Yishai deals with modern-day and ancient battles. First he is joined by political activist and commentator Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and author, among other books, of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.” She sponsored the “Draw the Prophet” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, which was attacked by jihadists, who were killed in a shootout. She tells Yishai about the challenges involved in fighting jihad in the US and Israel.
Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Mike Feuer to talk about the internecine Jewish political battles in the Book the Numbers. Was the biblical character Korach a communist or a man of the people? A fighter for democracy or a jealous would-be leader? Why did he pick a fight with Moses? And why did he merit having the Prophet Samuel as his progeny.
ISIS released an audio message which it claims is from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The message was posted on jihadist websites. The message urges all Muslims to carry guns and fight on behalf of the “caliphate.”
The ISIS leader also had a veiled message for the last several U.S. presidents.
“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” the voice purporting to be Baghdadi said. He called upon Muslims around the world to either make their way to the Islamic State or “fight in his land, wherever that may be,” according to the news site Vocative.
The voice on the audio allegedly sounds like al-Baghdadi’s, which is significant because he has not been seen or heard from in months. There have been rumors that al-Baghdadi was killed in a drone strike in November.
“There is no excuse for any Muslim not to migrate to the Islamic State,” the message continues, informing all Muslims that joining the fight “is a duty on every Muslim. We are calling on you either to join or carry weapons wherever you are,” the voice, purportedly of al-Baghdadi, insists.
The message was issued by ISIS’s al-Furqan media outlet and posted on several jihadi sites.
Although the message was audio and not visual, the voice that sounds like al-Baghdadi’s mentions the air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which is led by the Saudis. Those airstrikes began in late March, which suggests that it is a recently made message.
A MIT professor who formerly was the on-campus Muslim preacher raised money for Al Qaeda and recruited for jihad, according to an exposé from the Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT).
Laher’s career goes back to the 1990s, when he helped recruit for jihad in Chechen and led fund-raising for Al Qaeda while he was a MIT chaplain. Today, he preaches at the Islamic Society of Boston, an extremist mosque founded by MIT students near their campus. It is the same mosque where Boston Marathon bombers Chechen refugees Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev worshipped.
APT research director Ilya Feoktistov and president Charles Jacobs wrote in their mini-documentary:
“Suheil Laher …became president of a Muslim charity based in Boston called Care International, which was founded by Osama Bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam and was…essence, a fundraising vehicle for mujahideen….
“Laher, then, was quite an important figure in Al Qaeda’s leadership here. His perch at MIT meant that he had easy access to the best American Muslim minds – and their world-class technical skills….
“He pioneered the Jihadist use of the new Internet medium to fundraise and recruit for Al Qaeda causes online. Laher’s personal website prominently featured Abdullah Azzam’s notorious call to Jihad, a tract called “Join the Caravan:
‘Beloved brother! Draw your sword, climb onto the back of your horse, and wipe the blemish off your ummah. If you do not take the responsibility, who then will?’
“Laher’s website contained a large collection of his writings and of sermons he gave in the Boston area. These sermons are replete with calls for Jihad, such as this passage:
When the Muslim lands are being attacked, and the Muslims are being raped and killed, the only solution prescribed by Allah is jihad. Jihad is for all times. […] Jihad does not stop. Those of us who have not yet managed to go and physically help our brothers and sisters should support […] our mujahidin brethren with prayer, with money, with clothes, by taking care of their families, and at some point in person. Otherwise, we must face the wrath of Allah.
One of Laher’s followers on MIT was a biology student named Aafia Siddiqui, who later became known as “Lady Al Qaeda.” She now is serving an 86-year prison sentence for attempting to kill FBI agents who arrested her when she was carrying two pounds of cyanide and plans for mass casualty attacks on New York using chemical and biological weapons.
Laher left his post as Muslim chaplain at MIT last year but continues to preach at Boston mosques.
Feoktistov and Jacobs wrote, “There is no evidence to indicate that Laher influenced the Tsarnaevs directly. Nevertheless, the legacy of radicalism at the Tsarnaevs’ mosque is very much tied to MIT and the Jihadist ideology that Laher preached as its Muslim chaplain.”
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Agency plans to pass a new regulation this month allowing it to ban an ad the US courts say that it must run.
The ad, submitted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, portrays a man wearing a kefiyyah (Arab man’s head scarf) wrapped around his face in the manner of an Islamist. The ad carries a quote attributed to “Hamas MTV” that says, “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” Just below is the kicker line: “That’s his jihad. What’s yours?”
The MTA has been fighting for months against the AFDI, which contends that its Constitutional right of freedom of speech should support its right to post the ad.
An MTA attorney submitted a letter to Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court today (Friday, April 24, 2015), however, giving due notice the agency’s board of directors would vote on a proposal changing the MTA property to a “limited public forum”. The vote, set for April 29, would enable the MTA to reject “all advertisements of a political nature” – and thus the AFDI ad as well.
It was Judge Koeltl who ruled this past Tuesday in favor of the organization, forcing the MTA to run the ad. The judge said in his decision that the ad campaign run by the pro-Israel group on buses and trains did not meet criteria for incitement, as the MTA argued.
MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements,” Koeltl ruled. “Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads – offensive as they may be – are still entitled to First Amendment protection.”
AFDI president Pam Geller called the ruling a “triumph for liberty and free speech.”
French border authorities seized the passports of six would-be jihadi fighters – and their identity cards – as they attempted to travel to Syria on Monday.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters at a briefing that intelligence personnel believed the men were heading for Raqqa to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist organization.
The passports are to be held for six months, after which the order can be renewed, authorities said. The men have the right to appeal the confiscation in a court of law.
Seizing passports of travelers heading to terrorist combat zones is one of the measures that was implemented last November in France as part of its new counter-terrorism initiative.
The largest shopping center in the United States — the Mall of America — could be the next target of an attack by al-Shabaab, the Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda. The building has more than a dozen entrances and covers at least 80 acres of land.
Security personnel conducted a “lockdown drill” at 10 am local time and have planned a second one for later in the day. Other security measures – “seen and unseen” – have been put into place as well, officials said.
The moves came in response to a video call for jihad released by the group this past weekend.
The group used the video to recruit Western “Muslim brethren” to hit the Mall of America and shopping centers in Canada and the UK.
In 2013, 67 people died when the group staged a four-day siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi.
Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson told news media on Monday that shoppers are “being warned to remain extra vigilant while shopping.” Calls for jihad are being issued via the Internet, videos and through various publications, he pointed out.
Officials at the shopping center, considered the largest mall in the United States, said, “At this time there is no credible threat associated with the Mall of America. We will continue to work together at all levels to evaluate this and other information with the authorities.”
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing also on Monday the intelligence community is “not aware” of any current plot to attack the Mall of America.
Minnesota is home to the largest Somali immigrant community in the United States. According to Fox News, at least 15 members of that community left last year to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.
A Canadian-based business family is not waiting for a terror attack before tightening security: the Ghermezian Brothers have already taken measures to prevent an attack. The four brothers – Eskandar, Nader, Raphael and Bahman – own a construction and real estate empire in addition to the shopping malls developed by the family patriarch, Jacob Ghermezian, who died in 2000.
The preparations came in response to a call to jihad against “American and Jewish-owned” shopping malls made in a video by the Al Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab over the weekend.
The Jewish Iranian-Canadian family is known for having developed some of the world’s largest shopping malls, and is no stranger to the need for security; its West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has already put security measures into place to prevent an attack.
Edmonton Deputy Police Chief Brian Simpson told CTV News, “West Edmonton mall is very safe; I also feel that this community is very safe,” Jewish Business News reported.
In Bloomington, Minnesota, the family’s Mall of America stands out as the largest shopping mall in the United States – which made it one of the top targets for al-Shabaab. The terror group even provided the coordinates for its “Muslim brethren” in the West to more easily be able to find the shopping mall, in order to be able to attack it.