Eye on Extremism: November 19, 2021

Politico: UK Set To Declare ‘Rabidly Anti-Semitic’ Hamas Is A Terrorist Organization

“The U.K. government is set to proscribe Hamas under the country’s Terrorism Act, under plans that will be announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday. Anyone who “recklessly” supports the Palestinian group, arranges meetings to back it, invites people to endorse it or is a member will face up to 10 years in prison under new laws to be tabled in the U.K. parliament. “Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic,” Patel will say during a speech in Washington on Friday, according to multiple media reports. “Anti-Semitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe — at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online.” Hamas, which was founded in 1987, holds a majority in the Palestinian parliament and is the largest of several Palestinian militant Islamic groups. The U.K. has previously banned its military wing, but the ban will now extend to the group’s political arm.”

Reuters: Pakistan Frees Hardline Islamist Under A Deal To End Violence

“Pakistan freed a hardline Islamist leader on Thursday, a week after removing his name from a terrorism watch list under a deal to end weeks of deadly protests by his followers, the government and his lawyer said. Saad Hussain Rizvi, the chief of a Sunni militant group - Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) - was released from a jail in Lahore city, a government spokesman, Hasaan Khawar, told Reuters. His lawyer Muhammad Rizwan confirmed the release. “By the grace of God, he is a free man now,” he said. The release came two weeks after the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to free over 2,000 detained members of the TLP movement, lifted a ban on the group and agreed to let it contest elections. In return, the TLP would shun the politics of violence and withdraw a demand to have France's ambassador expelled over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad by a French magazine, negotiators have said. The TLP took to the streets in mid-October, kicking off weeks of protests and clashes that killed at least seven policemen, injured scores on both sides and blocked the country's busiest highway. Khan's government had designated the TLP a terrorist group and arrested Rizvi amid similar violent protests earlier this year.”

United States

Vice: Whatever Kyle Rittenhouse's Verdict Is, The Far-Right Wins

“…Specifically, it’s the celebration of violence against left-wing protesters and vigilantism that has the extreme-right salivating, Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst with the Counter-Extremism Project, told VICE News. “Many extreme right-wing and white supremacist groups and propagandists view the trial as an opportunity to spread their message and recruit,” said Fisher-Birch. “These groups and individuals are acting on an agenda to portray Rittenhouse as both a hero and a victim who justly defended himself. Many of these groups seek to similarly portray acts of violence committed by their members as defensive in nature.” There is, of course, a very real difference between believing what Rittenhouse did was self-defense and pushing for vigilantism. The sheer amount of memes, videos, articles, or speeches supporting Rittenhouse is staggering, and in many cases, speeds straight by legal arguments into outright cheering on the killings.”

Pakistan

The New York Times: Fury In Kashmir After Deadly Police Raid At Shopping Complex

“Tensions in Kashmir are rising days after four people were killed in a raid by Indian security forces, fueling outraged protests over impunity and stirring fears that the conflict-torn region could be sliding into another especially deadly phase. The Indian police said that two militants and two businessmen whom they described as “terrorist supporters” had been killed when the police raided a shopping complex on Monday. The police initially said they were fired on by the militants, who had also killed the two businessmen in the process. They later amended that account, saying the businessmen may have been caught in the crossfire and that it was unclear whose bullets had killed them. Family members of three of the dead disputed both those versions of events, accusing the police of having staged the gunfight. Demanding that the bodies of their relatives be returned to them for a proper burial, they joined a demonstration of about two dozen people that ended brutally on Wednesday when the protesters were hauled away by the police, in images captured on video and broadcast via the internet across the Kashmir Valley.”

Yemen

Republic World: Al-Qaeda Members Have Settled In Houthi-Controlled Yemeni Provinces: Report

“Al-Qaeda members have settled in Yemen’s Al Bayda’s province which is presently under the control of Houthi rebels. Yemeni Interior Minister Ibrahim Ali Hidan told Sputnik said, “Extremist elements exist in Yemen, but their main stronghold is now in the province of Al Bayda and it is under the control of the Houthis, which is why we say that they support terrorism.” Hidan also said that Houthis fight the Yemeni military but did not take any measures in tackling al-Qaeda. He told the Russian news agency, “When al-Qaeda fighters left a base in Al-Mukalla, the capital of the coastal Hadhramaut province in 2017, in a long convoy of cars with weapons, no one bombed the convoy and they were allowed to leave in peace. They are now in a place called Yakla. This is well known, and even American intelligence has prepared a full report on this matter.” Yemen has been affected severely due to civil war since late 2014 when Houthi forces seized control of Sanaa in a mass uprising including the fight against the forces which were loyal to the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Saudi Arabia-led coalition entered the conflict in 2015 at the request of Hadi and carried out air strikes against Houthis.”

Lebanon

Reuters: Kuwait Detains 18 Suspected Of Financing Lebanon's Hezbollah - Media

“Prosecutors in Kuwait have detained 18 people suspected of financing Lebanon's powerful Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the newspapers Al-Qabas and Al-Rai reported on Thursday. Al Qabas said the prosecution ordered the detainees to be held at the central prison for 21 days while investigations continue into alleged “membership in a prohibited party, money laundering and spying”. The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Gulf Arab states in 2016 designated Iran-allied Hezbollah a terrorist oganisation. Lebanon is facing a diplomatic crisis as Gulf states become increasingly dismayed by Hezbollah's expanding influence over Lebanese politics. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain last month expelled Lebanese diplomats and recalled their own envoys following a minister's critical comments about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Riyadh banned all imports from Lebanon. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said the measures were driven not just by the comments by information minister George Kordahi, made before a new cabinet was formed, but rather by Riyadh's objections to the “domination” of Hezbollah. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran have been locked for decades in proxy conflicts across the region.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Israel Yet To Prove Banned Palestinian Groups Have Terror Ties, Says Top EU Diplomat

“European Union High Representative Josep Borrell declared on Wednesday that Israel had yet to send definitive proof that six recently banned Palestinian organizations were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group. “We are asking for answers from the Israeli government, and we have not yet received convincing answers,” Borrell said in a closed-door meeting of international donors to the Palestinians in Oslo. Borrell’s speech, like others given at the conference, was not public. The Times of Israel received a transcript of the address from another official. Israel declared the six civil groups to be PFLP-linked terror groups in late October. The announcement sparked a firestorm of coverage and condemnations, as most of them received European and international funding. Israeli officials have doubled down on the designation, repeating that there is “ironclad” classified evidence that proves the organizations’ terror links. “We need proof of these claims,” Borrell said in his remarks on Wednesday, according to the transcript. An EU spokesperson declined to comment on the closed-door speech, citing departmental regulations.”

Egypt

Human Rights Watch: Egypt: Terrorism Laws Abused In Businessmen’s Arrests

“Two Egyptian businessmen have been detained for months, reportedly after they refused to surrender their shares in their company to a state-owned business, Human Rights Watch said today. Egyptian authorities should immediately release the men, Safwan Thabet and his son, Seif Thabet, owners of the Juhayna Company, a major dairy producer. Egyptian National Security Agency officers had arrested them in December 2020 and February 2021 after they refused to surrender the family’s shares in the company, according to two sources who spoke with Human Rights Watch and a legal memo that a third source shared. The Supreme State Security Prosecution has jailed them in violation of their basic due process rights on vague charges of “funding terrorism, undermining the national economy and joining an unlawful organization,” apparently without presenting any evidence to support these charges. “The abusive and apparently arbitrary detention of Seif and Safwan Thabet exposes how the government is using Egypt’s flawed terrorism laws to punish successful businessmen who refuse to surrender their property to the state,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Tension As Hundreds Of Repentant Boko Haram Terrorists Riot In Borno

“Hundreds of Nigerian Boko Haram terrorists who are being held in a camp in Borno State after surrendering to the military rioted on Wednesday to demand the right to slaughter cows for meat, AFP reports. The riot prompted residents in the Northeast city of Maiduguri to lay siege to the camp, wielding swords, daggers and clubs, and threatening to kill anyone who left the facility, security sources said. The incident illustrated the sensitive task which authorities face in re-inserting former fighters back into communities that have often suffered from years of attacks and kidnappings during a 12-year Islamist insurgency. The army presents the surrender of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters and families in recent months as a sign of success in ending the conflict centred in northeast Borno State, but many residents still see them as a security risk. Around 250 Boko Haram members, including women and children, staged a violent protest in the Gidan Taki outskirts of the city, smashing windows and doors and threatening to move out of the camp if their demand was not met, the sources and residents said. “The Boko Haram inmates went on a rampage this morning, breaking doors and windows and even attempted to leave the camp,” said Konto Garga, a member of an anti-jihadist militia that helps the army.”

Somalia

All Africa: Somalia: Military Receives Vehicles From Turkey To Fight Al-Shabaab Militants

“The war on the Al-Shabaab group in Somalia got a boost on Tuesday after Turkey donated vehicles to the Somali army. The Turkish government has donated military vehicles to help fight in the fight against Al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Shabaab who have been fighting the central government for over a decade. Among equipment received by the Somali army include military trucks and Ambulances. The vehicles will be used by the Turkish trained to fight Al-Shabaab. Somalia army chief, Gen. Odawa Yusuf Rageh said that the Turkish military supports key in fighting Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated terror group al-Shabaab. The Turkish government announced an aid of 30 million US dollars for Somalia on 5 August. The Turkish government also assists the Somali government in training soldiers.”

Africa

Reuters: Three Convicted Militants Recaptured After Kenya Prison Break

“Three convicted militants, one of whom had taken part in a 2015 attack that killed 148 people, were recaptured on Thursday after they escaped from a maximum security prison in Nairobi, the directorate of criminal investigations said. The three men were arrested as they tried to make their way to Somalia and were now being brought back to the Kenyan capital, the Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti, told Reuters. The escapees included Mohamed Ali Abikar, sentenced to 41 years for a 2015 attack on Garissa University in eastern Kenya that killed 148 people, mostly students. The two other escapees from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison were Joseph Juma Odhiambo, jailed for trying to join Somali militant Islamist group al Shabaab in 2019, and Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga, arrested for his participation in a foiled 2012 attack on parliament. Police had described all three escapees as “dangerous” and offered a 60 million Kenyan shilling ($535,240) reward for information that could lead to their recapture. The group raised suspicions when they sought directions to Boni Forest, close to the Somali border, the Daily Nation reported. The escapees looked dishevelled and one was limping, the Daily Nation said, quoting witnesses.”

Associated Press: Uganda Police Kill 5, Including Cleric, After Bomb Blasts

“Ugandan authorities have killed at least five people, including a Muslim cleric, accused of having ties to the extremist group responsible for Tuesday's suicide bombings in the capital, police said Thursday. Four men were killed in a shootout in a frontier town near the western border with Congo as they tried to cross back into Uganda. A fifth man, a cleric named Muhammad Kirevu, was killed in “a violent confrontation” when security forces raided his home outside Kampala, police spokesman Fred Enanga said. A second cleric, Suleiman Nsubuga, is the subject of a manhunt, he said, accusing the two clerics of radicalizing young Muslim men and encouraging them to join underground cells to carry out violent attacks. The police raids come after the explosions on Tuesday in which at least four civilians were killed when suicide bombers detonated their explosives at two locations in Kampala. One attack happened near the parliamentary building and the second near a busy police station. The attacks sparked chaos and confusion in the city as well as outpourings of concern from the international community. A total of 21 suspects with alleged links to the perpetrators are in custody, Enanga said.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: More People Are Referred To Prevent For Having Extreme Far-Right Views Than Islamist Radicalisation For First Time Making Up 25% Of Cases Compared To 22% Amid Concern Over 'Politically Correct' Anti-Terror Strategy

“…Ian Acheson, a former prison governor and senior adviser at the Counter Extremism Project, today suggested research was needed about what was driving referrals and why they were 'out of kilter'. He told MailOnline: 'Nobody can dispute these statistics as a matter of fact. Nor is it sensible to ignore extreme right wing ideology as a driver of violent extremism. 'But we should also be asking about what is driving these referrals and why they are so out of kilter with the clear and present danger of Islamist extremism which in terms of lethality and potential dwarfs extreme right wing ones.' Under the Prevent programme, local authority staff and other professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers have a duty to flag concerns about an individual being radicalised or drawn into a terrorism. This report is then be passed to a local official charged with deciding whether the tip-off merits a formal referral. Prevent referrals are handled by expert officers in the local police force. Cases are then categorised depending on the nature of the individual's alleged beliefs - based on evidence ranging from comments they have been overheard saying to their social media history. People who are not viewed as either far-right or Islamist are categorised as having a 'mixed, unstable or unclear' ideology.”

The National: UK Christmas Crowds Warned Of Increased Terror Threat From Emboldened Extremists

“Patrols by armed police will be increased and security plans for major events reviewed after Britain's terrorist threat level was raised following the Liverpool attack. Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, the head of UK counterterrorism policing, said the public will see an increased police presence in key locations and officers will boost their work online. The British public were also asked to remain alert during the Christmas period and report anything suspicious to the police. Speaking in Leicester Square in London’s West End on Wednesday, Mr Jukes told the PA news agency: “All across the country you will have seen plans for major events reviewed, you will see an increased armed policing presence in some key locations. “In places like London where we have dedicated counterterror patrols, they will be very focused. “You will see some more visible policing but, of course, also we will be very active in other places. Online, in our communities talking to people about their concerns.” The terrorist threat was raised from substantial to severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely” rather than “likely”, after the blast outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday. Emad Al Swealmeen spent months planning his bomb attack and had been buying components “at least since April”, investigators said.”

Australia

The Guardian: Australian Law Preventing Sharing Video Of Terror Attacks Results In Zero Convictions Or Fines

“No one has been convicted or fined under laws passed soon after the Christchurch shootings aimed at preventing depictions of terror attacks being distributed online, authorities admit, but they say the threat of prosecution has helped reduce such content. In the wake of the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, which was live-streamed on Facebook and shared across the internet in March 2019, the Australian government quickly passed the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material (AVM) bill. The law created new offences for content service providers and hosting services for failing to notify the Australian federal police about, or fail to expeditiously remove, videos depicting “abhorrent violent conduct”. That conduct is defined as videos depicting terrorist acts, murders, attempted murders, torture, rape or kidnapping. Companies face fines of up to $10.5m or 10% of annual turnover for failing to remove material, while individuals face up to three years in jail and/or a $2.1m fine. More than two years on, no fines have been issued, and no one has been prosecuted under the legislation, the attorney general’s department said in a submission to a parliamentary review of the law.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 28, 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked farmers as they worked in the rice fields of Koshebe near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Abubakar Shekau confirmed his faction was responsible for the massacre of 110 civilians.   

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