Jihad Cult: Why Young Germans Are Answering Call To Holy War
The November 28, 2014 online/international edition of Der Spiegel has a lengthy article on “what is motivating hundreds of young Germans to travel to Syria and join and fight for the murderous cult of the Islamic State.”
Germany’s Most Notorious Islamic State Fighter
“One of those Muslims used to call himself Deso Dogg,” Der Spiegel notes, “and was a rapper from Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. Today, he is one of the most notorious German fighters with the Islamic State in Syria. Deso Dogg has since ended his ‘career’ as a rapper; and, had been hoping to become a mixed martial arts (MMA) star, the paper noted. But, he was too slow and showed poor fighting skills in the MMA ring “Today,” Der Spiegel says, “is a propaganda hero for the Islamic State. The name given him at birth was Denis Cuspert; but, he now calls himself Abu Talha al-Almani , who travels in off-road vehicles, along the county roads in Syria, goes to massacres, and appears in open video messages to jihadists — and, would-be jihadists.”
“In one of those videos,” Der Spiegel notes, “al-Ahmani kneels in front of a waterfall. He fills his hands with water; and, throws it into the air and splashes it into his face — as if he was baptizing or purifying himself.” “Brothers,” he says, “I call you to jihad! This is where you will find freedom!” “The sound of machine-gun fire can be heard in the background. He laughs, and says” “You can really live here. It’s fun here. Jihad is a lot of fun.”
“A new video surfaced three weeks ago. It depicts a scene in an empty, yellow desert, somewhere in Syria. The sun is shinning. Men with bound hands are lying on their stomachs on the ground. They are conscious. Suddenly, a hand appears and slits their throats with a knife, and blood gushes out. It is the first video of Deso Dogg that depicts a beheading. Previous videos had only showed the before and after shots of the killings,” Der Spiegel noted.
What Drives Young Men To Join ISIS Is Not Terribly Different — At Least Initially — Throughout History
“When Denis Cuspert appears, he says: “They fought the ‘Islamic State.’ We imposed the death penalty on them. They got what they deserved.” He kneels down, picks up a bloody head, and places it on the body. The jihadist shout: “Allahu Akbar!”
“The propaganda is working,” Der Spiegel writes, “because it targets young men who are susceptible to its message, young men like Kreshnik B., whose parents fled from Kosovo; and, who used to play for a Jewish soccer team in Frankfurt. B. went on to Syria, and now he is back in Germany — facing charges for supporting terrorist groups abroad. The propaganda targets young men, like David G., from the Allgau region of southern Germany, a quiet, polite boy who completed an apprenticeship; and, was 18 when he left Germany, who poses for snapshots of severed heads in Syria. He was overweight, did poorly in school; and, was ignored by women, a person who was often beaten up, drank too much, and could be found sitting, drunk, in a kebab shop on the market square in the early morning hours.”
According to German law enforcement officials, “500 of these [young] men have left German cities to go to war in Iraq and Syria. Their fight is dubbed a “holy war” in the West, even though there is not a single verse of the Koran in which the words “holy,” and “war” appear together,” Der Spiegel observed. “Most of the travelers don’t speak Arabic, have read very little of the Koran, and have rarely understood it. They followed their friends, imams, and recruiters. They wanted to be heroes, protectors of the weak, of brothers and sisters, threatened by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s poison gas, which they call — “gas of the West.” “They were young men from Berlin, Hamburg, or Dinslaken, who left Germany in groups. Some of them are underdogs from nondescript suburbs; but, some are also mechanical engineers,” Der Spiegel wrote.
“The underdogs are particularly important for terrorist organizations like the Islamic State,” Der Spiegel contends, “because their stories are meant to show that even a loser can be someone — not in Dinslaken, or Berlin; but, with jihadists in Iraq and Syria — even if most of those mentioned in media eventually die a so-called, martyr’s death. They leave behind video messages, and horrified Germans who believe that what is happening there has something to do with Islam, and that a warlike religion is threatening the West with barbarism and Medieval-style executions. The poster boys of this evil are men like Deso Dogg.”
“Today,” Der Spiegel notes, “Denis Cuspert is something of a pop star, appearing in more videos than his former rival, German rapper — Bushido. He was never interested in making a lot of money,” the paper said, “or driving expensive cars. He wanted people to know him, perhaps fear him, and certainly admire him. He wanted to be a role model. Cuspert wanted respect. Now that he has found a home, and respect among barbarians, he seems to feel at ease. His first home was Berlin, where he was born in 1975, as the son of an African immigrant. His father was deported when Cuspert was a little boy. His stepfather served in the American military, and his mother was German. Dennis, was often too much for her to handle. He spent a lot of time in the streets controlled by West Berlin’s gangs. He committed robberies, was in fights, and got repeatedly arrested. During a search of his home, police found 16, live cartridges. He was also arrested on drug charges, and for assault. During a dispute over the spoils from a robbery, he shot a friend in the face with a gas pistol.”
Cuspert “began rapping in prison, where he called himself Deso Dogg. Deso was an abbreviation for Devil’s Son, which appealed to him,” Der Spiegel wrote. “He made a mixtape called “Murda Cocktail,” and an album called “Schwarzer Engel,” (Black Angel). It consisted of hard-boiled gangsta rap, street poetry, criticism of everyday racism in Germany, violent fantasies, and rage expressed in verse form: “In the schoolyard, I was a little nigga boy/with ripped jeans, an angry look, and a sharp tongue/ had to be ten times better, ten times faster/ had to be ten times tougher, ten little negroes!”
“His label and producers had high hopes for this gangsta rapper,” Der Spigel said, “who satisfied all the clichés: “He was good-looking, a black man with talent and tattoos. someone who had done time; and, was from a broken family. Cuspert didn’t make a lot of money; but, that also wasn’t his aim,” the paper added. “He wanted to become famous, not rich. He took the bus, folded his own T-shirts, and wore the hip-hop name brands he was given by his promoters. What he didn’t need, he gave to his friends — sneakers, hoodies, and camo pants. Suddenly, he had a lot of friends. American rap icon Tupac Shakur, was his role model, a real gangster with a talent for poetry. Cuspert dreamed of making it big, and he called his last album, “Alle Augen auf mich,” the German translation of “All Eyes On Me,” the title of Tupac’s last album, released shortly before he was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1996. But, Cuspert’s albums never made it to the top of the charts.”
“The other German rappers surpassed him. Bushido, Sido, and Kool Savas figured out how to become stars in Germany as gangsta rappers, even by merely pretending to be a rapper. But, Deso Dogg remained nothing but a local hero in his Kreuzberg neighborhood. Hip-hop is a culture of success. There are no happy losers. In hip-hop, a loser is a victim, a winner, and a zero,” Der Spiegel noted. “Friends and people who worked with Cuspert began disappearing more, and more, often for weeks at a time. When he returned, he talked about having psychotic episodes, about hearing voices that beckoned him to do good, and bad things. He gave up rap, and got into martial arts and spent more, and more time — in the mosque. In the end, Allah forgives those who convert to Islam and are devout. It was an opportunity to press the reset button. Cuspert had sinned a lot. He liked the idea of starting over again.”
“A YouTube video recorded at the time shows him in a conversation with Piere Vogel, an Islamic preacher from Bergheim near Cologne. The two men are sitting on a carpet on the floor, in the back room of a Berlin mosque. They talk about knifings and rap songs; and, they say the way Deso’s rappers, Bushido and Massiv, talk about women is “too crass,” Der Spiegel wrote. Vogel wants to use the rappers for his own ends. “If we would bring them all together, because, well, each of them has his fans, and there’s more than just Berlin — he says. They talk about the rivalries among rappers. “There are lots of parallels — right? says Vogel, and laughs, as members of the mosque congregation chant “Allahu Akbar” in the background. Cuspert says that he once wanted to move to Dusseldorf, to a section called Little Berlin, which appealed to him. He says that he could never imagine living in eastern Germany, in cities like Rostock, or Dresden, where they berate black people. He wants to go to a quiet place, says Cuspert, and laughs. He looks peaceful in the video, like a schoolboy during his first few days in school.”
“Let me suggest that you look for a different occupation,” says Vogel, “but you’re already on the way. “In a new video Cuspert posted in 2010, he says that his name “was” Deso Dogg, and that he now calls himself Abu Malik. In the video, Abu Malik invites his brothers and sisters in Islam to attend a weekend seminar at the Mosque. “I’ll be there too,” he says. A weekend without disco, without fun, for a change.” But, then he stops and corrects himself: “You can also have fun here. It’s time for you to learn something, for yourself, for your soul, for your heart.”
“Abu Malik, then began going from city to city,” Der Spiegel noted, “like an itinerant preacher, talking in mosques about how he found his faith. By this point,” the paper says, “he was no longer rapping; and instead, sang nashids, religious songs in which he called upon his listeners to go to war against infidels — the only music that is permitted among his new friends. A YouTube video taken at the time depicts Abu Malik at an Islam seminar in Mayen, a town in the western Eifel region. Someone asks him what he likes most about the seminar, which lasts several days. “The brotherliness. It moves me, and keeps me alert,” he says. “What do you remember most of all?” “My nashid. That was the highlight. Seeing the joy in people’s faces.”
“Then, the video cuts to a new scene,” the paper says, “Cuspert sitting behind a table and singing into a blue microphone: “Just wake up, just wake up/There’s war all over the world, Muslims are falling for oil and money, Allahu Akbar/Mothers weeping, children crying, no fear of the Kuffar/Emigrate, emigrate/Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, we fight in the Khorsan/We fight, we fall, Shuhada/With our eyes on the enemy, bismillah, Allahu Akbar.”
“Cuspert places the microphone on the table. The young men in the room call out: “Allahu Akbar.” “They hold up their smartphones to capture him on camera. He is the focus of attention once again, and people are listening to him and cheering the former rapper.”
‘I Love You For Allah, Abu Malik’
“Two months later, on March 2, 2011, Arid Uka, a Frankfurt resident from Kosovo, fatally shoots two American soldiers at the Frankfurt airport,” Der Spiegel writes. “To this day,” the paper notes, “the incident remains the only Islamist attack with fatalities on German soil. Shortly before the attack, Uka wrote on his FaceBook page: “I love you for Allah, Abu Malik.”
“The nashids, Cuspert wrote represent the first time in Germany that the Islamist-terrorist ideology was propagated by song. The fact that many of them were banned helped turn him into a star,” Der Spiegel asserts. “He now calls himself, “Your faithful public enemy number one,” and he announces: “I am a Muslim, I am against democracy, I am against integration, and I am for Sharia.”
“In November 2011, Cuspert and others found the radical Islamist group, Millatu-Ibraham, the Community of Abraham. The leader of the movement is Mohamed Mahmoud, an Islamist who spent time in prison in Vienna, and moved to Germany after his release. The group initially used a mosque in the western German city od Solingen as its base. Many new supporters attend a demonstration in Bonn, in May 2012, where Cuspert acts as the spokesman. He prays in the front row; and, shouts into a megaphone — and, eventually, stones are thrown. Holding a fence slat in his hands, he tries prevent members of the far-right, pro-NRW — a group that has been central in organizing anti-Muslim protests in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, from holding up signs depicting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. One of the demonstrators attacks two policemen, stabbing one of them in the thigh with a knife. Cuspart later writes a nashid dedicated to the attacker, in which he sings: “Murat K., the German lion, a lion for Allah, who has only [one] thing in mind” to protect and defend the honor of the prophet.”
“This is a new approach, with demonstrators chanting slogans, throwing stones and rocking police cars, The mosque in Solingen is shut down, Cuspert’s organization is banned; and, he is soon investigated for incitement of the masses. He is placed under observation, and friends say that officials with the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, try to recruit them. Cuspert leaves Germany, first traveling to Egypt; and, then to Syria. In his farewell video, he sits beside the Rhine River and declares Germany a war zone, one that will become the target of attacks,” Der Spiegel noted.
“Cuspert goes to Syria,” the paper added, “where he receives financial support from the Islamic State. He remains in touch with his wife in Germany, who sends him battery chargers, helmet cameras, and smartphones. He does guard duty and is sent on missions. He is wounded and celebrated as a martyr, a hero — who was prepared to die for Allah. In one video, he says: “I was only slightly paralyzed on one side. My head was open; and, a little of my brain was hanging out.”
Wanted In Germany
“Back in Kreuzberg, he was no longer a local war hero,” Der Spiegel wrote. “A few of his former,[Cuspert’s] local friends, walked around and painted over all the tags Cuspert had sprayed on the walls, determined to remove any reminders of him. His music is no longer available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, and the German government wants to place his name on the United Nations lists of terrorists, so that no one can send him anymore money. There isn’t much left of the likeable, insecure man who once sat on a carpet in Berlin mosque. He is now called Abu Talha al-Almani, and he is filled with rage. He no longer identifies with his fellow Muslims in Europe. In fact now, he wants to get even with them,” Der Spiegel noted. Cuspert “refers to those who stayed behind in Germany as snails, because they are soft and slow. He says: “I did learn from you, and I thank you. But, that’s all I need from you; and now, I have surpassed you. Just stay there and drink your tea and eat your sunflower seeds, like women. He calls these people — “fake Muslims” — “Internet Heroes” and “Cowardly Preachers.”
Germany’s First Islamic State Trial
“The mother of Kreshnik B. is sitting in courtroom II at the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, wiping tears away from her eyes, and looking happy. Kreshnik, 20, stands accused of being a member of a foreign terrorist organization; and, preparing to commit a serious and seditious act of violence. It is the first trial in Germany,” Der Spiegel notes, “against a member of the Islamic State. Kreshnik, who once played soccer for a Jewish club in Frankfurt, began to change when he went to school and made new friends. They introduced him to Islam, which gave meaning to his life. Kreshnik’s friends often talked about the war in the Middle East, he says today. He was furious, he says, unable to comprehend what was happening in Syria; and, that no one was helping the people there.”
“Kreshnik wanted to be different, brave as a lion, a real man, a true Muslim, and not a coward. He left Germany at 19, in July 2013, together with his friends. They took a bus from Frankfurt to Istanbul, and then continued to Syria. Upon arrival, Kreshnik gave the oath of allegiance to the Islamic State; and, took a crash course in the use of pistols and assault rifles. The court records contain the logs of his chats with his sister at the time: “I’m chilling, and I’m going to fight, to do my job for Allah,” Kreshnik writes. “You’re young, stupid, and naïve, and you’ll regret it when you’re 25,” his sister replies. “I’ve heard that kids who were left behind are paid 50? to kill people.” “I’m here because of my religion,” he replies. “The Koran states: ‘Kill them whenever you find them.” “Don’t talk to me about the Koran, come home.” “Don’t you understand that I don’t want to live in Germany,” Kreshnik writes.
Muslims, Killing Muslims
“He did feel like a hero at first,” Der Spiegel noted. “He seemed happy in his new home, where he had an opportunity to make something of himself. He had been a poor student in Germany, but in Syria — he dreamed of entering a real training program to become a sniper — for Allah. He wanted to be important and successful; and, fight alongside his new brothers, for a great cause, an independent country where only Muslims can live.” “Kreshnik was at the back of the group during his first major battle. To the Arabs, and the Chechens, this boy from Europe wasn’t worth much, he later told his sister in a chat. Kreshnik couldn’t speak Arabic. When an interpreter wasn’t in the camp, he couldn’t understand what was being discussed, and planned, or what the others were arguing about. It was only now he realized, that Muslims were killing Muslims in this war. It was a strange form of brotherliness.” “And, yet, he continued to refer to the others as “brothers.” “The brothers” needed phone cards, and “the brothers” needed food,” he wrote. He had to report to “the brothers” whenever he discovered unknown cars. Kreshnik B., a soft-spoken boy everyone remembers as a nonviolent, team player — was a typical follower, even in the Islamic State in Syria,” Der Spiegel wrote.
“Now that he is back in Germany, he is supposed to explain this war to judges. How do they recruit terrorists? What is their local strategy? It all seems a little helpless,” Der Spiegel observes. “The judges have summoned an expert on Islam, who provides a lengthy explanation of a martyr’s death. The court interpreter doesn’t even know who Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is. During the trial, a video is projected onto the screen that depicts Kreshnik at a rally in Aleppo — a bored-looking young man from Germany who doesn’t understand a word. Suddenly, one of the judges interrupts the video and says: “I heard the word jihad three times.” The interpreter explains to the judge that the Arab word “jihad” means nothing but “to do,” or, “to struggle.”
“Judge: Well, if I were to walk across the Turkish-Syrian border, I’d be a little afraid. And you?”
“Yes, I was a little afraid myself.”
“But, young men are looking for adventure, aren’t they?”
“Syria is no adventure.”
“And, what does he think of the German military’s mission in Afghanistan, the judge asks? How does he feel about journalists being beheaded? Why did he refuse to perform his military service in Germany?” “I don’t know he says, “which is something he says often, and shrugs his shoulders. His attorney mentions that Germany no longer had compulsory military service when Kreshnik turned 18. The judge wants to know more about Syria. Kreshnik says: “I wanted to leave the place and go home. But, I didn’t want to be a traitor.” The court doesn’t believe him. It wants to know whether his parents forced him to return home. An uncle who fought in Syria apparently got him out; and, drove him to Turkey, where his sister was waiting to take him back to Germany. He was arrested at the airport upon arrival,” Der Spiegel noted. “A judge wants to know how he envisions his future?” “A training program, something technical,” says Kreshnik. “In fact,’ Der Spiegel says, “the judge is merely trying to determine whether the returnee is now interested in a training position, or is planning a suicide bombing. The trial is nothing but hours of clichés and expectations — that lead to nothing. The only certainty is that Kreshnik B. is back in Germany.”
Cuspert, “is one of about 150 returnees nationwide, young Germans, many of whom who fought in the war, joined a combat unit, and then returned to Germany. No one knows exactly what they did and experienced,” Der Spiegel notes, “and, how many of them are traumatized. There are parents of jihadists who say their sons call them and say they want to come home, but that they are barred from leaving. Most of the returnees have only made it to the Islamic State’s so-called pre-camps, where they suddenly become fearful, and want to go home, partly because they miss their friends, or mothers.”
“German law enforcement officials warn against young men like them, saying they could become radicalized and ticking time bombs. They warn against people like Walid D., in whose apartment police in the state of Hesse found a Kalashnikov complete with ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and an Islamic State flag during a search last September. The police had tracked down the Islamist while he was being investigated for drug trading.”
“But, Germany also has no reintegration program for returnees,” Der Spiegel observed. “There are no psychologists, or self-help groups dedicated to helping them, just the tools of the law. German officials are somehow hopeful that these returnees will explain to them how this war in Syria works. But, the only thing that someone like Kreshnik B. can tell them is that he wasn’t very useful there, that he never gained a foothold in his new home in a foreign country and, lost soul that he is, was never accepted by his brothers.”
“Young men like Kreshnik have nothing to gain from this war, so why do they leave Germany, their friends, and their comfortable lives?,” Der Spiegel asks. “How can they possibly be willing to endure, or even participate in these atrocities, holding up severed heads? How can they live in the midst of a war that bears no resemblance to their former lives?”
“Young men like Kreshnik and Dennis Cuspert come from a world in which war and religion have been banished from the national political identity. The seventy years of peace that have prevailed in Western Europe have turned the violence of war into taboo. Our modern society is bewildered by its confrontation with the horrors of war. “Human beings seek not only happiness — but, also meaning. And tragically, war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning,” writes American journalist Chris Hedges in his book, “War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.”
“For Hedges,” Der Spiegel notes, “war is the ultimate experience, and battle a superior form of self-affirmation. U.S. psychologists who have treated veterans say that soldiers experience a form of intoxication when killing others. Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq aren’t the only ones who have posed with severed heads. In Vietnam, for example, U.S. soldiers posed for snapshots with body parts of their enemies.”
“Religion alone cannot offer an explanation for these barbaric murders. In the history of religions, the quest for peace has always been an important goal. The Koran also interpreted as a message of peace and reconciliation. A well-known verse from the Koran reads: “No burdened soul can bear another’s burden.” In her book, “The Case For God,” British religious scholar Karen Armstrong champions the theory that it is not religion that justifies war; but, war itself is the religious awakening experience.”
“But, what is it then?” Der Spiegel asks. “An escape from boredom and the banality of life? The search for community and brotherliness, because self-doubts, and unresolved issue are too great; and, the new solidarity produces a sense of inner greatness and security, as Hans-Jurgen Wirth, a psychoanalyst in the central German city of Giessen puts it? Or, is it young men “who have used fundamentalist Islam to project their inflated self-esteem to the outside world,” and to act out their aggressions in a “seemingly morally legitimate” way, as psychiatrist Norbert Leygraf believes, based on his psychiatric evaluations of the Islamist assassins who grew up in Germany?”
“Experts like Wirth and Leygraf agree on one thing: There is clearly no definable type of “young assassin” who leaves Germany to go to war, and the acts of violence that have been committed to date cannot be viewed as a consequence of “typical psychotic disorders,’ which would be somehow reassuring.”
“However, what is noticeable among the militants in Germany is that many of them, educated or not, are children of immigrants. Boredom, narcissism and belligerence certainly play a role; but, perhaps their choices also have to do something with a life without a home, without the feeling of belonging in a country where they were born; and, in which they grew up.”
“Jihadists Cuspert, Kreshnik, Daniel G., and Mustafa K. have something else in common: They are part of a subculture whose members law enforcement officials call Salafists. They are Salafists, because their approach to Islam, is that of the “Salaf,” the companions of the Prophet Mohammad, and they accept no other interpretation other than an orthodox form of Sunni Islam,” Der Spiegel notes.
“They refer to themselves merely as Muslims. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency estimates the size of the movement at 6,000 members, people who see themselves as part of a generation of immigrant children who seek a home in their faith. Some refer to this phenomena as jihad pop. It could also be described as a form of subculture, a youth rebellion, conceived, invented and experienced in the big cities of Western Europe. In some ways, its adherents resemble the hippies, the punks, or perhaps even the neo-Nazi’s in eastern Germany. They are all part of rebellions against their parents’ generation and its values, which are not always attractive, and sometimes more dangerous.”
“In the middle of Europe and Germany, there are young Muslims today, who believe that life on earth is a punishment; and, a test by Allah for the afterlife. To them, Islam, with its rules, is not a burden; but, emancipation from the decline in values and sensory overload. The Koran, which has stood the test of time for 1,400 years, is their antidote. Allah has thought of everything, from hand washing, to disputes with neighbors, to a woman’s orgasm. His thoughts are written in the scriptures, and in the knowledge they contain.”
“In this sense, Islam is the meaning of life, and the Koran is a guidebook for living life successfully. Most of the jihadists are children of Turks and Arabs, Albanians, and Chechens. They are young people who grew up in Germany, and whose parents taught them not to eat pork on class trips, but never told their children why their religion forbids its consumption. They had to learn prayers in Arabic; but, their parents never told them exactly what they could expect from Allah. These young Muslims see their parents as compliant and small, people without a home, neither in Germany, nor in the countries they once came from. And, now they spend their lives in an intermediate world of Turkish teahouses, Arab football clubs, and Chechen’s women’s clubs.”
“Their children have created a new home for themselves,” Der Spiegel wrote. “They call it Islam, and everyone is equal. Those who accept this new home can expunge all their sins and start with a clean slate, as they collect points for paradise.”
“They have also invented a new language, a sort of Islamo-German. They address each other as Akhi and Ukhti, the Arab words for brother and sister. “Awesome” is now “mashallah,” or may God protect it, “allowed” is “halal,” and “forbidden” is “haram.” They buy Hajji Cola and breathable veils for women. They can find the “Sunna of the Prophet ” in German in bookstores.”
“They stand at the Hamburg train station and call themselves the Dawa Movement, and they wear T-shirts with the inscription: “Life Is No Game,” “They tell the passerby why celebrating Halloween is a sin, because they should celebrate no one but Allah, and certainly not ghosts. They don’t come across as angry. Instead, they are committed and loud. Their message is the Dawa, or the call to Islam, and they are spreading it nationwide,” Der Spiegel says. “In Wuppertal, they go into gambling dens as the Sharia police, to save young people from spending the last of their money. They defend their vision of Islam, even if it means engaging in street battles with Kurds in Hamburg, or Celle.”
“They live in accordance with strict rules to communicate via Facebook. They are digital natives. The Mosque and the Internet are their world, and they visit websites like Generation Islam to learn about the Islamic economic system; and, how to talk to “non-Muslims.” “They lecture each other in chat rooms, like “Islam, The Truth Path,” and “Ummah Radio,” and they exit chats a prayer time. Their message to the unknowing within the ranks?” “The true path is only a mouse click away.”
“For many, it used to come down to who was the best fighter in the neighborhood, or who had the guts to throw chairs at teachers from the windows of the Rutli School, a Berlin high school with a largely immigrant student body that made national headlines in 2006 for its violent reputation,” Der Spiegel wrote. “Today, they are more interested in proving who is the better Muslim.”
A Rebellion Against Life In Germany
“Are they stuck in adolescence, or are they posing?” Der Spiegel. “It’s certainly a bizarre phenomenon; but it isn’t as if they had no reasons to become radicalized,” the paper added. “The jihadists include those with no high-school education and business administration students alike. Some are young Germans who can’t get a job because their names are Ali or Mehmet in a country where anti-foreign sentiment is still commonplace in some companies. They are high-school graduates from immigrant families who are more likely to be threatened by poverty — than people from with no high-school education from ethnically German families. They are young Germans whose rebellion is not imported from the Arab world, but is a response to a life in Germany, life without a home. And, if they are a problem, they are a problem for the entire country.”
‘Jihad Cool’: The Young Americans Lured To Fight For ISIS Militants — With Rap Videos, Adventurism, And First-Hand Accounts Of The ‘Fun’ Guerrilla War
Young men throughout human history have flocked to foreign places, seeking adventure, and the intoxification and exhilaration of combat. “The Islamic State has been “promoting a chilling phenomenon that security experts have dubbed, ‘Jihad Cool,’ wrote Somali-American journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim. “Rap videos, romanticized notions of revolution and adventure; and first-hand accounts of the “fun” of guerrilla war — are the latest tactics being used by militant recruiters as part of what experts have identified as an, “intensification or radicalization,” both in the United States and elsewhere, as the article on Germany so aptly shows.
The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, recently told members of Congress that “there are some 7,000 foreign jihadists (other reliable reporting suggests this number has now exceeded 10,000), from 50 countries (including at least 50 young American men (and maybe nearly 100 American men), as well as young men from Europe, elsewhere, etc.) now fighting and ‘waging jihad in Syria and Iraq. A January 23, 2013 Congressional Research Report by Jerome P. Bjelopera, “American Jihadist Terrorism: A Complex Threat,” identified ‘jihadi cool,’ as a key factor in pushing young American [men] to take up arms — where once their sympathies might have remained inert — and, without expression.” On May 25, 2014, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha — became the first [known] American born jihadist to die in the Syrian conflict. Ms. Sara Collins, writing recently in TheDailyMailOnline notes that “he blew himself up — when he drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a restaurant full of Syrian government groups. Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Clapper, testified that Syria is becoming a “huge magnet” for extremists to train and engage in combat,” a kind of jihadist ‘Woodstock.’
Mr. Bjelopera writes that ‘jihad cool’ “may have played a role in pushing five, young Northern Virginia Muslim men — who were arrested in Pakistan in 2009 — for allegedly trying to join jihadist organizations. “Worrying,” Mr. Bjelopera concluded, “the interactivity of chat rooms, blogs, social networking sites, message boards, video hosting sites, and email blurs the lines that previous generations of terrorists and sympathizers encountered with pamphlets, newspapers, and newsletters. This possibly encourages people who interact in such forums — to more easily see themselves as part of a broader jihadist movement — and, not just casual readers or online spectators. They may eventually engage in more substantive activity — actual propagandizing, financial support; or, joining a terrorist network. They may, in short, be drawn to ‘jihad cool,’ he wrote.
The danger for America and her Western allies is that many — or at least some of these battle-hardened jihadist veterans could return to American soil “hardened and hungry to kill on home soil — accompanied by international Muslim groups plotting jihad here in the homeland,” Pamela Geller recently wrote on her website ‘Atlas Shruggs.’ Eli Lake, writing recently in The Daily Beast,’ “al-Qaeda’s American Fighters Are Coming Home — And, U.S. Intelligence Can’t Find Them,” quotes U.S. counterterrorism officials warning that “there are just so many jihadists with Western passports — traveling to fight in Syria — that they worry some of them may slip back into the United States without being detected.” “The NSA doesn’t have the ability to track thousands of bad guys — and, on the human intelligence side, this is even more difficult,” another senior U.S. official recently told The Daily Beast. “So, we’re worried that [some of these] people are slipping through the cracks.”
Aaron Zelin, a Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute For Near East Policy, who closely tracks the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, recently said, “In the past when we’ve seen Americans go abroad to fight in foreign countries; and a number of individuals have been trained to go back and to attempt attacks on the homeland. The best example of this,” he said, “is Faisal al-Shahzad, the Pakistani American who traveled to Taliban camps in Pakistan; and then, attempted to set off a bomb in New York’s Times Square, in 2010. Al-Shahzad failed to properly detonate his bomb; and, was reported to the New York Police Department by a Muslim-American street vendor.
As several prominent American officials have said recently, “the seeds of the next 9/11 are being sown now in Iraq and Syria.” V/R, RCP