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Spain: Barcelona's Would-Be Beheaders

by Soeren Kern  •  April 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Prosecutors allege that, among other plots, the group was planning to kidnap a random member of the public, dress their victim in an orange jump suit, and then film him or her being beheaded.

  • Catalonia not only has the largest Muslim population in Spain, it also has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, and is a main center for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent.

  • "But what they do not know is that, once they allow us to vote, we will all vote for Islamic parties because we do not believe in left and right. This will make us win local councils and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented." — Abdelwahab Huzi, Salafist preacher, Lleida.

Spanish police arrest one of several Muslim jihadists who were conspiring to commit terror attacks in Catalonia, April 8, 2015. (Image source RTVE video screenshot)

Police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia have arrested eleven members of a jihadist cell that was planning to behead a random person in Barcelona.

The cell, which prosecutors say was actively recruiting jihadists for the Islamic State, is also accused of planning to bomb public and private buildings in Catalonia, including a Jewish bookstore in Barcelona.

The arrests have drawn renewed attention to the spiraling problem of radical Islam in Catalonia, which has one of the largest per capita Muslim populations in Europe.

The cell — known as the Islamic Brotherhood for the Preaching of Jihad — was broken up on April 8, when more than 350 police officers conducted seven raids in five Catalan municipalities.

According to police, the cell's primary objective was to show that terrorist attacks such as those perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria could be carried out in the West.

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Palestinians Vote for Iran's New Ally: Hamas

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • This is a vote of no confidence in Abbas and Fatah.

  • When you tell your people that Jews are awful, and do not want peace, and just want to kill Arabs and destroy their homes and holy sites, then people say, "This means Hamas is right. We should be killing the Jews and not making peace with them."

  • Hamas has now apparently realigned with Iran, which is "rebuilding relations with the military wing of Hamas," and has recently sent Hamas "tens of millions of dollars."

Hamas supporters are shown in this video screenshot marching during a student council election rally at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah, on April 20, 2015.

Hamas's crushing victory in the April 22 student council election at Bir Zeit University shows that the Islamist movement continues to maintain a strong presence in the West Bank.

Hamas supporters on campus won 26 seats, compared to 16 for their rivals in the Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The results of the election mean that Bilal Barghouti, who is serving 16 life terms in prison for his role in a series of suicide attacks against Israel, has become the "Honorary Chairman of the Bir Zeit University Student Council."

The Hamas victory came less than 48 hours after its supporters scored a major achievement on another campus: Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron. There, Hamas supporters won the same number of seats as their rivals in Fatah – a move hailed by leaders of the Islamist movement as a "huge achievement."

No Racism in Turkey!

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 23, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • When asked to name the world's most violent religion, 45% of Turks cited Christianity and 41% cited Judaism, with only 2% saying it was Islam.

  • So there is no racism in turkey. Nice. But Google will produce 12.2 million results if one types in "Turkey" and "racism."

  • "Unfortunately, Turkish Jews, who have been considered as having organic ties to Israel, are labeled as foreigners. Thus, they are subject to hate speech and threats almost on a daily basis whenever there is a crisis between Israel and Palestine." — Selin Nasi, journalist, Salom.

  • "We celebrate the 100th anniversary of our country being cleansed of [Christian] Armenians." — Banners in several cities of Turkey "celebrating" the Armenian genocide in Turkey, February 2015.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc speaks at the reopening of the Great Synagogue Edirne, where he declared, "There is no anti-Semitism in Turkey." Many so wished to believe him.

Ostensibly, it was a merry event. A week before Passover, hundreds of Turkish Jews from Istanbul gathered in the western city of Edirne for the reopening of the Great Synagogue, which had closed its doors in 1969 and had remained a ruin since then, until it was recently restored.

In the days after the high-profile ceremony, the Great Synagogue would go back to its quieter days, as there are no longer Jews in Edirne, and only 17,000 in the whole of Turkey.

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Inside the Mind of a Jihadist

by Soeren Kern  •  April 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • "There is global unanimity that jihad is an obligation." — Mohamed Hamdouch.

  • "My convictions emanate from what Allah said: You must kill the non-believers, regardless of whether they are Muslims or atheists." — Mohamed Hamdouch.

  • "Beheading is permitted in Islam. I recommend you read the Suras [chapters] of Al-Anfal (8), At-Tawbah (9) and Mohammed (47)." — Mohamed Hamdouch.

  • "I swear by the name of Allah, this is not violence. We are defending our religion." — Mohamed Hamdouch.

Spanish investigative journalist José María Gil Garre (left) conducted a series of exclusive interviews with the jihadist Mohamed Hamdouch (right) over the past year, offering a disturbing glimpse into the religious and ideological mindset of Hamdouch and his wife.

A Spanish woman married to a Moroccan jihadist has given birth to the first Spanish citizen born in the Islamic State.

The child's father, 28-year-old Mohamed Hamdouch, is notorious for his exceptional brutality and cruelty both on and off the battlefield. He is known in Spain as the "Beheader of Castillejas," in recognition of his penchant for posting photographs of himself smiling while holding the decapitated heads of Syrian soldiers.

The child's mother is Asia Ahmed Mohamed, a native of the North African Spanish exclave of Ceuta. She married Hamdouch after he gave her a suicide vest as a dowry.

Spanish nationality law stipulates that individuals born of a Spanish parent are Spaniards by birth, including those born in the Islamic State. At last count, more than 100 Spanish citizens have joined the Islamic State, including at least three women, which suggests that more Spanish "jihadi babies" may be on the way.

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Is U.S. Israel's Ally "When It Matters"?

by Shoshana Bryen  •  April 22, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • When, exactly, does it matter? Who decides? Apparently not Israel.

  • Ambassador Samantha Power's testimony may have completed the transition of the United States from Israel's ally... to an arbiter between Israel and those who seek to erase it.

  • The "peace process," first codified in the Oslo accords, commits Israel and the Palestinians to resolve differences bilaterally, not through the dictates of a third party or organization.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, recently stated that the U.S. will no longer automatically exercise its veto in the UN Security Council to protect Israel. (Image source: Center for Strategic & International Studies)

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, says the U.S. will no longer automatically exercise its veto in the UN Security Council to protect Israel.

In testimony before the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, Power specifically declined to rule out support for resolutions on Palestinian statehood or the "peace process." "We will look to see what will advance Israel's security and what will advance peace in the region... Our objective as an administration is what can we do to defuse tensions, what will it take to get those negotiations back on track."

When Committee members expressed skepticism, she replied, "We will continue to work extremely closely with Israel in New York. As you know well we have a record of standing when it matters with Israel."

When, exactly, does it matter? Who decides? Apparently not Israel.

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Why Arabs Loathe Hezbollah

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 21, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • As Iran's chief puppet in the Middle East (along with Syria's Bashar Assad), Nasrallah wants to see Iran take over most of the Arab countries.

  • "[W]hat is the difference between Iran and Islamic State? The answer is simple; they are all trying to establish a foothold on the border with Saudi Arabia." — Tariq al-Hamid, prominent Saudi editor and political analyst.

  • Now, however, many Arabs seem to have woken up to the reality that Nasrallah is nothing but an Iranian puppet whose sole goal is to serve his masters in Tehran. But it remains to be seen whether the U.S. Administration and other Western powers will also wake up and realize that Iran and its proxies pose a real threat not only to Israel, but also to many Arabs and Muslims.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah blasted Saudi Arabia's military intervention in Yemen, in a speech he gave in Beirut on April 17, 2015. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Iran's protégé and partner in the Middle East, seems to be leading the Lebanese people into another catastrophe.

In 2006, Nasrallah initiated a war with Israel that wrought havoc on the Lebanese, after an ambush by Hezbollah in Israeli territory that left three Israeli soldiers dead and two abducted.

Now the Lebanese people are about to pay another heavy price – this time because of Nasrallah's involvement in the Syrian civil war and his strong condemnations of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries over the conflict in Yemen.

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Don't Worry, Obama, India's Got Your Back

by Vijeta Uniyal  •  April 21, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • Under Prime Minister Modi's leadership, India has seen a rise in foreign investment; in 2014, the country's economic growth was 7.5%, higher than that of China.

  • In Yemen, the U.S. Administration watched as Iranian-backed militias disarmed U.S. Marines and seized embassy vehicles, before the diplomatic staff was let out of the country. However, the Indian government and defense forces deserve due credit for conducting a well-organized rescue operation.

  • As President Obama refuses lead the Free World, other world leaders are rising up to speak for it -- Canada's Stephen Harper, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and now India's Narendra Modi.

Vijeta Uniyal writes that, as President Obama refuses to lead the Free World, other world leaders are rising up to speak for it, such as Canada's Stephen Harper and India's Narendra Modi. Above, Indian PM Narendra Modi (L) and Canadian PM Stephen Harper (R) speak to the media at the start of Modi's visit to Canada, April 15, 2015. (Image source: Canadian Press video screenshot)

India is now evacuating U.S. citizens from Yemen. Yes, Yemen, a country overrun by an Iranian-backed militia, or as U.S. President Barack Obama likes to call it, "a counterterrorism success story."

In a statement issued on April 9, 2015, the U.S. State Department asked the remaining U.S. citizens in Yemen to contact the Indian Embassy in Sana'a or approach the Indian Navy ship in the port of Aden. According to latest figures, India helped 1,000 foreign nationals from 41 countries to escape from Yemen.

Two weeks ago, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi left the country on a boat from Aden, as the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia consolidated their control of the country, bringing a fourth Arab capital under the direct influence of Iran.

If India's rescue operation is a testament to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's success in turning India around, it is also an indictment of President Obama's foreign policy.

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Executions Surge in Iran after Nuclear Talks, Iran off U.S. Terror List

by Shadi Paveh  •  April 20, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • "Terrorism is not only achieved by bombs but also by terrorizing citizens for generations through executions. Is the hanging of 700 persons since the beginning of the 'moderate' Mr. Rouhani's presidency... not a form of terrorism?" — Mina Ahadi, Founder, ICAE.

  • "During the P5+1 nuclear talks there was absolute silence with regards to the high rate of executions and human rights violations in Iran. Because of this silence, this matter has taken a turn for the worse." — Mina Ahadi, Founder, ICAE.

  • "We would like to request that the Islamic Republic of Iran be held accountable by the International community and... sanctions to be placed on the regime for the high rate of executions." — Mina Ahadi, Founder, ICAE.

  • As this article was going to press five more people were hanged in the Central Prison of Karaj.

Public hangings in Iran.

After Iran's "nuclear talks," and after it was comfortably removed as a terrorism threat from the "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities," the International Committee Against Executions (ICAE) reported approximately 55 executions in fewer than three weeks across Iran.

According to Mina Ahadi, Founder of ICAE, various prisoners or their families had contacted her office weeks before the killings. Prison authorities, they said, had told the prisoners that they had received orders from "above" to "cleanse" a large of number of the prisoners rapidly after the P5+1 talks. The vast majority of these prisoners had been sentenced to death for non-lethal offences in trials that, according to activists, often fell dramatically short of international standards.