Tag Archives: Radical Islam

Liège attack: two policemen shot dead

According to the Liège (Belgium) police, a man shot two policemen and took a cleaning woman as a hostage at Waha High School, located in the heart of the vibrant and busy city.

It was in the morning hours, around 10:30 on Tuesday (29/05) when gunshots were heard in the city center of Liège. According to  information local media obtained from the police, the alleged perpetrator shouted “Allahu akbar!“. The attacker shot two police officers and took a cleaning woman hostage at Waha High School, located in the busiest part of the city. As follows the rapid reaction of police the attacker was neutralised.

II. 12:45

According to preliminary reports, a man fired this morning on two policemen near the Cafe des Augustins, in the street of the same name in the city center of Liege. The two officers died, and a third, a member of the Anti-Banditry Squad (PAB), was reportedly injured during contact with the suspect.
A civilian, present in his car at the time of the events, also died.

Afterwards the attacker rushed to Waha High School, where he took a cleaning woman hostage. A rapid police intervention allowed to neutralize the culprit on the 6th floor of the school according to the RTBF news channel.

The Liège police will organize a press conference in the coming hours. Currently, there is still a large security perimeter organized around the premises. The police and rescue forces are massively present at the spot. A helicopter still flies over the scene.

The children of Waha High School are well and are safe under police protection and are supported by the PMS services. The burgomaster of Liège, Willy Demeyer, went to the scene and is in contact with the chief of police corps. The federal crisis center is following the situation, tweeted the Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon, who said that his thoughts are with the victims of this “horrible act”.

Belgium King, Prime minister, and the other officials are in Liège.

EU-UN to enhance counterterrorist cooperation

Federica Mogherini the EU top diplomat, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov met in Brussels to discuss the cooperation between the European Union and United Nations in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to reform and strengthen the UN’s counter-terrorism work.

Federica Mogherini and Vladimir Voronkov spoke of possible steps the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) could take in further developing global counterterrorism policy, and in coordinating capacity-building efforts undertaken by the various UN entities in support of UN Member States. The EU top diplomat Mogherini confirmed the European Union’s commitment to the fight against terrorism both internally and globally, with full respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law. She underlined the European Union´s resolve to continue to work closely together with UNOCT and the wider UN system in strengthening multilateralism and global governance. Mr. Voronkov confirmed UNOCT´s commitment to play a central role in strengthening the partnership between the EU and the UN system based on shared values, common objectives and priorities.

Their encounter took place on the occasion of the first high-level EU-UN Leadership Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism. The Dialogue initiated a new spirit of practical collaboration aimed at strengthening multilateral coordination efforts in counter-terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism.

Discussions centered on collaboration between the UN and the EU in areas of common concern such as addressing the challenges of retuning/relocating foreign terrorist fighters, counter-terrorism capacity building efforts in Central Asia, South and South-East Asia, the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin as well as promoting a whole-of-UN approach in preventing and countering terrorism. Both sides agreed on the need to adopt an “all of society” approach to preventing violent extremism and to include civil society organizations, the private sector, think tanks, as well as with governments at national and local levels in the process.

The dialogue was co-convened by UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Vladimir Voronkov and Mr. Pedro Serrano, the Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy at the European External Action Service (EEAS) with the participation of Sir Julian King, the European Commissioner for Security Union, Mr. Gilles de Kerchove the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. Accompanied by Mr. Jürgen Stock the Secretary-General of INTERPOL, Mr. Voronkov led a delegation of representatives of 6 UN agencies including CTED, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICRI, and UNLOPS.

Brisard: monitoring radicalised is not a solution

Between 60 000 and 70 000 radicalised individuals are detected by the relevant authorities in the EU, according to the report presented to the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) by Jean-Charles Brisard, the head of the Centre the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT).

At heart of problem of defeating of radicalisation in Europe  is an  absence of unified approach towards terrorism, while some member-states say they don’t see it as priority, but it is wrong, their countries can be used by terrorists, even if the problem does not manifest itself – Brisard said. However he warned against a simplistic approach to radical Islam: it is easy to throw everyone in one port, but reality is complex, for example salafites reject jihadism, these factors should not be omitted, Brisard continued. The other difficulty in defeating of radicalisation is its method: the terrorist organisations promote a model that can be joined in many ways, and places – nowadays it is not necessary to come to Caliphate, one can serve ISIS  in Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, or in Europe. Reaching Europe was not an original purpose of ISIS, initially they invited all the good Mahomedans to come to construct the Caliphate, but later they saw an opportunity to infiltrate with migrant flows, although it was not their initial strategy. Brisard also warned against demonisation of Islam, claiming that the radicals are marginal cases, while the overwhelming majority of Muslims are living their lives aligned with democratic values in European societies.

During Q&A session the MEPs focused on the ways, and methods the radicalisation can be defeated, and the possibility of contribution on the EU level, they also reflected on the huge figures of already detected individuals under surveillance, expressing concerns about their chances to switch to actions.  Former MEP, and leader of group France Insoumise in Assemblée Nationale Jean-Luc Mélenchon pointed out that there are already more jihadists in Europe, than military in Belgium army, the situation representing grave security concerns.

In his intervention MEP Geoffrey van Orden (UK, ECR) underlined that there is a cleavage between left and right in perspectives of dealing with Islam and its radical form, the obvious difference in political concepts does not allow to build common EU approach to radicalisation.

Responding to MEPs Brisard clarified that monitoring of the radicals in the EU is not a solution, because half of the individuals who committed terrorist acts were unknown to police, and had ‘virgin’ record. However there are local communities, who can play a crucial role in defeating radicalisation.

The counterterrorism can’t be limited to running dossiers on radicals, Brisard underscored, the dossiers and monitoring do not prevent the terrorist acts, they are just markers, the ‘tools’ for the services, ‘nothing more than that’. The essential fight against terrorism and radicalisation lies close to the threat in analysing the situations in proximity. Brisard also added that local communities are crucial allies in prevention of radicalisation of youth.

 

 

 

#Surgut attacker worked as security agent

Arthur Hajiyev (19), who committed a massacre in Russian third in wealth oil-rich city of Surgut, worked as a security agent (pictured), according to local media sources. The journalists, who filmed a feature about the quality of food in Surgut  recognised him, saying that during the footage at supermarket the young man was “completely adequate”, “reserved, but not rude”.

Гаджиев

After the massacre police visited Hajiyev’s family, and according to local journalists, arrested his step-father. Hajiyev’s father Lametullah from Dagestan whereabouts are unknown,  an ‘extremist’ on a list of Russian law enforcement units, he is an adherent of radical Islamic movement.  In spite of the Islamic State claim, Russian authorities did not acknowledge the attack as an act of terrorism, but tried to do maximum to play it down, provoking further insecurity in traumatized population. The federal TV channels were silent about the incident.

Six victims of Hajiyev’s attack are still in Surgut hospital, four of them in the intensive care, one in neurological and one in surgery wards, while the prognosis is сausiously optimistic, Andrey Mironov, the traumatologist said, because during post-operation period the patients remain fragile, one of them on artificial ventilation, unable to breathe. After the analysis of the type of  wounds, the surgeons concluded they were not haphazard, but targeted to cause the maximum damage and suffering.

After the massacre of the 19th of August, the streets of the city are empty, while the inhabitants of Surgut exchange information online in social networks, wondering when it would be safe to go out. Parents do not let children out to playgrounds, the clients cancel reservations at hairdressers and restaurants. “It looks like plague in town, the city is dead as in horror movies,” – write the users of Вконтакте Russian social network.

Сургут

 

 

 

 

Trump takes milder stance on Islam

US President Donald Trump called the Arab and Islamic leaders to do their fair share to defeat Islamic extremism making an impassioned plea to “drive out” terrorists in more neutral terms. 

Trump hinted Iran is a key source of funding of militant groups, aligning his concept with the views of his Saudi Arabian hosts and sent a tough message to Tehran the day after Hassan Rouhani won a sevqcond mandate as Iran’s president.

The U.S. president did not use his usual term “radical Islamic terrorism,” signifying that he decided to abandon his usual rhetoric on Islamic fundamentalism at least for this particular occasion, while signing multi-billion deals with Saudi royal family.

“Terrorism has spread all across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land,” Trump told leaders from dozens of Muslim countries.

“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth.”

Moscow imam sentenced for ‘justification of terrorism’

The 65-year-old Imam of the Moscow mosque “Yardyam” Mahmud Velitov was found guilty of ‘publically justifying terrorism’ and sentenced for three years in prison in a penal colony, according to the website of the Investigative Committee of Russia. The decision was declared by the Moscow District Military Court, TASS news agency said.

Velitov was convicted under Part 1 of Art. 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Public Justification of Terrorism”). According to investigators, on September 27, 2013, the chairman of the council and Imam Velitov uttered in the mosque during the prayer a public speech justifying the activities of one of the members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami.

As specifies radio “Freedom”, it was a question about Abdulla Gashaev. Imam’s lawyer Dagir Khasavov argued that the imam, while reading the prayer, did not know that Abdullah Gappaev was a in a terrorist organization.

Imam Velitov himself said that he did not justify the activities of the terrorist, but only recited a prayer for Gappaev’s repose. “He was a good man, I did not know that he was in an extremist organization,” – Velitov said.

On Friday, only the opening and decisive parts of the verdict were announced, and the motives that guided the court in its adoption, will be known later, reports “Interfax.”

“Dead man does not belong to any (political) party” – said Imam Velitov.

Donald vs Donald letter

tusk-face

President Donald Tusk letter to EU27 heads of state or goverment ahead of Malta Summit

Dear colleagues,

In order to best prepare our discussion in Malta about the future of the European Union of 27 member states, and in light of the conversations I have had with some of you, let me put forward a few reflections that I believe most of us share.

The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.

The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.

The second threat, an internal one, is connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people.

The third threat is the state of mind of the pro-European elites. A decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible.

In a world full of tension and confrontation, what is needed is courage, determination and political solidarity of Europeans. Without them we will not survive. If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else? In Rome we should renew this declaration of faith. In today’s world of states-continents with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, European countries taken separately have little weight. But the EU has demographic and economic potential, which makes it a partner equal to the largest powers. For this reason, the most important signal that should come out of Rome is that of readiness of the 27 to be united. A signal that we not only must, but we want to be united.

Let us show our European pride. If we pretend we cannot hear the words and we do not notice the decisions aimed against the EU and our future, people will stop treating Europe as their wider homeland. Equally dangerously, global partners will cease to respect us. Objectively speaking, there is no reason why Europe and its leaders should pander to external powers and their rulers. I know that in politics, the argument of dignity must not be overused, as it often leads to conflict and negative emotions. But today we must stand up very clearly for our dignity, the dignity of a united Europe – regardless of whether we are talking to Russia, China, the US or Turkey. Therefore, let us have the courage to be proud of our own achievements, which have made our continent the best place on Earth. Let us have the courage to oppose the rhetoric of demagogues, who claim that European integration is beneficial only to the elites, that ordinary people have only suffered as its result, and that countries will cope better on their own, rather than together.

We must look to the future – this was your most frequent request in our consultations over the past months. And there is no doubt about it. But we should never, under any circumstances, forget about the most important reasons why 60 years ago we decided to unite Europe. We often hear the argument that the memory of the past tragedies of a divided Europe is no longer an argument, that new generations do not remember the sources of our inspiration. But amnesia does not invalidate these inspirations, nor does it relieve us of our duty to continuously recall the tragic lessons of a divided Europe. In Rome, we should strongly reiterate these two basic, yet forgotten, truths: firstly, we have united in order to avoid another historic catastrophe, and secondly, that the times of European unity have been the best times in all of Europe’s centuries-long history. It must be made crystal clear that the disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China. Only together can we be fully independent.

We must therefore take assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level. In order to do this, we must restore the sense of external and internal security as well as socio-economic welfare for European citizens. This requires a definitive reinforcement of the EU external borders; improved cooperation of services responsible for combating terrorism and protecting order and peace within the border-free area; an increase in defence spending; strengthening the foreign policy of the EU as a whole as well as better coordinating individual member states’ foreign policies; and last but not least fostering investment, social inclusion, growth, employment, reaping the benefits of technological change and convergence in both the euro area and the whole of Europe.

We should use the change in the trade strategy of the US to the EU’s advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time. The European Union should not abandon its role as a trade superpower which is open to others, while protecting its own citizens and businesses, and remembering that free trade means fair trade. We should also firmly defend the international order based on the rule of law. We cannot surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the Transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive. We should remind our American friends of their own motto:

United we stand, divided we fall.

 

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