Thursday, August 5, 2010

Indictments: Jihad in the Heart of Dixie?

Al-Shabaab in the Heart of Dixie?  No way, right?


On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced the indictments and arrests of 14 individuals suspected of  providing money, personnel and services to the Somali-based terrorist organization known as Al-Shabaab.

In the Southern District of Alabama, prosecutors unsealed a superseding indictment charging Omar Shafik Hammami, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Alabama, with providing material support to al-Shabaab. Separately, prosecutors in the Southern District of California unsealed an indictment charging Jehad Serwan Mostafa, a U.S. citizen and former resident of California, with providing material support to al-Shabaab.
Today in the Southern District of Alabama, prosecutors unsealed a September 2009 superseding indictment against Omar Hammami, 26, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Daphne, Alabama, also known as “Abu Mansour al-Amriki,” or “Farouk.”

The three-count indictment alleges that Hammami provided material support, including himself as personnel, to terrorists; conspired to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, al-Shabaab, and provided material support to al-Shabaab. Hammami faces a potential 15 years in prison for each of the three counts of the indictment. He is not in custody and is currently believed to be in Somalia.

Ok, I'm feigning shock, because the story of Abu Mansour al-Amriki made news here last fall, and again last winter. "Al-Amriki" is the nom de guerre of Omar Hammami, a Syrian-American Muslim who grew up in Daphne, Alabama, a bedroom community across the bay from Mobile.

I'm not feigning concern, though.  Daphne, like most parts of Alabama, are staunchly conservative.  Hammani was reported to be an otherwise normal teenager, attending the local high school and enjoying the things that teenagers usually do.  But, something obviously changed.  Wonder where?  Wonder how?

Maybe it was here, at the Islamic Center of Mobile, which is located right across Old Shell Road from the University of South Alabama.  Maybe a trusting and impressionable young Hammani was taken in by the radical ideas of a hardcore islamist imam.  I'm just speculating of course, but it's hard to see how an otherwise normal kid from an upscale, well-heeled community like Daphne just "got religion" and declared Jihad! all by himself.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.