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Sunday, 25 March 2012
Warning! Look inside the Jihadist Mind of Mohamed Merah
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Mohamed Merah Toulouse Jihad killer            Tolouse Jewish Victims of  Jihadist Merah

Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen, author of the Yale Press book, The Cartoons That Shook the World  had an opinion column in the weekend Wall Street Journal. In it she drew attention to the jihadist pedigree of Toulouse killer, Mohamed Merah, “France's Jihadist Shooter Was No Lone Wolf”.  Her tag line was:Mohamed Merah was practically a prince in violent extremist circles”The question is what was in the mind of criminal jihadist?

Let’s first examine what the media and Prof. Klausen report on Merah extended family and fundamentalist community connections to train and ultimately commit Jihad. Jihad against his victims in France, first, three fellow French Muslim soldiers. Then the random cold bloodied murders of Jewish Rabbi, Jonathan Sandler his two sons Aryeh, six and Gavriel, three, and Miriam Monsonego, 8, the daughter of the Jewish School director in Toulouse.

We know that French authorities have detained his brother Abdelkedar Merah. See this Reuters report, “French Gunman’s brother suspected of complicity”.  The Reuters report noted:

Abdelkedar, 29, was arrested at dawn on Wednesday as elite police laid siege to the Toulouse apartment of his brother Mohamed, a French citizen of Algerian extraction.

[. . .]

Police are trying to establish whether he was swayed or given practical help by his brother, who was known to security services for helping smuggle Jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.

"Police inquiries have produced serious and matching pointers that suggest his (Abdelkader's) participation as accomplice in crimes relating to a terrorist enterprise is plausible," the Paris public prosecutor's office said in a statement.

[. . .]

Abdelkedar acknowledged complicity in the theft of the high-powered scooter that his brother used in the three attacks.

French police had in the past found links between the brothers and a radical Islamist group based in southern France led by a Syrian-born Frenchman dubbed "The White Emir" by French media because of his fair hair and beard.

[. . ]

"Mohamed Merah trained with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan," Ahmed Marwat, who identified himself as a spokesman for the TTP's Jandola faction, told Reuters.

Israel Hayom reported today that Mohamed Merah may have even traveled to Israel, “French intelligence chief [said]: Merah was arrested in Israel in 2010”. The reported noted:

Bernard Squarcini says suspected Toulouse gunman, killed by French authorities on Thursday, was arrested and released in Jerusalem for possessing a knife; intelligence chief adds that Merah apparently first met Salafis in prison in 2007.

Klausen’s WSJ op ed provides additional evidence of Mohamed Merah’s family Jihadist connections and his use of social media:

In fact, Merah was practically a prince in French jihadist circles. His mother is married to the father of Sabri Essid, a leading member of the Toulouse radical milieu who was captured in Syria in 2006. Essid and another Frenchman were running an al Qaeda safe house in Syria for fighters going to Iraq. In a 2009 trial that came to be known in the press as "Brothers for Iraq," they and six others were convicted in France of conspiracy for terrorist purposes. Essid was sentenced in 2009 to five years imprisonment.

[. . .]

[Merah] signed [his] last tweet "Mohamed Merah-Forsane Alizza." Forsane Alizza, or "Knights of Glory," is a France-based jihadist media organization that was banned in January by French authorities after they discovered members preparing to train in armed combat. The ban made little difference, as content was uploaded to new sites. A website using the Forsane Alizza alias is still active—and registered with a domain name registrar and Web hosting company based in the State of Washington.

While the information she cites in the WSJ op ed is useful about the family and al Qaeda connections, it is not startling. There have been a plethora of warnings by Bat Ye'or, Thilo Sarrazin, Geert Wilders, fellow Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels and others in the EU. Given the lengthy criminal record of Toulouse Jihadist Mohammed Merah, it is time to give wider credence, both in the EU and here, to Sennels' clinical observations drawn from his assessment of young Muslim criminals in Copenhagen. It is the Islamic doctrine at the core of their rejection of host country values and integration in the West that leads them to perpetrate such criminal enterprise and commit violence. Merah spent time in French jail for his criminal convictions, where his Jihadist creed clearly gave rise to his rejection of the West and criminal recidivism. His mind and those of young Danish Muslim criminals were marinated in Islamic doctrinal violence towards unbelievers. Coupling that with the analysis by American- Israeli counterterrorism psychoanalyst, Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin of Muslim family empathetic bonding and nurturing of these values should be cause for concern.

See Sennels' analysis and Kobrin's introduction in the May 2010 NER, Muslims and Westerners - The Psychological Differences and our June 2010 review of Kobrin's book, The Banality of Suicide Terrorism & The Stockholm Syndrome Writ Large. See her analysis this week of the Toulouse Merah family dynamics in her interview in The Citizen Times, “The Mother of the Toulouse Terrorist: An Accomplice to the Crime in France”.

One who understood the importance of Sennels' clinical observations of young Danish Criminal Muslims is Dr. Michael Welner who gave expert forensic psychiatric testimony in the GITMO military tribunal and conviction of Canadian Afghan Jihadi, Omar Khadr. See Rewriting History: How the Omar Khadr GITMO Clemency Appeal Failed, in the June 2011 NER.

Klausen and the editors of the WSJ have given scant attention to the clinical investigations and analyses of Jihadis by Sennels, Kobrin and Welner. Given the Toulouse tragedy, perhaps counterterrorism officials in the West should study this important body of work.  This work could materially assist in the protection of all citizens from predatory jihadist Islamic threats.

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Posted on 03/25/2012 6:17 PM by Jerry Gordon
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