and guns. Their attacks are simpler and rather unstructured. Groups use automatic rifles and explosives in complex and well-coordinated attacks.
In 2019, almost all completed or failed attacks were by lone actors, while most foiled plots involved multiple suspects.
There has been a tendency for jihadist terrorists to favour attacks against people, rather than buildings or institutional targets, in order to trigger an emotional response from the public.
Terrorists do not discriminate between Muslim and non-Muslim and attacks have aimed for the maximum of casualties, such as in London, Paris, Nice, Stockholm, Manchester, Barcelona and Cambrils.
The EU’s fight against terrorism
EU measures to prevent new attacks are wide-ranging and thorough. They span from cutting the financing of terrorism, tackling organised crime, and strengthening border controls to addressing radicalisation and improving police and judicial cooperation on tracing suspects and pursuing perpetrators.
For example, MEPs adopted new rules to make the use of guns and the creation of home-made bombs more difficult for terrorists.
Europol, the EU’s police agency, has been given additional powers. It can set up specialised units more easily, such as the European Counter Terrorism Centre created in January 2016. It can also exchange information with private companies in some cases and ask social media to remove pages runs by IS.
In July 2017, the European Parliament created a special committee on terrorism to evaluate how to better fight terrorism at EU level. MEPs produced a report with concrete measures they want the European Commission to include in new legislation.
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