2015: The Year in Review in Islamic Kinetic Outreach

Even those who don’t follow Islamic issues as assiduously as I do must have a sneaking feeling that something big is afoot, with more to come.

First, for 2015, I’m going to compile a list of what I can dredge up from my memory –without recourse to the net.

Charlie Hebdo and the Jews

Garland

Memphis

Frenchman beheaded

Copenhagen

Kenyan college massacre

San Bernardino

Bangkok bomb

Tunisian attacks on tourists

Paris

Australian kid kills accountant

Russian Airplane

Bangladeshi bloggers murdered

UC Merced knife wielder

All right then. This is what I come up with, after checking my list and deleting some from 2014.

I’ve kept this to events that were widely reported and generally, involved western targets; the ongoing carnage in war zones such as Nigeria, together parts of Africa, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Southern Philippines, Israel, the Russian Caucasus, India, and the failed state of Pakistan is so unremitting that it amounts to background noise. The events I list are clearly jihadist, in that Muslims specifically targeted non-believers.

Now, let’s now look at these stories in chronological order, with the internet as an aide memoire.;

Charlie Hebdo's firsst Cover after the attack. Cowardly Printand and broadcst media largely refused to show it. Oh yeah, try turning it upside down. Heh.

Charlie Hebdo’s first Cover after the attack. Cowardly Print and and broadcast media largely refused to show it. Oh yeah, try turning it upside down. Heh.

7 January 2015 Paris, Charlie Hebdo . Most will be familiar with the murder of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stephane Charbonneau and nine others. Once again Islamic rage at uncomplimentary graphics results in death. Two days later the two killers were taken out after a pursuit and manhunt that mobilized some 80,000 French Security forces.

Around the same time Ahamed Coubaily held patrons of a Paris Kosher supermarket hostage, killing two, before being taken out.

15 February, Copenhagen: In fallout from the Muhammad Cartoons  affair of the last decade, a free speech debate at which Lars Vilik, Dansh cartoonist, and the French ambassador, among others, met to discuss the issue and show solidarity with the dead of Charlie Hebdo, when a Muslim gunman attacked. One attendee was killed. The killer then fled, to go on to kill a security guard at a synagogue, before security forces gunned him down. The usual excuses, obfuscation and ludicrous hand wringing ensued. “Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said there were no signs the gunman was part of a wider terror cell.

“This is not a conflict between Islam and the west,” she said. “This is a conflict between the core values of our society and violent extremists.”

The Roys in better days.

The Roys in better days.

February 27: Dhaka, Bangladesh: Avijit Roy, an atheist blogger and American citizen, is chopped to bits on the street in Dhaka. His wife survives. This may seem like a stretch for this list, but as this blogger was both an American, and a defender of Enlightenment values, I see this as a proxy attack on Western beliefs. Mr Roy was neither the first nor the last such blogger killed in this manner in the streets of Bangladesh.

Mrs.Roy minutes after the attack.

Mrs.Roy minutes after the attack.

Tunisia, birthplace of the “Arab Spring” this year saw two murderous attacks on Westerners, the first at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, on 18 March, thronged with visitors from a cruise ship. 20 dead, of many nationalities

Museum visitors flee Bardo Museum, Tunis

Museum visitors flee Bardo Museum, Tunis

Later in the same month, tourists, mostly British, along with two Tunisian nationals, are gunned down on a beach resort. Final toll: 38.

Some of the dead, Sousse, Tunisia.

Some of the dead, Sousse, Tunisia.

April 2: Garissa, Kenya. Islamists kill 147 students and staff at a teachers college. All were Christians. Muslims were spared, as the killers examined potential victims for knowledge of Islam before deciding to kill them, just as they had done to(number) at the Westgate mall massacre in Nairobi, 2013. I include this atrocity because Kenya has long discarded the puerile anti-Westernism of the immediate post-colonial era.  The medium of instruction at the college is English. Kenya is with us.

Garissa, Kenya: dead multitudes

Garissa, Kenya: dead multitudes

May 30: Once again, cartoons rile up the faithful. In Garland, Texas,a ”Draw Muhammad” contest is attacked. Only the gunmen die, as security and local LEOs take them down. A particularly egregious bout of “blame the victim” follows as the sponsors of the contest are told they asked for it, and should show more respect.

15 February,Copenhagen:  In fallout from the Muhammad Cartoons affair of the last decade, a free speech debate at which Lars Vilik, Dansh cartoonist and the French ambassador, among other met to discuss the issue and show solidarity with the dead of Charlie Hebdo when a Muslim gunman attacked. One attendee was killed.

Frenchman beheaded in suburban Lyon.

Frenchman beheaded in suburban Lyon.

June 26 Chasseue, France. A Frenchman is beheaded, by an ISIS sympathizer who also tries to blow up the bottled gas plant where the victim was manager.

July 26 Chattanooga, TN.   Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez shoots up a recruiting center, then moves on to Naval Reserve center where 4 die immediately, one later of his wounds. Police then blow the jihadi away.

17 August, Bangkok: Erahwan Shrine, a popular site for locals and tourists, is bombed. 20 die. A murky plot emerges – to date not wrapped up – involving local muslims, Turks, Uyghurs (Chinese muslim minority) and Pakistanis.

A familiar sight in the wake of Islamic terror. This time, Bangkok.

A familiar sight in the wake of Islamic terror. This time, Bangkok.

October 2. Paramatta, Australia. An accountant working for the Police is shot outside the station where he worked. Cops then take out 15 year old killer, Farhad Khalil.

Some ofthosewho died as ISIS borught down their plane in the Sinai.

Some of those who died as ISIS brought down their plane in the Sinai.

Ocober 31: Egypt: Russian plane bound for St. Petersburg downed by a bomb stowed aboard.   224 holiday makers die. Officials eventually confirm ISIS chatter: Islamist terror brought down the plane.

Paris: 13 November There is no need for me to get  into this very deeply, as it is still so fresh in public memory that even politicians are forced to refer to it. As did SOS John Kerry, when he said:

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that.”

“There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this and that’,” Kerry said.

“This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people.”

So as long as it was people with a beef against Islam, and Jews, not such a big deal

November 4, Merced California. Faisal Mohammed, 18 year old student, knifed 4, before bystanders tackled him, and then campus cops plugged him fatally. Despite having a Xerox of an ISIS flag,and copious notes invoking Allah, we are told that he wanted revenge for being kicked out of a study club. This story pretty much died after the FBI came in and took over the investigation. We have a picture of the kid, accounts that say he was from Santa Clara, or Santa Clarita, two entirely different places, a banal statement from the family released by a lawyer and nothing more. Looking at the kid he could be of Pakistani descent, but who knows? The incurious media performs as expected.

Faisal Mohhamed: Why was this kid? We'll probably never know.

Faisal Mohhamed: Who was this kid? We’ll probably never know.

December 2, San Bernardino, California. This too needs no recapping. 14 dead Americans in the Inland Empire,and Obama was finally forced to concede that threre amy be a problem.

That’s it for 2015, as far as I remember. Post Paris, we saw the three day lock-down of Bussels, capital of the Belgian state,as well as the EU, and home of NATO headquarters.

So, we have attacks on almost every inhabited continent , with Latin America unscathed. This region is, coincidentally, home to a vanishingly small Muslim population. The attackers are Middle Easterners, Africans, East Asians  and native born Americans, some of immigrant descent, some not. All are Muslims, all citing Muslim scripture and tradition, despite the  risible efforts or authorities to deflect.  A common thread in official response is that we are somehow supposed to be calmed when told that an event has no links to terrorists groups. So what?  It is the lone actor who will most likely succeed.

In fact all have links to the organized terrorism that is Islam. Not only do authorities, the press and academia continue to obfuscate, but, I suspect, are sometimes involved in active concealment. Consider this story:

Belgian military barracks attack: ‘Hooded man’ tries to storm Flawinne Army base

This was Ocotober 26, 2015. The story is around for a couple of days after that, then we are told a suspect is in custody, and that there is no terrorism link. The end. Nothing further in English, nor in the Belgian press, neither in Flemsh or French, as far as I can find.

No name has ever been released. Given the prominence in jihadist activity Belgium has achieved, I find this interesting.

The year ended with much anxiety, reduced celebration over the holidays, and a final scare in Munich. As was the case in the story of the three American Dudes Who Kicked Jihadi Ass on a Train, despite all the horror I’ve recalled above, the real story is what doesn’t happen.  Or hasn’t happened yet.

No large scale attacks, just the usual pranks by les jeunes/youths/jongen such as this

Diverse youth firebomb Christmas tree, Place Clemenceau,Brussels

Diverse youth firebomb Christmas tree, Place Clemenceau,Brussels

Car

Car Burning is so last year. Again, Place Clemenceau, Brussels.

Christmas tree demolition, and quite creative roll – a-car –down- a- pedestrian- stairway- to- the- underground, both in Brussels. The lads enjoyed themselves,as their enthusiastic “Allahu Akbar” demonstrates.

So now we are in 2016.  So far, so good.  The new year did see a minor incident in France on January 1, first broken as a story of an attack on a mosque, but in fact another of the faithful was instead attacking the French Army guarding a mosque.  So, attacked by Muslims, the French guard mosques.  In the US, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and other prominent Democrats visit a mosque in the wake  of San Bernardino, as the New York Times tells us “American Muslims Under Attack After San Bernardino and Paris Terror”

As I suppose they are:

“FBI offers $5,000 reward after raw bacon found on door of Las Vegas mosque.”

Or perhaps not:
Man charged with setting Houston mosque fire says he was a devout attendee

It’s tricky to predict the future.  I certainly hope 2016 does not see the acceleration in Muslim violence that many predict.  I can confidently say, however, that the official cover for the religiously motivated crimes of Muslims will continue, and no doubt reach new heights of absurd mendacity, as public trust continues to decline.

Houston Mosque Arsonist

Houston Mosque Arsonist

Stock popcorn and beer

Happy New Year

Allahu Akbar!

 

3 Dudes on a Train: The Thalys Smackdown as Written by the Guardian: A Progressive Take on the TGV Terrorist Takedown

Bros befo MOs

Bros befo’ Moes

While many in Europe, and particularly in the U.S. celebrate the actions of three young Americans, as well as a Briton and a Frenchman, in averting what was likely to be a massive loss of life as a jihadi prepared to attack train passengers en route from Amsterdam to Paris, others might not feel so festive.  The progressive outlook has an uncanny ability to look at what has traditionally been seen as good and noble, and turn it into a dark narrative. It’s always  gloomy in progressive land, where the sky is dominated by an overcast of cisnormative oppression, with a threat of fascist thunder showers.

You can bet your pork pie hat and hipster glasses that the KOS kids and Guardianistas are already spewing pixels as they break out their tedious memes so as to find white privilege hubris in heroism.  Hell, I’ll throw in a case of Pabst.

Here’s how they might see it:

Aggressive American  SUV Lovers Assault  Religious Minority on French Public Transportation.

Ironically the cowardly attack began when 26 year old Ayoub el Khazzan, of Moroccan heritage, and an aficionado of collectible guns, hearing American voices, thought to share his enthusiasm.
One of the Americans, Spencer Stone, an American airman, began pummeling the Frenchman.  The USAF has of course been assaulting   civilians for many decades, most notably at Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.  A second friend, Alec Skarlotos, no doubt desensitized by his time serving in the American Occupation of Afghanistan, upon seeing a man of Middle Eastern appearance  – and  one exercising what many Americans stridently proclaim is their right to bear arms – gleefully joined the assault.

Sadly, the third friend, Anthony Sadler,  of African heritage, was unable to see the sick contrariness of his joining in the brutality towards a fellow person of color.  Mr. Sadler is described only as a college student, but whichever institution he is attending needs to ensure that it students are better informed as to privilege, colonialism, and the post colonial othering of marginal communities.

A despicable but predictable codicil to this sorry account was that  Chris Norman, a 62 year old Briton, in true Blairite lackey tradition, joined the assault.

 LOSER!

Reports say the three Americans are middle school friends.  They should have remained in kindergarten until they learned to fight fair.

Desert Wind in the Southern Philippines

(From time to time, I will write about happier times in my wanderings and residence in Dar ul Islam.)

The PhilippinesPhilippine gunmen snatch US citizens on Tictabon (BBC) 13 July 2011
“Two Filipino Americans kidnapped by “Islamic insurgents.”  This is another skirmish in a very old theatre of the oldest war of all.  I’ve been thinking of these two Filipino Americans, and the southern Philippines since I read the headline.  Long ago, I traveled the area where they were taken.

Over a long life things change, and not always for the better.  In 1969-70 I was twenty, and spending a year in the Philippines going to classes at Ateneo University, living with my parents in Manila.  My father managed a fertilizer plant  on the Bataan peninsula across the Bay.

During school breaks I took trips around the islands. At the time of the last free election before the Marcos regime became semi-permanent, I went down south to Mindanao and Jolo.  Before living in the Philippines, my family had been for many hears in Indonesia, and later Costa Rica.  In the Southern Philippines  I found the Muslim Malay culture that I remembered from my Indonesian childhood and still longed for, and remnants of the Spanish colonial era.  It was a fascinating and satisfying blend,

I flew to Davao where I was the guest of a an old mestizo  family I knew from Manila.  They had extensive plantations and copra processing works.   And a cute daughter, but very well watched over. These old families were very Iberian, with the young girls strictly chaperoned, and now I wonder if this in itself is a remainder from Moorish Spain.

After a few days of huge meals, beach parties , and  what little  light flirtation was allowed, it was time to go further west and south towards  the last islands of the  Philippines, and the beginnings of the Malay Archipelago.

It was a tough journey over dusty roads, crammed in with passengers whose main hobby was spitting, and a boat that became a sweatbox when the crew sealed it up at night.  Like many in Southeast Asia, Filipinos fear the night air.  Unhealthy they say, and home to unseen things that mean people no good.

It was a relief to reach Zamboanga, stretch my legs and enjoy a shower and a walk about town,  “The monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga,” the old navy song goes.  I saw no monkeys, but instead a  sleepy town, streets of white sand and crushed shell lanes off the few bits of macadam.  Venerable trading hoses built of coral block with signs saying  “Hnos Gonzales Manila – Zamboanga – Madrid. “And there were Moros, the Spanish for moors, Muslims  of various groups, the biggest the Taosug and the Bajo, the sea gypsies found there and in Indonesia ,and as far as the Mergui Archipelago in SoutheastBurma,  Small compact men with turbans, short flapping trousers,  buttoned tunics, leather belts, and small short curved swords.  The sultan of Sulu, on Jolo Island, not far away, had once been suzerain of a good part of Borneo.  I had to go there.

1969 Philippine Military outside Jolo Great Mosque. From the time of the Spaniards, through the American occupation, and on to the present, Sulu has never been pacified.

Waiting at the airport for the small island hopper, I ran into an American guy, a Peace Corps volunteer.  He recommended a hotel, and said he’d show me around.  He was working in malaria control, still spraying DDT in those days.

Aside from him, I never saw another westerner.   It was the election of1969, the one in which Marcos won a second term, the first in Philippine history to do so, and than stayed on indefinitely,  I had been warned that elections were a dangerous time to travel, but encountered no trouble.  Danger would have come from being caught in a crossfire between rival parties.  Local races, dealing  with matters of power and influence were particularly hard fought, and still are.  Islamic terrorism was an unknown term

Grand Mosque, Jolo Town, 1969

The Mestizo population of Jolo has a unique language, Javocano, a pidgin Spanish without much in the way of grammar, very easy to understand,  So I was in a town with wet markets, a waterfront where the Moro sailing craft, vinta, unloaded plenty of fresh seafood, ready for feasting on at the restaurants built out over the harbor on pilings, and all centered on a grand mosque,  Perfectly exotic, and exactly what I was looking for.

Vintas

Jolo Island coastline

A malaria education team arrived in a jeep at my hotel the next morning, without the Peace Corps guy, who was at a government meeting. We took of into the hills, climbing switchbacks until we could look back at the city, the fringing islands and the sea glittering to the blue horizon.  Then on into the interior valleys, small holdings hacked out of the jungle, and tiny hamlets, the little stands selling food and sundries, just like the ones called warungin Indonesia.

Moro village headman with wives and children, malaria team right and left.

Village snack stand Jolo Island, but it could be many places in Southeast Asia, to this day. Borders dont always mean a lot.

We stopped at one for lukewarm cokes.  The young man in charge  suddenly gestured for silence.   In the distance up ahead we heard some popping.  Gunshots, from two directions.  He went over to the jeep and tapped out a sequence of long and short toots,

Smuggler with son and a tool of the trade.

The shooting stopped, and we heard a jeep coming down the road towards us. It was a unit of the Philippine Constabulary, a paramiltary police force founded by the Americans in 1901, and which had been mixing it up with the Moros off and on ever since.  This bunch had been having a little shoot out with men they described as smugglers.  The team leader bought them cokes and handed out some literature on malaria, and then they drove off towards town.

Philippine Constabulary after a morning's exchange of potshots with smugglers.

After a few minutes,  another, and different signal on the horn.  And a quarter of an hour later, men in civvies, carrying M-1s  ambled down the rod and we had another round of cokes,  which they bought,

Islam's prohibition of gambling clearly ignored

Was my guide a Muslim or a Christian?  It didn't matter back then.

Was my guide a Muslim or a Christian? It didn't matter back then.

These guys were, in my guide’s words, respected men in the community, who preferred to conduct their business on their own, without interference from the authorities.  The constabulary and the government never showed up when they were needed, except at election time, to hand out favors, and hang around with guns at the polls, he said. In discussing the local politics and economy, religion never entered the talk.  I don’t remember if my guide was a Muslim or a Christian.

An old man came up to me.  I could only understand that he was asking if I were Amerikano.  He said, the team leader translated, that he liked Americans.  His father told him that the moros hated the Spanish who were sneaky fighters, cowards, and cruel to prisoners.  The Americans  they liked “ We killed them; they killed us,  Good sport, and good fun!” he said,

Later, walking around the town, I found a small brass plaque set into a concrete plinth.  In1902, it said, a number which I don’t’ remember of “brave Americans” had given their lives fighting “bandits“  The plaque had been erected in appreciation by the  business community fo the town, with the names of the subscribers being mostly Spanish, and a few American.

I met the Peace Corps guy that night in one of the waterfront restaurants.  He looked over his shoulder before having a San Miguel. As we tucked intoheaps of chili crab, he explained.  Although a Maltese Catholic from Queens,  he had married a local girl, and converted to Islam.   I’ve since wondered how he fared.  Many smitten young men take conversion to Islam – which is easy enough, especially if you are already circumcised – quite lightly.  Just words, they think, but find out that it is, as I did year after this, taken very seriously. His wife was at home, not comfortable with foreigners, he siad.   Thinking back, I’m not sure if I spoke to a woman the whole time I was there.

These village women put on their best sarongs to have their picture taken

I traveled around the island for the next few days

Sandy white beach and the usual friendly kids

by local bus and jitney.  I can understand why the kidnapped Americans would want to open a resort in the region,  The beaches were gorgeous, almost painfully white, dazzling, and stretching for miles.  The sunsets were nightly theatrical displays as the last rays illuminated the cumulonimbus towering above the sea into the stratosphere.  The people were courteous.  Sabah was not far away and many had some Malay, and there was usually an old man in any village who could speak Spanish.  I wished I had time to take on of the boats to Tawi Tawi and Jesselton in Malaysia, and the on to Indonesia.  One day, I thought, but returned to Manila and have never been back.

Village market. Plenty of fresh fish.

I’ve thought of that trip from time to time when there has been news from the Southern Philippines.  The news is uniformly bad, and at times shocking.  The violence by the Moro Liberation Front and Abu Sawwaf is nothing new.

After seizing the islands from Spain, the US fought the Philippine insurrectos who figured that since they had pretty much rolled up the Spaniards before eh Americans arrived, they had a right to an independent country,

The war in the south was quite different,  The Moros had never acknowledged Spain, and had always warred on Christians and animists, with rape, pillage and slave taking incidental in benefits in defending and advancing their faith. Jihad by sea, much like that of the Barbary corsairs, and in the Arab and Turkish tradition of razzia..

There the Americans encountered the juramentado,a moro warrior sworn to kill

"Institutionalized Suicide"

Christians until killed himself. In other words, a shahid, a Muslim martyr, a suicide slasher rather than bomber,  The .45 revolver with its massive stopping power was developed to replace the .38 which often had no visible effect on these enemies, just as asymmetrical wars with Muslims now push among other developments, drone technology.

The Americans did prevail, but the violence never disappeared entirely, and continues to this day.  The Philippine government has granted some autonomy,and continues to attempt to negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Jolo 2007. The mosque has been renovated or replaced.

2007: A Muslim woman in Jolo. Centuries after Islam appeared in Southeast Asia, arabization is eradicating local customs. The hijab began appearing in the eighties. This picture from the Navy Times, 2007, taken during US Philippine joint operations. Plus ca change...

 

Jihad  began in Seventh Century Arabia. The great tide surging from the desert wastes a few centuries  later had already reached the islands of equatorial Asia.  Today the hot desert wind blows again where the trade winds rustle palm fronds on coral strands.

 

 

(On October 3, 2011, one of the Filipino Americans was released, the BBC reported, on Basilan Island, not far from Zamboanga.   Her son and nephew remain captives.)