Every time I see the name Mohamed Harkat in the news, I am reminded of that great country-and-western song, "How Can I Miss You When You Never Go Away."
Harkat is the Algerian refugee detained by Canada in 2002 due to his links to terrorist groups and activities. Along with four other people, Harkat was detained under Canada's security certificate program which, instead of expediting his removal as intended, has resulted in never ending delay.
Harkat has repeatedly and recently been deemed inadmissible on security grounds but the hold up on removal is his claim that he'd be at risk of being roughed up if returned to Algeria. But Algeria formally agreed he will not be subject to abuse and Canadian officials have a lawful intercept of him discussing going back there to get a second wife.
In a 2010 ruling, a judge found that Harkat "maintained contacts and assisted Islamist extremists, and used some methodologies typical of a 'sleeper agent.'
Federal Court Judge Simon Noel agreed that officials have "reasonable grounds to believe Mohamed Harkat has engaged in terrorism, is a danger to the security of Canada and is a member of the Bin Laden Network."
Harkat was back in the news last week seeking looser bail conditions. As I read the media reports, it struck me that the case of Djamel Ameziane, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee that Canada denied refugee status to in 2000, who later went to Afghanistan and Pakistan where he was captured by U.S. forces, might be relevant.
This is the guy that Dennis Whitling, one of Omar Khadr's lawyers, is helping to sue Canada because our people interviewed him twice while in Guantanamo Bay.
Disproving a theoretical situation is difficult but comparing it to a real case is useful. Ameziane has even greater terrorist stain, captured as he was and detained in Guantanamo for a decade plus. But wait, he's filed his lawsuit against Canada from where he now safely resides which is ... Algeria. If Ameziane is okay there, then why wouldn't Harkat be okay?
This might be useful factual information in moving the removal process along. Who knows, we might just end up humming "Hit the Road Jack."
The leader of the largest Muslim group in the United States, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), addressed a radical Asian Islamist group during a trip to India.
Jamaat-e-Islami is an Asian version of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Its leaders advocate laws that criminalize blasphemy against Islam. Its constitution calls for "the reconstruction of society" and the formation of an Islamic State. It tells Muslims to avoid going to "un-Islamic" courts to settle dispute except under "compelling necessity."
Founder Maulana Maududi declared that insufficiently Islamic regimes should be destroyed and replaced by an Islamic State and eventually a caliphate. Maududi inspired Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and ISIS's self-appointed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Still, Azeez used a Twitter post to show that he met with Jamaat-e-Islami's leadership in Delhi. ISNA was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. The group has tried to distance itself from that past and present itself as the representative of mainstream American Muslims. But its conferences have featured radical Islamist speakers, and this year, it tossed a gay-friendly group called Muslim for Progressive Values from its annual gathering.
In Asia, Jamaat-e-Islami's leaders encourage boycotts against the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority, which led to Ahmadiyyas being evicted from their homes and fired from their jobs.
Jamaat-e-Islami branches in Kashmir and Bangladesh have been tied to terrorist activities.
Bangladesh executed top former Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for war crimes committed during its 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
JIH supported terrorism against American troops and in the Middle East. It praised "the historic victory against Israeli aggression in Lebanon by the Hezbollah led Lebanese National resistance" in a March 2007 statement in conjunction with other Muslim groups.
Azeez's speech to a Jamaat branch, and his desire to promote it, reinforces the perception that ISNA's attempts at moderation are superficial.
The deadline for prosecutors to appeal a judge's decision to acquit a Muslim man of sexually assaulting his wife has passed. It appears the ruling – that cultural and religious beliefs that he could have sex with her even when she was not willing trump secular Canadian law – will stand.
The now-divorced couple has not been identified. But Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith acquitted the Palestinian-Muslim husband, saying he "probably had sex with his wife on many occasions without her specific consent," but both believed their faith gave him that right. "as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so."
As we reported last week, Canadian law expressly requires actual consent, including from spouses, and specifies that not knowing the law is not a defense to breaking it.
The law gave the Ottawa Attorney General one month to appeal. There was little, to no public debate about the case, and no sign an appeal was filed.
This failure to act is alarming and means Ontario's government accepts a ruling which undermines the protections afforded by Canadian law to people vulnerable to sexual assault, It allows 'cultural' beliefs to supersede secular law. How is that acceptable in Canadian society?
The silence from Canadian opposition parties, both provincial or federal, or our self-described 'feminist' national government also is disappointing. Why were they silent?
These are questions that need to be asked and answered if the rule of secular law in Canada is to be preserved and protected.
Osama bin Laden encouraged cooperation with all who wanted to topple late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, including with the Muslim Brotherhood and its leading ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the al-Qaida leader's recently declassified diary shows. The Libyan uprising "opened the door to the jihadists," he wrote.
Bin Laden encouraged al-Qaida branches such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) to disregard doctrinal or sectarian differences with other Islamists.
In an undated email, bin Laden acknowledged communication between al-Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood elements. He noted that a Brotherhood member sent al-Qaida an email describing "factions who now adhere to true Islam, and there is also a powerful Salafist faction within the Brotherhood."
U.S. officials became aware of LIFG's al-Qaida links after they agreed to back the group's fight to topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. LIFG's leaders "maintained ties to al Qa'ida during their struggle with the forces of former dictator Muammar al [Gaddafi]," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's confidante Sidney Blumenthal told her in a July 2012 email.
An April 2011 Libyan intelligence document noted that elements of the Muslim Brotherhood and the LIFG cooperated in the early stage of the Libyan rebellion. Bin Laden's missive could explain why this close cooperation took place. The Muslim Brotherhood resorted to "[taqiyya]" or intentional deception, to hide their bid to create a caliphate while telling the press they wanted democracy, the Libyan intelligence document said.
Evidence shows that LIFG worked with a Qaradawi representative who belonged to Libya's Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Gaddafi.
LIFG cooperated with the "international network of the [Muslim] Brotherhood," the Libyan document said without going into detail. Ali Al-Salabi – a man referred to by Clinton aide Jake Sullivan as "a key figure in the Libyan Muslim [B]rotherhood and Qaradawi's man in Libya" in a Feb. 28, 2011 email – allegedly helped the LIFG during the spring 2011 uprising. He also helped move money from the Qatari government to the militias, the UAE based Khaleej Times reported in July.
The Muslim Brotherhood lamented bin Laden's death in a U.S. Seal Team raid, calling it an "assassination" and implying that he engaged in "legitimate resistance" against the West.
Bin Laden's diary shows a surprising degree of pragmatism that may have presaged cooperation between al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislative measures Wednesday targeting the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
The approved measures include the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act (H.R. 2712), that will impose sanctions to end support for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hizballah.
"Iran and Hizballah are clearly working to extend their influence over Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip through increased financial and military aid," said U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.
The U.S. State Department designated Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 1997 and the Treasury Department named it a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2001. So far, Hamas has been responsible for the deaths of 400 Israelis and at least 25 Americans.
Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that endorsed the bills, held Iran accountable for Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip for over a decade. "Iran is also why Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have thousands of missiles and rockets, and continue digging tunnels of terror under the border with Israel," he said.
The bill also focuses on "significant financial and military support" Hamas receives from Qatar, including its government-supported Al Jazeera news network, which has provided a platform to senior Hamas leaders, including the terrorist group's leader Khaled Meshaal.
Another bill approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee is the Taylor Force Act (H.R. 1164) that will block U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it stops paying families of suicide bombers and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. payments to the Palestinian leadership averaged $400 million per year. The bill is named after an American officer who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel in March 2016.
The third piece of legislation advanced by the committee is called the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (H.R. 3542). It denounces Hamas for using civilians, prisoners of war, and other noncombatants as human shields and seeks to sanction the terrorist group for this reprehensible practice.
A trustee of a well-known British mosque with ties to extremism is also an official with Hamas' political bureau, reports Britain's The Times.
Mohammed Sawalha, a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London since 2010, represented a Hamas delegation to Moscow in September.
"British charity and has no relationship with Hamas," a mosque statement said. In his role, Sawalha is legally responsible for overseeing the mosque's management.
A recent study shows that nearly a fifth of UK jihadists attended sermons by Islamist clerics at Finsbury Park Mosque, including Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical imam suspended in 2002 who continued to offer radical sermons outside the mosque's gates.
The UK only bans Hamas' military wing from operating in the country. Therefore, Sawalha's Hamas-related political activities are not illegal.
The United States, European Union, and Canada, among others, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety for its role in actively targeting and killing Israeli civilians.
In 2008, Sawalha was named in U.S. court documents for being "in charge of Hamas terrorist operations in the West Bank." He also met with two men who reportedly helped launder millions of dollars to the terrorist organization.
According to The Times report, Sawalha directed the Islam Expo for almost a decade, "which promoted Islamic lifestyles" and was a previous director of the Muslim Association of Britain – a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate.
Hamas has a long history of cultivating political bases of operations in Western democracies. Hamas' current deputy leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, established an extensive network in the United States devoted to supporting Hamas' terrorist activities. Marzook was instrumental in providing initial funds to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) – a Hamas affiliated charity set up as a front organization to assist the terrorist organization.
Marzook accompanied Sawalha in the recent Hamas visit to Moscow.
Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri met with Hizballah's chief Hassan Nasrallah Tuesday in Beirut, according to Hizballah's Al Manar TV and reported by Ynet News.
The meeting comes after Israel destroyed an offensive tunnel originating in Gaza and stretching into Israeli territory, killing several senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members. Al-Arouri and Nasrallah discussed "the Zionist aggression against Gaza and its ramifications," even though the tunnel was constructed to attack and abduct Israelis in a future confrontation.
The tunnel's construction started after the 2014 war with Hamas ended, according to Israeli military officials speaking to the Jerusalem Post.
Such a high profile meeting signals a major rapprochement between the terrorist organizations, after ties were formally severed in 2011 when the groups took opposite positions in Syria's civil war.
Arouri has led two Hamas delegations to Iran during the past three months to strengthen ties with the group's traditional terrorist state sponsor. He also helped facilitate the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, while remaining in charge of coordinating Hamas' terrorist activities in the West Bank.
While senior Palestinians officials around the world promote the unity deal to Western audiences as an effort to achieve peace, other Palestinian leaders from across the political spectrum explicitly call for Israel's demise.
"Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel," Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar said Oct. 19, adding that "no one will disarm us."
But these seemingly diverse messages are not contradictory. The main Palestinian factions may wish to attain a temporary state on 1967 borders now, while continuing to fight for the Jewish state's destruction in the longer run.
Hamas' latest reconciliation efforts with Iran and Hizballah only reinforces the view that its primary objective is to militarily confront Israel – whether or not a Palestinian unity deal is struck.
In light of the recent national unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian officials of all stripes continue to announce their true objective: destroying Israel.
The official Palestinian mission to Colombia issued a tweet Thursday calling for Israel's demise, citing a quote from former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"Our goal is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations.... We don't want peace. We want WAR and victory — Yasser Arafat," read the Spanish-language tweet, according to the Times of Israel.
It was deleted after Israel's Channel 1 television reported on it.
"Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel," said Sinwar, adding that "no one will disarm us."
These types of statements directed to Palestinians around the world appear to conflict with other Palestinian officials seeking to promote the unity deal to western audiences.
"The deal that we signed with Hamas talks about building a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders - which is in line with international law," Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawasmeh told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
But these seemingly diverse messages are not contradictory. The main Palestinian factions may wish to attain a temporary state on 1967 borders now, while continuing to fight for Israel's destruction in the longer run.
Beyond the recent reconciliation deal, Hamas and Fatah appear united on another front as well: the glorification of terrorists. On Sunday, Fatah's official Facebook page posted a photo of a ceremony for incoming students at al-Quds University, commemorating several prominent terrorists behind the deaths of hundreds of Israelis.
Senior Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen spoke at the ceremony, reports Palestinian Media Watch, which honored Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, Palestinian Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi, and leaders of other Palestinian terrorist organizations.
"Anyone who believes everything the Palestinians say must also believe them when they say this [call for Israel's destruction]," Marco Sermoneta, Israel's ambassador to Colombia, told Israel's Channel 1 following the Palestinian mission's hostile tweet.
Palestinian officials and leaders from across the political spectrum are openly calling for the murder of Israelis and genocide of the Jewish state. Western observers, who largely remain silent on these issues, should give all forms of official Palestinian statements equal attention – not just the diplomatic candor.
Now Nihad Awad is preparing a prestigious lecture for Harvard University students on how "to inspire a deeper engagement with critical social issues on campus and in the wider community." He is scheduled to be honored the first weekend of November with the Phillips Brooks House Association's Robert Coles "Call of Service" Lecture and Award. Past recipients of the honor include former Vice President Al Gore and Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman.
A Harvard release describes Awad as "a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding, promoting dialogue and empowering American Muslims."
That's extraordinarily generous, as Awad's words and deeds foster mutual enmity, not understanding; deception, not dialogue.
He was a member of a Muslim Brotherhood-created network of organizations operating in the United States with a mission to help Hamas politically and financially. Awad appears on the "Palestine Committee's" telephone list. Internal records seized by the FBI also show that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which Awad co-founded in 1994 and has served as its only executive director ever since, was a Palestine Committee branch.
Before creating CAIR, Awad ran a second Palestine Committee entity, called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). The IAP served as a Hamas propaganda arm, publishing the terrorist group's communiques and articles advocating on its behalf. The FBI described his partner at both IAP and CAIR, Omar Ahmed, as a "leader within the Palestine Committee."
Again, all of this is drawn from internal Muslim Brotherhood/Palestine Committee records seized by the FBI. They were entered into evidence in a federal terror financing trial involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The foundation, another Palestine Committee entity, and five former officials all were convicted of illegally routing $12 million to Hamas through a network of charities.
All of this information is in the public domain.
So what prompted a Harvard student group – by definition smart, educated young people – to identify Nihad Awad as an inspirational paragon of service?
It turns out that the Phillips Brooks House Association's programming chair, Anwar Omeish, is the daughter of another advocate for Palestinian violence, former Muslim American-Society President Esam Omeish.
Awad was in Omeish's home for a 2010 political fundraiser where U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., accused Israel of controlling U.S. foreign policy.
We are First Amendment supporters, and the Phillips Brooks House Association is free to invite whomever it pleases. Whitewashing Nihad Awad's decades of work on behalf of terrorists and radicals, however, doesn't seem to be in the best interests of a group seeking inspiration on public service.
Fears about a terrorist using the U.S.-Mexican border as a gateway for an attack have been realized. Evidence shows that Somali Edmonton terrorist Abdulahi Hasan Sharif crossed the U.S.-Mexican border from Tijuana into San Diego at the San Ysidro border crossing on July 12, 2011.
Sharif allegedly hit an Edmonton police officer with a white Chevrolet Malibu on Sept. 30. He then got out of his car and stabbed the officer with a knife. A police manhunt ensued. The attacker then stole a U-Haul and drove it into four pedestrians before police apprehended him.
Investigators found an ISIS flag in his car, but the jihadist group has not claimed responsibility for his attacks.
Canadian press reports indicate that when he entered the U.S in 2011, Sharif lacked valid travel documents and almost immediately ended up in the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). An immigration judge ordered Sharif deported to Somalia. But ICE released him because Somalia lacks a functioning government. He fell of the radar and U.S. authorities were unable to locate him.
He entered Canada in 2012 and obtained refugee status, Canadian officials said. It isn't clear why Canadian officials were unaware of Sharif's deportation from the United States. Privacy laws in both countries could keep that information secret, adding to widespread speculation that he received asylum in the U.S. Asylum applications are confidential, which further complicates the public's right to know.
Reports of Sharif's radicalism, including his open support for ISIS, first surfaced in 2015 after coworkers reported him to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Sharif would rant about how "polytheists" needed to die and how he hated Shiite Muslims, a coworker told the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).
The other question is how Sharif got to the U.S.-Mexican border – nearly 10,000 miles from Somalia.
Sharif likely worked with "long haul smugglers," national security expert Todd Bensman theorized in a recent post on his LinkedIn account, using prior court-established smuggling patterns as a baseline. Bensman wrote his Master's thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School on Somali smuggling patterns.
Many Somalis travel from Kenya to South Africa on the first leg of their trip to the U.S. From there they make their way to Brazil and then made his way northward through Latin America until they reach the U.S.-Mexican border.
Sharif's penetration of the U.S.-Mexican border isn't unique, Bensman wrote. He notes that others with ties to Al-Shabaab have also been identified but were apprehended before they could do anything.