|May 2013: Paris where they know they have a problem [Image Source: Reuters]|
Scores of special police officers raided at least nine sites in southern Germany and Belgium on Tuesday after what the German authorities said was a tip about an Islamist plot involving two men of Tunisian origin who were planning to stage terrorist attacks involving explosives and remote-controlled model airplanes. Separately, the French authorities detained nine people in raids on Monday and Tuesday, security officials said. The nine were suspected of plotting acts of Islamic terrorism in France or of having ties to jihadist networks. [NYT]The chief federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe issued a statement saying raids had taken place in in the eastern state of Saxony, as well as the Stuttgart and Munich areas, and also in unspecified locations in Belgium. The raids
were intended to collect evidence of plans and preparations for attacks and knowledge of how “terrorism motivated by radical Islam”... [NYT]The German plotters based their plans, in part, on the use of remote-controlled model aircraft.
It reports on similar raids and arrests in France where the suspects
were known for “their affiliations with jihadism” and for posting threats against French institutions and “values” on the Internet... [NYT]Six men captured in Paris were
“particularly dangerous” and having the “intention” to carry out terrorist attacks in France. The suspects in that case, described in media reports as men between the ages of 22 and 38 who may have converted to Islam during prison stays, were known to the police “for acts linked to organized crime” and were “probably” involved in a recent robbery... [NYT]The UK has Islamists on its collective mind too.
- Counter Terrorism detectives from Scotland Yard arrested a "British subject of Pakistani origin" at Heathrow Airport on Monday [source] in connection with the brutal 2010 street murder ("battered with bricks and stabbed to death") of a leader of Pakistan's liberal Muttahidda Qaumi Movement which opposes fundamentalist Islam.
- Also on Monday, a Birmingham man called Mohammed Benares was convicted of terrorism offences [The Guardian] after police seized "guides showing how to make a bomb and detonator and handle an AK47 gun" and "step-by-step instructions on how to make a bomb using ingredients readily available... in your mum's kitchen" (his mother was not charged). He is an associate of the jihad-friendly UK-based Islamist preachers Anjem Choudary [we posted about him here three years ago] and Abu Izzadeen; the three of them were connected with the Muslims Against Crusades groups whose 2011 street demonstration honored the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 massacres. All three attended. Benares says he is "not an extremist, that his interest in the material found by police was just curiosity and that he wanted to understand both moderate and extreme Islam so that he could use the information to counter arguments about extremism".
- As always, we're left to admire British optimism. "Millions of pounds will be cut from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ budgets... Cuts to the three top organisations could be as much as 5 per cent off their budget after inflation. It could take overall national security cuts to 17 per cent since the coalition came into power." [Source]
- And a voice from a different place: a report in last Wednesday's UK Telegraph points out how terrorism looks to Islamic converts. The half-sister-in-law of Tony Blair told the British morning television show Daybreak: “When I came to Islam two years ago and I first put on the scarf I was nervous about going on the Underground, I thought everyone is going to see me differently, and everyone was beautiful towards me... But honestly, in the last two weeks [since the brutal act of butchery that stunned the Brits last month - see our post] I've been getting public transport and there are grown men looking like they want to hit Muslim women, and I'm a tall, white woman, I'm not easily threatened, but I have felt scared at times, so there is a change unfortunately.” We would have appreciated hearing Lauren Booth take this to the next step and condemn the ideological underpinnings of the Islamists who slaughtered the British soldier on the streets of Woolwich while prancing and declaiming in front of the cameras. Instead her audience got a sweeping dismissal of Tony Blair's comments about what he called the "problem within Islam" which "allows the seeds of extremism." No such thing says the half-sister-in-law: “We say it's a clean life, no drinking, I don't go out to pubs, you're more spiritual and calmer, and hopefully kinder with people, that's what it's all about, doing good at a community level.”