Rogue states are not the only countries where known terrorists walk the streets freely. This entry will track some of those cases; it complements my entry at "Insane Asylum: How America Welcomes Terrorists," which looks at immigrants claiming "political asylum" who are later accused or indicted on terrorism charges.
United States: ABC News reports that two men are at large.
- Mohammad Salah, a "specially designated terrorist" for his alleged role in planning suicide bombings in Israel, has never been arrested. On the contrary, he had been employed by the city college system of Chicago since February 2002. FBI Agent Robert Wright has said he is "dumbfounded; how could this man be walking the streets?"
- Jamil Sarsour, accused of financing suicide bombings in Israel, including one that killed two Americans.
Now, doesn't knowing this make you feel safer? (June 8, 2003)
Belgium: I tell the sad tale of Khalil al-Nawara at "Belgium, Its Palestinian Murderer, and Schadenfreude." (Dec. 18, 2003)
Canada: The depressing inability of the government to deport Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, and my small role in this effort, are documented at "Canada's Immigration Chaos." (Sep. 13, 2004)
Great Britain: London's just retired metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, wrote an article in the News of the World today in which he claims:
As you read this, there are at least 100 Osama bin Laden-trained terrorists walking Britain's streets. The number is probably nearer 200: the cunning of Al Qaeda means we cannot be exact. But they would all commit devastating terror attacks against us if they could, even those born and brought up here.
(March 6, 2005)
Great Britain: Fowzi Badavi Nejad, 48, is the only terrorist to have survived the siege of the Iranian embassy in London in 1980. He was one of six gunmen belonging to the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan, sponsored by Saddam Hussein. The group held 26 people captive at the embassy during a six-day siege during which they murdered two hostages and threw a body out of the building. Margaret Thatcher ordered the SAS to storm the embassy. Nejad was sentenced in 1981 to life imprisonment for conspiracy to murder, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm and two charges of manslaughter.
Well, Nejad is about to be released from prison. Should that happen, Charles Clarke, the home secretary, is prepared to grant him political asylum for life and provide him with a new identity to protect him from revenge attacks. (October 23, 2005)
Australia: Before 9/11, Russell Skelton reports in The Age, "Muslim militants of all complexions sought Australia as a haven from security forces hunting them in their own countries. ("Militants," by the way, is MSM-speak for "terrorists.") And they got it:
A search of Refugee Review Tribunal records between 1993 and 2001 reveals that scores of self-confessed militants from Algeria and Egypt asked for and, in many cases, were granted political asylum after convincing authorities they were fleeing persecution, jail and torture. Others claimed to be former members of Islamist groups, such as Algeria's GIA (Armed Islamic Group) or Egypt's al-Jihad before becoming disillusioned with the culture of assassination and brutality and choosing to desert. … Official figures show that the refugee tribunal dealt with about 600 applicants from Algeria and Egypt in the seven-year period and many were accepted.
Skelton gives specific examples:
- Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 45, also known as Abu Bakr, is an Algerian-born imam in Melbourne accused of directing an Australia terrorist organization.
- "One successful Algerian applicant told the tribunal that he was heavily involved in a political group in Australia and produced evidence to prove it. He argued that his continued involvement with the ‘Islamist agenda,' which included the imposition of sharia law on ‘democratic' Algeria, had made him a target for security forces.
- "Another 34-year-old man said he was in danger of detention on return to Algeria because of his strong Islamic beliefs. He said he had been involved with fundamentalist groups since secondary school and worked as a spy and organiser for militant groups. The tribunal member concluded that as the man was a supporter of the "Islamist agenda" he would be at risk if sent home and was granted a visa."
- "A husband and wife fled Egypt after being told by an Al-Jihad Party official to rob a store and kill the Christian owner. They said they quit the party because they feared for their lives if they failed to carry out the order. Up until their desertion the husband had worked ‘persistently' to recruit young unemployed men into the party and attended religious classes.
In general, Skelton concludes, "before September 11, 2001, tribunal members judging asylum claims took an open approach to Islamic political refugees persecuted by repressive governments battling terrorism. They were sympathetic to applicants who avoided conscription on the grounds that it violated their religious beliefs."
What next? Any official alarm at this state of affairs? Apparently not. "A spokeswoman for Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday ASIO [the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation] was routinely involved in assessing refugee claims, but declined to say whether there had been any attempt to review old claims." (Nov. 13, 2005)
New Zealand: I quote Metafilter.com.
Algerian Ahmed Zaoui arrived in New Zealand in December 2002, having been convicted in Belgium and France (in absentia) for terrorism-related offences, on a false passport requesting refugee status. He was imprisoned for two years (spending ten months in solitary confinement) as a result of the Security Intelligence Service issuing a security risk certificate, before the NZ Supreme Court granted him bail. He now lives in a Dominican Priory in Auckland under curfew, but manages (accompanied by his crusading young lawyer) to give public lectures, offer eulogies, publish a book of poetry, appear in a music video (wmv), sing onstage at the NZ Music Awards, inspire a fund-raising cookbook "Conversations over Couscous", and has become (depending on your viewpoint) a reluctant or carefully cultivated celebrity.
(Nov. 21, 2005)