Eye on Extremism: November 29, 2022

CNN: Buffalo Grocery Store Mass Shooter Pleads Guilty To Terrorism And Murder Charges In Racist Attack

“The gunman who killed 10 people and wounded three in May in a racist attack at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges of domestic terrorism as a hate crime, murder and attempted murder. Payton Gendron, a 19-year-old White man, pleaded guilty to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons possession charge in the mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on May 14. The charges come with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole. Gendron wore a red jumpsuit and had his hands cuffed in front of him in court Monday. He answered “yes” or “no” to several questions affirming he understood why he was pleading guilty and, on the individual counts, said the word “guilty.” He showed no emotion during the hearing.”

Reuters: Taliban Militants In Pakistan End Ceasefire With Government - Spokesman

“Taliban militants in Pakistan will no longer abide by a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government, a spokesman for the militant group said on Monday. The Afghan Taliban have been facilitating peace talks between local militants and the government since late last year. The end of the ceasefire comes ahead of a visit by a Pakistani delegation, led by state minister for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, to Kabul on Tuesday. Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters in a text message that its leadership had decided to end the ceasefire with Pakistan. A TTP statement urged its fighters to resume attacks in retaliation towards a continuous military campaign against them. The Pakistani military has carried out several offensives against the militants in their strongholds in remote lawless districts bordering Afghanistan. The TTP is an umbrella group of several Sunni militant groups who have been attacking the state for years, with the aim of overthrowing the government and governing the South Asian nation of 220 million with the Taliban's strict brand of Islamic laws.”

United States

The Texas Tribune: Jewish Texans See Surge In Antisemitism As A Precursor To Fascism

“As other kids in Austin recovered from trick-or-treating on Halloween last year, Sarah Adelman worried about white supremacists, her mom and their synagogue. After a series of antisemitic incidents around Central Texas, someone set fire to Congregation Beth Israel, where Sarah’s mother, Lori, is a leader. “It made me sad and really scared,” 10-year-old Sarah said last week. “It made me nervous for my mom.” The arson was part of an ongoing wave of antisemitic incidents that grew last year to its highest number in four decades. It came three years after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue and was followed months later by a hostage situation at a North Texas synagogue. In 2021, the Anti-Defamation League tracked 2,717 anti-Jewish incidents nationwide— a 34% increase since 2020 and the highest number since the group began tracking antisemitism in 1979. In Texas, the ADL recorded 112 antisemitic incidents in 2021 — almost triple since 2020 — and both the state and nation are on pace to eclipse those records this year.”

The New York Times: Preacher Accused Of Being ISIS Marriage Broker Faces Trial In New York

“In late 2016, Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican preacher who was an outspoken supporter of the Islamic State, began communicating on WhatsApp with a woman in New York who claimed to be an aspiring jihadist with medical training. He offered to help her join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, prosecutors in Manhattan said, and made an introduction to a member of the group, which is known for carrying out brutal executions, including drownings and beheadings in the Middle East. Mr. Faisal described the man as someone who not only would help her travel to join extremist fighters — but who would be a suitable husband. Mr. Faisal also sounded a note of caution, counseling care in discussing ISIS by telephone, writing: “many pple got arrested just from text messages.” Now those messages form the basis of a criminal case against Mr. Faisal in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The woman was not a would-be jihadist but an undercover officer with the New York Police Department, one of several who posed as women who wanted his help to become ISIS brides.”

The Kansas City Star: Kansas City Area Man Among Three Indicted In Alleged Terrorist Conspiracy In Cameroon

“Three U.S. citizens, including one from Lee’s Summit, face criminal charges for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to support terrorism in the central African nation of Cameroon, federal prosecutors said Monday. Claude Ngenevu Chi, 40; Francis Chenyi Sr., 49, of St. Paul, Minnesota; and Lah Nestor Langmi, 46, of Buffalo, New York, are charged with conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism, receiving money from a ransom demand and money laundering. A grand jury indictment filed in the Western District of Missouri’s Kansas City office was unsealed Monday following the arrests and initial court appearances of all three men. Prosecutors allege the men, all of Cameroonian origin, worked in concert to provide support for a militant separatist group known as the Ambazonia Restoration Forces and other separatists based in the nation’s English-speaking regions. The country has been in the throes of a rebellion launched in 2017 with the goal of breaking away from the French-speaking majority country to form a new state.”

Afghanistan

NPR: For Afghans Who Fought Against The Taliban, Life Is Fraught Under Their Rule

“When Mohammad Hashim enlisted in the Afghan National Army, he never imagined his career would land him in an apple orchard. Just a couple of years ago, the former army officer was in charge of setting up military checkpoints in Helmand Province, where some of the fiercest fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan forces took place. Now, he picks apples for a living. "There's no work for those of us who served in the military," says Hashim as he carefully unwraps a black-and-white checkered scarf revealing a pile of military training certificates. "As you can see, I'm educated and experienced, but this is the best I can find to support my family." When the Afghan republic collapsed last year, so too did its U.S.-backed military. Overnight, tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers lost their jobs and suddenly found themselves living under the thumb of those they spent two decades fighting.”

Yemen

Reuters: U.S. Urges End To Port Attacks In Yemen, Envoy Visits Region -Statement

“U.S. special envoy Tim Lenderking is traveling to Oman and Saudi Arabia this week to support Yemen peace efforts, the U.S. State Department said on Monday in a statement that also urged an immediate end to attacks on Yemeni ports. "At this critical moment, we remind the Houthis that Yemenis are calling for peace, not a return to war. To that end, we call on the Houthis to immediately cease their attacks on Yemeni ports, which are disrupting the flow of much-needed resources and exacerbating suffering across Yemen," the department said. Lenderking, who previously visited the United Arab Emirates earlier this month over the United Nations-backed truce, left for the region on Sunday, it added.”

Arab News: Yemen Leader Visits Jordan To Push For Houthi Blacklisting

“Rashad Al-Alimi, the chairperson of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, arrived in the Jordanian capital Amman on Monday in his continuing efforts to build international support for punishing the Iran-backed Houthis for their escalating attacks on government-controlled areas and the country’s oil infrastructure. Yemen’s official Saba News Agency reported that Al-Alimi, who was accompanied by two council members, will meet King Abdullah II and other Jordanian officials to discuss the war in Yemen and lobby for international support to counter Houthi threats to international maritime traffic off the coast of the country. Yemen’s internationally recognized government has stepped up its diplomatic pressure to gain international support for labeling the Houthi militia as a terrorist group and persuade the world to publicly denounce them for targeting oil terminals in southern Yemen over the past two months.”

Somalia

Reuters: Somali Troops Overpower Militants To End Hotel Siege

“Somali security forces stormed a hotel in the capital on Monday to end a near day-long siege by al Shabaab militants who killed nine people at the building near the president's residence in the capital, police said. Gunfire crackled from inside the hotel as the special forces fought the militants more than 12 hours after the Islamist group stormed the building in the centre of Mogadishu. A police spokesperson said 60 civilians had been rescued, while a government minister said he and others had kicked down a door to escape after being caught in the hotel following evening prayers when a suicide bomber struck and the gunbattle broke out. The assault underscores the continuing ability of the al Qaeda-allied militants to stage deadly attacks with sometimes high casualties inside the city even as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's government presses an offensive against them.”

Europe

AFP: Six Years After Bombings, Belgium Readies For Biggest Trial

“Belgium's worst peacetime massacre left 32 dead and hundreds marked for life. Now, six and a half years later, Brussels will host its biggest ever criminal trial. Jury selection begins on Wednesday ahead of hearings into the charges against the nine alleged jihadists accused of taking part in the March 2016 suicide bombings. The case will be heard in the former headquarters of the NATO military alliance, temporarily converted into a huge high-security court complex. Hundreds of witnesses and victims will testify in the months to come, some still hopeful that telling their story will offer them a measure of closure. The case will not be the first for 33-year-old Salah Abdeslam, who was convicted in France as a ringleader in the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks that left 130 dead. He is serving life without parole in France but faces further charges in Belgium. Both sets of attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group and investigators believe they were carried out by the same Belgium-based cell, including Abdeslam. The group was planning more violence, allegedly including attacks on the Euro 2016 football cup in France but acted quickly after Abdeslam was arrested on March 18. Four days later on March 22, two bombers blew themselves up in Brussels airport and another in a city center metro station near the headquarters of the European Union.”

Technology

The Guardian: Twitter Failed To Detect Upload Of Christchurch Mosque Terror Attack Videos

“Twitter has removed freshly uploaded footage of the Christchurch terror attack that was circulating on the platform, but only after the New Zealand government alerted the company, which had failed to recognise the content as harmful. The video clips, filmed by the Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019, were uploaded by some Twitter users on Saturday, according to the office of the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. A spokesperson for the prime minister said Twitter’s automated reporting function didn’t pick up the content as harmful. Other users reported the videos and the government separately raised it with Twitter, the office said. “Twitter advised us overnight that the clips have been taken down and said they would do a sweep for other instances.” The mosque attack was livestreamed on multiple social media platforms and the terrorist’s manifesto published online.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

Without doubt, the secularists are evil and more malicious than the polytheists and secularism is farther astray from the path and more malicious than polytheism. The secularists who are associated with Islam even [merely] by identity are considered apostates by a group of scholars. The Jews, Christians, those who worship graves, and many polytheists and unbelievers have committed lesser acts of unbelief than the secularists.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Salafist propagandist Mar. 1, 2021
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