Leatherneck Blogger

Imam praised as moderate by New York Times arrested for Islamic State ties

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By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
May 11, 2017

This underscores yet again what I have said for years: there are sincere Muslim reformers, but there are also a great many deceivers (“War is deceit,” said Muhammad), and it is essentially impossible to tell one from the other. What is even worse about this story is that policy analysts read the New York Times and take it seriously, and base their recommendations upon it. If this imam had been in the United States, he could have attained great influence and access, as did another “moderate,” Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who is now in prison for financing al-Qaeda, or at very least tremendous influence in the Islamic community, as did Anwar al-Awlaki, who was also praised as a moderate in the New York Times and seen briefly in a PBS documentary on Muhammad, leading Islamic prayers on Capitol Hill with Hamas-linked CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper, Nihad Awad, and Randall Ismail Royer, who later served time in prison for jihad activity, in the congregation.

“The jihadist of Alicante who even fooled the New York Times lives with four women and 18 children,” translated from “El yihadista de Alicante que engañó hasta al ‘New York Times’ vive con cuatro mujeres y 18 hijos,” by Alejandro Requeijo and Daniel Montero, El Español, April 28, 2017:

“Jihadists use religion for their personal purposes and declare war on Jews and Christians, but I want people to follow what Islam actually says.” So innocently did a pious Hesham Shashaa present himself seven years ago in a feature that the New York Times dedicated to him. The Muslim leader was living in Germany, where he said he would promote interreligious dialogue and warned that radical Islamists would brainwash young people. In order to fight against jihad, he justified his trips to mosques and madrasas from all over the Muslim world. However, this Wednesday the National Police arrested him in Alicante and accused him of aiding terrorists, some of them from the Islamic State.

As confirmed by various antiterrorism sources involved in his arrest, he is the same person who posed as a harmless Muslim believer in the pages of the American newspaper. He had succeeded in deceiving even the German authorities, as demonstrated by a police official who is cited in the New York Times report in which he was featured: “We know that he speaks and works against terrorism groups like Al Qaeda or the Taliban, and that is important.” This representative of German security, who preferred to remain anonymous, added that Shashaa “is the only example who is doing it in this way here in Germany, and in this sense he is effective.”

The American newspaper report even relates an anecdote in which the German police asked this man about a book on women in Islam that, given its content, is prohibited in Germany. They went to look at Shashaa’s personal library. “I need to know what is in these books; how else can I know how to communicate with the recruiters?” The Muslim leader came to Germany because, he told the newspaper, he lost his briefcase on a stopover in 2000 while on his way to Great Britain from Romania, where he had been living. “Everything was gone, the papers, the money, so I thought it was God’s will that I stay here,” he explained. But the National Police have another impression of this 46-year-old Egyptian citizen.

Relationship with Daesh

According to the statement issued by the Interior Ministry after his arrest, “he facilitated the return of Islamic State terrorists who had decided to return from Syria and Iraq by providing them with the necessary places of transit and refuge and assisting them in the documentation and procurement of economic resources.” The return of terrorists who have fought in conflict zones is one of the main concerns of Western security forces for fear of receiving more radical and more experienced jihadists in the handling of weapons and explosives.

In addition, the Department headed by Juan Ignacio Zoido adds that “the detainee took advantage of his privileged position within the Islamic Community of the province of Alicante to spread material that extols the attacks committed by DAESH and cruelly disparages their victims.” He also used social media as an instrument “to generate hate with the publication of videos in which terrorist leaders called for violent jihad as a method of indoctrination of their followers.”…

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