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    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Tag

    German intelligence agencies are alarmed over the growing influence of radical Islamist "Muslim Brotherhood" organisation in the state of Saxony. The Islamist group is buying large number of properties and setting up mosques all across the state, Saxony's Office for the Protection of Constitution (LfV) said. "The aim of Muslim Brotherhood is to establish Sharia in Germany," Head of LfV, Gordian Meyer-Plath told German newspaper Die Welt. Muslim Brotherhood came out of Egypt in 1920s and has influenced Jihadi terrorist movements all across the Muslim world.  ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, both got their ideological training as members of Muslim Brotherhood. Gaza-based terrorist outfit Hamas is also an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood.

    Authorities in Milan have killed the Tunisian man who drove a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday. The Wall Street Journal reported:
    Italian police in the gritty Sesto San Giovanni neighborhood stopped Anis Amri just after 3 a.m. outside a train station for a routine check. When the officers asked the 24-year-old Tunisian for his identification, the man—who, according to Italian officials spoke fluent Italian—became agitated, pulled out a 22-caliber gun and began to shoot, shouting “Bastard police!”

    Due to recent terrorist attacks, German politicians have now asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to deport over 200,000 migrants who failed to gain asylum. Homeland expert Armin Schuster said:
    In his appeal for a speeding up of deportations, Mr Schuster said: “Some could get the impression they could get away with anything because they don’t realise how mildly the state reacts to those breaking the law.”

    Two Syrians in Germany attacked innocent civilians on Sunday. One killed a pregnant woman with a machete while the other detonated a bomb outside of a music festival. The bomber recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which has led authorities to call it a terrorist attack. Authorities call the murder of the pregnant woman a crime of passion since the attacker was in love with her. The attacks come only days after Ali Sonboly, a German-Iranian 18-year-old, killed nine at a McDonalds in Munich.

    New developments keep popping up with the terrorist attack in Orlando, FL, that left 49 dead and over 50 injured. This is what we know so far. Leslie wrote a post with the names of the victims and some stories about them. Our thoughts and prayers stay with them and their families during this hard time. We also wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Omar Mateen murdered those 49 people at Pulse, a popular gay club, as he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). The terrorist group has taken advantage of this and used his image in their latest recruitment ad, but no evidence exists that that Mateen ever communicated with the group. Officials discovered that Mateen watched numerous ISIS beheadings online. One official told CNN that the terrorist "consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda." He even wrote on Facebook about his allegiance to ISIS during his attack:
    “I pledge my alliance to (ISIS leader) abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me,” Mateen wrote in one post early Sunday morning. “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” …“You kill innocent women and children by doing us taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

    Details continue to emerge about Omar Mateen, the man who murdered 50 people and injured over 50 more at Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, FL. NBC News has reported that Mateen called 911 right before he committed the massacre. Officials told reporter Pete Williams that Mateen told the operators he "pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." One law enforcement agent told CNN that the FBI opened "two cases on Mateen in the past," but they could not find "evidence to charge him with anything." They placed him on their radar as a possible Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) sympathizer:
    In response to a question to whether the shooter may have had a connection to radical Islamic terrorism, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper said investigators are "looking into all angles right now." "We do have suggestions that that individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology but we can't say definitively," Hopper said.

    ISIS has reportedly released a video that confirms that the Paris terrorists trained in Syria; the video shows the men carrying out executions and reinforces the knowledge that they were not merely "inspired" by ISIS. The New York Times reports:

    The Islamic State released a video on Sunday apparently showing footage of the men who carried out the November attacks in Paris while they were in Syria and Iraq, where they are pictured carrying out executions, including beheadings.

    If the identities of all of the men in the video are confirmed, it would be the first evidence that the group that killed 130 people in coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 had been sent from the Islamic State’s base in Syria.

    Forget Twitter, ISIS and other al-Qaeda offshoots are flocking to Telegram. The popular messaging app has become an ISIS favorite for its encryption and sharing capabilities. Writing for Voice of America, Jamie Dettmer explained:
    Telegram’s Channels Service, which was launched last September, allows messages to be transmitted to an unlimited number of subscribers and for users to break off into highly encrypted private and group chats. In the last few weeks IS militants and other jihadis have resorted again — but in even larger numbers — to the Telegram app to recruit, spread propaganda and, intelligence officials fear, possibly organize and plot attacks in chats that are invisible and can’t be monitored or decoded.

    Spain has a particularly virulent anti-Israel movement both in the form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and rogue judges who threaten to issue warrants for the arrest of Israeli officials. As to BDS, recall it was the Valencia BDS group that got American Jewish singer Matisyahu banned from a reggae festival after he refused to sign a declaration denouncing Israel. The decision was reversed after an outcry and statements by the Spanish government that the action was illegal discrimination. The Spanish court system just dealt another blow to BDS efforts, finding that excluding Ariel University, located beyond the 1949 armistice line in Samaria (West Bank), from academic programs in Spain constituted illegal discrimination. The Jerusalem Post reports, In setback for BDS, Spain awards West Bank school €70,000:

    An ex-con who converted to Islam in prison has been arrested in New Year's Eve plot:
    Federal officials in Rochester, New York, have arrested a man who was allegedly plotting a New Year’s Eve machete attack on diners at a local restaurant. According to NBC News, 25-year-old Emanuel Lutchman is an ex-con Muslim convert and supporter of ISIS. He was charged with attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group, federal prosecutors said. The criminal complaint alleges that Lutchman was in contact with ISIS in Syria, who urged him to kill non-Muslims on New Year’s Eve. On December 27th, Lutchman sent a confidential informant an audio recording of himself swearing allegiance to ISIS, according to NBC News. NBC says Lutchman allegedly discussed with the informants attacks using pressure cooker bombs, a machete, and knives, the complaint said.

    As Professor Jacobson noted, under the Obama-Clinton foreign policy ISIS has grown in strength and in territory.  Now ISIS's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is goading the west in what might be considered a childish taunt if ISIS hadn't been allowed to grow and prosper into a lethal organization with global reach. The Telegraph reports:
    The leader of the self-declared Islamic State issued a defiant message to the West, saying that “Crusader” did not dare fight on his turf.

    TIME magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its Person of the Year. The New York-based magazine praised “her resilience and leadership when faced with the Syrian refugee crisis and turmoil in the European Union over its currency this year.” Angela Merkel is the first women to lead Germany and last month completed uninterrupted 10 years at the helm of Europe’s largest economy. Merkel has often been referred to as the most powerful woman in the world. In fact TIME's celebratory issue’s cover story calls her “the Chancellor of the Free World.” Since President Obama has abandoned the leadership of the Free World as a matter of principle, the top job was up for grabs anyway. The problem is only the direction Merkel is steering the Western World in face of the historic migrant crisis. To give credit where it’s due, the liberal editors at TIME Magazine had quite a tough time picking this year’s winner. German Chancellor was pitted against “Black Lives Matter” activists, Islamic State’s “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, celebrity transgender Caitlyn Jenner, and Iran’s dictator Hassan Rouhani. Republican hopeful Donald Trump was upset over the fact that judges at TIME didn’t chose him for this year’s award, and as Trump (rightly) put it, “picked a person who is ruining Germany.”

    A few more details are emerging concerning the San Bernardino terrorists. The Times of Israel reports that Syed Rizwan Farook, the male terrorist killed trying to run away from the carnage he and his wife created, was "obsessed" with Israel and unwilling to wait the two years his father estimated it would take for Israel to cease to exist.
    In Sunday’s La Stampa ... report, Farook said, “My son said that he shared [IS leader Abu Bakr] Al Baghdadi’s ideology and supported the creation of the Islamic State. He was also obsessed with Israel.”

    A little over a week ago, President Obama was making the case that the most significant security threat was climate change and asserting that ISIS posed no credible threat to the US homeland. In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre of 14 Americans on the homeland, it is clear that the presidential fantasies and the national realities are quite different. The FBI has formally declared the incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism:
    "The San Bernardino, California, mass shooting is now being investigated as "an act of terrorism," FBI official David Bowdich said Friday. Bowdich said the FBI "uncovered evidence ... of extreme planning."

    Late yesterday the Pentagon announced that it launched a drone strike against Islamic State terrorist Mohammed Emwazi, the man who served as the "face" of the group's gruesome and infamous beheading videos. Emwazi, also known as "Jihadi John," was wounded a year ago during airstrikes in Anbar Province that killed 10 terrorists and wounded at least 40 others. Emwazi had joined tribal leaders from around the region in a bunker near the Iraqi-Syrian border to pledge their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Intelligence following the strikes was muddied, but officials believed that Emwazi was taken to a local hospital before being returned to ISIS headquarters. Over the past year, western officials have conducted extensive surveillance in an effort to determine Emwazi's whereabouts---and if reports are correct, they finally found him. Yesterday's strike hit outside of the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa in northern Syria. Officials have yet to confirm whether or not Emwazi died in the attack; Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, "We are assessing the results of tonight’s operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate.” A U.S. senior official told CNN that authorities are confident that the strike was successful; a second source said that authorities positively identified Emwazi before they launched the drone at the vehicle Emwazi was riding in.

    According to AFP, Boko Haram's leader pledged loyalty to ISIS in an audio message posted to Twitter this afternoon. From Yahoo News:
    Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram militants, Abubakar Shekau, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group in an audio recording released Saturday. "We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi," said the voice on the message, which was believed to be that of Shekau and was released through Boko Haram's Twitter account. Qurashi is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the IS group which has proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. Shekau spoke in Arabic, but the message contained French and English subtitles. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the message. Shekau was not pictured, a contrast from most of Boko Haram's past messages in which the Islamist leader has been shown, often in close up shots. But Shekau did identify himself in the recording, which was accompanied by the subtitles and a graphic including an image of a radio microphone. There have in recent months been signs of closer ties between the Nigerian militants and the IS group, with both using similar ways of communicating with the outside world. Boko Haram has notably begun releasing videos that resemble those made by IS. Boko Haram has been waging a six-year uprising against the Nigerian state, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives. Analysts have long debated the extent of Boko Haram's ties to other jihadist groups, but the evidence was never clear.

    There are no words. From the BBC:
    Jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS) have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, the local police chief says. Exactly who these people were and why they were killed is not clear, but Col Qasim al-Obeidi said he believed some were members of the security forces. IS fighters captured much of the town, near Ain al-Asad air base, last week. Col Obeidi said a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials was now under attack. He pleaded for help from the government and the international community. The fighting and poor communications in the area make it difficult to confirm such reports.
    This comes just two weeks after the world stood aghast at footage released by ISIS showing Jordanian pilot Moath al-Ksasbah locked in a cage and burned alive; and just days after another video showed the brutal beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Iraq.

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi started 2015 with a bang. In a speech connected to the birthday celebrations for the Prophet Muhammad, Sisi said, "... we are in need of a religious revolution." Via Roger Simon of PJ Media is this clip from writer Raymond Ibrahim's translation of a New Year's Day speech:
    I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible! That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world! Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible! I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now. All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective. I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.
    Ibrahim adds this important caveat: "It is unclear if in the last instance of umma Sisi is referring to Egypt (“the nation”) or if he is using it in the pan-Islamic sense as he did initially to refer to the entire Islamic world."
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