Sunday 26 January 2020

Suspected 'Irish' jihadists travelling on fake passports

Holding Passport
Holding Passport

Jim Cusack

The suspected "Irish" jihadists said to be operating in Syria and Iraq are likely to have been transient visitors here or travelling on false documents, sources in the Muslim community said yesterday.

No known member of any established Irish Muslim family has been detected fighting with the Islamic State group responsible for the recent atrocities in Iraq, sources in the Irish Muslim community told the Sunday Independent.

The community's view, expressed after reports that up to 30 "Irish" Muslims were fighting with the Islamists, are compounded by the apparent fact that no internet traffic has been spotted coming from Irish Islamists claiming to be operating with the IS.

No Twitter or other social media feeds have come from any "Irish jihadists" in Iraq or Syria, one of the leading academic groups monitoring communications arising from the conflict told the Sunday Independent.

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation in London has a special unit that has been monitoring the use of social media by the IS and have identified foreign jihadists.

The centre's director, Mr Paul Bew, said they had detected no Irish-connected Twitter or other social media communication from Syria. The IS terrorists are prolific users of social media and frequently post images and video material of their atrocities.

The IS has professional cameramen to record and upload all their atrocities including last week's beheading of journalist James Foley. The jihadists have been posting images of atrocities since the beginning of their campaign in Iraq including the mass murders of Iraqi soldiers and the slaying of non-Sunni villagers.

Some of the worst images have begun to become more widely publicised including the picture two weeks ago of the young son of a naturalised Australian Islamist holding the head of a decapitated Iraqi or Syrian soldier.

The IS began posting images and video footage from the outset of their attacks in Iraq including the prolonged video of the killing of innocent motorists and their passengers travelling along one of the main routes from Syria into Iraq last March.

British and other jihadists are frequent users social media and extensive work is under way by the West's intelligence agencies to identify the senders, including the apparently educated British jihadist who beheaded James Foley.

The head of the Islamic Centre of Ireland, Dr Ali Salim, speaking to RTE, said he believed that many of the foreign Islamists who were in Iraq and Syria were there from countries such as Britain and the United States. The Republic's neutrality, he said, was a factor in the non-radicalisation of young Muslims here.

Dr Salim said the Muslim community in Ireland "deplores the violence in Iraq and does not recognise the Islamic State" which, he said, was causing huge damage to the reputation of Islam.

He said the Muslim community in Ireland was fairly close knit and he had not heard of any young men from established families being in Iraq.

Two young Irish Muslims were killed in 2012 in the early stages of the uprising in Syria against the Assad regime but both were said by family and friends to be supporters of the pro-democracy movement, the Free Syrian Army, which has become a target of IS.

Shanseddin Gaida (16) from Navan, whose parents are Libyan, is believed to have been killed after he travelled with an Egyptian youth to Syria in February 2012 to 
take part in the uprising 

And, Hudhaifa Elsayed (22) from Drogheda was 
killed in December 2012 after travelling to Syria to, he said, fight for the country's freedom.

It is believed that several jihadists have used fake Irish passports and documents to travel to the Middle East and a fake Irish passport was found on the body of a man on the Iraqi-Syrian border five years ago.

Sunday Independent

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