January 29, 2010
Are There Any Domestic Terrorists NOT Tied to Islamic Networking website?
Omar Hammami, the face of evil
It's a serious question. Alabama born and Somali al Qaeda affiliate leader Omar "Abu Mansour al-Amriki" Hammami (yes, I said leader) apparently was led to jihad through his connections on Islamic Networking.
That would be the same Islamic Networking that runs Muslim Pad and is run by Sarafaz "Sasjamal" Jamal (in Jordan now?) and Fatimahye, his wife in Houston. In the past, their ClearGuidance website brought together such luminous and 'moderate' Muslims as the Toronto 18. Not-so-incidentally, Hammami spent a year in Toronto.
Here is a partial list of the over 500 messages Hammami left on the forum as "al-Mizzi".
Among the many revelations this excellent piece by Andrea Elliot at the NYT is that Hammami met up with Daniel Maldonado (aka "Daniel Aljughaifi") in Egypt through their contact on the website. The two then went off to fight the jihad in Somalia together before Maldonado was picked up by counterterror agents near the Kenyan border.
From prison Maldonado now claims he never really was fighting for al Qaeda and his online friends him as a case of unjust imprisonment. As do they another Maldonado associate from Islamic Networking also sitting behid bars , Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna's crime? Lying to the FBI about Mehanna going to Somalia to fight in the jihad.
And given that Mehanna and Maldonado are friends, the probability approaches near certainty that Mehanna was also aware that Hammami was in Somalia for jihad as well.
You really do need to read the entire article. It's rather long, but it's got Pulitzer written all over it.
The article really describes how the internet is used in three ways for terrorism. First, Hammami becomes radicalized on the Islamic Networking site (or, partially through it). Second, Hammami uses the internet to hook up with like minded jihadis. Third, Hammami produces propaganda which is widely distrubuted through YouTube and intended to recruit fresh blood and raise money for the cause. Lastly, Hammami's use of Facebook to message his sister suggests that he and al Shabaab are also using social media for their own purposes.
Especially revalatory was that Hammami appears not only to be a fighter and English language spokesman for al-Shabaab, he's also a leader:
In the three years since Hammami made his way to Somalia, his ascent into the Shabab’s leadership has put him in a class of his own, according to United States law-enforcement and intelligence officials. While other American terror suspects have drawn greater publicity, Hammami exercises a more powerful role, commanding guerrilla forces in the field, organizing attacks and plotting strategy with Qaeda operatives, the officials said.A traitor.
As full of information as it is, the article fails to explore two key points.
First, it's clear that Hammami was an all American boy until his conversion to Islam. Of course most Muslims don't become terrorists, yet nearly all terrorists are Muslim. Islam must, then, have something to do with this.
Second, the piece presents as ironic that Hammami's twin sister went the other way: became a hippie.
In fact, the wanted terrorist actually uses Facebook to chat with his sister from time to time. As the hippie she is, she can't find it in her heart to condemn her brother. Which seems typical. See, for instance, Johnny Walker Lindh's Dad's ever hippy-ish denials that his son was a terrorist.
Hammami's family has suffered because of what he's doing, but one has to wonder if he could have been deterred if someone like his sister had told him that his beliefs that, say, rape victims ought to be stoned to death are bad. Perhaps not. Perhaps he would have cut off all communications with his sister like he has with his parents, but I think morality requires us to condemn evil -- even if that means alienating the evil doer.
And by evil here I mean evil with a capital E -- murder, killing, treason.
You can read the entire thing here.
Thanks to the folks at NEFA for the tip.
Video Shows American Leading al Qaeda in Somalia Attacks
Alabama Man Identified as al-Shabaab Leader Abu Mansour al-Amriki
The AMERICAN Leader of al Qaeda in Somalia
Al Shabaab's Abu Mansour al-Amriki Spent Year In Toronto
AMERICAN Leading Figure in al Qaeda in Somalia
An American Jihadi in Somalia and His Washington Friends in al Qaeda
Two American Al Shabaab Members Hold "Rare" Press Conference
Canadian Jihadi Killed in Somalia
American al Qaeda Traitor & Blogger Arrested in Texas
Internet, YouTube Key in al Qaeda Somali Recruitment