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Entries in Islamic (2)

Wednesday
Dec072011

Homegrown Islamic Terror 'Severe' Threat to US Military at Home: Report

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Homegrown Islamic terrorists -- possibly including radicalized American soldiers -- who target U.S. military communities in the homeland are a "severe and emerging threat," according to a new Congressional report.

The report, released by the staff of Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says there have been at least 33 "threats, plots and strikes" against U.S. military communities since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and the likelihood of another deadly attack by "militant Islamists" is a "severe threat."

"Military communities in the U.S. have recently become the most sought-after targets of violent Islamist extremists seeking to kill Americans in their homeland," King, R-NY, said in his opening statements at a committee meeting Wednesday. "We cannot stand idly by while our heroes in uniform are struck down in the place they feel safest."

The report noted several high-profile domestic attacks and plots, most notably the November 2009 massacre at Ft. Hood in Texas in which Army Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly gunned down 13 people -- many of them fellow soldiers -- and injured another 29.

The Fort Hood attack took place despite the FBI and Defense Department looking into communications Hasan had with radical Yemeni cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki. The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force ran down intelligence leads relating to Hasan in late 2008 but closed the inquiry sometime in early 2009.

The Fort Hood shooting followed a June 2009 incident in Little Rock, Ark., where Carlos Bledsoe, who changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, shot two Army privates killing Army Private William Long. Muhammad was under FBI investigation for possible ties to terror and travel to Yemen.

The report went on to describe several other incidents, many thwarted attacks, involving members of the military or military targets.

"The threat we are discussing today is serious and enduring," said Paul Stockton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, who testified before the joint hearing of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees on Wednesday.

The report also highlighted concern about information sharing issues within the military in efforts to detect individuals who may be radicalized.

"Unresolved disagreements and communications deficiencies remain between the counterintelligence, intelligence and investigative branches of the military," the report noted.

Stockton referenced several information sharing efforts between the Defense Department and the FBI such as the eGuardian system, which allows tracking of threat reporting. He also said that military police have received increased training for responding to active shooters on bases.

The leading Democrat in the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), criticized the report, saying it paints a picture that is "not likely to be accurate, nuanced or subtle."

"Focusing on the followers of one religion as the only credible threat to this nation's security is inaccurate, narrow, and blocks consideration of emerging threats," Thompson said. "A congressional hearing that focuses on religion and the military is likely to harm unit cohesion and undermine morale within our military."

Wednesday's hearing was the fourth such hearing on the threat of radical Islamism this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct282010

Saudi Prince Urges Ground Zero Mosque Be Moved

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A billionaire Saudi prince who has been a prime backer of the Ground Zero mosque imam is urging that the controversial Islamic center be built elsewhere.

"Those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York," Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said in an interview with the Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine. "The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can't say, 'Let's just go back to where we were pre-9/11.'"

Alwaleed also said in the interview that Muslims in New York should consider a more "dignified" location, alluding to the presence of at least one strip club and several bars in the area.

"It can't be next to a bar or a strip club, or in a neighborhood that is not really refined and good. The impression I have is that this mosque is just being inserted and squeezed over there," he said.

Alwaleed said that it may take up to 30 years for the wounds of 9/11 to heal, and said that moving forward with the mosque would agitate people needlessly.

"Most governments are pragmatic, most people are logical. There are pockets of extremism in Israel, in the U.S. and in the Muslim world. But we have to fight them with reason, with logic and with compassion," Alwaleed said. "We can't just say 'go to hell.' We cannot do that."

However, Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam of the proposed Islamic center, said he has no intention of moving the project out of the shadow of Ground Zero.

"While we respect the points of view of other interested observers, we plan to build the community center in this location," Rauf said in a statement Thursday.

He said that hundreds of Muslims have been praying in that space every day for more than a year. He said the project is part of an effort to "tackle tough issues in a practical way in order to build better relationships among Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of goodwill from all cultures and faiths."

The proposed 13-story Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero at 51 Park Place has been in the works for several years. In recent months, however, the project become snarled in national debate about whether it is appropriate to build it so close to the World Trade Center, which was destroyed by Islamic militants on Sept. 11, 2001, killing more than 2,700 people.

The subject has rankled New Yorkers. A poll conducted in August by Sierra Research Institute found that 60 percent of New Yorkers do not support building the mosque so close to Ground Zero. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said people should be free to open mosques, synagogues, and other religious centers, and called the firestorm a midterm election political maneuver.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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