UK: Radical Cleric's Son Led Gang, Tortured Man Over Debt

From the Daily Mail:
The son of firebrand Islamist cleric Abu Hamza [pictured] was leader of a gang who kidnapped a man and tortured him over a £15,000 debt.

Tito Ibn Sheikh, 28, was jailed for 12 years after a jury agreed he 'orchestrated the violence' inflicted on restaurant worker Hassan Monawwer over three days.

Mr Monawwer was knifed, strangled almost to death and battered with a metal bar and wooden cosh in three separate locations before armed police burst in to save him.

Sheikh, who is one of nine children of Hamza, was convicted last year, but a judge banned reports on his family ties to avoid prejudicing jurors.

But last week after he and an accomplice unsuccessfully appealed their convictions the court lifted the gag allowing him to be named the the circumstances of the case revealed.

Sheikh and friends Adam Abed and Mostafa Dawoud snatched Mr Monawwer in Acton, west London, in 2012.

They subjected him to an ordeal of violence over £15,000 he was said to owe to Abed, the Sun on Sunday reports.

Yet in an effort to extort even more money, the trio told his family they would sell him to another gang unless they came up with £25,000 ransom.

Prosecutors said: 'His neck was squeezed so hard he thought his tongue would pop out.'

Hamza, 58, has nine children – six sons, two daughters and a stepson. Five of his sons are now known to have criminal records.
Mohammed Kamel Mostafa, Hamza's eldest son, was jailed for plotting to blow up British tourists. He was accused of masterminding a plot to sabotage economic and tourist sites in Yemen in August 1999, when he was just 17.

He returned to London in January 2002 after serving three years in prison in the Arab state. Six years later he was jailed again, along with his brother Hamza Mustafa Kamel and their step-brother Mohssin Ghailam.

The trio operated a £1million luxury car scam which involved exploiting a DVLA loophole to steal BMW, Mercedes and other luxury brand cars, which they then either sold on or used as collateral to make fraudulent loans.

Although they were investigated by anti-terror police there was no evidence they used the cash for terrorist purposes. 'They just used the cash to party,' a source said at the time.

In 2012, another of Hamza's sons, Imran Mostafa, was jailed after being convicted of armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm over a smash and grab raid on a jewellers in King's Lynn, Norfolk.

Hamza himself faces life in jail in the U.S. after he was convicted of 11 terrorism charges. Meanwhile, his second wife Najat Mostafa, 55, mother of seven of his children, lives in a £1.25million five-bedroom council house in Shepherd’s Bush, West London.

U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going To ISIS

From the Daily Beast:
GAZIANTEP, Turkey—While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “caliphate.”

The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.

Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion, and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.

“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.

And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war-making, say critics of the aid.

One of the striking differences between ISIS and terror groups of the past is its desire to portray the territory it has conquered as a well-organized and smoothly functioning state. “The soldiers of Allah do not liberate a village, town, or city, only to abandon its residents and ignore their needs,” declares the latest issue of Dabiq, the group’s slick online magazine. Elsewhere in the publication are pictures of slaughtered Kurdish soldiers and a gruesome photograph of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s severed head resting on top of his body. But this article shows ISIS restoring electricity in Raqqah, running a home for the elderly, a cancer-treatment facility in Ninawa, and cleaning streets in other towns.

Last year, a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor raised concerns throughout the region about the spread of an epidemic. The World Health Organization worked with the Syrian government and with opposition groups to try to carry out an immunization campaign. This has continued. In response to a query by The Daily Beast, a WHO spokesperson said, “Our information indicates that vaccination campaigns have been successfully carried out by local health workers in IS-controlled territory.”

“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”

U.S. and Western relief agencies have been caught before in an aid dilemma when it comes to the war on terror. Last December, the Overseas Development Institute, an independent British think tank focusing on international development and humanitarian issues, reported that aid agencies in Somalia had been paying militants from the al Qaeda offshoot al-Shabab for access to areas under their control during the 2011 famine.

Al-Shabab demanded from the agencies what it described as “registration fees” of up to $10,000. And in many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid, keeping much of it for itself, according to ODI. The think tank cited al-Shabab’s diversion of food aid in the town of Baidoa, where it kept between half and two-thirds of the food for its own fighters. The researchers noted the al Qaeda affiliate developed a highly sophisticated system of monitoring and co-opting the aid agencies, even setting up a “Humanitarian Co-ordination Office.”

Something similar appears to be underway now in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.

Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”

That isn’t the case with other Syrian rebel groups, where arguments over convoys can erupt at checkpoints at main entry points into Syria, where aid is unloaded from Turkish tractor-trailers and re-loaded into Syrian ones.

Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic for a USAID-funded NGO,” says one, who declined to be named. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”

What becomes even more bizarre is that while aid is still going into ISIS-controlled areas, only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. About every three or four months there is a convoy into the key city of Qamishli. Syrian Kurds, who are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes, have long complained about the lack of international aid. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that Syria’s Kurdistan was not included in a U.N. polio-vaccination campaign. U.N. agencies took the position that polio vaccines should go through the Syrian Red Crescent via Damascus when it came to the Kurds.

The origins of the aid programs pre-date President Barack Obama’s decision to “degrade and defeat” ISIS, but they have carried on without major review. The aid push was to reach anyone in need. A senior State Department official with detailed knowledge of current aid programs confirmed to The Daily Beast that U.S. government funded relief is still going into Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor. He declined to estimate the quantity. But an aid coordinator, when asked, responded: “A lot.”

The State Department official said he, too, was conflicted about the programs. “Is this helping the militants by allowing them to divert money they would have to spend on food? If aid wasn’t going in, would they let people starve? And is it right for us to withhold assistance and punish civilians? Would the militants turn around, as al-Shabab did when many agencies withdrew from Somalia, and blame the West for starvation and hunger? Are we helping indirectly the militants to build their caliphate? I wrestle with this.”

Western NGO partners of USAID and other Western agencies declined to respond to Daily Beast inquiries about international relief going to ISIS areas, citing the complexity of the issue and noting its delicacy.

Mideast analyst Schanzer dismisses the notion that ISIS can use an aid shutdown as leverage in its PR campaign: “I think this is false. In areas they control, everyone understands they are a brutal organization. This is their basic weakness and by pushing in aid we are curtailing the chances of an internal revolt, which is the best chance you have of bringing down ISIS.”

Dutch Battle Surge Of Desperate, Violent Muslim Refugees

From the Washington Times:
Nasir Galid fled Somalia hoping for a better, safer life. Instead, he died in an Amsterdam hospital five days after being attacked in a garage where he was living with other homeless immigrants.

Galid, 26, was one of about 100 refugees who have been roaming the Dutch capital for more than two years, occupying empty offices, abandoned garages and a disused church. All of them were supposed to have left the country after Dutch authorities rejected their asylum claims.

Nasir Galid fled Somalia hoping for a better, safer life. Instead, he died in an Amsterdam hospital five days after being attacked in a garage where he was living with other homeless immigrants.

Galid, 26, was one of about 100 refugees who have been roaming the Dutch capital for more than two years, occupying empty offices, abandoned garages and a disused church. All of them were supposed to have left the country after Dutch authorities rejected their asylum claims.

“Many of them are traumatized by their experiences, and they are being offered no future,” Mr. Fischer said. “The risks are very high.”

The Dutch Refugee Council estimates that 100,000 people live illegally in the Netherlands. Many are asylum seekers who are supposed to leave the country within 24 hours after the government rejects their requests to remain. Instead, they take over abandoned buildings as squatters or set up makeshift shelters.

The problem is expected to grow. A record 137,000 people moved to the Netherlands from other countries in 2013, though most were legal immigrants in a country that hosts many European headquarters of multinational corporations.

Since 2008, the Dutch government has taken an increasingly hard line on immigration as officials try to allay public concerns about overcrowding in Europe’s most densely populated nation.

Right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders has played an outsized role in the debate.

Mr. Wilders‘ anti-immigrant Freedom Party has been the third-largest group in the past two Dutch elections, in 2010 and 2012. He has used that position to pressure the government to “de-Islamize” the Netherlands, where Muslims make up about 5 percent of the population of 16.8 million.

His latest campaign, announced last month, calls for everyone holding a passport from a Muslim-majority country to sign a declaration formally renouncing Shariah law.

“If they don’t do that, there should be no place for them in the Netherlands,” Mr. Wilders said in a parliamentary debate. “Shariah is hate.”

From 2010 through 2012, Dutch prime ministers have relied on the votes of the Freedom Party to stay in power. In return, Mr. Wilders has secured concessions in a range of policy areas, including immigration.

His proposals to block arrivals from Islamic countries, tax Islamic headscarves and impose a Swiss-style ban on new minarets at mosques failed, but he made his mark in other ways ...

Yemen's Shiite Rebels Attack Home Of Islamist Politician South Of Sanaa, Clashes Kill 12

From the AP via U.S. News & World Report:
Yemen's empowered Shiite rebels attacked the home of a rival Islamist politician south of the capital on Saturday, setting off clashes that left 12 people dead, security officials said, adding that the politician was not home at the time.

The officials said Shiite rebels and allied fighters attacked the home of a local politician from the rival Islamist Islah party, killing two of his relatives in the town of Yarim, an Islamist stronghold in the Ibb province south of Sanaa. The ensuing clashes left eight rebel fighters and two bystanders dead.

Another four rebels were killed when a roadside bomb struck a convoy bringing reinforcements to a battle with Sunni conservative tribesmen raging in both Yarim and the provincial capital, also called Ibb. The Houthis had advanced on Ibb city on Friday, setting of fierce clashes. A brief cease-fire collapsed.

In a separate incident, officials said another eight people were killed in clashes between al-Qaida militants and the Houthis, who are fighting to maintain control of the city of Radaa, in the central province of Bayda, also south of the capital. The Houthis seized control of the city a day earlier. Scores of families fled the fighting in Radaa, which died down after midday Saturday.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The Houthis gained control of the capital Sanaa in September, and earlier this week they overran a key Yemeni port city on the Red Sea. They have signed a peace agreement with the embattled central government to nominate a new Cabinet and end the fighting, but have simultaneously pressed their offensive, pushing their way into cities and towns south of the capital.

The rebels claim they are responding to calls by local residents who want them to drive out corrupt officials.

The Houthis are at loggerheads with the country's powerful Sunni tribes and the allied Islamist Islah party. The rebels are demanding a bigger share of power and a change to the country's political order following the 2011 protests that forced longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office. Saleh's supporters have backed the Houthis' offensive.

Egypt: Minya Security Assault The Copts At Bani Ahmed East Village

From Copts United:
Police in Minya have assaulted the Copts at Beni Ahmed East village after two Copts had defended a girl who was sexually harassed by a Muslim man from Marzouk Island village.

The harasser reported the police later against the two Coptic men. Soon, the police attacked the Copts in their houses and arrested the two Copts mentioned earlier, and forced other Copts to close their shops.

It’s worth mentioning that houses of the Copts were attacked, looted and burned under the auspices of police last year at the same village.

At Least 21 Killed In Baghdad Suicide Bombing

From CNN:
A suicide bombing in a predominately Shia area of Baghdad has left 21 people dead and 25 people injured, according to a police source with knowledge of the incident speaking to CNN by phone. The source asked not to be identified for security reasons.

The bomber targeted a Shia mosque in the city's northeast al Harithyia neighborhood, the source said.

As of Sunday, there has been no claim of responsibility.

U.S. airdrops weapons, medical supplies to fighters in Kobani

The past few weeks have seen a series of car and suicide attacks on Shia targets, some of which have been claimed by ISIS.

Although Baghdad's perimeter has appeared to hold firm against ISIS encroachment, the militant Sunni group has made strategically valuable gains in the country's Anbar province, west of the capital.

ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has been accused of massacring Shiites in areas it controls.

Taliban Child Abuse: Toddler Taught To Shoot

From the Daily Mail:
Around three years old and holding a gun, this little boy is terrifying proof of how the
Taliban is reasserting its grip on Afghanistan.

As Western troops prepare to leave the country after 13 years of war, sinister footage has emerged from one of the fanatics’ strongholds.

In the film, obtained by the BBC, the toddler declares: ‘I’m going to shoot people.’

Other clips show fighters with their faces covered, posing with guns and rocket launchers.

The Taliban has been using the Tangi Valley – just an hour’s drive from the capital Kabul – as a staging post for attacks as it tries to seize back the whole country.

Fighters are undergoing training in how to use advanced weaponry and identify targets using Google maps, while children are being indoctrinated in schools.

A BBC Panorama investigation to be screened tonight also shows Taliban governor Mawlawi Badri, one of the most wanted men in Afghanistan.

He tells Inside The Taliban: ‘The people are Muslim and want an Islamic government. Westerners don’t want an Islamic government here, the ones we scare and kill are the enemies of this land.’

The Taliban and its allies have stepped up attacks ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops in the coming weeks, including UK forces. They are seeking to weaken the new Afghan government that will take over most of the operations against them ...

Humiliation Replaces Fear For The Women Kidnapped By ISIS

From The Guardian:
They sold Amsha for $12. Other girls and women went for more, much more. But Amsha had a small son and was pregnant with her second child. She had already seen Islamic State (Isis) militants execute her husband in front of her. Now the terror of that crime and the fear of captivity was to be replaced by the indignity and humiliation of being traded like cattle.

“A 50-year-old man with a dark beard came to buy me,” she recalls. “From that day on, I didn’t want to live any more.”

Amsha is one of hundreds of Yazidi women from northern Iraq captured during Islamic State’s rapid advance this year. Interviews with women who escaped reveal that Isis corralled the women into halls and other detention centres and gradually sold them off to fighters as the spoils of war.

Isis said in an online article that it was reviving an ancient custom of enslaving enemies and forcing the women to become wives of victorious fighters.

“One should remember that enslaving the families of the [non-believers] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the sharia, that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narrations of the prophet,” the article said, adding that mothers were not separated from their young children.

For Amsha, the only mercy is that she managed to retain her son, who is 21 months old. He sits on her lap, holding on tightly, as she recounts the story of the past three months.

The fighters attacked her town in early August, around sunset. Thousands fled to nearby mount Sinjar, but those who weren’t fast enough faced a fate that was sudden and savage.

“When we heard that [Isis] was approaching, we left everything behind and started running,” Amsha says. She and her husband joined a group of tens of other families before they found themselves face to face with Isis.

“The men were then separated from their families and we were forced to follow orders from these men who had just captured the village,” she recalls. “They were told to lie down and face the ground. My husband and brother-in-law laid there shoulder to shoulder.”

Amsha’s voice cracks as she resurrects a terrible memory. “I thought they would rob them. Steal their phones or something like that.”

For a brief moment, Amsha looks up from under her headscarf. It is covering a face full of tears. She plays with the tips of the scarf between her fingers.

“But they killed them. They shot them in the head, one by one.”

After Amsha witnessed her husband’s death, she was forced alongside other women and girls into one of several minibuses that brought them to Mosul, the Iraqi stronghold of the self-proclaimed caliphate.

“I was held prisoner in a dark hall together with hundreds of other women, and girls. Some of them children who were not more than five years old.”

For Amsha, it was not the killing of her husband nor the imprisonment that broke her, but the marriage she would be forced to succumb to.

“Nobody was allowed to leave the prison, unless they were sold,” she says. “On a daily basis, men entered the room to pick out a girl. First the most beautiful girls, the young ones.”

Amsha remembers how mostly Iraqis, but frequently foreigners as well, entered the room to choose themselves a treat. “One day, a 10-year-old got separated from her mother, because a group of men decided to buy the girl. I am constantly worrying for that girl, and all the other girls that are still stuck in that prison.

“When the young girls were sold, I knew my time had come,” Amsha says. Her 50-year-old husband, a man called Zaid, was rough with her. “When I didn’t obey, he’d hit me. You can still see the scars on my back,” she says, pointing at her shoulder blades. “He humiliated me to the bone.

“I was forced to call my mother to tell her I was married. A shame for our family,” she says.

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said the precise number of women being enslaved and sold into marriage was unknown. But it cited several escaped women saying they had personally seen hundreds in captivity.

The principal centres for the trade appear to be the main cities under Isis control – Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch, said his group had heard of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, sexual assault and slavery, with some of the victims being children. “The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yazidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” he said.

Dozens of women have escaped and are in hiding. Amsha is one of them.

“Muhanned was thirsty and didn’t stop crying,” she says. “I was banging the door but nobody answered. When I opened the door, I found the guards sleeping,” Amsha says. “I ran away with my son, as fast as I could.”

Without knowing which direction to go, she kept running until she met a man who offered his help. “I wasn’t convinced, but what could I do?” Amsha asks rhetorically. “I decided to put my fate in his hands, and he kept his word.”

The man smuggled her out of Mosul that week, using his daughter’s papers. But, for Amsha, the ordeal isn’t over.

“My parents are happy that I’m here. But I don’t have the courage to continue. At this moment, I only wish to die.”

Picture of the Week: Oppression From ISIS

From The Religion Of Peace:
Nothing to do with Islam (unless you count the Quran).

Hamas Leader Haniyeh's Daughter Treated In Israel

From Arutz 7:
The daughter of the leader of Gaza's Hamas terror militia, Ismail Haniyeh, received emergency medical treatment in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to Reuters news agency.

Ichilov Hospital confirmed the report and said that the daughter had been released over a week ago.

"Ismail Haniyeh's daughter was indeed hospitalized for medical treatment for several days at the hospital,” Ichilov said. “Over 1,000 patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories – both adults and children – are hospitalized for treatment at our hospital every year.”

The daughter is one of Haniyeh's 13 children. She reportedly received treatment for a week, after complications that occurred during a routine operation she underwent.

Haniyeh's house was completely demolished by the IAF during Operation Protective Edge, and some reports said that some members of his family were hurt.

Several of Haniyeh's relatives have received medical treatment in Israel, including his mother in-law and granddaughter, despite the fact that he has pledged Israel's utter destruction.

Hamas routinely and intentionally targets Israeli children with its bombs. One of the last victims of Hamas's rockets in the summer war with Israel was four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy"d, of Nahal Oz.