mardi 29 juillet 2014

Foreign Fighters, Rebel Side, in Syria. 16/Danes

In 2013, the Danish police is investigating Abu Ahmed, the Quba Mosque from Amagen and charitable organization Hjælp4Syrien1. Location and organization serve as base for recruitment and fundraising to the Syrian jihad. Copenhagen monitors since March the activity of this organization that seems to support al-Nosra. Ahmed is well known to police for having sponsored spiritually two young Danes who wanted to organize attacks in Copenhagen. The group would have provided financial support to a former Guantanamo detainee, a Danish killed in Syria in February 2013, Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane. In August, another Dane, Abu Omar Altunes, also was killed in Syria. At this time, police believe at least 65 Danish have left for the Syrian jihad, 6 have died. August 16, 2013, a jihadist, Abu Khattab, post a video where he calls the Danes to join djihad2. A few days later, another video shows Khattab and three other fighters shoot 6 pictures of people perceived as "enemies of Islam" (a police officer, ministers, a lawyer, a designer of cartoons, Imam Ahmed Akkari, who had been violently involved in the case of the Mohammed cartoons in 2006, before saying he regretted)3.

Abou Khattab.-Source :

In May, the Muhajireen brigade announces the death, two months earlier, of a Danish jihadist, Sørensen. He reportedly traveled to Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon and Libya before joining the armed group. He was imprisoned in Yemen and Lebanon and, according to him, tortured in the first country. He follows in Yemen the Imam University in Sana'a, with Imam al Zindani Abdulmajid linked to bin Laden. Sørensen then lived for three years in Egypt before going to war in Libya and Syria. He was killed in the province of Latakia4. In October 2013, Danish Salafists from Islam Kaldet til Islam intensify their propaganda effort in prisons after the death of their leader, Tariq Shiraz, in Syria. Tariq died on September 25 in the province of Latakia ; he too was part of the ash-Omar Shishani group linked to ISIS. Tariq probably commanded the Danish contingent in the group5. On November 17, 2013 occurs the announcement of the death of two more Danes, including a 17 year old, killed Aleppo6. On 13 January 2014, insurgents confirm that Abu Khattab, whose fate was pending for several months, has been killed in the fighting in November, while two other Danes were injured. Since the summer of 2012, it would be more than 80 Danish, according to authorities, who would have gone to Syria, which at least 7 have so far been killed7

Kenneth Sorensen.-Source :

The motivations of Danish volunteers seem quite varied. Some go to help Sunni brothers, others to overthrow a dictatorship considered ignoble. Others leave to establish Sharia, or Islamic caliphate, or just suffer martyrdom. Finally, volunteers simply seeking adventure. Most are men between 16 and 25 years, mostly from Muslim immigration, but there is also Danish converts. The group is more diverse and younger than the previous djihads (Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq). Among immigrants, some are related to criminal circles. The recruitment is done through awareness via videos and social networks. It seems, once again, that some criminals go for the "redemption of sins." The majority of volunteers joined al-Nosra or ISIS. Half of those already returned to Denmark, and several have made roundtrips8.

Big A is one of the leaders of the most famous gangs of Denmark in Copenhagen. His real name is Abderozzak Benarabe, he joined the jihad in Syria and was approached by a
Guardian journalist, who has followed his career in 2012. Big A crosses the border crawling under Turkish barbed wire, then a car pick him in Idlib province, in Sarjeh. With another Dane with whom he traveled, he joined a brigade of Ahrar al-Sham, which includes 25 men, including one Canadian of Iraqi origin and 4 Uzbeks ; others are Syrians. He is not engaged in the fighting near the city of Ariha, to the contrary, his brigade commander returns him to Denmark to raise funds, a task which he believes he will be more useful. Big A returned to Syria after collecting money and materials, then returns to Copenhagen, where the gang war is raging. After exile in Morocco as sought by the Danish authorities, he was arrested and imprisoned in Copenhague9.

End of June 2014, a study of Danish Terrorist Analysis Center estimates that more than 100 people left for Syria, at least 15 have been killed and more women also left to this country. Some Danes also fight with the Islamic State in Iraq. Most Danes do jihad in Syria from Islamic Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense circles. Some are related to criminal circles. Recruitment is done mostly by the propaganda carried out by Islamists. Half of the persons concerned is back in Denmark, according to the center, most are trying to draw a line on their experience of fighting in Syria and resume their lives before jihad10.

Denmark is a Scandinavian country where radical Islamist circles are more established historically. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is well established and radical preachers operate in some mosques. Many candidates of Syrian jihad, however, are close to another organization,
Kaldet til Islam, modeled on Sharia4UK and is in contact with the founder thereof, Omar Bakri, a refugee in Lebanon. In 2012, supporters of Kaldet til Islam had gathered on Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen's main square to listen to the slogans of Bakri on the phone from Lebanon. These events may seem against-productive but in reality, the voids in the Danish legislation allows the movement to raise awareness and recruit more easily11.


8Truslen mod Danmark fra personer udrejst til Syrien, PET, Center for Terroranalyse, 24 novembre 2013.

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