Tags: Al-Qaida | America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | North Africa | attacks

Ex-Jihadist: N. Africa to Be Launchpad for Europe Terror Attacks

By    |   Friday, 27 March 2015 03:03 PM

Europe should brace for terror attacks soon that will originate from North African countries such as Libya that increasingly serve as havens for militants, says a former Western jihadist who renounced radical Islam after 9/11 and went under cover as a counterterror operative for Canadian authorities.

"Libya is a mess, and they're operating there, they're training there," ex-jihadist Mubin Shaikh told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Friday, referring to al-Qaida and Islamic State offshoots that are emerging in North Africa.

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"In fact, the [museum] attack in Tunis was conducted by individuals who were trained in Libya — and Libya, as you know, is a boat ride away from Italy," said Shaikh.

"So, you will start to see these attacks in the coming year. I'm telling you now, you will see in this coming year attacks in Europe launched from North Africa in particular," said Shaikh, author of "Undercover Jihadi: Inside the Toronto 18 — Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism and the West."

Shaikh was joined on air by national security and foreign policy expert Jed Babbin, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and former deputy undersecretary of defense to President George H.W. Bush.

Babbin and Shaikh both said that in addition to cells forming abroad, homegrown terrorism also remains a threat that emanates from within isolated communities in the West.

"Frankly, we're looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope," said Babbin. "One of the things we have to address is the dedication of the Muslim populations in Western nations to not assimilate.

"That makes them more susceptible to radicalization," said Babbin, "and we need to look to the Muslim populations to try better to assimilate where they are. You see that in Britain, you see that in France, and Canada, here."

Shaikh, who grew up in Toronto in a middle-class Muslim home and became enamored with jihadism as a teenager, agreed, "You have a lot of communities that do have a separationist worldview. This is a place where they're very prone to radicalization, to being brought back into the fold of extremists."

They differed on how to identify and stop budding radicals. Babbin has said that profiling, the much-derided practice of surveilling certain populations — in this case Muslim communities — works more often than not.

"You go where you're likely to get information," said Babbin. "The blue-haired Minnesota grandma is not going to be the source of the problem. So, you go where you find the problem."

Shaikh countered, "I don't think wide-net surveillance works," and argued that it's more productive to profile behavior rather than ethnicities or communities.

"If you're going to look for the brown guy with the beard, you're going to miss the white guy with no beard who's the convert," said Shaikh. "And if you announce to the world that we're looking for the white guy with no beard, well, guess what? The white guy's going to grow a beard."

"So, we're always playing catch-up," he said. "It's behavioral profiling that we're going after."

He applauded the law enforcement stings that stopped two Illinois cousins — one a National Guardsman — from allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State and attacking a hometown military base and, before that, nabbed an Air Force veteran allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State.

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Europe should brace for terror attacks soon that will originate from North African countries such as Libya that increasingly serve as havens for militants, says a former Western jihadist who renounced radical Islam after 9/11 and went under cover as . . .
North Africa, attacks, Europe, Libya, jihadist, Jed Babbin
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2015-03-27
Friday, 27 March 2015 03:03 PM
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