Is ISIS the richest & most powerful terrorist organisation of all time?

Unknown but likely on both counts.

Hamas have received billions of dollars in aid for civic projects and reconstruction and used same to purchase weapons and construct defensive and offensive structures to wage war on Israel.

ISIS make millions (made millions before the drop in oil prices) per day illegally refining and selling contraband oil and oil by-products to Turkey. The illegal trade in tobacco and heroin has also been a source of large amounts of income, while nearly one billion dollars was looted from the Central Bank in Mosul when that city fell to them in 2014.

Add to that the billions from Saudi Wahhabi supporters and if they are not the richest of all time then they are in the top 5 IMHO.

Regarding their “power” – their influence and actions are global. Their campaigns international. Their recruits – cell based and lone wolf – are pervasive. And their ideology still gains traction.

The declaration of the caliphate made a universal call for Jihad beyond national and regional politics and as such created a global movement and an organisation and ideology with a reach not previously matched by any legacy terrorist organisation.

Regardless of the attitude to the declaration of the caliphate – it acts as a new departure in how radical Islam organizes and dispels with national and regional politics in favour of an over-arching unifying call to all Muslims in the context of the Mahdi and “end of days” concept.

As such its power is fundamental and has traction across all shades of Muslim opinion.

However, there are conflicting views.

Brian K. Price a twenty year and two war military veteran wrote on QUORA in response to the question that many sources do agree that ISIS is the richest terrorist organization of all time.

Here’s How The World’s Richest Terrorist Group Makes Millions Every Day

ISIS Is the World’s Richest Terror Group, But Spending Money Fast

ISIS – Annual Turnover $2 Billion – In Photos: The World’s 10 Richest Terrorist Organizations

There are many, many other sources which compare the dollar values of every terrorist organization. ISIS’s control of oil fields in eastern Syria and norther Iraq gives it unprecedented wealth.

Is it the most powerful? That’s a tougher question to answer. As far as deadliest, most sources claim that Boko Haram is deadlier:

The World’s Deadliest Terrorist Group

Boko Haram overtakes ISIS as deadliest terrorists: Study 

Though the title switches back and forth (and Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS, so there’s that…)

The 5 Deadliest Terrorist Groups on the Planet

But does highest kill count actually mean “most powerful”? Is the point of terrorism to kill people or to achieve one’s goals?

Both groups control large swaths of territory. So that could be considered a form of power and success. Al Qaeda successfully dragged the world into Afghanistan and led to the US invasion of Iraq.

These wars have cost trillions of dollars, beyond the economic down turn that occurred in the aftermath of 9/11, the Madrid bombings, and the London Underground bombings.

Financially, I think you could argue, AQ has still done the greatest amount of damage to the world. However, AQ achieved none of its goals (Brian K. Price’s answer to Did Osama bin Laden succeed in his mission?)

Achieving political goals and gaining enduring successes should be the measure of power. And in that case, it would appear that nationalist terrorist groups have been far and away far more successful than AQ or ISIS or Boko Haram are likely to be.

Their approach has left no room for compromise which means they either win everything or they lose everything. Nationalist groups were able to force their opponents to the negotiating table and to earn concessions that continue to exist well after their violent efforts. See How Successful Is Terrorism?

Terrorist groups associated with Algeria, Cyprus, and Palestine achieved their goals of mobilized populations and varying levels of independence. Other groups such as the ETA and the IRA have attained major objectives in the form of concessions from the governing powers.

So I would argue that ISIS is not the most powerful terrorist group. It has temporarily seized a considerable amount of territory but I do not expect this will last. It will be pushed back and eventually dispersed.

END.

Ireland – Radical Islamists Love the Irish Legal System

Ireland is not overrun with Radical Islamists. Salafi Jihadist preachers are not spouting hate and intolerance in the majority of Ireland’s mosques. Apart from some small pockets in Dublin there is not the same level of Islamic ghettoisation in Ireland as opposed to say Sweden where so called no-go areas are widespread and the city of Malmö is infamous for radicalisation and general anti-Western sentiment (radical Islam has an irony bypass).

The Dublin Mosque – South Circular Road, Dublin, Ireland

What is notable about Ireland’s attitude to Islamic radicals is the ad-hoc and amateur approach that is taken to the matter by law enforcement and the judiciary. This is mirrored by a general lack of interest and awareness amongst the Irish public.  

Military Intelligence & the Garda Special Detective Unit’s Middle Eastern Desk 

These bodies are tasked with monitoring potential jihadists in Ireland and Irish citizens who fight abroad in war zones – specifically Syria and Iraq – for Muslim extremist organisations such as the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”.

Their activities are obviously covert and their objectives and methods are clearly not publicly available or discussed – and rightly so. However, despite numerous attempts by associates it seems that there is no specific publicly available over-arching and non-compromising strategy document (heavily redacted or otherwise) that is available via the FoI Act.

It would be helpful and indeed, in the public interest, to see such a document to determine what level of significance is given to certain potential threats or what the attitude of these units is to the ramshackle approach to some key issues that the public sees via the Irish Court system.

Free Movement for Radical Clerics 

The questionable choices of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland and their hosting of several ultra-radical clerics in the past is a matter of record and this blog has covered that in previous posts. The “Centre” is run by Sheikh Hussein Halawa (who will not speak English when interviewed (18 years in Ireland)), wants Sharia law, insists on Halal food in all Irish schools and separate buildings and gymnasiums for his followers.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), Clonskeagh, Dublin, Ireland

Many Muslims in Ireland speak of the ICCI as the “Ikhwani” mosque, an Arabic-language reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the past the ICCI has hosted Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim (or Wagdi Ghoneim or Wajdi Ghunaim) a supporter of suicide bombing. The UN list of people associated with al-Qaeda includes two people in Ireland both of whom worship at the Clonskeagh mosque.

Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim

The ICCI has attempted once again recently to host Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The 84-year-old Egyptian is head of the European Council of Fatwa and Research and is infamous for issuing fatwas that sanction violence and stoke sectarian and religious hatred.

Radical Egyptian Cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi

The Cancelled Visit to Ireland of Dr Othman Alkhamees 

A Muslim conference that was due to take place this weekend in Dublin was cancelled at the last minute after Dr Othman Alkhamees, the keynote speaker, pulled out. Alkhamees is a Kuwaiti Islamic scholar who was previously banned from travelling to Holland following objections about his radical rhetoric and extremist views. He is known for his efforts to radicalise Muslim youths.

Kuwaiti Jihad Preacher Dr Othman Alkhamees

Alkhamees was due to address the two-day Dublin Muslim Conference 2016 at the Dublin Mosque. But according to mosque administrator Mudafar Altawash, the so-called “giant within conservative Salafi Islam” cancelled his appearance last Thursday night without giving a reason. Alkhamees has been to Dublin on two previous occasions it seems.

The conference was organised by the Irish Kuwaiti student group Thabat Ireland and hosted by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, which is based at the mosque on the South Circular Road, Dublin.

Tip-off from Imam Ali Al Saleh 

The conference drew the attention of the Gardaí after Ali Al Saleh, the imam at the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Centre in Milltown, south Dublin, warned them of the impending visit. He claimed that Dr Alkhamees and fellow Kuwaiti scholar Dr Khaled Alotaibi, an expert in Sharia law, are both jihad preachers.

Ali Al Saleh, the imam at the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Centre in Milltown

Sharia “expert’ & Jihad Preacher Dr Khaled Alotaibi

Muslim leader Imam Umar al-Qadri has also expressed his concerns over “radical” scholars preaching to young students in Ireland. “My concern would be that such people and their ideas radicalises young Muslims. I believe that foreign preachers coming to Ireland should sign an agreement that they respect and abide by certain guidelines in order to preach here,” he said.

Police Tip-Off – Imam Umar al-Qadri

He spoke about signing a statement denouncing Islamic terrorists, their teachings and the elevation and praise of figureheads like the late Osama bin Laden while promising to show respect and tolerance for the LGBT community and respecting the laws of the land and its culture.

The Ali-Charaf Damache Debacle 

This man was an Algerian born Irish citizen. He was wanted by US authorities on international terrorism charges while living in Ireland.  He had been living in Ireland for more than a decade and the US authorities wanted him to face charges relating to conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

Damache celebrating in Ireland after his release & with his doting solicitor Caroline Egan (recipient of an unknown amount of Irish tax-payers money under the Free Legal Aid system to defend Damache & issue numerous spurious counter-claims and human rights abuse actions against the Irish state)

He had been also accused in Ireland of sending a menacing text message to the US Muslim activist Majed Moughni in January 2010. He pleaded guilty to the charge on day six of his trial. He was subsequently sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended by Judge Donagh McDonagh.

Damache in 2010 in his “Black Flag” Days 

Minutes after he had pleaded guilty to the charge, he was arrested in Waterford Courthouse on foot of a High Court warrant relating to the US extradition proceedings. In May 2015, Ireland refused to order his surrender to US authorities and Damache walked free.

In a statement issued to RTE Prime Time through his solicitor Caroline Egan, Mr Damache said he ”was very happy with [the] ruling” and Ms. Egan added: “He said he always had faith in the Irish legal system. He thanked his legal team and said he was an Irish citizen and after more than five years in jail was looking forward to moving on with his life here.”

In refusing to order Mr Damache’s surrender, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, said there were “substantial grounds for believing that Mr. Damache will be at real risk of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if extradited to the USA.”

Appeal by the Attorney General of Ireland

The Attorney General appealed the High Court’s refusal to surrender Damache and the appeal was listed for mention in the Court of Appeal in mid-December 2015. However, counsel for Damache, Mark Lynam BL, told the Court of Appeal that his client had been arrested in Barcelona on foot of an “international alert” and he was due in court in Madrid earlier in the day – despite his statement a few months earlier after his release that he just wanted to get on with his life in Ireland.

Damache’s Arrest in Spain 

Spain Approve US Extradition Request

On the 27th February 2016, Spain approved the request from the US to extradite the alleged jihadist. They cited a belief that he was to have conspired with a woman known as “Jihad Jane,” to recruit people to carry out terror attacks in Europe and Asia.

The Spanish reached this decision after less than three months. In Ireland the process was ongoing for more than five years before Damache decided to take himself off to Barcelona during his latest set of proceedings in the Irish courts.

Police in Spain were alerted to his presence in the Spanish city as a result of a telephone tip-off to the country’s emergency 112 number, Spanish media reported.

A Rookie Error by La Bandera Negra 

The roughly translated statement by The Minister of Interior of the Generalitat de Catalunya explains the details of the arrest of Damache and was carried on a video statement in El Mundo:

A rookie mistake, unbecoming of an international fugitive, on Thursday allowed the Catalan police arrest in Barcelona Damache Charef Ali, an alleged jihadist claimed since 2011 by the US and Interpol. The suspect himself registered with his real name and provided documentation in one of the hostels in the city where he was “hiding” for a week.

According to sources familiar with the case, that was the unexpected error that allowed his name to blow up alerts after cross-referencing the files received daily from the Mossos d’Esquadra hotel complexes customers against Interpol reports.

From that time agents began tracking to confirm that it was Damache. They confirmed his identity and the validity of the search warrant and an international arrest warrant on him. The agents then proceeded to arrest him on Avinguda Meridiana.

That same night he was taken to the Civil Guard barracks in Sant Andreu de la Barca and then taken to the National Court in Madrid, where he remained imprisoned pending the extradition order to the United States for providing false documentation to members of Al Qaeda.

The dual Algerian and Irish national and known as The Black Flag [La Bandera Negra] is Damache who is accused of being part the al-Qaeda recruitment apparatus in the Islamic Maghreb. The Minister of Interior, Jordi Jané, said yesterday at a press conference that the US accuses Damache of having tried to form between 2009 and 2010, five terrorist cells designed to organize attacks across Europe and elsewhere.

One of these cells, said the minister, was be dedicated to three missions for Al-Qaeda namely providing logistics, funding and recruitment. Damache was also part of the terrorist cell command that attempted to organize, with Colleen LaRose (Jihad Jane) the murder of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.”

The Spanish government ruled in favor of granting the US extradition case and if Damache is found guilty, he could face up to 45 years in prison. The cornerstone of the Damache’s Irish defence teams argument not to extradite Damache to the US was that if convicted in the US Damache could face up to 45 years in jail, a term his lawyers said would be “a lot more” than could be imposed in Ireland.

The High Court had also heard from Damache’s lawyers that convictions for terrorism crimes were claimed to be sufficient reason for transfer to the maximum security ADX Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado, where prisoners can be held in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day and where conditions were described by a former warden as a “clean version of hell”.

Spain it would appear did not hold the same concerns.

Spurious Appeals, Vexatious Litigation & Avoidance of the SCC 

As well as the criminal cases against Damache in 2010 and the US extradition hearings, Damache’s Irish legal team issued a blizzard of appeals and litigation during their six year tenure. All of which was on the Irish tax payers dime.

In Ireland, there is a cosy industry of highly paid lawyers – solicitors and barristers – living off the hard pressed Irish public. Do not dare to question their motives or you will be accused of being opposed to allowing the proper defence of individuals accused of a crime or denying the civil liberties and basic human rights of defendants.

Such objections do not, it would seem, apply though to the highly dubious activities of the Special Criminal Court through which none of these jihadi accused seem to pass. That kangaroo court seems exclusively to favour rail-roading alleged home grown terrorists and so-called gangland members.

The Special Criminal Court in Ireland has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, for its procedures and for being a special court, which ordinarily should not be used against civilians.

Among the criticisms are the lack of a jury, and the increasing use of the court to try organised “ordinary” crimes rather than the terrorist cases it was originally set up to handle. Critics also argue that the court is now obsolete since there is no longer a serious terrorist threat to the State.

Under the law, the court is authorised to accept the opinion of a Garda Síochána chief-superintendent as evidence that a suspect is a member of an illegal organisation.

It was also recently, cynically and quite illegally used in General Election 2016 to damage the electoral prospects of Sinn Fein with the hugely “coincidental” timing of the Thomas Murphy case and the glee with which the Denis O’Brien dominated Irish media saturation reported on the case side by side with swipes at Sinn Fein.

Appeals, Judicial Reviews & the Usual Interventions from Meddlesome Externals 

Not including interventions by The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Damache’s team took his case all the way to The Supreme Court of Ireland and engaged in no less than three separate Judicial Reviews prompting appeals and counter proceedings from the Attorney General of Ireland.

The cases and the rulings are available on An tSeirbhis Chuirteanna (The Courts Service of Ireland) website:

1. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 13/05/2011
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW 2010 1501 JR

2. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions 23/02/2012
THE SUPREME COURT [Appeal No: 253/2011] Denham C.J. Murray J. Hardiman J. Fennelly J. Finnegan J.

3. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 31/01/2014
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW Record No: 2013/670 J.R.

4. Damache -v- Director of Public Prosecutions & ors 28/02/2014
THE HIGH COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW Record No: 2014/112 J.R.

5. Attorney General -v- Damache 21/05/2015
THE HIGH COURT [2013 No. 51 EXT.] IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION ACT 1965 AS AMENDED

Appeal of Original Sentence after Guilty Plea

The Irish lawyers for Damache also told the Court of Appeal last year (2015) that despite their clients guilty plea that they intended on his behalf to appeal the sentence imposed on him in Waterford Circuit Criminal Court for sending the menacing message to Majed Moughni.

Following the High Court’s refusal to order his surrender to the US on foot of the extradition request, Damache, who had been in custody up until that point, was discharged and walked out of the High Court on the afternoon of the 21st May 2015.

“Not Permitted to Practice his Religion” 

Damache’s legal team also attempted to sue several Irish institutions claiming that he was not permitted to practice his Muslim religion while being held in a Cork prison in 2011. On his behalf they brought proceedings against the governor of Cork Prison, the Irish Prison Services, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General.

They claimed he was subjected to abuse and insults from both staff and inmates at Cork Prison and was prevented from practicing his religion. He further accused the prison of having alleged Guantanamo-like conditions of detention and abuse as opposed to say – the luxurious conditions of prisons in his country of birth – Algeria.

His testimony stated “The conditions of Muslims are similar to the conditions of the native South Africans at the time of the Apartheid regime. This is how I can describe the conditions of the Muslims in Irish prisons” – Ali Charaf Damache (aka Abu Nabil).

In a letter sent from Cork Prison in 2011, Ali Charaf Damache described his treatment, explaining that Muslims’ “religious human rights (were) purposely violated”. Besides being deprived of halal meat as well as not being granted access to an imam for religious counselling and assistance, he reported incidents where the Qu’ran was desecrated.

Support from Trinity College Dublin Academics

His complaints were highlighted by Muslim Ireland, a site dedicated to news and opinion on matters concerning Muslims in the Republic of Ireland. Started in April 2012, the forum was administered by Craig Considine, PhD. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. It seems to have discontinued its activities in 2014.

Of course Trinity College Dublin is also the stomping ground for the “good Dr.” Ali Selim – Muslim Brotherhood Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant who is a lecturer in Arabic at the university and a senior member of staff at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (by his own words on his LinkedIn profile).

The Latest “Jihadi” Running Rings Round the Irish Legal System 

This unnamed man is fighting an attempt to deport him after the Irish State claimed that he was involved with Islamic terrorists. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons (know one really knows why this anonymity was granted) has been living in Ireland with his family since 2000.

The fact is that his family do not in fact live with him in Ireland. His Irish born son – the basis of his residency visa – has been living overseas with his mother for the last number of years. He coincidentally returned to Ireland after his fathers residency visa was refused.

The man is supported by his Irish Muslim convert buddy Khalid Kelly who in 2014 on an FM104 phone show expressed support for the Islamic State. Over the course of a subsequent interview Mr. Kelly suggested that Irish peacekeeping troops serving in the Golan Heights should join ISIS militants. He claimed that “then they would be on the right side”.

He also claimed during the broadcast that journalists who were beheaded by the militants were ‘spies’. Kelly was arrested by Gardai in 2011 for making threats against the life of US President Barack Obama. He has previously said his ‘heart feels comforted’ every time he watches footage of the 9/11 attacks.

Irish Muslim Convert Khalid Kelly

Resident, Refugee or Asylum Seeker – Which One Would Sir Like?

The unnamed jihadi accused has brought proceedings arising out of a decision taken by the authorities last year not to renew his residency permit. He was then informed that the State wanted to deport him to Jordan. He does not want this as he fears that he will be tortured because of his political activities.

He secured residency in Ireland in 2000 because his son is an Irish citizen (born in Ireland). However his residency permit was not renewed over a year ago because his son had been living overseas. He applied for asylum which the Minister for Justice and Equality refused to make a decision on.

He denies claims that he has consulted with senior violent extremist leaders outside Ireland, made travel arrangements for, and is involved in recruiting members for the Islamic extremist group ISIS. He also denies claims that he has acted on behalf of ISIS or that he represents a threat to national security.

He seeks an order compelling the Minister for Justice and Equality to accept his application for asylum as well as a declaration that he is entitled to apply for refugee status without needing the Minister’s consent. He wants the decision to deport him set aside.

“ISIS Recruiter” Lodges Injunctions, Appeals & Bemoans Human Rights Abuses
(Informed mainly from an article in the Independent)

The hearing opened before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys with the Minister opposing the application on grounds including that it is an abuse of process. The matter was previously before the court when the man obtained a temporary injunction in preventing his deportation.

On December 28 last (2015), the State had that injunction set aside by the High Court on the basis the man represented a risk to national security and is “the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action on behalf of ISIS and the “main recruiter” in Ireland for ISIS”. The man had been told he must leave the Irish State before December 30 and, failing to do that, must report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau by January 5 for deportation.

That decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal. As the appeal hearing before Mr Justice Michael Peart, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahan was drawing to a close in late December 2015 Remy Farrell SC, who appeared with barrister Anna Courtney for the State, asked the court to rise briefly so the parties could consider a significant development in the proceedings.

There was apparently an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights. It asked the State not to deport the man until his legal proceedings challenging the planned deportation are concluded. The State agreed to the request.

Following the adjournment Mr Farrell said the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights had made a temporary order preventing the deportation of the man from Ireland where he has resided for the last 15 years. That order will stay in place until deportation proceedings have concluded.

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Prohibiting Torture

The European Court’s injunction, Mr Farrell said, “changed the landscape” of the matter before the court. He asked the court to continue to hear the case and give judgment later. Michael Lynn SC, who appeared with barrister David Leonard and Conor O’Briain solicitors for the man, said the application to the European Court had been made by the deportee because there was no automatic stay on a deportation order in Irish law whenever an issue under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, is raised in a case.

He said the man’s legal team had made the application to Europe for an interim order but had not believed a decision would have been made so soon. After hearing the conclusion of submissions from both parties the court adjourned.

Ignoring Intelligence & Common Sense

A senior Department of Justice official had told the High Court earlier in proceedings, based on intelligence amassed by Gardai and their counterparts in other jurisdictions, that the Irish State believed the man was consulted by and gave directions to senior violent extremist leaders outside of Ireland.

Yet the case continues and this mans anonymity is guaranteed by the Irish authorities.

ENDS.

Reference & Sources

The Irish Times
The Independent
The Irish Mirror
The Daily Star
BBC News
The Herald
RTE News
The Belfast Telegraph
Jihad Watch
The Times
The Observer
El Mundo
France 24
The Washington Post

Putting Islamic Sects & Extremism in Context

As a non-religious person it pains me that instruction in religion is still required to understand many present day world events. When I say non-religious – I mean that I do not subscribe to what is known as institutional or organized religion.

Many beliefs so fanatically pursued today by devoted adherents bear little to no resemblance to the goodness or opinions that inspired them in the first instance and say more about human weakness, geopolitics, ambition, greed and intolerance than spirituality.

Evolution & Interpretation of Islam  

Over the last thousand years Islam has spread through various groups spread and hundreds of ethnicities and in the process has evolved very differently in different locations.

The Indian sub-continent has a greater Muslim population than all the nations of the Arabian peninsula put together. With Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran and Bangladesh in the mix then the the Arabs become a very small minority among Muslims worldwide.

Many Muslims (especially ones outside the Arabian peninsula) have adopted some elements of the surrounding culture and their traditions from pre-Islamic practice and look very different to the beliefs at the root of most of the trouble at the moment.

Islam is not Monolithic

Islam does not have a monolithic structure and is rather made up of many different sects. These sects vary widely in their interpretations of Hadith (Islamic customs), have varying internal structures, follow different worship patterns and have different attitudes to externals and other religions and belief systems.

For example the the Sufi school of thought is more tolerant of other religions a trait shared by the Ibadiyyas while the Saudi Hanbali sect is conservative and Wahhabi/Salafist movement is downright fascist in its views. Persian Muslims identify more as Persians than Muslims. The Shafi’i muslims of Southeast Asia and the Kurds of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq are moderate in their interpretation of Sharia. Sufism is prevalent in Southeast Asia but this also giving way to a more extreme Deobandi movement that has inspired the rise of Taliban. There are also a few very moderate schools like Ahmadiyya and Mahdavia a lot of it influenced by Indian cultural elements.

Almost every major religion has a conservative segment that interprets the religious edicts more seriously than the mainstream. Sometimes these extreme sects also get quite violent. Even the highly pacifist Buddhist religion went on a rampage against the minorities in Sri Lanka and Burma/Myanmar.

Tolerance and peaceful co-existence is the worldview of the majority of Muslims and the radical sects represent a very small but highly visible percentage of the total. It is the saturation coverage in the mainstream media of radical Islamism, much of it without context, that represents one of the greatest dangers we face in terms of marginalizing Islamic moderates in Western society.

Much of what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa at present has its roots in the actions of external groups and interfering foreign interest groups.

Monarchies & Dictatorships

Many successful Muslim countries – Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia are democracies. The majority of Muslims in these countries are moderate given the level of social stability although this has changed significantly in Turkey over recent years. Historically though the Arab world has in the main been defined by monarchies or dictatorships promoting a tendency towards extremism in the population manifested in 2011 in the Arab Spring which kicked off events in Syria and Libya.

Foreign influence

The 2004 BBC television documentary series by Adam Curtis called The Power of Nightmares explains the evolution and escalation of the current conflict over time and the external influences and politics that motivated many of the actions that have the region where it is today.

The Middle East is of course a very strategic region and thus a number of external players have always operated there out of self-interest preventing democracy and in many cases supporting tyranny. The Saudi regime is supported by the Americans who have also fomented sectarian conflict in Iraq by supporting the anti-Sunni government some years ago. Over the last 50 years Russia, France and Great Britain have all sought to overtly and covertly influence events in the region.

The Many Forms of Extremism

Salafi is the most extreme Islamic school of thought (Sayyid Qutb) and is the biggest source of terror groups funded by Saudi oil money. They are ~1% of the world Muslim population, but are responsible for a big chunk of the trouble. Al Qaeda and ISIS are both Salafi groups.

The Taliban is a Afghan Pashtun organization based on the Deobandi school of thought. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the Gaza Strip are Sunni. Hezbollah is a Shia organization. The civil wars in Syria and Iraq have exposed the radical sectarian tendencies within Islamism and the Saudi-Iranian proxy conflict in Yemen has showcased the fact that much of the funding and motivation for the sectarian conflict in the region has its roots in these two countries as they compete for regional influence.

Controlling the Ummah

Conservative extremists have not agreed on how they should remove the non-Islamic influences and even what is counted as non-Islamic. Many of the extreme groups believe their own interpretation of the Quran (religion), Hadith (customs), Sharia (law) is correct and that the other schools of thought are deluded or even demonic. And they go to extreme lengths to prove the other one is incorrect. Fundamentally, it is all about power. Each ethnicity and each school of thought wants to be the one that controls the Ummah.

The "good Dr." Ali Selim – Muslim Brotherhood Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant

Wahhabi Salafi Islam was the “mainstream” Irish Muslim view according to “Dr.” Ali Selim in an interview given in August 2010. Selim has always been strident in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood’s fundamentalist Salafi interpretation of Islam. An assertion that the majority of Irish Muslims subscribe to this interpretation is simply not true but mirrors a model that has been replicated time and again in other European countries where the “Brotherhood” has infiltrated Muslim communities.

The “good Dr.” Ali Selim – MB Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant 

Ali Selim meanwhile is also known for his infamous comments on Bin Laden in a RTE Prime Time programme on Radical Islam in 2006 in which he declined to judge the now dead criminal as he had not personally met the terrorist mastermind. This was only a prelude to other disturbing views repeatedly expressed by the oh so “intellectual” and “reasonable” Selim that have shocked Irish society.

A file photograph of Ali Selim at the Centre for Islamic Studies in Clonskeagh

In 2003 on the Late Late Show on a program on violence in the name of Islam when asked Selim was hesitant in condemning the 9/11 attacks and gave a qualified answer.

In 2009 Selim on RTE’s “Does God Hate…?” series when asked about the practice of stoning women who have committed adultery in Islamic countries he was loathe to condemn the barbaric practice outright and instead declared that it was symbolic; small comfort to those in Iran and Somalia and elsewhere who have suffered this horrific fate and at total odds with the opinions of civilised society.

Yet he continues to be hauled out for comment by the main stream Irish media for a trite sound bite whenever Muslim matters are being discussed.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland 

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin and the largest mosque in Ireland) is a reactionary, conservative mosque that is apparently linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. It seems to be the main Muslim Brotherhood centre in Ireland, and one of the main Muslim Brotherhood centres in Europe.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an extremist organisation devoted to the ideology of Radical Islamism. The Clonskeagh mosque will clearly be of no help in the struggle against this twisted interpretation of Islam.

The Dubious Opinions of Sheikh Hussein Halawa

The “Centre” is run by Sheikh Hussein Halawa (who will not speak English when interviewed (18 years in Ireland)), wants Sharia law, insists on Halal food in all Irish schools and separate buildings and gymnasiums for his followers.

Because he can’t speak English, allegedly, it is always very hard to cross-examine him and interpret his normally evasive answers. He claims to condemn terror, but does not condemn Palestinian terror as he does not consider it to be terror. He also seems vague on whether Muslims carried out 9/11 and other acts. He revealed his anti-Israel prejudice when he criticised Obama for allegedly supporting Israel (If only that was true).

When asked about attacks against journalists and cartoonists who have allegedly demeaned Allah he stated that these people should be “held accountable” – in some vague, but threatening way – for their actions.

When interviewed he never condemns the application of Sharia Law in Pakistan, Iran, Gaza, Sudan, Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

He was quoted by Eoghan Harris in the Sunday Independent on 17 Oct 2004, as saying that he would like to see Ireland as an Islamic state. Halawa wrote a letter on 31 Oct 2004 denying that he ever said this. But “I have never made such a statement” is not much of a denial. I would like to see him go further and state clearly that he is opposed to an Islamic state because he believes in freedom of religion for all.

Hussein Halawa was invited to read from the Koran at the Nov 2004 Irish presidential inauguration in yet another example of mis-guided and mis-informed Irish liberal fools setting the agenda for the nation.

A US diplomatic cable in 2005 is sceptical about Halawa it “welcomes Halawa’s public statement condemning the 7/7 attacks and terrorism in general, but remains unconvinced that Halawa will take strong steps to fight extremism. Despite Halawa’s statement, and the center’s reputation as a moderate mosque in Dublin, we retain some suspicions about his activities and can confirm that there are known extremists that frequent ICCI”.

Hussein Halawa says homosexuality is a disease, June 2011, and does not oppose the death penalty for activist gays.

The Arrest of Ibrahim Halawa at al-Fateh during the “Day of Rage” MB Protests 

The Sheikh is the father of Ibrahim Halawa, who was 17 when he was arrested along with two of his sisters in 2013 for attending a protest in Cairo. His sisters were later released, but despite campaigns calling for his freedom, he remains in prison today. The young man was arrested by the Egyptian army as he took refuge in the Cairo al-Fateh mosque while Muslim Brotherhood protesters staged a “Day of Rage” outside.

Demonstrators took to the streets after their elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted from power in a military “coup”, leading to a crackdown ordered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the country’s president.

It is feared young Halawa, who it is alleged was on his summer holidays in the Egyptian capital when violence flared, will face the death penalty. It has always been puzzling as to why the young man and his two sisters chose to travel for a “holiday” to Egypt at one of the worst periods of civil unrest in the country in recent history.

The legal proceedings against the young man have been repeatedly delayed since 2013. Campaigners seeking the release of young Ibrahim and other advocacy groups including Amnesty International claim the teenager has described “experimental torture techniques” to his family in messages sent from jail, where he recently spent his 20th birthday.

The young man is a victim of the extremist ideologies of his father the Sheikh and Selim – who both remain in very comfortable surroundings in Ireland – far from the filth, degradation and torture – being endured by young Ibrahim. A classic Muslim Brotherhood model and outcome.

Sheikh Halawa is an extremist and has hosted and continually seeks to host a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has stated that pregnant Israeli women and children were “legitimate” targets, that suicide-bombing attacks on Israelis are ‘martyrdom in the name of God’, advocates the death penalty for homosexuals and supports “honour” killings of women and children

Some Background on the Clonskeagh Mosque
(Courtesy of Mark Humphrys)

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) in Clonskeagh, Dublin has links with Dubai. The ICCI was built and funded by the ruling family of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a country with an appalling human rights record (“Laws prohibit criticism of the government, ruling families, and friendly governments”).

President Mary Robinson and the Deputy Ruler of Dubai officially opened the centre in 1996. Has Mary Robinson ever condemned the lack of freedom in Dubai? Not to my knowledge.

Links to Muslim Brotherhood: The Muslim Brotherhood the totalitarian Islamist organisation, linked to Islamic terror and oppression is linked by almost all writers on the matter to the ICCI. Shaheed Satardien says the ICCI is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mary Fitzgerald: “Many Muslim Brotherhood members I met recently in Cairo asked me if I knew Sheikh Halawa after hearing I was from Ireland.”

Mary Fitzgerald: “Many Muslims in Ireland speak of the ICCI as the “Ikhwani” mosque, an Arabic-language reference to the Muslim Brotherhood”.

In 2007 the Clonskeagh mosque hosted two extremist speakers: Saudi cleric Salman Al Awda (or Salman al-Audah or Salman Al-Aouda), one of the 26 Saudi scholars who issued the fatwa in 2004 calling for holy war against the Americans in Iraq. “There is no doubt that the Jihad against the occupation is a duty of those who are capable of it.” And this man was invited into Ireland by Halawa and permitted to enter by the Irish authorities. He visited Clonskeagh in 2007. The moderate Shia Ali Al Saleh said that this cleric had recently written an article in a Saudi newspaper describing Shias as “non-Muslims”.

Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim (or Wagdi Ghoneim or Wajdi Ghunaim), supporter of suicide bombing. “Those young people who explode themselves to kill the Jews were not committing suicide but jihad.” He was denied entrance into Canada for being a member of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. And yet he was let into Ireland. And invited by the Clonskeagh mosque. He visited Clonskeagh in 2006 and 2007.

The UN list of people associated with al-Qaeda includes two people in Ireland. Oddly, both of them worship at the Clonskeagh mosque.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been banned from entering the country after his latest attempt to meet with Irish Muslims at the centre. The 84-year-old Egyptian is head of the European Council of Fatwa and Research. The ECFR is a private Islamic foundation whose headquarters are at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin.

Members of this Muslim Brotherhood fanatics congregation at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) in Clonskeagh, Dublin celebrated the kidnapping and murder of Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan and mourned the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Mainstream Media Blinkers

Again and again on the front pages of the Irish “media” we see his family (never his father but his sisters) complaining that their brother is still held by the Egyptian authorities and threatening to sue the Irish government for not securing his release.

And time and again we see TV air time devoted to the basic fact of his incarceration but without any of the context that led to that event. Selective PC informed reporting typical of the Irish main stream media.

Acknowledgements

Mark Humphrys
Dialogue Ireland
The Irish Times
Lucinda Creighton 
The Irish Independent
Jihad Watch
Amnesty International