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Why Westerners are driven to join the jihadist fight
10 September 2014 by Michael Bond | Magazine issue 2986
Forget indoctrination, people become foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq for far simpler reasons: politics, persecution and peer-group pressure
IT’S a question being asked around the world. How can you stem the flow of foreign jihadis making their way to Syria and Iraq? As New Scientist went to press, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic were finalising their game plans to tackle the rise of Sunni jihadist group Islamic State, but the issue of homegrown fighters won’t be far from their minds.
Burqa ban would inflame tensions and fuel extremism, Asio report says
Australian Associated Press | theguardian.com, Wednesday 29 October 2014
‘The security implications of any such ban are likely to be predominantly, if not wholly, negative,’ 2011 report states
Far from being a security benefit, banning the burqa would likely inflame tensions and fuel extremist propaganda, according to an Asio report published in 2011.
The report, obtained by Fairfax Media, said that “while the burqa can be used to conceal the identity of an individual or material carried on the body, this is also true of other items of headwear and clothing”.
Tough is not enough: ten smarter ways to counter violent extremism
23 October 2014 | Michele Grossman
More than a decade of security-based transnational approaches to combating terrorist activity and propaganda have demonstrated that these alone are ineffective. Sometimes, security measures can actually damage efforts to roll back the appeal and take-up of violent extremism. While such measures should be used in domestic contexts where threats are critical or imminent, failure to accompany these with robust “soft power” initiatives will prove fatal in the longer-term.
Joining Islamic State is about ‘sex and aggression,’ not religion
By Arie W. Kruglanski October 16, 2014
It is easy to look to religion for an explanation of why young men — and some women — become radicalized. But it is psychology, not theology, that offers the best tools for understanding radicalization — and how best to undo it.
The appeal of Islamic State rests on individuals’ quest for what psychologists call “personal significance,” which the militant group’s extremist propaganda cleverly exploits. The quest for significance is the desire to matter, to be respected, to be somebody in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of others.
Richard Dawkins: Religion isn’t the problem in the Middle East
TUESDAY, OCT 14, 2014 | DAN AREL, ALTERNET
The new atheist reluctantly concedes Islam can’t be blamed for the actions of terrorist organizations like ISIS
Is Richard Dawkins changing his tune on Islam and terrorism? In a recent interview with Russia Today, the evolutionary biologist and noted atheist was questioned about the Islamic religion and its ties to ISIS and just how much responsibility it bears in the brutal beheadings carried out by the terrorist group. Dawkins said:
New Zealand PM considers new laws to detain potential Isis recruits
theguardian.com, Sunday 12 October 2014
John Key says the government will look at legal changes to enable police to arrest someone if they intended to travel to Iraq or Syria to fight with Islamic State
New Zealand’s prime minister says that the government is considering detaining people with terrorist links on the grounds they may commit crimes.
John Key said on Sunday he was concerned that there was a risk of New Zealanders travelling to Iraq or Syria to support Islamic State (Isis) and then coming home.
Car bomb attacks in Shia areas kill 38 people in Baghdad
theguardian.com, Sunday 12 October 2014
No claims of responsibility yet reported following blasts in Khazimiyah and Shula districts which also left dozens wounded
A series of car bomb attacks in Iraq’s capital killed 38 people in Shia areas Saturday, authorities said.
Police officials said the first bombing happened Saturday night when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a security checkpoint in Baghdad’s northern district of Khazimiyah, killing 13 people, including three police officers, and wounding 28.
Why Australia shouldn’t ban Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir
10 October 2014| Adrian Cherney
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls it “a thoroughly objectionable organisation”, “un-Australian” and “un-Islamic”. But would it be a good idea to ban the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir?
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in a number of countries. Demands for it to banned here in Australia – by adding it to a list of 19 other terrorist organisations – have intensified this week, particularly after an interview on ABC’s Lateline in which a spokesman for the group refused to directly condemn the acts of Islamic State.
Disentangling the burqa from national security
October 9, 2014 | Julie Szego
In this febrile, hyperbolic and downright surreal moment in national affairs, every appalling action has a facile and opposite reaction. So it was with last week’s burqa controversy. Extremists in the Coalition tried to whip up fear against a vulnerable minority. In reaction, it seems we must now smother any hint of debate about the burqa. We veered from the toxic dog whistle about burqa-clad ne’er-do-wells, to near-blanket affirmation of the Muslim face veil as a measure not just of our tolerance, but of our support for women’s freedom. A symbol of the oppression of women in fundamentalist regimes, the burqa in Australia has all but metamorphosed into a banner for feminism.
We are helping extremists win the propaganda war in Syria and Iraq
October 7, 2014 | Andrew Condon
The West appears so far to be losing the public relations battle against the extremist ideologists operating in Iraq and Syria. Our politicians, academics and other commentators have not understood the extremists’ propaganda campaign and are unwittingly reinforcing its objectives. As we know, the extremists’ aim is to establish a caliphate in the form of a radicalised and barbaric ideology.
Every public use of the term IS, ISIS or ISIL, particularly when stated in full, serves to give credibility to this extremist organisation and legitimacy to their objectives. Essentially the extremists’ objectives are being reinforced with the legitimacy commentators are ignorantly providing them.
The 9 biggest myths about ISIS
Zack Beauchamp | 1 October 2014
Myth #1: ISIS is crazy and irrational
If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.
Our values define us not our race or religion
September 30, 2014 | Tim Soutphommasane
It is said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Today we have many reasons to be watchful. All of us are rightly disturbed by the prospect of terrorist acts on Australian soil. Counter-terror raids in Sydney and Brisbane, and the shooting of teenager Numan Haider in Melbourne, have heightened community concern.
Yet we must also be vigilant on more than one front. We must be united in countering terror. We must not allow fear and suspicion to triumph.
Radical group is targeting local youth
September 25, 2014 | Cameron Houston and David Wroe
Several senior Muslim figures have reported concerns to the AFP and Victoria Police about al-Furqan and its recruitment of alienated young men in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
According to one Muslim leader, the radical Islamic centre targeted disaffected young men at Hallam mosque, where they often held meetings on Sundays and extolled the virtues of jihad.
French tourist beheaded in Algeria by Isis-linked jihadis
Chris Johnston and Kim Willsher in Paris | The Guardian, Thursday 25 September 2014
Group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah releases video showing the beheading of 55-year-old mountain guide Hervé Gourdel
President François Hollande has confirmed that a French citizen kidnapped in Algeria was beheaded by militants linked to Islamic State (Isis), and said the murder would only serve to reinforce his determination to support efforts against the jihadists.
Man shot dead after stabbing counter-terrorism police officers
24 September 2014 | Michelle Grattan
An 18-year old man has been shot dead and two counter-terrorism police officers hospitalised with stab wounds after an incident last night in Melbourne’s south east.
The dead man, from Narre Warren, was described in media reports as a “person of interest” in a counter-terrorism operation, who had made threats against the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and recently had his passport cancelled.
Islamic State followers urged to attack Australians by any means possible
September 22, 2014 | David Wroe
Followers of the Islamic State terror group are being urged to attack by any means possible civilians of the West, including Australia, in a chilling exhortation posted online by the militant group’s chief spokesman.
In what is believed to be the group’s first blanket call to violence against countries planning military action in Iraq, the statement attributed to chief Islamic State spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani mentions Australia three times amid page after page of apocalyptic threats against “crusaders”.
Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with cooperation
19 September 2014 | Robert Imre
From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today, terrorist groups have one thing in common. They seek to shock, while simultaneously portraying themselves as victims. While their beliefs can vary wildly, what they all share is the “propaganda of the deed” in their extreme violent activities.
Typically, political violence in the most extreme form – terrorism – usually will see groups fracture in to smaller sub-groups. Once violence is legitimated, it then becomes a way to settle internal disagreements as well.
Mosques, Muslims and myths: overcoming fear in our suburbs
19 September 2014 | Kevin Dunn
Since Australians woke to the news of yesterday morning’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan, talkback radio and the TV news have filled with talk of “home-grown terrorism” and “enemies within”.
Seeking calm amid violence, fear and outrage
September 19, 2014 | Waleed Aly
It’s the sheer randomness of it that makes it so terrifying. The idea that the victim would be utterly generic: not a politician or a soldier, but a random person. This person would be an abstraction, really. They are everyone precisely because they are no one in particular. What would matter is the image. The video had to be made, the event had to be broadcast. This matters more than the killing itself.
Now will come the courtroom arguments about whether this is a serious plot or empty, youthful bravado, but they will have no public purchase. Terrorism is all about the fear, the anxiety, the outrage. It’s nothing without it. And what can scare or outrage us more than the thought of ISIL within?
Blurred battlelines: our mission to ‘destroy’ Islamic State won’t work
18 September 2014 | Clarke Jones
Before committing more troops, the Australian government should be certain about the type of threat Islamic State (IS) poses and whether the Australian Defence Force has a clear and justified objective to tackle it. So far, our muddled mission to “destroy” IS is unlikely to work. Rather than dropping bombs, potentially killing innocent civilians, we need to contain the spread of IS and sever its supply lines and financial sources.
Islamic State wants Australians to attack Muslims: terror expert
18 September 2014 | Nick O’Brien
It’s in the interests of Islamic State for Muslims in Australia to be attacked or for their mosques to be attacked, because doing so would help divide the Australian community. But we should be very clear: the only people who win if Australia is divided are the extremists.
Who is Mohammad Ali Baryalei, the man accused of conspiring to behead a stranger in Australia
September 18, 2014 | Rachel Olding and Megan Levy
The Australian accused of conspiring with a Sydney man to behead a random stranger is a former Kings Cross bouncer and part-time actor who now recruits young men to fight with terrorist groups in the Middle East.
Mohammad Ali Baryalei is believed to be the most senior Australian member of the terrorist group Islamic State, having travelled to Syria in April last year.
Iraqi woman tells of gang rape ordeal at hands of ISIL
September 17, 2014 | Ruth Pollard
Dohuk, northern Iraq: Kamal unwraps a carefully folded piece of paper divided into two columns of neatly written names.
One column lists the 23 family members, mostly women and girls, who were taken by Islamic State militants last month when they stormed through a series of Yazidi villages in the north of Iraq on a rampage that left hundreds, if not thousands, dead.
The other column: the 17 relatives killed by the insurgents as they tried to escape to Mount Sinjar.
Fear of Islamophobia prevents honest discussion of Islamic State
September 3, 2014 by Michael Stone
Denial of the simple fact that the Islamic State is in fact Islamic is dishonest and detrimental to clear thinking about a pressing issue of profound international import.
When in doubt, spout a tautology: The Islamic State is Islamic.
Do all Muslims support the Islamic State? No. Do all Muslims agree that the Islamic State is a legitimate expression of Islam? No.
Does Islamic State’s Brutality Really Have Nothing to Do With Religion?
Fathima Imra Nazeer | 08/29/2014
In his remarks on the brutal execution of James Foley in Iraq, President Obama claimed “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” It’s a common refrain, the usual condemnation of a brutal act by Islamists inspired by religious ideology, by their own admission, and the flat out refusal by well meaning liberals to even consider that such brutality could be inspired by religion.
James Foley, Islamic State and the media’s treatment of terrorism
21 August 2014 | Greg Barton | Herb Feith Research Professor for the Study of Indonesia at Monash University
The US government has confirmed the veracity of a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State (IS) militants. US president Barack Obama condemned the act overnight, saying that IS:
… has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt.
Meanwhile, a storm has erupted after some newspapers, including the New York Post and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, used graphic images of Foley about to be executed on their respective front pages.
To stop Islamic State spreading to Indonesia, target the young and reform prisons
15 August 2014 | Noor Huda Ismail
The Indonesian government recently banned Islamic State (IS) – formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – the extremist group that has been on a rampage in Syria and Iraq. The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has released a statement that IS’s interpretation of jihad is not in accordance with peaceful Islamic teachings.
The government ban and the clerics’ statement are positive moves. But they are inadequate to stop young religious radicals from joining IS.
ISIL’s tentacles creep into Indonesia
August 17, 2014 | Michael Bachelard, Indonesia Correspondent
The high security island jail called Nusakambangan is described as Indonesia’s Alcatraz — there is no stricter prison and perhaps no more secure environment on the entire archipelago.
Yet in mid-July, Nusakambangan’s most hated inmate, the man who inspired the Bali bombers, Abu Bakar Bashir, was able to organise a room and invite 22 prisoners to a meeting. There, under the shadow of a sinister black flag, they pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS.
Bashir’s real influence is now debated in Indonesia, but he’s still one of the most charismatic jihadists in the country.
Records show how Iraqi extremists withstood U.S. anti-terror efforts
BY HANNAH ALLAM | McClatchy Washington BureauJune 23, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sprang from a largely self-funded, corporation-style prototype whose resilience to counterterrorism operations was proven by the time Abu Bakr al Baghdadi assumed command in 2010.
The militant group Baghdadi inherited had in place a sophisticated bureaucracy that was almost obsessive about record-keeping. Its middle-managers detailed, for example, the number of wives and children each fighter had, to gauge compensation rates upon death or capture, and listed expenditures in neat Excel spreadsheets that noted payments to an “assassination platoon” and “Al Mustafa Explosives Company.” Income from the Sunni Muslim militants’ looting of Shiite Muslim-owned property was recorded as “spoils.”
Islamist extremists shouldn’t be allowed to preach hate at British universities
01 MAY 2014 | Atheist Alliance International
Murtaza Khan on why homosexuals should be killed Video
More evidence has emerged that Islamic Societies at universities are continuing to host extremist preachers in front of segregated audiences. Last month, students at the University of Westminster invited Murtaza Khan, before replacing him with the equally reprehensible Uthman Lateef. At around the same time, Brunel University Islamic Society hosted Lateef and Dr Khalid Fikry as guest speakers.
Counter-Terrorism: Islamic Moderates Are Not The Solution
January 1, 2014: Strategy Page
One of the many things the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings revealed about the Arab world was that there was less difference between “moderate” and “radical” Islam than many outside the Moslem world had believed. This explains a lot, like why moderate Moslems are generally incapable to restraining Islamic radicals; except when the radicals are using terrorism directly against the moderates. Such was the case in 2003 when some of the Islamic radicals long resident in Saudi Arabia began using terror attacks against the Saudi government. The Saudis may have been relatively moderate Moslems but they did not manage to win control over most of Arabia and establish their own kingdom there by being wimps. The Saudi Islamic terrorists were crushed and chased out of the country.
Martyr myth: Inside the minds of suicide bombers
08 July 2013 by Adam Lankford
Portraying suicide bombers as psychologically normal is wrong and plays into the hands of their leaders, says criminal-justice researcher Adam Lankford
IN THE aftermath of 9/11, terrorism experts in the US made a bold and counter-intuitive claim: the suicide terrorists were psychologically normal. When it came to their state of mind, they were not so different from US Special Forces agents. Just because they deliberately crashed planes into buildings, that didn’t make them suicidal – it simply meant they were willing to die for a cause they believed in.
This argument was stated over and over and became the orthodoxy. “We’d like to believe these are crazed fanatics,” said CIA terror expert Jerrold Post in 2006. “Not true… as individuals, this is normal behaviour.”
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