The Global War On You Know Who

"The West is facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy the West and bring it forcibly into the Islamic world -- and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad."
-- Robert Spencer

Monday, December 05, 2005

MSM Prints Something Relevant, Uses "I" Word

French study finds rise in Islamic extremism, from the L.A. Times and The Boston Globe (registration required).
PARIS -- Employees set up clandestine prayer areas on the grounds of the Euro Disney resort. Workers for a cargo company at Charles de Gaulle airport praise the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A Brinks technician is charged with pulling off a million-dollar heist for a Moroccan terrorist group allegedly led by his brother. Female converts to Islam operate a day care center that authorities eventually shut down because of its religious radicalism.

As France grapples with the rise of Islamic extremism abroad and at home, these are snapshots of what might be an emerging trend: radical Islam in the private sector.

The line between legitimate religious expression and extremist subversion can be blurry. But a recent study by a think tank here paints a picture of rising fundamentalism in the workplace, ranging from proselytizing to pressure tactics to criminal activities.

In companies such as supermarket chains in immigrant-heavy areas, for instance, militant recruiters cause workplace tensions by imposing fundamentalist ideas on co-workers and pressuring managers to boycott certain products, the study says.

On a more sinister level, the study asserts that Islamic networks are trying to establish a presence in companies involved in sectors such as security, cargo, armored cars, courier services and transportation. Once they gain a foothold, operatives raise funds for militants via theft, embezzlement and robbery, the study says.

"Parallel to these sect-like risks, the spread of criminal practices has been detected in the heart of companies [with] two goals: crime using Islam as a pretext; and in addition, local financing of terrorism," concludes the study by the Center for Intelligence Research in Paris.

The report was issued before the riots last month that spread arson and violence nationwide and focused attention on France's immigrant neighborhoods, which are predominantly Muslim. Although intelligence officials detected only a few cases of extremists inciting unrest, authorities worry that the tense urban climate strengthens the hand of hard-core Islamic networks.

French antiterror officials agree with some of the findings of the study of the private sector, although they say parts of the report exaggerate or simplify a complex issue. In any case, the concern is justified in a wider context, officials say: Extremism is rising in France, home of Europe's largest Muslim community, and intertwining with a foreign threat.

Recent arrests reveal that France has been targeted by an alliance teaming Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, with an Algerian-dominated network, said a senior French law enforcement official, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. Zarqawi operatives in Lebanon taught bomb-making to accused militants from the network who were arrested here, including French converts, the official said.

That underscores a development on the home front: a "significant increase" in converts, including women, said a French intelligence official who also asked not to be identified.

"The focus on the private sector is new because law enforcement does not work on it much -- they have other concerns," Denece said. ''But also, company executives have not wanted to talk about this sensitive subject. Some were concerned about being called racists."

. . . There are a few clear-cut examples of alleged infiltration of companies. Last year, police investigated a heist at the Brinks Co. that allegedly was engineered by an operative of a Moroccan terror network that has been implicated in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Hassan Baouchi, who was 23 at the time, worked as a technician stocking automated teller machines; his brother, Mustafa, was a veteran of two stints in Al Qaeda's Afghan camps and an alleged leader of the network. In March 2004, Hassan Baouchi claimed that stick-up men had waylaid him during his rounds north of the capital and stole about $1.2 million. He awaits trial on charges of faking the robbery in cahoots with a gang of known jihadis. About $40,000 later turned up on a fugitive captured in Algeria.

"That's a real concrete example of terrorist financing," said the senior law enforcement official.


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