US charges father and son for joining Daesh

An American man who was just 14 when his father took him to Syria to join Daesh was charged with aiding a terrorist group. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 01 October 2020

US charges father and son for joining Daesh

  • The father had been inspired by the teachings of US-born Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar Awlaki
  • There was no indication whether Jihad will be treated differently due to his having been a child when introduced to Daesh

WASHINGTON: An American man who was just 14 when his father took him to Syria to join Daesh was charged with aiding a terrorist group, US authorities announced Wednesday.
Jihad Ali, now 19, and his father Emraan Ali were repatriated to the US from Syria, where they were held since last year by the Syrian Democratic Forces, among hundreds of foreign fighters captured after the defeat of the Daesh caliphate.
Both father and son were charged in Miami federal court with providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The father, a Trinidad & Tobago-born naturalized American, took his wife, New York-born Jihad, and five other children to Syria in 2015 to enlist in the extremist group.
The father had been inspired by the teachings of US-born Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar Awlaki.
Jihad Ali told FBI investigators last year that he was “excited to go somewhere new and see the world,” according to court filings.
Later in 2015 he entered Daesh weapons and warfare training and was assigned to a Daesh battalion for English speakers, posting boasts of his joining the fighting on Facebook.
“Jihad described some of the training as cool and other portions as scary,” the court filing said.
He and his father, now 53, were involved in several combat situations, and were joined by yet another of Emraan’s sons, who was not identified by the US Justice Department and was younger than Jihad.
The three surrendered in Baghuz, Syria in March, the last stronghold of Daesh in Syria, and taken custody of by the SDF, allies of the Western anti-Daesh coalition.
Jihad and his father both appeared in federal court in Florida Wednesday, the Justice Department said.
There was no indication whether Jihad will be treated differently due to his having been a child when introduced to Daesh.
The charges carry up to 20 years in prison.


French police target extremist networks after teacher’s beheading

Updated 39 min 57 sec ago

French police target extremist networks after teacher’s beheading

  • President Emmanuel Macron: Extremists should not be allowed sleep soundly in our country
  • French teachers have long complained of tensions around religion and identity spilling over into the classroom

PARIS: French police on Monday launched a series of raids targeting extremist networks three days after the beheading of a history teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

The operation came a day after tens of thousands of people took part in rallies countrywide to honor history teacher Samuel Paty and defend freedom of expression.

Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin said “dozens” of individuals were being probed for suspected radicalization.

While they were “not necessarily linked” to Paty’s killing, the government aimed to send a message that there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic,” he added.

Darmanin said the government would also tighten the noose on NGOs with suspected links to extremist networks.

“Fear is about to change sides,” President Emmanuel Macron told a meeting of key ministers Sunday to discuss a response to the attack.

“Extremists should not be allowed sleep soundly in our country,” he said.

Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Paris.

A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, an 18-year-old Chechen man Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police.

The grisly killing has drawn parallels with the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, where 12 people, including cartoonists, were gunned down for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Paty had shown his civics class one of the controversial cartoons.

According to his school, Paty had given Muslim children the option to leave the classroom before he showed the cartoon in a lesson on free speech, saying he did not want their feelings hurt.

The lesson sparked a furor nonetheless and Paty and his school received threats.

Eleven people are being held over his murder, including a known radical and the father of one of Paty’s pupils, who had launched an online campaign against the teacher.

Darmanin accused the two men of having issued a “fatwa” against Paty, using the term for an edict that was famously used to describe the 1989 death sentence handed down against writer Salman Rushdie by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

Anzorov’s family arrived in France from the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya when he was six.

Locals in the Normandy town of Evreux where he lived described him as a loner who had become increasingly religious in recent years.

Police are trying to establish whether he acted alone.

Four members of his family are being held for questioning.

In scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, when over a million people marched through Paris to defend press freedom, people again gathered at the central Place de la Republique on Sunday to express their horror over Paty’s death.

Some in the crowd chanted “I am Samuel,” echoing the 2015 “I am Charlie” rallying call for free speech.

French teachers have long complained of tensions around religion and identity spilling over into the classroom.

The government has vowed to step up security at schools when pupils return after half-term.

Far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, who laid a wreath outside Paty’s school on Monday, called for “wartime legislation” to combat the terror threat.

Le Pen, who has announced she will make a third bid for the French presidency in 2022, called for an “immediate” moratorium on immigration and for all foreigners on terror watchlists to be deported.

Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo killings.

The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside the publication’s old office.