Underscoring the crying need to recognize that when these young men are recruited into Islam, they are being recruited into an ideology of violence and hatred. “Report: American Ex-convicts In Yemen Pose ‘Significant Threat’: U.S. Worried About Three Dozen Criminals Who Converted to Islam in Prison, Most from New York,” by Richard Esposito, Rehab El-Buri, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz for ABC News, January 19 (thanks to Davida):
As many as three dozen criminals who converted to Islam in American prisons have moved to Yemen where they could pose a “significant threat” to attack the U.S., according to a report on al Qaeda from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be released Wednesday.
“The group seeks to recruit American citizens to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States,” said Sen. John Kerry, D.-Mass., the committee chairman.
The Senate report said that while the ex-convicts “ostensibly” moved to Yemen to study Arabic, U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials in Yemen “feared that these Americans were radicalized in prison and traveled to Yemen for training.”
An American official said the prison converts were believed to be primarily from the New York state prison system.
Members of the Senate staff were told by U.S. law enforcement officials that FBI agents in Yemen did not have the resources to track the ex-cons and that several “have dropped off the radar” for weeks at a time….
Also of concern to U.S. officials, the Senate staff found, is a group of “nearly 10 non-Yemeni Americans who traveled to Yemen, converted to Islam, became fundamentalists and married Yemeni women so they could remain in the country.”
An American official described them as “blond-haired, blue eyed-types” who fit the profile of Americans who al Qaeda has sought to recruit for terror missions….
U.S. law enforcement has long been concerned about reports that some prison converts to Islam had been radicalized behind bars and prepared to seek revenge once released.
“There is a network that steers them once they are out of prison through a series of proving grounds until they end up in Yemen,” said Patrick Dunleavy, a former deputy inspector general of the New York State prison system.
“Our informants and electronic intercepts indicated they go through what is called ‘underground tactical training’ when they get to Yemen,” said Dunleavy.
Federal agents broke up a plot in August, 2005 to attack Jewish sites in Los Angeles that they say was hatched inside Folsom Prison by militant Black Muslims who had sworn allegiance to a violent jihad.
The plan was disrupted when two recently released ex-con converts were caught in a string of gas station robberies, which officials said were intended to raise money for the attacks.
At the time, a spokesman for the California prison system said “anything is possible given the freedoms religious groups are guaranteed in prison.”…
In response to this, Edina Lekovic says more foxes should be hired to guard the henhouse:
Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a civil-rights group, said any radicalization might be the result of too few qualified Muslim chaplains for inmates.
“I’m deeply troubled by the possibility that these former inmates, who converted to Islam in prison, may have gone missing overseas,” said Lekovic. “Frankly, this case just underscores the necessity for the Bureau of Prisons to hire more Muslim chaplains to teach and guide inmates in their understanding and practice of Islam. Without chaplains, inmates are left to their own devices which may be guided by volatile prison dynamics.”
And who should vet these new Muslim chaplains? Lekovic’s MPAC? Lekovic is the MPAC flack whom Steve Emerson caught lying on national television, denying she was editor of a Muslim student publication that praised Osama bin Laden as a great mujahid — Emerson produced copies of the rag showing Lekovic’s name on the masthead as editor on the very same page on which the praise for Osama appeared.