Friday, June 03, 2005

Jerry Seper of The Washington Times Wins Immigration Reporting Award

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2005) -- Jerry Seper of The Washington Times has been awarded the 2005 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration. The award, presented since 1997 by the Center for Immigration Studies, is intended to promote informed and fair reporting on this most contentious and complicated issue.

Newspapers typically have not assigned immigration as a separate beat, often simply tacking it on to coverage of racial and ethnic issues. Mr. Seper represents an exception to this rule: He is a dogged reporter assigned by his paper to devote his full time to coverage of immigration news. His work covers the full spectrum of issues arising from our dysfunctional immigration system, from national security to bleeding state budgets to Capitol Hill back room dealings. He has filed literally hundreds of stories on immigration for the Times since his assignment to the beat less than two years ago. The Center is delighted to honor his (and his employer's) diligent commitment to shining light into the dark recesses of this vital -- but often neglected -- policy issue.

Mr. Seper's, and the Times', commitment to coverage of immigration beyond the Beltway is illustrated most plainly by the travels demanded of him on the beat. Over the past two years he has spent months traveling the northern and southern border states pursuing stories of real Americans on the receiving end of our dysfunctional immigration system.

Mr. Seper's reporting illuminates the gamut of immigration's contemporary conditions: In the same week that he wrote of Arizona residents protesting the lawlessness enveloping their state by passing Proposition 200, he also wrote of the appalling violence perpetrated with increasing frequency in the Washington area by the MS 13 gang. There is a big picture portrait Mr. Seper offers readers, and it's very much in the public interest.

Mr. Seper's work, and that of previous Katz Award winners, is on line at http://www.cis.org/articles/Katz/katzintro.html

The inspiration for the award was Eugene Katz, a native New Yorker who started his career, after Dartmouth and Oxford, as a reporter for The Daily Oklahoman. In 1928 he joined the family business, working as an advertising salesman for the Katz Agency, and in 1952 became the president of Katz Communications, a half-billion-dollar firm which not only dealt in radio and television advertising but also owned and managed a number of radio stations. Mr. Katz was also a member of the Center for Immigration Board until shortly after his 90th birthday in 1997. The Center benefitted greatly from his wise counsel, and the Board and staff developed an affection for him that extended well beyond business matters. He passed away in March 2000 at the age of
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Europe battles young terrorists

By Shaun Waterman
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
LONDON -- European counterterrorism officials say they are facing a new, more dangerous generation of Islamic extremists, who are younger and more radical than their forebears, and in some cases trained and battle-hardened in Iraq.
Judge Balthazar Garzon, an investigating magistrate who is leading Spain's effort to prosecute Islamic terrorists, said at a conference in Florence, Italy, that this was the "second generation."
Some, he said, are as young as 16 and in many cases have no history of affiliation with al Qaeda or other established terror groups.

Judge Garzon described the group that carried out the Madrid railway bombings in March last year as "a whole network based on personal contact, where a single person was a kind of catalyst."
His comments echoed remarks from officials in other European countries, who discussed concerns over terror cells formed by grown-up children of Muslim immigrants, recruited in jails or over the Internet.
For these new networks, Judge Garzon said, "al Qaeda is an ideological reference point, not a real articulated structure with a command chain."
Because these youngsters often have no history of connection to extremist groups, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are not aware of their existence, he said.
As citizens of European nations, they can travel to the United States without a visa.
"They are unknown people," said one senior European law-enforcement official, who asked for anonymity.
Fears about what al Qaeda and its affiliates might have "metastasized" into are included in a high-level interagency review of counterterrorism policy in Washington.
"We are looking at ways to strengthen our global counterterrorism strategy," one White House official said.
As the enemy adapted, the official said, the White House initiated the review "to improve on the progress we've already made [and make] sure we are doing everything we can to protect the American people."
Recent investigations by authorities in several European countries have discovered networks of Islamic extremists recruiting and making travel arrangements for young radicals, who want to go to fight the U.S. military in Iraq.
Cofer Black, who until recently was the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, said at the conference that despite U.S. successes in killing or capturing foreign insurgents, the capabilities the survivors are acquiring are changing the odds.
"Not many have to get past you when they are trained so well in explosives," he said, referring to skills needed to make suicide-bomb belts and car bombs.
Mr. Black said protection against such a threat might entail significant changes in the U.S. way of life.
"I predict that the quality of all our lives will change to a certain extent, as measures previously considered needed in forward areas will increasingly be ... adopted in our home countries," Mr. Black said.
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Public Debate on Kuwait's School Curricula: To Teach or Not to Teach Jihad

By Y. Yehoshua*

To view this Inquiry & Analysis in HTML, visit http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=IA22405


Introduction

The terror attacks that occurred in Kuwait this year have intensified the public debate in the country on the extremist nature of the school curricula and on the need for curricular reform. Kuwaiti educators and intellectuals claim that Kuwait's curricula include extremist messages encouraging terrorism, and that members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement who emigrated from Egypt to Kuwait played a central role in devising the country's Islamic education curricula.

Other educators, who occupy positions in the Kuwaiti Education Ministry, argued that blaming the Kuwaiti curricula for extremism and terrorism is not only false but is part of an overall attack on Islam.

At the center of this debate is the question whether the subject of Jihad should be part of the state Islamic education curricula, and the extent to which teaching it contributes to extremist ideology.

The Kuwaiti government has not taken a clear stand on the matter. While Kuwaiti Education Minister Dr. Rashid Al-Hamad has stated many times that the school curricula include no message of extremism, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sabah Al-Ahmad and the Kuwaiti cabinet have called for reexamining the curricula, acknowledging that they do include extremist content that they consider contradictory to the nature of the Kuwaiti state. The following report reviews the public debate currently underway in Kuwait.


A Kuwaiti MP's Study: The Kuwaiti Curricula Include Extremist Ideas

One of the more prominent Kuwaitis to demand curricular reform was the Shiite MP and former lecturer at Kuwait University Dr. Yousef Al-Zalzala. He called for "quickly changing the curricula" after researching them and finding that they encouraged extremism and sectarianism.(1)

Al-Zalzala, who presented his findings to senior Kuwaiti Education Ministry officials, told the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "I wanted to point out the existence of defective curricula that need to be reexamined because they call for a distortion of inter-Muslim relations. Similarly, [I wanted] to clarify to senior Education Ministry officials that most of the [curriculum] authors have well-known inclinations towards takfir [accusing other Muslims of apostasy], and that this exists in the Islamic education curricula and in the Arabic-language and social sciences curricula."

Al-Zalzala's findings showed that "11 of the Islamic education textbooks preach in some places to takfir and extremism" and that in certain materials there is "takfir of some individuals," and that "a large segment of Muslims is presented as polytheist." He says, "Because there are jurisprudent schools of thought that differ in their interpretations, Education Ministry officials must reexamine some of the curricula."

Al-Zalzala presented several examples of the extremist messages found in the textbooks: "The Koran study material for the 11th grade includes great confusion regarding the term 'infidels.' Anyone reading it is likely to think that most of the people in the world are infidels... Similarly, Booklet No. 74 of the text Studies in Islamic Law for High School calls for a one-ruler [system] and one caliph now. Kuwait is but one of many Islamic states, and there is not one but many Islamic states- [but] the book nevertheless calls for the establishment of a single caliphate and a single Islamic state and demands that every Muslim bear arms [in order to achieve this goal]. On page 63 the book says: 'This weakness will not exist on the day when all the Muslims are in a single country under a single ruler'... Then it quotes the Koran, praising 'a group from my nation [which] is still fighting for the truth, until Judgment Day' - that is, all the Muslims are required to fight for the establishment of a single Islamic state."(2)


Kuwaiti Intellectuals: The Curricula Encourage Violence and Extremism

Other intellectuals and educators argued for change in the curricula because, they said, these curricula include extremist messages encouraging terrorism and violence. Dr. Shamlan Yousef Al-'Issa, a political science lecturer at Kuwait University, wrote: "The official government institutions- that is, the elementary, middle, and high schools, and even the vocational institutes and the universities- are spreading religious thought by means of children's books full of lessons about Jihad in Islam, and of repeated calls to expel foreigners from the lands of the Arab Gulf countries... The Jihad-waging youth in the Gulf... attended the state schools in Riyadh and Kuwait, and also the public universities... Most of the Kuwaiti Jihad fighters in Falluja are either young students who attended school in Kuwait or [former Kuwaiti] Security Ministry or Interior Ministry clerks. What does the Kuwaiti government expect when its students' textbooks are full of calls to Jihad?..."(3)

Kuwaiti women's rights activist Lulwa Al-Mulla said at a symposium organized by the National Democratic Alliance of Kuwait: "Following the liberation of [Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation] we hoped to be rid of the mistakes of the past. But unfortunately we did not learn our lesson from this stage, and we repeated the same mistakes. The greatest mistake of all was that the streams and parties opposed to the liberation of Kuwait - arguing that it was being liberated by infidels - continued to empty the curricula of their content in the sciences and humanities, [and to transform them] into religion lessons. Thus, for example, religious [content] was introduced into Arabic-language study. Likewise, physical education classes were cancelled because they were considered forbidden [by religion], and their place was taken by religion education...

"The religious parties even interfered in the foreign schools, in order to force Koran reading lessons as a basic lesson, at the expense of the other, scientific curricula... Those who say that the terrorism in Kuwait is imported are deceiving themselves, or covering up their helplessness. Had the terrorism been imported, Taliban spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith would not have come out [of Kuwait]. And how come Khaled Al-Sheikh, the mastermind behind the September 11 attack, learned [in Kuwait]?... The terrorist danger facing Kuwait is that the education that created these criminal terrorists - who have spilled the blood of our sons, the security personnel - is not imported, and that it is plausible that it will create many [more] terrorists."(4)

Progressive Kuwaiti author and lecturer Ahmad Al-Baghdadi, who teaches political science at Kuwait University, said in an interview with the Kuwaiti weekly Al-Tali'a that the Kuwaiti curricula "focus on the Jihad verses and the war verses [of the Koran], and teach that "the infidel must be cursed, and that anyone who does not pay [the Islamic] charity levy is murtadd [apostate in Islam] to whom the punishment for ridda [capital punishment] must be applied." According to Al-Baghdadi, in certain schools "[studying] music is banned, and the [Education] Ministry does nothing. There are schools that [even] object to the music of the national anthem. All this leads to what? If not to terror operations, then to religious extremism... If only the curricula [could be] purely civil - and not raise controversial issues in ridda, Jihad, and other matters, but focus only on moral affairs - it would be possible to solve this problem."(5)

Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa columnist Dhiya Dhiya Al-Din wrote that extremism was encouraged by religious education in Kuwait in general, and by the Faculty of Shari'a at Kuwait University in particular. In his article, "Close Down the Faculty of Shari'a," he wrote: "Close down the Faculty of Shari'a, or reform it. The criminal operations carried out by the [terrorist] gang in Kuwait are the product of the religious studies, which seem to be the reason for this minority's deviation from the path... For half a century now, a certain religious and political trend has prevailed in religious education, and at the Kuwait University's Faculty of Shari'a and in religious departments of the Kuwaiti government. [This trend] acted to sow takfir thought in the curricula, chose teachers belonging to this trend, and prevented ideological and [Islamic] religious pluralism. Thus, inevitably, the consequences are not compatible with the needs and aspirations of the tolerant Kuwaiti society. As a result, many deviant phenomena have inevitably been created, drawing [inspiration] from the takfkir ideology."(6)


Education System Officials: There is No Extremism in the Curricula, the
Accusations Are Part of the Attack on Islam

Education system officials rejected the claim that the curricula encouraged extremism. Dr. Fahd Al-Dhafiri, a lecturer in Islamic curricula and education at the Elementary Education College, said: "I reviewed all the Islamic curricula, from the first grade through high school, and I found no expression calling for violence or the rejection of the other... Similarly, I found no call to hatred of the other, or of rejecting him. Rather, I found [messages of] tolerance and encouragement of peaceful relations with non-Muslims."

Al-Dhafiri interpreted demands to change the curricula as part of an attack on Islam: "There are external pressures to change the curriculum... The demand to change them, with the claim that they encourage extremism and terrorism, is not an honest demand. This is because we, the Islamic education curriculum experts, found in them no call to terrorism or extremism. I think that this [accusation is being raised] in the framework of the blatant attack on Islam from all sides...

"The growth of extremism is not connected to the curricula. Extremism is human behavior... It would be unjust to lay the causes of extremism on the curricula or on the teachers themselves; these causes stem from man himself and from the problems he encounters."(7)

Further rejection of the accusations came from Kuwaiti Teachers Union Chairman Abdallah Al-Kandari: "Our curricula do not call for hatred of the other, or hostility or war with them. We all grew up on these curricula... So did the members of the present government, and all the country's leaders and senior officials. If the curricula lead to violence and terrorism, why haven't these leaders become terrorists?"(8)

Senior Education Ministry official Khawla Al-'Atiqi also rejected the accusations as "false accusations by a few corrupt people... who are not interested in society being religious, and who, after the events that took place in America and in other places, found fertile [ground] to attack the religion and the curricula in hopes that all the Islamic education material would be abolished."(9)

Former Deputy Education Minister and education expert Dr. Mansour Ghaloum, who was once in charge of curricula, explained that the extremism was not the fault of the curricula but of the teachers: "We must focus on the teacher. The religious curricula must be taught by teachers who believe in Islam as it should be - a tolerant, peace-seeking religion whose motto is peace. Islam requires us as Muslims to be brothers and to cooperate with one another. Likewise, Islam instructs us to act with grace towards the other religions. Therefore, I say that the curricula as such contain no call to violence. But perhaps some of the teachers have adopted violence... I demand that the Education Ministry supervise who is teaching these curricula."(10)


The Debate on Teaching Jihad

At the center of this debate was the question of studying the topic of Jihad in the schools. This discussion arose following a news item in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Ra'i Al-'Aam about the mention of Jihad in fourth-grade curricula. On p. 61 of Islamic Education - Part I, pupils were asked:

"In their war against the enemies of Islam, the Jihad warriors need:

A) Aid in lives, money, and weapons.

B) Submission of complaints to the superpowers.

C) Spreading the news about them in newspapers, radio, and magazines."

According to the textbook, the correct answer is A.

The newspaper quoted an educator who said the question was aimed at "brainwashing" the pupils, explaining that: "The problem here is that this question was directed at eight- and nine-year-old children in a country that owes its very survival to the superpowers."(11)

Former senior Education Ministry official Dr. Hamoud Al-Hattab, who participated in drawing up the Kuwaiti curricula, harshly criticized this question's inclusion in the curricula: "They are demanding that fourth-grade pupils have Jihadist sentiments, in the sense of sacrificing life and giving money and weapons to the Jihad warriors. This type of education is brainwashing... No one can ignore the fact that there is Jihad in Islam. But is this the kind of Jihad that should be taught in the fourth grade?"

Al-Hattab, whose name is on the list of those who revised this textbook, said: "I am opposed to this book, on which my name appears. I drew up an amendment to this book, and wanted to revise it entirely, but I was not given a chance - because influential [people] applied pressure... The [Education] Ministry has always imposed its opinion so that I cannot revise the textbook. That is why my name only appears in the list of those who made revisions, not in the list of authors."12

Other educators, however, were opposed to removing the topic of Jihad from the curricula, saying that those who think that the inclusion of Jihad in the curricula means encouragement of violence are misinterpreting the term "Jihad." Education Ministry official Khawla Al-'Atiqi said: "When a question about Jihad [appears in the textbook], it does not mean that boys or girls are being called to wage Jihad. Rather, it is clarified to the pupils that Jihad is one of the foundations of the religion and of the faith. It is explained to them in a simple way, not as to a high-school or university student... I do not think that any Muslim would order the removal of the word 'Jihad' from the Koran or the Hadith. Do they want us to distort our religion? Or must we let the children discover the word 'Jihad' for themselves, and act in a mistaken way because they did not learn the true meaning of Jihad from childhood?..."

"[The meaning] of the word 'Jihad' is broad, and does not mean that we should brandish swords and go to fight. If [the word] 'Jihad' is in the sense of protecting the religion, this is obvious. Every religion wages a Jihad war for the sake of its survival - why deny it?... If there is a minority that has misunderstood 'Jihad,' it is because he learned it by [reading] books of jurisprudence, the books of the Sira [namely, the history of the Prophet] [and other Islamic] sources, but not from the Islamic textbooks published by the Education Ministry... Whoever is interested in waging a Jihad war and in finding justification in the Jihad verses for war against anybody can find these verses in many books not included in the curriculum of these pupils - but commonly found in libraries and on the Internet."(13)

Former Deputy Education Minister Dr. Yaakoub Al-Sharrah said: "If we study Jihad in a different sense from its [sense] in the religion, a great problem will be created. 'Jihad' does not mean fighting against people's beliefs, or fighting anyone who disagrees with me or believes another religion. Jihad does not call to participate in defending any country subject to any [danger]... But unfortunately there are those who exploit Islam and force on it all the mistaken senses of Jihad, and therefore meanings of Jihad that do not exist in Islam are mistakenly learned."(14)

Kuwaiti Teachers Union Chairman Abdallah Al-Kandari said: "Jihad must continue to be taught, as long as it is taught in its proper sense - and not in its distorted sense, inspiring the attackers of innocent civilians here and there... Those who hold mistaken views on Jihad did not learn these in school, but got this extremist ideology elsewhere. Accordingly, the curricula must not be blamed for things that do not exist in them...

"We in the Kuwaiti Teachers Union call for [curricular] development in general... [but] are opposed to this development taking the form of the removal of verses from the religious curricula."(15)

Dr. Mansour Ghaloum said: "We must not neglect, marginalize, abolish, or ignore what appears in the Koran... Jihad is indeed in the curricula, but... the Koran limits Jihad in terms of time. Islam has commanded us to wage Jihad if our land is attacked. Then, we must wage Jihad for the homeland... Islam does not tell us to wage a Jihad war without reason... Jihad is not aimed at killing people, but is for the sake of humanity, and in order to defend the land. Is it logical for us to abolish the word 'Jihad' because some people misinterpret it?"(16)


Muslim Brotherhood Involvement in Devising the Kuwaiti Curricula

The Kuwaiti intellectuals who criticized the Islamic education curricula attributed its extremism to the presence of Muslim Brotherhood members in the Kuwaiti Education Ministry. At the National Democratic Alliance symposium, former Kuwaiti Oil Minister Dr. Abd Al-Mohsin Al-Mud'ij said: "Until 1976, the Kuwaiti curricula were moderate and professional... After the parliament was disbanded the curricula were changed because they fell into the hands of the Islamic trend. Those who got [control of] education in general are the leaders of this trend... Matters of takfir were added, encouraging divisiveness..."(17)

Dr. Hamoud Al-Hattab made a similar argument: "Kuwait's Islamic education was combined with Arabic language education, and they constituted a single [study] material. Then we wanted there to be special religious study material. The late Muhammad Abd Al-Halim Al-Sheikh led this demand. Most of those supervising Islamic education in the Ministry at that time were old people, fanatical supporters of Islamic education... Muhammad Abd Al-Halim Al-Sheikh was from the Muslim Brotherhood, who left Egypt [for Kuwait] when pressure was exerted on the movement in the days of Gamal Abd Al-Nasser.

"Al-Sheikh had the ideology of Jihad, like Sayyed Qutb, Hassan Al-Bana, and Abd Al-Qader 'Odah. For them, Jihad was not limited, and they called for internal and external Jihad... When [the Muslim Brotherhood] devised the Islamic education curricula, they wanted to paralyze the pupils' minds with it, and were against the pupils conducting any discussion on religious matters. They focused on [making the study of] Islam a process of rote learning, not of comprehension..."(18)

Others rejected this argument. Dr. Salwa Al-Jassar, former director of the Education Ministry Department of Curricula and lecturer on curricula at Kuwait University, said that Al-Hattab's claim "that the Muslim Brotherhood had taken over the curricula is false. As the director of the Department of Curricula and an expert on this subject, I say that I have never felt there to be any control on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood. On the contrary, they have cooperated with us and acted according to the national interest."(19)

Further, senior Education Ministry official Khawla Al-'Atiqi said: "I say to whoever claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is controlling the Education Ministry: 'Give us their names.' I am familiar with the curricula personnel from start to finish, and there is no Muslim Brotherhood member in it."(20)


Kuwaiti Government Denies Extremist Content but Sets up Investigative Committee

Based on the conclusions of a ministerial committee, Education Ministry officials rejected statements that the curricula contain messages encouraging extremism.

Education Minister Dr. Rashid Al-Hamad said: "The ministry conducted a comprehensive examination of the curricula after the September 11 events, so as to be certain that the curricula do not contain a call to extremism. It was proven to the ministry that the curricula have no connection with the phenomenon of extremism, and that it does not contain a call to the terrorism which [Kuwaiti] society has recently witnessed."(21)

Al-Hamad pointed out that the ministry would be introducing "new curricula such as democracy and human rights... It is incorrect to accuse the ministry of terrorism. If this were true, we would all have turned out to be terrorists."(22)

Nevertheless, other senior government officials called for a reexamination of the curricula. PM Sabah Al-Ahmad said that he had given Education Minister Al-Hamad "several comments [on subjects] existing in the curricula that should be examined, particularly those calling for divisiveness and for rejecting the other."(23)

Al-Siyassa also reported that the cabinet had submitted a 25-page document to Education Minister Al-Hamad, which included comments on and criticism of curricula that "called for extremism and for fighting other religions." According to a senior education official, this report placed the ministry in an embarrassing position, because only a short time earlier, senior ministry officials had denied that the curricula encouraged extremism and terrorism.(24)

In the wake of this report, Minister Al-Hamad decided to form an additional committee to reexamine the curricula - a decision interpreted as proof that the first committee had failed at its task.(25)

In statements about the new committee, Minister Al-Hamad said: "The ministry will take the recommendations extremely seriously. If it turns out that any paragraph of the curricula needs to be changed, the ministry will not hesitate to do so... Some think that there are controversial issues in the curricula, and we hope that these things do not exist. From my knowledge of the reports by the Department of Curricula, I am confident that our curricula are good and that they do not preach things that do not comply with the nature of Kuwaiti society."(26)


Senior Education Officials: We Will Not Permit Jihad to Be Removed from the Curricula

Senior Education Ministry officials did not consider the study of Jihad to be extremism, and rejected the possibility of removing it through curricular reform. Deputy Education Minister Dr. Hamoud Al-Sa'adoun said, in response to a question on terms such as Jihad, fighting the infidels, and others that appear in the curricula: "Yes, they are still there. They are considered fundamental principles that cannot be harmed." He said the topic of Jihad "will remain [in the curricula] for years to come, because it is a principle part of our belief. But [we are talking about] Jihad in its proper sense, not about Jihad as some people think. If you talk of Jihad as it appears in the Hadiths of the Prophet, you will find it in the curricula...

"It is difficult to talk about Islamic education study material without mentioning the concept of Jihad. Jihad is a principle part of the material. But we must present this concept in its proper form, by talking about Jihad of the soul and Jihad against Satan."(27)

Senior ministry official Khaled Al-Qattan said: "The Islamic curricula will be developed, and in all the textbooks there will be essential changes. But this does not mean that a new book will not include a discussion of the concept of Jihad and questions about it." He said the question about Jihad in the fourth-grade textbook is "routine," and "there is nothing in it."(28)


Education Experts: Essential Change to the Curricula is Impossible

These positions by high-ranking Education Ministry officials led some commentators to believe that curricular reform would be all but impossible. Dr. Hamoud Al-Hattab claimed that Education Minister Al-Hamad "will change nothing in education" because "he is incapable of making decisions."(29) Similarly, MP Yousef Al-Zalzala pointed out that although "there is a program for reform that began within the [Education] Ministry, it is moving ahead by turtle steps."(30)

Shamlan Yousef Al-'Issa made similar statements in Al-Siyassa, in which he cited his personal attempt at devising curricula: "The question is whether the education minister can change the curricula. Who will carry out the change, and how [will he do it]? And, most important, who will teach the new material that is to be developed?... In my opinion, the current situation in the Education Ministry does not make it possible to carry out essential changes, because [the Education Ministry] is controlled by the Islamic parties...

"I remember that in the early 1990's I was summoned to the Education Ministry to devise new nationalism education curricula. During the first meeting, I was surprised to discover that most of the people appointed by the ministry were [members of] political Islamic groups... A dispute sprang up between myself and them regarding the nature of the new curricula. They insisted that [Islamic] spiritual education should be part of this material, and I insisted that such material [already] existed in the religious [curricula], and that therefore there was no need for it [in the nationalism education curricula]. The new material came out defective and boring, and had no connection with education to nationalism.

"What we are trying to say is simply that change in our society will not be easy as long as these groups control education, and as long as the government does not take a serious approach to the necessary reforms..."(31)


*Y. Yehoshua is Director of Research at MEMRI.

Endnotes:
(1) Al-Ra'i Al-'Aam (Kuwait), April 20, 2005.
(2) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 22, 2005.
(3) Al-Ittihad (UAE), January 16, 2005.
(4)Al-Tali'a (Kuwait), February 23, 2005.
(5) Al-Tali'a (Kuwait), March 16, 2005.
(6) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), February 13, 2005.
(7) A-Ra'i Al-'Aam (Kuwait), March 19, 2005.
(8) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 25, 2005.
(9) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 26, 2005.
(10) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 23, 2005.
(11) Al-Ra'i Al-'Aam (Kuwait), December 11, 2004.
(12) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 22, 2005.
(13) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 26, 2005.
(14) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 24, 2005.
(15) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 25, 2005.
(16) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 23, 2005.
(17) Al-Tali'a (Kuwait), February 23, 2005.
(18) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 22, 2005.
(19) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 27, 2005.
(20) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 26, 2005.
(21) Al-Furqan (Kuwait), March 21, 2005.
(22) Al-Ra'i Al-'Aam (Kuwait), March 20, 2005. Similar statements were made by Deputy Education Minister Dr. Hamoud Al-Sa'adoun in an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan: "When we examined the curricula [taught] for many years, we found no call to disrespect other opinions, or to hate someone who does not [believe] in your religion. Our curricula are devoid of any type of extremism or hatred of the other." Al-Watan (Kuwait), October 24, 2004.
(23) Al-Ra'i Al-'Aam (Kuwait), February 8, 2005.
(24) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), March 30, 2005.
(25) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), March 30, 2005.
(26) Al-Watan (Kuwait), March 31, 2005.
(27) Al-Watan (Kuwait) October 24, 2004.
(28) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), December 20, 2004.
(29) Al-Siyassa Kuwait), January 22, 2005.
(30) www.elaph.com, April 5, 2005.
(31) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), October 28, 2004.



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Expert: Al-Qaida Has Presence In South Florida

Some Predict 'Second Wave' Of U.S. Terrorism
MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Despite the massive federal, state and local law enforcement effort to stop terrorists from entering the United States, there is no strong evidence of how well it is working.

Many experts are concerned that there are plenty of terrorists or sympathizers already in the country who have been here for years. Some are even citizens.

The Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers were the first wave and now the increasing number of arrests seems to signal a second wave of terrorism in South Florida.

Boca Raton physician Rafik Sabir is accused of conspiring to help al-Qaida. If this is true, terrorism analysts such as Walid Phares fear there is a second wave of al-Qaida terrorists operating in South Florida

"The first wave that did 9/11 had a presence here. Between 9/11 and most recently, there have been many arrests in South Florida and Florida as a whole of elements who are allegedly involved," Phares said.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Miami FBI has investigated and apprehended dozens of al-Qaida suspects up and down the Gold Coast.

"Al-Qaida has had a presence in South Florida and continues to have a presence," terrorism analyst Steve Emerson said.

In his bookAmerican Jihad, Emerson identifies longtime terrorist cells in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, where Sabir lives and was a member of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton.

Just after Sept. 11, 2001, NBC 6 discovered hate articles on its Web site attacking Jews, NBC 6's Ike Seamans reported. After our investigation, they were quickly removed.

In 1986, members of a Palestinian terrorist organization working at Broward convenience stores were arrested for selling stolen property and sending the money to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Could South Florida be in the midst of the second wave of international terrorism?

"The second wave will be more dangerous than the first wave because it is a piece of our society, people who've been recruited by al-Qaida and recruited themselves to al-Qaida. This model may be duplicated in many places in South Florida and around the nation," Phares said.

Experts said South Florida is so attractive to terrorists because it is international and ethnically diverse, which makes it the perfect place to blend in.
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Iranian is held as people-smuggler

By Michael Marizco
ARIZONA DAILY STAR

An Iranian man is accused of trying to smuggle three of his countrymen into Arizona through Nogales, Sonora, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Zeayadale Malhamdary, 39, a Mesa tailor, was arrested Thursday after a nine-month undercover operation by the Southern Arizona Joint Terrorism Task Force. He is being held on attempted-migrant- smuggling charges, said Sandy Raynor, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The FBI, which heads the terror task force, has no reason to believe this is any more than a smuggling case, said Deborah McCarley, spokeswoman for the bureau's Phoenix office.

According to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix:

Last September, Malhamdary told an FBI informant posing as a migrant smuggler that he had already sneaked in a group of 20 Iranians through Sonoita, Ariz. Wiretaps recorded Malhamdary asking the informant to help him obtain Mexican visas to be placed into Iranian passports so more Iranians could fly into Mexico City then slip through Arizona with a smuggler's help.

In a later phone call, he asked for a supply of Mexican visas because he already had one group turned away from a flight into Mexico after they were discovered with improper visas.

In March, Malhamdary flew back to Tehran, Iran, telling the FBI source he needed to gather the passports of three Iranians. He returned three weeks later with the passports and handed them over to the informant. The informant noticed several other passports in Malhamdary's possession that were not handed over.

At the same meeting, Malhamdary told the informant he previously had 60 more Iranians smuggled into the United States.

Two weeks ago, Malhamdary called the informant and told him that as soon as the three visas were created for the passports, he would bring $12,000 and eight more passports to be doctored, the affidavit stated.

On May 26, Malhamdary was arrested at his Mesa home. He told the agents he was trying to bring the Iranians into the United States so they could seek refugee status. Earlier, he told the FBI informant he'd successfully had his sister smuggled into the country.

Federal officials are treating the case as an attempted-smuggling investigation, McCarley said.

"Right now there's no information to suggest any of the individuals he was bringing in had any kind of terror plots," she said. "However, the border is one of our vulnerabilities. Anyone coming over the border illegally and using false identifications to do so - we don't know always what their intentions are."

In Arizona, very few of the illegal entrants the Border Patrol captures are from countries beyond the Western Hemisphere. The agency doesn't give a breakdown of people from countries not in this hemisphere because it uses that data to track what other countries people try to come in from, said Tucson Sector spokeswoman Andrea Zortman.

This year, 172 people have been captured since Oct. 1 who were not from Central or South America, she said. In all of the fiscal year prior, 484 others were apprehended in the Tucson Sector.

In a report released by Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo last year, 132 people from countries including Iran, Pakistan and Egypt were arrested at the U.S.-Mexican border.

In March, FBI Director Robert Mueller reported to Congress that people from countries with ties to al-Qaida had already crossed into the United States from Mexico, using Brazil as a conduit.

But the U.S. government has yet to prosecute anybody on terrorism charges stemming from an illegal entry through the U.S.-Mexican border.

● Contact reporter Michael Marizco at 573-4213 or at mmarizco@azstarnet.com
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Captives told to claim torture

Finally somebody has the sense to read the Al Qaida manual and understand the propaganda war--it's time to treat the ACLU like a terrorsist organization--

By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


An al Qaeda handbook preaches to operatives to level charges of torture once captured, a training regime that administration officials say explains some of the charges of abuse at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
The American Civil Liberties Union last week posted on its Web site 2002 FBI documents regarding accusations from suspected al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at the detention center. The organization had won a court decision that forced the administration to release scores of e-mails between agents who had interviewed captives.
U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison, is investigating interrogation techniques at "GTMO," as the naval base in Cuba is called, as well as the FBI-conveyed, unsubstantiated complaints. The U.S. Justice Department inspector general has begun a separate probe.
One investigator, Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood, said last week that the most explosive charge so far -- that guards flushed the Koran Muslim holy book down a toilet -- is not true. The Pentagon tabbed Gen. Hood to conduct a probe into how Islam is treated at the prison in the aftermath of a since-retracted report by Newsweek on the Koran claim.
U.S. officials think the Koran story -- told by a detainee who did not see the purported event -- might be part of an al Qaeda campaign to spread disinformation.
"There have been allegations made by detainees," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. "We know that members of al Qaeda are trained to mislead and to provide false reports. We know that's one of their tactics that they use. And so I think you have to keep that in mind."
In a raid on an al Qaeda cell in Manchester, British authorities seized al Qaeda's most extensive manual for how to wage war.
A directive lists one mission as "spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy."
If captured, the manual states, "At the beginning of the trial ... the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security before the judge. Complain of mistreatment while in prison."
The handbook instructs commanders to make sure operatives, or "brothers," understand what to say if captured.
"Prior to executing an operation, the commander should instruct his soldiers on what to say if they are captured," the document says. "He should explain that more than once in order to ensure that they have assimilated it. They should, in turn, explain it back to the commander."
An example might have occurred in a Northern Virginia courtroom in February.
Ahmed Omar Abul Ali, accused of planning to assassinate President Bush, made an appearance in U.S. District Court and promptly told the judge that he had been tortured in Saudi Arabia, including a claim that his back had been whipped. He is accused of meeting there with a senior al Qaeda leader.
Days later, a U.S. attorney filed a court document saying physicians had examined Ali and "found no evidence of any physical mistreatment on the defendant's back or any other part of his body."
Larry Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said two Guantanamo commanders told him that al Qaeda detainees are experts in circulating false charges among the more than 500 fighters captured in Afghanistan.
"There are elements within the detainee population that were very effective at getting other detainees agitated about the Koran by making allegations," Mr. Di Rita said. "They particularly focused on the practice of their faith and the Koran being kept from them. So people should not be surprised when detainees come out and make these kinds of allegations. It causes the reactions we've seen."
He added, "None of this is meant to excuse the situation we found when individuals were unfortunately abused at Abu Ghraib. That was wrong."
There already has been one Pentagon review of accusations of abuse at Guantanamo. Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III, the Navy inspector general, released a report in March that found three substantiated closed cases of "minor" abuse in 24,000 interrogations -- one assault and two female guards' making sexually suggestive gestures to detainees.
"It bears emphasis that the vast majority of detainees held by the U.S. in the global war on terror have been treated humanely and that the overwhelming majority of U.S. personnel have served honorably," Adm. Church wrote.
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Jihad through History

by Daniel Pipes

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2664
http://www.nysun.com/article/14621

In his just-released, absorbing, and excellent book, Understanding Jihad (University of California Press), David Cook of Rice University dismisses the low-grade debate that has raged since 9/11 over the nature of jihad – whether it is a form of offensive warfare or (more pleasantly) a type of moral self-improvement.

Mr. Cook dismisses as "bathetic and laughable" John Esposito's contention that jihad refers to "the effort to lead a good life." Throughout history and at present, Mr. Cook definitively establishes, the term primarily means "warfare with spiritual significance."

His achievement lies in tracing the evolution of jihad from Muhammad to Osama, following how the concept has changed through fourteen centuries. This summary does not do justice to Cook's extensive research, prolific examples, and thoughtful analysis, but even a thumbnail sketch suggests jihad's evolution.

The Koran invites Muslims to give their lives in exchange for assurances of paradise.

The Hadith (accounts of Muhammad's actions and personal statements) elaborate on the Koran, providing specific injunctions about treaties, pay, booty, prisoners, tactics, and much else. Muslim jurisprudents then wove these precepts into a body of law.

During his years in power, the prophet engaged in an average of nine military campaigns a year, or one every five to six weeks; thus did jihad help define Islam from its very dawn. Conquering and humiliating non-Muslims was a main feature of the prophet's jihad.

During the first several centuries of Islam, "the interpretation of jihad was unabashedly aggressive and expansive." After the conquests subsided, non-Muslims hardly threatened and Sufi notions of jihad as self-improvement developed in complement to the martial meaning.

The Crusades, the centuries-long European effort to control the Holy Land, gave jihad a new urgency and prompted what Cook calls the "classical" theory of jihad. Finding themselves on the defensive led to a hardening of Muslim attitudes.

The Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century subjugated much of the Muslim world, a catastrophe only partially mitigated by the Mongols' nominal conversion to Islam. Some thinkers, Ibn Taymiya (d. 1328) in particular, came to distinguish between true and false Muslims; and to give jihad new prominence by judging the validity of a person's faith according to his willingness to wage jihad.

Nineteenth century "purification jihads" took place in several regions against fellow Muslims. The most radical and consequential of these was the Wahhabis' jihad in Arabia. Drawing on Ibn Taymiya, they condemned most non-Wahhabi Muslims as infidels (kafirs) and waged jihad against them.

European imperialism inspired jihadi resistance efforts, notably in India, the Caucasus, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco, but all in the end failed. This disaster meant new thinking was needed.

Islamist new thinking began in Egypt and India in the 1920s but jihad acquired its contemporary quality of radical offensive warfare only with the Egyptian thinker Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966). Qutb developed Ibn Taymiya's distinction between true and false Muslims to deem non-Islamists to be non-Muslims and then declare jihad on them. The group that assassinated Anwar El-Sadat in 1981 then added the idea of jihad as the path to world domination.

The anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan led to the final step (so far) in this evolution. In Afghanistan, for the first time, jihadis assembled from around the world to fight on behalf of Islam. A Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, became the theorist of global jihad in the 1980s, giving it an unheard-of central role, judging each Muslim exclusively by his contribution to jihad, and making jihad the salvation of Muslims and Islam. Out of this quickly came suicide terrorism and bin Laden.

Mr. Cook's erudite and timely study has many implications, including these:

The current understanding of jihad is more extreme than at any prior time in Islamic history.
This extremism suggests that the Muslim world is going through a phase, one that must be endured and overcome, comparable to analogously horrid periods in Germany, Russia, and China.
Jihad having evolved steadily until now, doubtless will continue to do so in the future.
The excessive form of jihad currently practiced by Al-Qaeda and others could, Mr. Cook semi-predicts, lead to its "decisive rejection" by a majority of Muslims. Jihad then could turn into a non-violent concept.
The great challenge for moderate Muslims (and their non-Muslim allies) is to make that rejection come about, and with due haste.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Europe has become a hiding place for terrorists

Mark Houser/Tribune-Review
By Mark Houser
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Editors note: To find out what governments and courts are doing to stop the growing threat of Islamic terrorist groups in Europe, reporter Mark Houser visited Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain in March and April on a journalism fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Today's stories are the first in a series of reports on what he discovered.
Europe, the cradle of Western Civilization, also is a hiding place for enemies plotting its ruin.

The most infamous, Mohammed Atta, e-mailed U.S. flight schools and devised the airliner hijackings that would kill nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, while living in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany. A Spanish court is now deciding if an al-Qaida cell in Madrid helped Atta's group with money and a safe house.

To a small but growing number of angry young men in Europe, Atta was a martyr in a holy war.

Some of them hope to be next.

Across the continent, police are racing to round up networks of militant Islamic terrorists before they can strike. Italy arrested nine North African men on Wednesday who were allegedly planning attacks. Those arrests were the latest in a crackdown that has put hundreds of suspects in Europe behind bars awaiting trial. Courts with a tradition of leniency increasingly have to weigh the rights of the accused against national security.

The train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people in March 2004 showed that radical Islamic fundamentalists -- jihadists -- also consider Europe their enemy.

America remains a prime target. In the apartment of one Madrid suspect still at large, Spanish police found detailed diagrams of Grand Central Station.

Another suspect had a map of Pittsburgh in his apartment. Investigators don't know why.

Europe has an estimated 23 million Muslims -- about 10 times as many as America -- mostly from the Middle East and North Africa. Some are recent immigrants; others were invited by the host governments in the 1960s to provide cheap labor and stayed.

Most are trying to make a life there, but a few yearn for a glorious death.

Al-Qaida wants to recruit jihadists with European passports to infiltrate America, said terrorism analyst Robert Leiken of the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C.

"They're familiar with Western societies. Many speak English. So they're a much bigger danger than a Middle Easterner trying to cross the Mexican border," Leiken said.

Leiken studied 373 suspected Muslim terrorists caught in North America or Western Europe from 1993 to 2004 and found more than a quarter had European citizenship.

A European passport holder can come to the United States without first getting a visa from an American consulate, bypassing a potentially crucial screening tool, he said.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today begins his first official trip to Europe, where he will discuss sharing airline passenger data and strengthening law enforcement contacts.

Europe and the United States have to cooperate to counter the jihadist danger, said Gijs de Vries, counterterrorism coordinator for the European Union.

"We cannot fight terrorism unless we work together. That's the bottom line," de Vries said.

Once the fight reaches a courtroom, however, it is in the hands of only one nation's judges. Several high-profile terrorism trials in Europe are testing how well the justice system can handle the threat of violent conspiracies.

In the Spanish trial, which opened in April and is expected to last well into the summer, two dozen men are accused of involvement with an al-Qaida cell in Madrid. Three central figures are charged with helping the 9/11 plotters.

A British man pleaded guilty last month to planning a shoe bomb plot similar to Richard Reid's and got a 13-year sentence. More terrorism trials are under way in Italy, Germany and elsewhere.

Some cases have ended in acquittals that have embarrassed authorities and sparked public anger.

Dutch judges last month cleared Samir Azzouz of terrorism charges, even after he was found in possession of chemicals useful for making bombs, a silencer and gun cartridges, night vision goggles and a bulletproof vest, jihadist literature and videos, and maps of the Dutch parliament and other potential targets along with notes on their security.

"It's ridiculous," said Dutch railroad conductor Wytze Vos, 45, of the Azzouz trial. "He must go to prison for life. When you're planning such crimes, you don't deserve to be out on the streets. But that's Holland -- too weak."

A German court in Hamburg cleared one alleged co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks, while another man is being retried after his conviction was overturned. Eight of nine men charged in a plot to poison Londoners with ricin were acquitted or released last month.

Earlier this year Italian government ministers reacted furiously when a judge in Milan ruled that recruiting jihadists for Iraq is not terrorism but supporting a foreign guerrilla action, which is not a crime. Italy has 3,000 troops in Iraq.

"The struggle against terrorism is not to get a lot of terrorists convicted. It's to prevent bombings," said Bart Nieuwenhuizen, the Dutch prosecutor overseeing terrorism trials in his country.

After the bombings in Madrid, the European Union began pushing for better counterterrorism cooperation among its members' intelligence agencies, police and prosecutors. One major change was a new European arrest warrant intended to speed up extraditions.

The warrant is designed to avoid long delays, such as the one that has kept a suspect in the fatal 1995 Paris metro bombings in British custody for almost a decade despite persistent French efforts to extradite him.

In one of the first uses of the new warrant, last June Spanish authorities asked Britain to hand over a Moroccan they say made cryptic phone calls about 9/11 to an accused terror planner on trial in Madrid. The man, Farid Hilali, is still in London appealing the extradition.

De Vries said alleged terrorists have a right to due process.

"It is critical that in the fight to preserve the rule of law, we continue to use the instruments that are compatible with the rule of law," he said.

"Europe and the United States have never worked more closely in law enforcement than we have since September 11, 2001," U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said during a visit to Spain in March.

But the relationship still is undercut with tension.

Jorge Bento Silva, a counterterrorism administrator in the European Council's Directorate for Justice, Freedom and Security, criticized Washington for announcing last spring -- with almost no warning -- that all European visitors must have their faces and fingerprints electronically scanned at U.S. airports. Europe has no such requirement for visiting Americans.

Now the European Parliament is trying to scuttle a deal for Europe to share airline passenger data with U.S. border security.

"There is still the notion in Washington that ... 'We are fighting terrorism and you are either with us or you are against us. And if you are a European sissy and you don't want to cooperate in the war on terror, then screw you,'" Bento Silva said.

Besides America, de Vries stressed that Europe needs the help of moderate Muslims to isolate the "small, extremist murderous fringe."

"We are not engaged in a war of civilizations between Muslims and non-Muslims. That is what bin Laden is trying to make us believe," de Vries said.

As he spoke, the amplified voice of a man chanting in Arabic rose from the streets of downtown Brussels and floated through de Vries's open window.




Mark Houser can be reached at mhouser@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7995.
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Critics want probe of Alexandria Islamic school

By Matthew Barakat
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria is an outpost of militant Islam, say critics who point out that the school's 1999 valedictorian is charged with joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush.
Two other persons connected to the academy also have been linked to terrorism-related cases, and a U.S. senator has asked the Justice Department to investigate the school.
But the academy's teachers, students and administrators say suspicion of the school ? serving nearly 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at two campuses just beyond the Capital Beltway ? is based on misperceptions.
Female students recently celebrated their induction into the National Honor Society. Most but not all of them wore a hijab, the head scarf that some Muslims believe is required for females.
Essays and artwork share space on the walls with pictures of the Saudi royal family. One essay was about the TV show "Fear Factor."
The school was founded in 1984, primarily to serve children of the Saudi diplomatic corps. Today, the student body is more diverse, with nearly three dozen countries represented, but much of the funding still comes from the Saudi government.
In recent years, the academy has been at the center of debate over the religious curriculum in Saudi schools and whether it fosters radicalism. Those questions resurfaced when the former valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was charged in February. He pleaded not guilty and argued that Saudi authorities extracted a false confession from him through torture.
School officials are frustrated about some perceptions of the school, saying two-thirds of the teachers are American and non-Muslim. They also say promoting a specific strain of Islam would be impossible because students come from across the Muslim world.
School officials also say the religious curriculum shows no favoritism, though critics say the Saudi curriculum is biased against Shi'ites.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, the school's director general, acknowledged some of the religious curriculum that comes from Saudi Arabia needs to be modified. "If there is anything ... that we feel is offensive, we ask the teachers not to teach that kind of subject here," he said.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, has asked the Justice Department to investigate the school, saying that Abu Ali is not the only former academy student to engage in questionable activities.
A federal indictment in Chicago last year named a former treasurer of the school, Ismael Selim Elbarasse, as a high-ranking official within the militant group Hamas, though Mr. Elbarasse is not charged with a crime. Mohamed Osman Idris, an academy graduate, pleaded guilty in 2002 to lying on a passport application, following an investigation into whether he was supporting Hamas. The Justice Department told Mr. Schumer it could not comment on whether the academy itself was under investigation.
Abdullah Hijazi, a senior from Mitchellville, Md., said he and other students have not been exposed to extremism, adding: "We never really reach that depth in Islamic studies. Shi'ites and Sunnis, they differ about little things."
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Monday, May 30, 2005

2 Accused of Conspiring to Aid Terrorists

LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer

FBI agents in Florida and New York arrested two men who prosecutors said were secretly recorded during a two-year sting operation pledging their support and loyalty to al-Qaida.

Authorities said Sunday that Rafiq Abdus Sabir, 50, a Boca Raton physician, and Tarik Shah, 42, a self-described martial arts expert in New York, conspired to treat and train terrorists. Both are American citizens.

Both men were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in federal court, Shah in New York and Sabir in Florida, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney David Kelley in Manhattan.

It was not immediately clear who would represent them in court. If convicted, each man faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The one-count complaint claims the men allegedly took an oath pledging their allegiance to al-Qaida. The government said the men engaged in multiple recorded conversations with a confidential source and an FBI agent posing as an al-Qaida operative.

During the conversations, Shah also described how he and Sabir in 1998 tried to get to training camps in Afghanistan and said they were a "package" deal, Kelley said in the release.

Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, "It is particularly gratifying that someone using New York City as a base for terrorist support is now in custody."

As recently as May 20, during a meeting at a New York City apartment, Sabir indicated he would travel shortly to Saudi Arabia to treat the wounds of jihadists at a Saudi military base, prosecutors said. Travel records showed he was scheduled to leave Thursday.

During recorded conversations, Shah also repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim "brothers" in the martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, the release said.

Shah took steps to find secret locations for jihad weapons training, at one point inspecting a Long Island warehouse, and described previous efforts to recruit others, prosecutors said.

Sabir was being held at the Palm Beach County Jail; it was not immediately known where Shah was being held. There was no phone listing for Sabir in Boca Raton, Fla. A phone number listed for Shah in Poughkeepsie, N.Y, rang unanswered Sunday evening.

Shah's mother, Marlene Jenkins, called the charges against her son "ridiculous."

"He's no terrorist," Jenkins, of Albany, N.Y., told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Monday's editions.

Sabir is a licensed medical doctor in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the Florida Department of Health Web site. He received his medical degree from Columbia University in 1981 and his bachelor's degree from City of New York College.

Daniel McBride, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, said Sabir lived in a Boca Raton gated community with Arleen Morgan, a registered nurse, and their two young sons.

"While we were married he was a lovely father and husband, and nothing if not a hardworking man," Sabir's former wife, Ingrid Doyle, of New York City, told the newspaper. "I'm still reeling from this, and my daughter has been crying all day."

___

Associated Press Writer Lisa Orkin Emmanuel contributed to this report from Miami.
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From FAIR: Fight the Amnesty/Guestworker Juggernaut

Urge your Elected Officials to Oppose H.R. 2330/S.1033

It is now time to begin mobilizing to defeat a nightmarish amnesty/guestworker bill designed to legalize virtually all 12 million plus resident illegal aliens and create a new open-ended "guestworker" program that lets "guests" stay permanently.
This bill, backed by cheap labor interests and the open-borders lobby, seeks to let big business dictate immigration policy, while hanging a "for sale" sign on visas, green cards, and U.S. citizenship. It has been introduced in both bodies of Congress and has significant support in the Senate.

If enacted, this would drive down American wages and working conditions, place an enormous strain on our health care and educational systems, and make immigration levels completely unmanageable. Cheap labor interests would win a free flow of foreign indentured servants and American taxpayers would be forced to foot the bill.


ACTION NEEDED
FAX your Legislators. Click here then type your zip code in the take action box to send free, pre-written, cosponsor-based editable faxes and emails opposing H.R. 2330/S.1033.

CALL your Legislators. Reiterate your opposition and ask them to comment on their position regarding the bill. Call the Capitol Switchboard (Senate: 202-224-3121, House: 202-225-3121) or get direct numbers from the elected officials section of our web site. See below for some suggested arguments against the bill.
***Tips on Being Effective - Interested in learning more about how to be effective when contacting Congress? Check out the Capitol Hill Basic section of our legislative action center for advice on making phone calls, sending letters, and information on the legislative process.

BILL DETAILS
This legislation is deceivingly titled the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. The Senate version, S. 1033, was introduced on May 12 by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA). Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the House companion, H.R. 2330.
It would vastly liberalize our immigration system by creating two new guestworker visa categories: one for currently resident illegal aliens, another for future legal participants. After a period of indentured servitude, these so-called "guestworkers" could buy green cards and inevitably U.S. citizenship.

H-5A Visas for New "Guestworkers:"


A new H-5A visa program would be established to provide 3 year work visas to all foreign nationals wishing to work in the U.S. for a minimal fee of $500, provided they find initial employment in the U.S. in occupations other than those considered agricultural or highly skilled. These visas could be renewed for an additional three years, during which point the applicant could apply for a green card.

H-5A visa holders would be eligible for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident immediately through employer-based petitions, or, after they have accumulated four years of work within the United States, through self-petition.

The initial annual cap on this category is set at 400,000 but is designed to automatically increase if that number is reached before the end of the fiscal year. There is no limit on how high the cap may be raised over time.
H-5B Visas for Currently Resident Illegal Aliens:

A new H-5B visa program would be established for nearly all 12 million plus currently resident illegal aliens. Illegal aliens working in the U.S. and their spouses and children could buy a three year visa for $1000, which could be renewed for an additional three years.

After six years of work under the H-5B program they could buy a green card for an additional $1,000, and eventually gain U.S. citizenship.

There is no cap on this visa category, nor is there a cap on the number of individuals that could apply for legal permanent resident status.
TALKING POINTS
Amnesty is Not the Solution:

Amnesty (in any form) is not a solution to the illegal immigration problem. It certainly didn't work when last tried in 1986. It sets a dangerous precedent, encourages more illegal immigration, and is a slap in the face to people who wait in line to come here legally.

Even talking about amnesty intensifies the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration, as demonstrated by increased border apprehensions immediately following the president's announcement of his amnesty/guestworker proposal.

Not only is this an amnesty for illegal aliens, it's an amnesty for employers who illegally hire them. It shield employers from civil or criminal penalties related to unlawfully employing illegal aliens. Nothing in the bill prevents employers from continuing to hire illegal aliens.
There are No Jobs Americans Won't Do:

There are no jobs Americans won't do, only wages and working conditions that are below livable standards.

Flooding the labor market with cheap foreign labor will further depress wages and working conditions not only in lower-skilled occupations but, under this proposal in occupations throughout our economy.

We have the most generous immigration policy in the world, taking in nearly a million legal immigrants each year. It's inconceivable to argue that there aren't enough workers here to fill labor needs.
American Taxpayers Pay the Price for Cheap Labor:

This is a win for cheap labor interests and a loss for American taxpayers forced to fund health care, education, and other public service costs incurred by illegal aliens who would qualify for this amnesty and "guestworkers" who never have to go home.
The Real Solution:

The real solution to the illegal immigration problem is to remove the job magnet by requiring employers nationwide to participate in the employment eligibility verification system and enforcing laws against employers who hire illegal aliens.
* Please forward this message to friends and email lists.
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* For breaking immigration news, visit the Stein Report.
* Fax your legislators for free from FAIR's Legislative Action Center.
* Support our work! We depend on contributions from people like you.

http://www.fairus.org/
(202) 328-7004
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From Jihad Watch: 2 Men, in New York and Florida, Charged in Qaeda Conspiracy

I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven. And evidence continues to come in that jihadists view the aggregate of peaceful Muslims not as a challenge, but as a recruiting ground -- and make copious use of the Qur'an and Sunnah in that recruitment. Stateside jihad alert from the New York Times, with thanks to all who sent this in:

A martial arts expert from the Bronx and a doctor from Florida have been arrested on charges that they conspired to train and provide medical assistance to Al Qaeda terrorists, federal and local authorities said yesterday.
The men, United States citizens who were identified by the authorities as Tarik ibn Osman Shah of the Bronx and Rafiq Sabir of Boca Raton, were captured in early morning raids in the Bronx and in Boca Raton on Friday, according to Paul J. Browne, a New York City police spokesman.

The arrests came as part of a two-year sting operation that ended with each man facing a single conspiracy charge. While the authorities said that they had no evidence that either man had actually provided support to terrorists, they said they had taped each man swearing his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Browne said.

According to a statement released by David N. Kelley, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John Klochan, the acting assistant director in charge of the New York office of the F.B.I., the complaint contends that between 2003 and sometime this month, the men met with a law enforcement informant and an F.B.I. agent who was posing as a Qaeda operative and recruiter.

The complaint said that in those meetings, which were recorded, Mr. Shah agreed to provide training in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to Qaeda members and associates, while Dr. Sabir agreed to provide medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

"During these conversations, Mr. Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim 'brothers' in the martial arts in order to wage jihad and also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight," it said....


Cue the usual protestations of innocence and discrimination:

A report yesterday in The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale quoted a friend of Dr. Sabir's saying that the charges were absurd. "He is a quality guy and a quality physician," the friend, Dr. Daniel McBride, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, told the newspaper. "He's about helping others."
Mr. Browne said that Dr. Sabir attended City College of New York and received his medical degree from Columbia medical school. Last night, Lisa Kozan, a neighbor who lives across the way from Dr. Sabir in Villa San Remo, a gated community in Boca Raton, said she believed that Dr. Sabir had rented there for about four years.

She said that the doctor stood out from other neighbors by his Muslim dress and that the doctor and his family lived quietly in the community. "Other than that, we didn't talk to him, and they didn't talk to us," she said.

Mr. Browne said that Mr. Shah, who public records show lived in Beacon, N.Y., and Poughkeepsie before moving to the Bronx, was the son of an aide to Malcolm X.
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