Friday, April 27, 2007

Columbus Al-Qaeda Man Charged, CAIR Not Pleased

Catching up on some comments from the arrest earlier this month of Christopher Paul, who was indicted for his involvement in the Columbus Al-Qaeda cell, Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News (one of the best TV journalists covering the terrorism issue, IMHO; you might recall his run-in recently at the CAIR National headquarters) offers his insight on the response from CAIR on Paul’s arrest:

Ohio Man Arrested on Terrorism Charges, CAIR Not Pleased
Erick Stakelbeck
CBN News
April 13, 2007

Due mainly to yesterday’s pair of suicide bombings in Iraq, an important and troubling terrorism-related story was able to slip largely under the media’s radar screen. A federal grand jury has indicted a U.S. citizen on charges of joining al-Qaeda and conspiring to bomb European tourist resorts and U.S. government facilities, including military bases overseas. The accused, Christopher Paul, is an American-born convert to Islam. Unfortunately, he also shares the same name as one of the hottest young point guards in the NBA. But the jihadi Christopher Paul is apparently more interested in making bombs than baskets.

Here’s more, from CBN News:

Christopher Paul, 43, of Columbus, Ohio was under investigation for four years. Agents investigating Paul’s background said the case spanned three continents and at least eight countries.

According to Wednesday’s indictment, Paul trained with al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. It says he told the terrorist groups’ members in Pakistan and Afghanistan that he was dedicated to committing violent jihad.

“The indictment of Christopher Paul paints a disturbing picture of an American who traveled overseas to train as a violet jihadist, joined the ranks of al-Qaeda and provided military instruction and support to radial cohorts both here and abroad,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said in a statement.
Paul was also linked to convicted al-Qaeda member Iyman Faris, who plotted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. Here’s more on his background:

Paul was born Paul Kenyatta Laws. He legally changed his name to Abdulmalek Kenyatta in 1989, then to Christopher Paul in 1994, according to the indictment.

After finishing his al-Qaeda training in the early 1990s, he returned to Columbus to teach martial arts at a mosque, the indictment said.
Look out! Another al-Qaeda karate master. Anyway, our friends from the Council on American Islamic-Relations were predictably shocked (shocked!) at news of Paul’s arrest. Here’s more, from AP:

Ahmad Al-Akhras, vice chair of the Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he knows Paul and the charges are out of character.

“From the things I know, he is a loving husband and he has a wife and parents in town,” Al-Akhras said. “They are a good family together.” Al-Akhras said his group will work to make sure Paul’s constitutional rights are granted.

Yes, I’m sure they’re the Islamic version of the Waltons.


Since we’re on the topic of our good friend “free speech” Ahmad Al-Akhras, we might remember contributor Ciaospirit’s literal run-in with Al-Akhras at a CAIR-sponsored pro-Hezbollah rally last summer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jihad U in Columbus

An article in today’s edition of FrontPage Magazine, “Saudi Press Plugs America’s Jihad U”, discusses the popular Islamic studies program, the Al-Maghrib Institute, which is directly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and preaches an extremist Wahhabist version of Islam.

Columbus is one of sixteen cities in North America that currently hosts the program, and their local organization maintains a website, Haylstorm. The Columbus chapter also maintains on online forum on the Al-Mahgrib website. These websites reveal that one of their seminars held earlier this month was attended by several hundred individuals.

A previous article at FrontPage, “Jihad U”, details how the for-college-credit Al-Mahgrib program, accredited by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked American Open University, features a curriculum that promotes Wahhabi extremism, rabid anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials, openly preaches a militaristic version of jihad, and anticipates the eventual conquest of Islam worldwide. The message of Al-Maghrib has raised concerns of other Muslim organizations that do not hold to Wahhabist doctrine, which comprise the vast majority of Muslims.

Both articles note that all six Al-Mahgrib instructors have been trained at Saudi universities that indoctrinate students in Wahhabism, and at least one instructor was interviewed by the Washington Post last September for an article on the Salafi interpretation of Islam, which advocates for a return to the “true” Islam of Mohammad and his 7th Century associates, and observes that the Al-Maghrib Institute was founded at a College Park, Maryland mosque known for its extremist interpretations of the Quran.

Be sure to read both articles for more information!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Al-Qaeda Problem in Columbus

As Sun Tzu noted in his post yesterday, Columbus has a serious Al-Qaeda problem which the local media have treated in pedestrian fashion.

For those of you just joining us, here’s a review:

Iyman Faris was an al-Qaeda operative living in Columbus and being controlled directly by Al-Qaeda operations chief, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who directed the 9/11 attacks. He became a US citizen in 1999, and the following year (as the 9/11 attacks were being organized) traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan for training in Al-Qaeda terrorist camps. An ABCNews article quotes one of his neighbors:

“Even though this is a state capital, you never think that things like this could happen in Ohio — Columbus, Ohio, of all places.”
Faris pled guilty to two counts of providing material support to Al-Qaeda in October 2003 and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Nuradin Abdi, a member of the large Columbus Somali community and friend of Iyman Faris, was charged in June 2004 with plotting to blow up a Columbus area shopping mall. According to the indictment, Abdi attended a terrorist training camp in Ogaden, Ethiopia in March 2000. Abdi orginally entered the country as a refugee, and according to US government prosecutors, illegally used his refugee status to obtain travel documents to travel to the jihad camp.

After a number of delays, caused by his claims of mental illness, Abdi’s trial is set for September.

The most recent member of the Columbus Al-Qaeda club is Christopher Paul. A friend of both Faris and Abdi, he was charged earlier this month with planning large scale attacks against other Americans overseas at popular tourist resorts using weapons of mass destruction. For years, Paul has been teaching martial arts at a local mosque, and according to the indictment, he went to Germany in April 1999 for explosives training (remember that 9/11 leader Mohammad Atta was part of the Hamburg, Germany cell). A recent Dispatch article notes that French authorities want to speak to Paul about his connections with convicted Morrocan terrorist Karim Medhi.

Unlike Faris and Abdi, Paul was born in the US and grew up in the Worthington area and graduated from Worthington High School in 1983. He is a convert to Islam.

As Sun Tzu observes, you would think that the Columbus news media would be all over this issue. Think again.

Columbus Dhimmimedia

On April 12, 2007, Christopher Paul was arrested in Columbus, Ohio and charged with 3 counts related to terrorism and connections to the notorious al-Qaeda network.

Seemingly lost in the flurry of coverage that spanned less than 48 hours were two notable stories; one, the fact that Paul was the third al-Qaeda linked suspect to be arrested with direct connections to Columbus (and at least the second to have been know to be affiliated with the Masjid Omar on Riverview Dr.); and secondly, the fact that Paul was actively engaged in martial arts training inside the Masjid Omar.

Is critical thinking dead in media? What about Columbus residents? Isn’t anybody curious as to what kind of martial arts Mr. Paul was allegedly teaching? Why haven’t any reporters gone to the mosque and asked the imam, “who is teaching these all important physical fitness or self-betterment classes now that Mr. Paul is incarcerated?” I’m sure inquiring minds would like to know who has taken over the physical-skills training.

To get the complete picture, we must first define the problem. Martial Arts are not just karate, kickboxing, jeet kune do, or boxing.

According to

Martial — adjective[1] / Pronunciation Key
  1. 1. Inclined or disposed to war; warlike

  2. 2. of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces

  3. 3. Characteristic of or befitting a warrior
Now, take that definition in light of the actual Federal Court indictment:

Specifically, the indictment alleges that, in approximately 1990 and 1991, Paul traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and received military-training at an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.In approximately mid-1991, Paul allegedly joined al-Qaeda and stayed at a guest house exclusively for al Qaeda members. Afterwards, he returned to the U.S. and taught martial arts at a mosque in Columbus. Over the next several years, he allegedly provided money and equipment from the U.S. to individuals overseas as part of the conspiracy. He also allegedly provided training to individuals in the U.S. in order that these individuals might be ready to fight violent jihad overseas.

On or about April 16, 1999, the indictment alleges, Paul traveled to Germany, where he provided explosives training to fellow co-conspirators and assisted them in recruiting new members. In addition, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, Paul stored a variety of items at residences in Columbus, including a laser rangefinder, night vision scope, books and literature on explosives, remote control items, and other survival gear. Beginning in 2006 and continuing thereafter, Paul allegedly conducted research on commercial flight simulator programs as well as remote-controlled boats and helicopters.[2]
Is it plausible that al Qaeda operatives in Eurpoe couldn’t get any good quality karate training in Paris, London, or Frankfurt? Did these needy students also cover the tab for his travel expenses just to learn his specialized “high kick” technique?

Think about how illogical that sounds! It seems rather obvious that it is safe to assume that the DOJ is alleging that Mr. Paul is more than a mere kickboxer, they are alleging that he is a specialist.

Interestingly, it is alleged that Mr. Paul was also involved in recruiting while in Europe. I’m sure that since that is against the law here in the US, that any and all (alleged) al-Qaeda recruiting was ceased once he entered US airspace.

It would appear that Paul was teaching “war skills” not only to al Qaeda recruits around the world, but also in rural, “nothing ever happens here”, Columbus, Ohio — right under the noses of his fellow mosque goers! In the same building as a matter of fact (allegedly).

One has to assume that when Mr. Paul “allegedly provided training to individuals in the U.S. in order that these individuals might be ready to fight violent jihad overseas”[3] was given with a caveat that such training should only be used outside of the United States and should not even be attempted anywhere besides Europe and the Middle East.

Strangely, the indictment here is implying that it is possible to fight a “non-violent” jihad. If that is the case, why would one have to go overseas to non-violently struggle with your internal issues?

That brings up another point of interest-nobody has yet contested the DOJ’s definition of jihad as an act of violence. I have yet to hear anyone from CAIR condemn the Department of Justice as “misunderstanders” of the Muslim religion.

Mr. Paul was apparently being paid enough money as a mosque martial arts instructor that he was able to by a night vision scope, a laser range finder, survival gear, remote control items and other survival gear — AND send money overseas to help support his like minded brothers in the global jihad! Apparently they have a vacancy. Where do we apply?

In case you missed between the lines right there, it appears that Mr. Paul was collecting items needed to allegedly get involved in some sort of sniper activity-survival items, night vision scope, and a laser range finder — the only things missing are the rifle and ammo.

Columbus is a big city.

How could this training associated with war have gone on (allegedly for years) without anybody in authority at the mosque knowing about it?

We have yet to see a mosque official come out against extremist recruiting in the mosque, or condemn his alleged actions now that he has been indicted. We have also not seen one single person come forward and say that Mr. Paul taught them offensive, improper, falsely interpreted, warlike training.

Martial arts or war skills could also include sniper tactics, close quarter combat, room entries and takedowns, hostage taking, studying the al Qaeda training manual, knife fighting, beheading, or anything else that is characteristic of befitting a (Mujahideen) warrior.

The big (4-part) question that remains now is this; who else did he train, what did he teach them, where are they now, and does anybody really care?

Why aren’t more people concerned about “martial arts” being taught by a trained bomb maker at the local mosque? Were not the ATF and Janet Reno concerned about David Koresh teaching “martial arts” (along with his blasphemous babblings) down in Waco, TX? The ATF certainly didn’t storm that compound because Koresh was falsely claiming to be the Messiah!

Media — wake up! Asking hard hitting, penetrating questions used to be your job! Seeking facts and presenting them is not hateful or biased. This is a legitimate story that deserves further scrutiny.

America. “Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.”[4] Wake up and smell the coffee — it’s burning!

And, as the Department of Justice always says, “The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”[5]

[1] “martial.” Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 24 Apr. 2007.

[4] Alexander Hamilton