The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to incite hatred by glorifying terrorists as national heroes. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) is reporting that the PA and Fatah dedicated a forest to arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, a Fatah founder and deputy to Yasser Arafat. Abu Jihad led the PLO's military wing, planning ruthless attacks. The PA's daily newspaper credited him with killing at least 125 Israelis.
Late last year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posthumously awarded Abu Jihad, with the "Star of Honor," calling him "the model of a true fighter and devoted leader."
Abu Jihad, whose real name was Khalil al-Wazir, was killed in Tunisia in 1988, planned the most lethal terrorist attack in Israeli history, the Coastal Road Massacre. Terrorists hijacked of a bus and murdered of 37 civilians, including 12 children. Several PA officials, including the Minister of Agriculture and several mayors from the Hebron district, attended the inauguration ceremony.
"Abu Jihad remained [active] on the ground from the start of his Jihadist activity in 1955 until his Martyrdom in 1988. He was the spearhead of the bullets of the true resistors, and the first truly upright rock," a column in the PA's daily newspaper said.
The PA has glorified terrorists in the past. A summer camp in Bethlehem was named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the terrorists in the Coastal Road Massacre. More than a dozen West Bank institutions are named for Mughrabi, including a girl's high school, another PMW report said. The same report cited 46 different terrorists glorified in PA institutions, including Abu Iyad who was responsible for the Munich Olympics massacre.
Many argue that Palestinian official incitement is directly linked to surges in terror activity. Despite professed PA commitments to the peace process, Palestinian officials continue to institutionalize the glorification of terrorists and murderers as national heroes that future generations should admire and emulate.
A Moroccan national living in Bridgeport, Conn. was arrested Monday after allegedly plotting to bomb a university and federal building using a remote-controlled toy airplane.
A complaint charges El Mehdi Semlali Fathi with making a series of false statements in an asylum claim. In it, however, an FBI agent details his effort to target the public buildings.
In recorded conversations, Fathi "claimed that he has been 'studying' the bomb attack operation for months." He added that "everything available [to make the bomb] was available in Southern California on the border."
Fathi claimed that he made a chemical bomb while attending high school in Morocco, adding "there are three things that scare people in the United States: causing harm to schools, the economy, and their sense of security."
Fathi was ordered deported from the U.S. in 2009 after his student visa expired. He later won asylum in after claiming he faced persecution if sent back to Morocco.
The story was a lie, the affidavit alleges. His claims that he was "repeatedly arrested by the Moroccan government and assaulted by government officials" were fabricated. In a recording, Fathi said a fellow inmate suggested the asylum ploy while he was in custody. He laughed about it, saying he could not believe it worked.
Fathi was admitted to Virginia International University in Fairfax in January 2008. His student visa was "after he failed all of his classes during the Fall 2008 semester and he failed to register for classes for the Spring 2009 semester," the affidavit said.
In December 2010, Fathi was arrested on charges of trespassing in Virginia. The charges were subsequently dismissed. He was also arrested and imprisoned for theft in California.
The affidavit does not go into detail about his motivation for plotting the attacks.
The use of remote-controlled explosives to launch attacks is not new. In 2007, a University of South Florida student arrested on terrorism-related charges was found to have produced a video that he uploaded online showing how to use a remote-controlled car as a detonation device. In a commentary accompanying the video, the graduate student said, the device would help "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another battle."
In a 2011 case, a Massachusetts man sought to use remote-controlled planes to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
Last week's electoral wins for Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) prompted celebration among Palestinians in Gaza, Al-Monitor reports. Hamas officials made numerous congratulatory calls and sent cables to the Turkish party's leadership.
Turkey is the only NATO country that officially embraces Hamas leaders and supports the terrorist organization politically.
Thousands of Hamas members in the Jabaliya refugee camp participated in a mass rally celebrating Turkey's municipal election, which strengthened Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power. Candy and sweets were handed out in the streets. Hamas activists flooded social networking pages with congratulatory statements and pictures of Hamas leaders with Erdogan.
Hamas calls for all nations to severe ties with Israel and advocates for the complete destruction of the Jewish state. Turkey provides financial support, training and consulting to Hamas officials.
A Hamas source said that Turkey and Israel's potential restoration of ties will not affect Turkey's support for Hamas.
"There are constant calls between Hamas leaders and the Turkish prime minister and his foreign minister regarding the progress of dialogues. The last of these calls was between [Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh and Erdogan after the latter won the municipal elections, and Erdogan filled Haniyeh in on the details of the dialogues with Israel," the unnamed source said.
The electoral gains enhance Turkey's role as a potential mediator in a future conflict, the Hamas source said. "This also strengthens Turkey's relations with European countries, when it supports Hamas' stances, demands opening dialogue with Hamas and supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt."
Turkey helped Hamas and its leadership open lines of communication with Western officials in an effort to remove the group from the list of terrorist organizations, the source said.
"With Turkish mediation, we met many current and former diplomats and officials in Ankara and Istanbul, and used our meetings with them to make our case for the removal of Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations, which would help bolster security and stability in the region. And Turkey offered clear support for our position."
A man who ran a Kashmiri lobbying effort directed and funded by the Pakistani government still can advocate for his cause, but cannot have any contact with Pakistan's government or its intelligence service, the ISI.
A recent amended judgment clarifies conditions of supervised release for Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax violations in December 2011. Fai served as director of the Kashmir American Council, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group that advocates self-determination for the disputed region.
That campaign was funded and directed by Pakistan's powerful military intelligence service, the ISI, an affidavit in Fai's original complaint said. The ISI contributed $3.5 million that Fai used for "campaign contributions to members of Congress" and public relations efforts through a network of straw donors.
Originally, the court prohibited Fai from communicating with co-conspirators who helped him in previous crime. Now, that restriction extends to "contact with any agent, employee, or representative of the ISI or the Government of Pakistan or any individual that the defendant has identified to the FBI as supported by or in regular contact with the Government of Pakistan."
Prosecutors asked for the change, noting that Fai "has admitted that he has every intention of continuing to meet with persons involved with Pakistan's intelligence service." In court filings, Fai indicated his renewed advocacy would extend to "officials of Pakistan, members of the Kashmiri resistance, and representatives of major think tanks who are in contact with the Pakistani government..."
Fai resumed advocating the cause of an Azad ("Free") Kashmir immediately after completing a two-year prison sentence. In February, he was a featured speaker at an event organized by the Kashmir Forum. Sponsors included the KAC, leading Kashmiri separatist groups, and the People's Party of Pakistan. Asad Choudhary, a member of Pakistan's ruling Muslim League (PMLN) party spoke in support of freedom for the Kashmiris. "[W]e feel honored to help our brethren in Jammu & Kashmir. We believe that it is only fair that the Kashmir dispute must be decided in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. We must accept whatever the people of Kashmir decide," Choudhary said.
Fai was also a keynote speaker at a seminar, Kashmir: A Reminder to the American Policy Makers," last month in Fremont, Cal. Highlights from the event were broadcast in a newsletter sent from Fai's personal e-mail account (NewsLetter@gnfai.com) on March 30. Representatives from leading Islamist groups in the U.S., including the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) participated. Fai said "that the sentiments of the people of Kashmir are for Azadi ["Freedom"]."
In yet another attempt to silence debate, Islamists are making strident accusations of "Islamophobia" to try to halt planned screenings of Honor Diaries, a documentary highlighting the issue of honor violence among Muslims. Screenings at the University of Michigan in Dearborn and the University of Illinois in Chicago were canceled.
"Crying Islamophobia, and thus slandering the movie's backers, Muslim groups have demanded that universities cancel these screenings," New York-based physician Qanta Ahmed wrote today in the National Review Online.
The film's critics seem to take greater issue with its funding sources than its content, including one who had a problem that "Jews produced the film."
Ahmed, a passionate critic of radical Islam, provided expert commentary in the Honor Diaries. In her column, she contrasted the incident with President Obama's honoring of activist Maha Al-Muneef during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month. Al-Muneef, a physician, was presented the U.S. Secretary of State's International Woman of Courage Award for her role in advancing a law that that protects Saudi women from abuse and domestic violence.
"If a country as religiously restrictive and theocratic as Saudi Arabia can tolerate educational and social campaigns exposing the violence against women and girls, why in a country as robust as the United States are women groups permitted to stifle public discourse in the academic sphere?" Ahmed asked.
She described political Islamism as a "variety of totalitarianism" that is different from mainstream Islam in that it seeks to push for the "supremacy of Islamist beliefs over all others." She decried political Islamists for seeking to "dominate public space" at the expense of mainstream Muslims.
"Americans must understand that these rabidly political Islamists do not represent most Muslims. Failing to acknowledge this reality not only silences victims of honor violence globally, but emboldens the increasingly aggressive political Islamists in our midst, whose ultimate goal is to silence us all," Ahmed wrote.
Honor killings among diaspora Muslim communities, murders committed after a family member shames or dishonors a family's reputation, have been on the rise in the West. In December, the FBI offered a reward for information related to Yaser Abdel Said, an Egyptian-born Texas Muslim accused in the "honor killing" of his two daughters for dating non-Muslim men.
Ahmed called on lawmakers and academics to support free and open debate on the issue instead of "abandoning difficult debate for fear of offending believers." The film may offend some Muslims, "but, if we are to have any hope of ending these abuses, the victims of honor violence need us to take the risk," she said.
Hamas is launching its own satellite television station in order to spew its extremist propaganda on the international stage.
The channel, which will be carried on al Ra'i satellite, will reflect Hamas policies, especially when it comes to the Palestinian issue, spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein said. "The satellite channel will convey a media message best serving the Palestinian cause and national agenda," Ghussein told the Hamas-affiliated Felesteen newspaper.
It's a sign that Hamas is trying to catch up with the West in using regular and social media to promote its agenda globally.
The head of the government media office, Ihab al-Ghussein, announced its intention of establishing a television channel that will reflect Hamas government policies on various Palestinian issues.
"The satellite channel will convey a media message best serving the Palestinian cause and national agenda," Ghussein said in an interview with the Hamas affiliated Felesteen newspaper.
An unnamed Hamas official told Al-Monitor that the organization's media department tries to manage its media messaging. "We are incapable of controlling every single word spoken on media outlets, even if the latter is affiliated with the movement. But efforts to control and monitor media content are relentless to comprehensively and succinctly convey the movement's point of view to all domestic and foreign parties," the source said.
Existing Hamas-affiliated news outlets already espouse party line positions, but the terrorist organization apparently feels the need to establish an explicit government mouthpiece under its direct control. A spokeswoman said that Hamas hopes that the new channel can offer a "point of view of the government" different from the existing Al-Aqsa satellite channel.
Meanwhile, the arrest of six Arabs from a Jerusalem law firm Wednesday shows that Hamas already uses Palestinian television outlets to "encode" messages to its members in Israeli jails. According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Israeli police arrested the six for allegedly ferrying messages out of jail after meeting with their clients. The responses would come via coded messages aired on the Palestinian Authority's television station.
PMW cited a November program in which a terrorist notified his brother in prison that he was planning to kidnap an Israeli as a hostage in order to negotiate his brother's release. That terrorist did eventually kidnap and murder an Israeli, intending to use the body as a bargaining chip; however, he was caught before implementing his plan and confessed to having sent the message to his brother via PA TV.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' stated positions on the core issues framing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are completely contradictory when addressing an Israeli or Western audience versus the Palestinian people and the Arab world. A Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) report outlines the contrasting positions concerning refugees, Jerusalem, and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
For example, Abbas offers two completely different positions over the rights of Palestinian refugees. He told Israelis visiting Ramallah that he did not wish to flood Israel with Palestinian refugees and their decedents.
"We only put the issue of the refugees on the negotiating table because it is a sensitive matter that must be resolved in order to end the conflict, and so that the refugees are pleased with the peace agreement. In any case, we do not wish to flood Israel with millions and change its demographic makeup. That is nonsense and what was written in the Israeli press is untrue," Abbas said.
Yet, when Abbas spoke to a Palestinian audience, he said "the right of return is a personal right. No country, authority, organization or even Abu Mazen or [other] leaders can deny anyone of his right."
In separate remarks to students in Ramallah, Abbas said, "If you want to return to Israel and receive an Israeli citizenship or not – you are free [to decide]." In this context, Abbas is clearly advocating for a Palestinian right of return to pre-1967 Israel, should the individual refugee and his/her descendants decide to do so.
Addressing an Israeli audience, Abbas stressed that Jerusalem would not be divided in any future peace agreement, but would have two municipalities with an appropriate coordinating body.
To Palestinians, he promised that, "Occupied Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, since without it there will be no solution. No one is authorized to sign [such an agreement]. He added: "Without East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital there will be no peace between us and Israel. I heard that they object to mentioning Jerusalem in any negotiations or talks."
Abbas told his Israeli audience that the PA would accept a United Nations decision that Israel is a Jewish state. To Palestinians, he vowed that the PA "not recognize [Israel as a Jewish state], we will reject this and it is our right to not recognize the Judaism of the state."
MEMRI's analysis comes on the heels of Abbas' decision to seek statehood benefits from 15 international bodies despite promising not to make such a move during ongoing peace talks. Those talks now face collapse.
MEMRI's report shows the folly of accepting Abbas' talk of peace and reconciliation when it is directed at Israeli and Western audiences. Read the whole report here.
A California murder that Islamist groups pushed as a Muslim Trayvon Martin was nothing more than the desperate act of a man angered by his wife's plans to divorce him, a prosecutor argued in opening statements Tuesday.
Khalid Alhimidi, 49, is charged with killing his wife Shaima al-Awadi in March 2012.
Al-Awadi was struck six times in the head with a blunt object – likely a tire iron – in her El Cajon home. Al-Awadi, a hijab-clad Iraqi immigrant, died three days later. A note found near her said "Go back to your country, you terrorist," prompting speculation that she was targeted for a hate crime.
This was about a month after Martin, an unarmed Florida 17-year-old, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who cited Martin's hooded sweatshirt, or "hoodie," among the things that caused him suspicion. Outraged supporters organized "million hoodie" marches in protest.
Al-Awadi's death sparked calls for similar, "million hijab" marches to protest "a world so full of hatred that a woman wearing a head scarf is afraid for her life." Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) Detroit office, for example, said "Shaima Al-Awadi's murder, like Trayvon Martin's, was a senseless murder based upon racial animus."
But, prosecutor Kurt Mechals said Tuesday, Alhimidi visited his unconscious wife in the hospital, touching her and asking for forgiveness. He also told a relative "she might claim I did this to her" if she recovers. A tire iron was missing from one of the family cars, and security video shows someone parking a vehicle that looked like Alhimidi's minivan near the house around the time of the attack. Alhimidi claimed he went out for a ride when it took place.
He was arrested only after his daughter, Fatima, called police and said "My Dad did it." Alhimidi reportedly sobbed loudly throughout the opening statements.
Defense attorney Douglas Gilliland emphasized a lack of physical evidence in the case – no murder weapon has been found and Alhimidi had no blood or broken glass on him when police found him. The witness accounts come from relatives who don't like Alhimidi, Gilliland said. He mentioned tension between Fatima and her parents over the teen's Christian boyfriend.
Her dramatic interview with local television reporters helped fuel the hate crime angle. "Why? Why did you do that?" she asked. "She's a housewife. She's innocent. She hasn't hurt anybody."
Fatima Alhimidi is expected to be a state witness.
Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered British intelligence agencies to investigate Muslim Brotherhood activities in his country.
The move follows orders by Egypt and Saudi Arabia to outlaw the group, and allegations that its members plotted terrorist attacks from offices in Britain. British newspapers confirmed an original report in the Times of London about Cameron's order.
A number of Brotherhood officials moved to Britain following last July's ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Brotherhood leaders may have met in London shortly afterward to discuss their response to Morsi, and by extension the Brotherhood, being forced from power, the Times report said.
British intelligence will investigate whether any plotted violent attacks from that new base, the reports say, including a recent attack on an Egyptian bus that killed three people.
Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia will put the report together, focusing on the Brotherhood's "philosophy and values and alleged connections with extremism and violence." His findings are due this summer and, the BBC reports, will be made public.
Previous investigations by U.S. law enforcement uncovered a sophisticated network of Muslim Brotherhood front groups operating in America. Many of them continue to enjoy significant public profiles, although they work hard to bury their histories and deny their Brotherhood links.
Residents in a coastal town along the Syria-Turkey border with a significant Armenian population face new threats after rebels seized control of their town from forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a week ago.
Some of the rebels are from the al-Qaida-tied Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra Front, which the United States designated as a terrorist group.
Reports say that the rebels entered houses owned by Christians immediately after taking control of the city of Kassab, seizing all the alcohol and destroying all the publicly-displayed Christian imagery, including crosses.
Thousands fled the city.
"We had to flee only with our clothes," a woman from Kassab told the Associated Press. "We couldn't take anything, not even the most precious thing — a handful of soil from Kassab. We couldn't take our memories."
The rebels were companied by a radical Saudi preacher known as Abdullah Mhesne. Social media networks such as Twitter published a photo of Mhsne near a street sign saying "Welcome to Kassab."
Mhesne listed some of the rebel groups which helped conquer the Christian town of Kassab on his Twitter account. They include Ahrar Al Sham – which works with Jabhat Al Nusra – and other Islamic battalions that include foreign fighters.
Ahrar Al Sham is the largest group in the Islamic Front, a coalition of jihadi groups fighting Assad. It also is among the groups attacking Christians in Kassab. The group still enjoys support from American-based groups lobbying for support in ousting Assad. For example, Syrian Emergency Task Force Executive Director Mouaz Mustafa advocated for Western support for the Islamic Front in December.
Mhesne runs a campaign called "Jahed Be Malak," which translates to "perform Jihad with your money," to raise money for Jihadists to buy weapons and for the rebels in Syria. Mhesne uses Turkish and Saudi cell phone number to contact the donors: For example, on Thursday he tweeted:
For those whose souls yearn for Jihad, but cannot wage Jihad themselves. Here is our campaign "Perform Jihad with your Money." We want to buy one hundred Grad rockets, so we can demolish the city of Qardaha [Assad's hometown].
Later, he claimed to have received a $13,000 donation, which can be used to buy three rockets.
In other posts, Mhesne rationalized the bad treatment Christians face in Kassab. But anyone targeted was not singled out for their faith, he wrote, but because they supported Assad's regime. But he also said Christians would be forced into dhimmi status, or submission to Islam, in order to survive. In that scenario, "they agree to not display their crosses except in the houses and churches."The houses invaded during the past week were "for the need of Jihad," he wrote, downplaying the harm. "We entered the houses of the Christians with the brothers, but no one touched anything," Mhesne wrote. "We only broke the crosses, and the wine bottles, and the pork."