According to former Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Eddie Green, Kifah Jayyousi was “a great guy, one of the nicest people I”ve ever met.” While Green was superintendent, Jayyousi oversaw the Detroit school district’s capital improvement program.
Jayyousi was charged, according to the Detroit Free Press, with “conspiring to kidnap, maim and murder by providing money, recruits and equipment for Islamic struggles in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya from 1993 to 2001.”
Christopher Paul, a martial arts instructor at a mosque in Columbus, Ohio, is also a terrific guy. Ahmad Al-Akhras, vice chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in Columbus, said: “From the things I know, he is a loving husband and he has a wife and parents in town. They are a good family together.”
Yet Paul, a Muslim, was charged, according to Associated Press, with “providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.” He was accused of training with Al-Qaeda in the early 1990s, training people for violent jihad attacks on targets in Europe and the United States, and more.
This kind of thing is nothing new. According to a Southern California friend of Raed Albanna, who killed 132 people in a suicide attack outside a medical clinic in Iraq in 2005, “He was into partying. We hit some pretty wild clubs in Hollywood.” Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, a.k.a. Suleyman Al-Faris, the convert to Islam from Marin County who joined the Taliban and was captured in Afghanistan fighting against American troops, has said: “In simple terms, this is the story of a decent and honorable young man embarked on a spiritual quest.”
Great guys all. Some partied and some embarked on a spiritual search, but they all ended up in the same place, committing acts dedicated to furthering the cause of jihad, or facing charges of having done so.
But they may be genuinely decent fellows. It was the Nazi genocide mastermind Heinrich Himmler who told a group of SS leaders: “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet — apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness — to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard”¦”
Were these SS mass murderers really decent fellows? To their friends and family, they probably were. After all, they weren’t interested in undifferentiated mayhem. They were adherents of a totalitarian, genocidal ideology that convinced them that the murders they were committing were for a good purpose. As far as they were concerned, their goals were rational. It was a necessity for them to remain “decent fellows,” for they were busy trying to build what they saw as a decent society. That their vision of a decent society included genocide and torture did not trouble them, for it was all for — in their view — a goal that remained good.
Today”s jihad terrorists are likewise the adherents of a totalitarian, genocidal ideology that teaches them that murders committed under certain circumstances are a good thing. And those murders, here again, are not committed for their own sake, but for the sake of a societal vision hardly less draconian and evil than that of Adolf Hitler, but one also that portrays itself as the exponent of all that is good — as the Taliban showed us. But the continued reference to such people as “terrorists” pure and simple, and the refusal of the media and most law enforcement officials to examine their ideology at all, only reinforces the idea that these people are raving maniacs, interested solely in chaos for its own sake. The society they want to build, and the means besides guns and bombs that they are using to build it, so far remain below the radar screen of most analysts. These people are just “terrorists,” interested only in “terror.” And so we”re continually surprised when they turn out to be nice guys after all. Decent fellows. Like the SS.
“Father: Beheading plot suspect a dedicated teacher,” from the Associated Press, February 4 (thanks to Kenneth):
Nevine Aly Elshiekh is a dog lover who teaches children with developmental disabilities. She is college-educated, well-respected by her neighbors and has no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket.
Family members and friends find it impossible to reconcile that woman with the zealot federal prosecutors say paid a hit man to behead three government informants from a recent terrorism trial.
Elshiekh, 46, was arrested two weeks ago when FBI agents raided the tidy West Raleigh ranch house she shares with her elderly parents. Her father, an Egyptian who moved his family to the U.S. more than 40 years ago, told The Associated Press the charges don’t add up.
“We don’t believe it,” said Aly Elshiekh, 80, a retired professor at North Carolina State University. “She loves special-ed kids and has dedicated her life to helping kids with disabilities.”
Also arrested was Shkumbin Sherifi, 21. Prosecutors said they paid $5,000 for the first hit to an FBI informant posing as a fictional hit man’s assistant, who later showed the pair a faked photo showing the intended victim’s severed head.
Sherifi is the younger brother of Hysen Sherifi, 27, who was sentenced last month to 45 years in prison for conspiring to attack the U.S. Marine base at Quantico and targets overseas.
Elshiekh, a family friend of one of the defendants, frequently made the two-hour trip to New Bern to attend the monthlong trial, which began shortly after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. She scribbled careful notes during the testimony that led to Hysen Sherifi and two others being convicted of terrorism-related offenses. Three others pleaded guilty.
The case hinged largely on surveillance tapes made by confidential informants paid by the FBI.
Elshiekh was born in the United States, while Shkumbin Sherifi is a naturalized citizen. Like many from Raleigh’s growing Muslim community, they insisted during trial that the defendants were innocent. There was no evidence presented that any of the accused men had agreed to participate in a specific plot.
Prosecutors say Hysen Sherifi exchanged letters with Elshiekh during trial and called her from jail. He also mailed her bracelets he made behind bars, according to the FBI.
Court records show Elshiekh divorced in 2010. Hysen Sherifi is married to a woman who lives in his native Kosovo.
The Sherifi family fled their homeland in 1999 during a brutal war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. Shkumbin Sherifi lives at home with his parents and has taken classes at a nearby community college, though records show he was not enrolled at the time of his arrest.
State court records show his only prior brush with the law was in 2006, when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for resisting a public officer.
He has said his brother was framed by federal agents.
“Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks were targeted,” Shkumbin Sherifi said in a video uploaded to YouTube the day of his arrest. “For Muslims, it’s guilty until proven innocent.”
Relatives have declined repeated interview requests. However, an older sister, Hylja Sherifi, testified at a Jan. 27 court hearing that Shkumbin is a primary caregiver to their father, who has end-stage lung cancer.
He also records rap songs in English and Albanian under the stage name Beme. His lyrics recount the sectarian violence in his homeland, which was eventually halted by an American-led bombing campaign against the Serbian military. Tens of thousands of Albanian Kosovars, including the Sherifis, ended up as refugees in the United States, Germany and other western nations.
“Bombs dropping 4 in the morning, tanks blowing, windows shaking, my momma’s fainting,” Shkumbin Sherifi raps to a heavy beat. “I was a kid. Hey, what could I do? … Guerrilla warfare, yeah, we fight back. But NATO don’t like that. We fight for each other. Y’all tried to murder my sisters and brothers. … We’re gonna to get revenge, before Judgment Day.”…
For the past nine years, Elshiekh has worked at Sterling Montessori Academy, a state-supported charter school in Morrisville. School officials declined repeated requests for comment and said only that Elshiekh has been placed on leave.
The organization’s tax returns, which are public records, list Elshiekh’s title as director of exceptional children and indicate she is among the school’s highest-paid employees.
She has also served as a teacher at a religious school that is part of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the city’s largest mosque.
Imran Aukhil, a spokesman for the mosque, did not respond to requests for comment. Members of the congregation were among about 30 people who attended court hearings in Wilmington to show support.
Farris Barakat, a 21-year-old college student, said Elshiekh was his second-grade teacher at the mosque’s school.
“Sister Nevine is an amazing person,” Barakat said. “Nothing bad has ever come out of her.”
On the quiet Raleigh street where Elshiekh lives with her parents, neighbors expressed disbelief she could be involved in anything nefarious.
Alan Harris, who lives across the road from the Elshiekhs, said he frequently saw Nevine walking her chocolate lab. Also a dog owner, Harris said they often spoke.
He said she wore western clothes and never discussed religion.
“She’s a kind, caring person, always polite,” Harris said. “From what I know of her, she is of good character. I hope she turns out to be an innocent party in all this.”
In court Friday, Elshiekh wore a traditional scarf for Muslim women that covered her hair and neck. The shackles on her ankles clanked under a long, black dress….