Philadelphia: Muslim woman charged with attempting to join Islamic State terror group

ISIS+keonna+thomas+court+sketch

via U.S.: Phila. woman tried to go to Mideast to support ISIS.

A purported firebrand on Twitter, Keonna Thomas – a Philadelphia woman charged with attempting to join ISIS – remained a cipher in court Friday.150403-keonna-thomas-sketch-330p_d8769b904930401d08a6e5d2920d03e6

FBI agents allege that she openly dreamed online of dying for the Islamic State, had raised funds to support jihadists in Syria, and had booked a plane ticket in the hope of joining them there.

But as Thomas, 30, made her initial appearance in federal court, dressed in the head-to-toe black burka in which she was arrested, she said little.

Her appearance betrayed even less, with only colorful hiking boots giving the slightest hint of personality for the woman beneath the robe.

But online, prosecutors said, Thomas held little back. Under the aliases “Fatayat Al Khilafah” and “Young Lioness,” she allegedly voiced intentions to take on a suicide mission in the Middle East, cemented plans to travel overseas, and struck up conversations with jihadists the world over.

In one Feb. 17 exchange quoted in court filings, a person identified by prosecutors as an ISIS fighter in Syria asked Thomas whether she was willing to take part in a suicide attack.

Her purported reply: “That would be amazing. . . . A girl can only wish.”

FBI agents arrested Thomas at her North Philadelphia home Friday, five days after she had allegedly planned to leave the United States for good.

Prosecutors say she had booked a March 29 plane ticket from Philadelphia to Barcelona, Spain, purchased an electronic visa for Turkey, and researched bus routes from Spain to Istanbul, a popular transit point for those seeking to join ISIS.

Her plans were likely delayed, a source close to the investigation said, by the FBI’s March 27 raid on her home.

“Had the government not executed that search warrant,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said, “she would have been on that flight to join ISIS in Syria.”

At Friday’s hearing, Magistrate Judge Lynne A. Sitarski ordered Thomas held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday. A public defender appointed to represent her during the hearing declined to comment.

At her home, on the 800 block of North 10th Street, on Friday, television news crews surrounded the three-story, brick-front unit festooned with American flags.

A woman who answered the door told a reporter, “Go away. Go away before I call the cops.”

Few neighbors said they knew Thomas or her family.

Thomas’ arrest comes amid a concerted push by federal authorities to combat what they describe as a “more decentralized, more diffuse, more complicated” homegrown terror threat.

It followed Thursday’s indictment of two women in New York City on charges of plotting to build a bomb for a Boston Marathon-style attack.

In February, the FBI arrested three Brooklyn, N.Y., men, one of whom ran kiosks at East Coast malls including one in Philadelphia, over their alleged efforts to join the ISIS fight.

In all, the Justice Department has brought charges against more than 30 people since 2013 for attempting to join or provide support to terrorist groups – 18 of which involved ISIS.

“It involves the potential lone-wolf actor,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said at a news conference Thursday at which he discussed the more recent cases. “It involves the effective use of social media and the Internet.”

According to court filings in Thomas’ case, the Internet was where her passion for militant Islam thrived.

It remained unclear Friday when or how she became radicalized. But prosecutors say she was voicing her support online for the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the beheadings of two Americans, as early as August 2013.

One early posting on Twitter described in court filings pictured a young boy holding weapons. The caption allegedly read: “Ask yourselves, while this young man is holding magazines for the Islamic state, what are you doing for it? #ISIS.”

Another, posted in April 2014, contained images of a skull, flames, and a gun. Thomas purportedly wrote: “I need a permanent vacation that can only mean one thing.”

Another Twitter user, prosecutors say, responded with a word that means “martyrdom.”

Prosecutors say Thomas spread fund-raising pitches for ISIS and struck up conversations with three foreign jihadists. They included an ISIS fighter in Syria, a radical Islamic cleric in Jamaica, and a Somalia-based native of Minnesota, a hub of recent jihadist recruitment in the United States.

“I don’t want to say much here,” she purportedly wrote to the cleric on Jan. 30 of her plans to leave the country. “As of now I’m still here in the states but will be leaving soon.”

 

Philly: After losing free speech case, transit authority will end political ads to protect Muslims

via Blog: Philly transit agency to evade federal court decision in attempt to stifle anti-sharia free speech. By Thomas Lifson

Score a (temporary) victory for the right of Americans to point out the Jew-hatred embedded in the foundations of Muslim theology. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, has won a victory in federal court prohibiting the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority from banning its ads that point out Islamic Jew-hatred. SEPTA, which operates buses and trains around Philadelphia, will not appeal the court decision, but instead will evade it by changing its policy so as to reject all political advertising, thereby avoiding the problem of “viewpoint discrimination” that led the court to decide against it.

Paul Nussbaum writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

SEPTA will not appeal a federal court ruling that the transit authority must accept virulently anti-Muslim advertising on its buses, SEPTA officials said Thursday. (snip)

The black-and-white ads proclaim “Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran” and feature a photograph of a 1941 meeting between Hitler and Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist who made radio broadcasts supporting the Nazis.

The ad will start appearing on the sides of 84 SEPTA buses as early as next week and will be displayed for a month, under terms of a $30,000 contract, SEPTA officials said.

The ad was produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit organization, which argued in legal filings that the ad was germane and timely “in light of the fact that many Jews (and Christians) are being persecuted in Islamic countries in the Middle East.”

U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled March 11 that because SEPTA had accepted other political and controversial ads on public issues, it could not refuse to accept the Hitler ad. (snip)

SEPTA officials said they decided it was unwise to spend the money to pursue an appeal they were likely to lose, especially since the loser in the case would have to pay the legal fees for both sides.

Writing in Breitbart, Pamela Geller explains:

Victory! But don’t applaud too loudly. The Philly transit authority has declared they will no long accept political ads. The Geller Ban is back. This is not the first time city authorities have changed the rules in response to an AFDI free speech victory.

Longtime supporters of my work are familiar with my numerous court cases in the defense of free speech. Now, after winning another such case, we are about to run our first ad campaign in Philadelphia, and apparently our last. (snip)

Time and time again, various city officials and dictatorial bureaucrats have censored or banned outright our ads of truth and freedom, while allowing the most fallacious and libelous anti-Jewish, pro-jihad message to run. The mainstream media piles on, as in thePhiladelphia Inquirer story about this rule change, which calls our ads “virulently anti-Muslim,” without ever bothering to discover whether or not Islamic Jew-hatred really is in the Qur’an, or to consider whether it is really wise of the U.S. government to give aid to countries that encourage that hatred.

Sharia law prohibits criticism of Mohammed or Islam, and to a shocking degree American governmental entities do their best to comply.  SEPTA tells the Inquirer that it worries about vandalism, which is capitulating to bullies, or, as it is called in court, the “heckler’s veto.”  Bullying is part and parcel of the way Islam deals with its critics, and because establishing the global caliphate is the aim, many Muslims will not rest until they succeed in stifling all criticism, regardless of First Amendment guarantees in this country.

 

Islamic terror financier ran kiosks at malls in Delaware, Philly, Georgia, Florida

“…among other locations.” via Officials: Ex-Dover Mall kiosk owner financed ISIS plot

A man who last year operated a Dover Mall kiosk that repaired cellphones was the alleged financier of what federal prosecutors say was a terrorist plot to fly two other suspects to Syria to join the Islamic State fighters, The News Journal has learned.

Abror Habibov, 30, who was arraigned Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, and held without bail, ran the I Cell Fix kiosk at the mall and also briefly lived in Dover.

“We are aware that Habibov was known to operate or work at a kiosk at the Dover Mall,” Dover Police Cpl. Mark A. Hoffman said.

The indictment said Habibov operates kiosks that sell kitchenware and repair mobile phones in malls in Philadelphia; Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Savannah, Georgia; and Jacksonville, “among other locations.”

At the I Cell Fix kiosk in Chesapeake on Thursday afternoon, an employee told a reporter that he had just learned of Habibov’s arrests.

“It’s crazy,” said the man, who identified himself as Amin, but declined to give his last name.

Talk about crazy. And Kiosks can be ideal for terror financing, expert says

Relaxed background checks, short-term leases and an easy-to-launder cash flow are among the reasons owning a mall kiosk could be ideal for a terrorist living in the United States, an expert on terrorism financing said.

Abror Habibov, the alleged financier of a plot to fly two associates to Syria to join the Islamic State group, operated the I Cell Fix kiosk at the Dover Mall. Habibov was arraigned Wednesday in Florida.

Authorities have not released information about the nature of Habibov’s businesses or his time in Delaware. His public defender did not respond to calls from The News Journal.

Mall kiosks offer relatively anonymity, said Moyara Ruehsen, an associate professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California. Ruehsen has researched money laundering and terrorism.

“I think kiosks are easy to set up because you don’t have to provide that much information, compared to taking out a small-business loan to start a larger-scale business,” she said.

Brady Flowers of Minneapolis, who has spent 10 years in the kiosk industry, said each mall has different standards to evaluate people who apply. He said malls have adopted more stringent requirements for ownership since the 2008 credit crunch. But Flowers said that a credit check might be the only review a mall may request in addition to verifying a business license and federal tax identification number.

“If I saw a rent sign in a strip mall, I would have to go through a qualification process to have that space,” he said. “The difference with a kiosk is that they really only want to know what you are going to sell.”

Ruehsen said an all-cash business such as a kiosk would be ideal because it would avoid a complicated, easy-to-trace money-laundering process.

“It doesn’t take much money here in the states if you are an independent cell and not getting money from a larger organization,” she said.

This isn’t the first time kiosks have been linked with the funding of terrorism.

In 2002, FBI and INS agents raided more than 65 jewelry stores kiosks operating at Intrigue Jewelers in six states, including one in Philadelphia. That chain was owned by a Florida company suspected of funding terrorist activity and laundering terrorist money.

 More via Terror plot exposes flaws in business permits

Lawmakers with both parties started looking closer Friday at Delaware’s business registration practices after the discovery that accused terrorists set up shop in a Dover Mall kiosk without direct city, county or state permits or approvals.

The state’s top tax officer was unable to find any sign of Abror Habibov’s I Cell Fix in the Division of Revenue’s license database. The agency plans a check of other such sites at Dover Mall, along with a wider reminder to host sites like malls that they need to verify permit compliance when they open doors to vendors.

“As far as we can tell, there is no entity” connected with Habibov on record, Carter said. “We ask that places like the Dover Mall and Christiana Mall make sure that anybody that does business there has an active license.”

The Dover company also was not listed among companies that had secured a required Kent County permit.


Next time you’re at the mall and think about buying fake Rayban sunglasses, a Louie Vuitton handbag, some watered down brand name perfume or a remote control helicopter – ask the kiosk owner a few polite questions.

 

The other summit on defeating jihad (video)

While Barack Hussain Obama was refusing to acknowledge ‘Muslim terrorists’ at his summit, another summit a week earlier called out Obama’s complicity and Eric Holder’s “refusal to prosecute several hundred co-conspirators right here in our midst.”

The “Defeat Jihad Summit” was sponsored by the Center for Security Policy and brought together present and former, domestic and foreign political leaders, senior military officers, national security professionals and other experts on Islamic supremacism and its guiding doctrine, shariah.

Philly: Judge rules lawsuit against school for burka kidnapping can proceed

How would anyone at the school have known the abductor wasn’t the mother? If they ask the real mother to take the Muslim garb off, she’ll sue over that too.

The only solution is to ban Muslim head coverings or deny those with Muslim head coverings from picking up children at schools. via Judge: Lawsuit against school district in kindergartner’s kidnapping can proceed.

A federal judge ruled last Thursday that a civil lawsuit can proceed against the School District of Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission and the substitute teacher on duty when a kindergartner was kidnapped from class last year and later sexually assaulted.

The school district had asked U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois to dismiss the complaint against the district and teacher Reginald Littlejohn, in which attorney Tom Kline argued the victim, then 5, was denied her constitutional right to personal safety at Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia.

The lawsuit, filed by the girl’s family, claims Littlejohn violated school policy on Jan. 14, 2013, by releasing the child to Christina Regusters, 21, a stranger hidden head-to-toe in Muslim garb. Regusters worked at an after-school program the girl attended and was permitted to take the child out of class without providing identification.

After taking the girl from Bryant, Regusters sexually assaulted her in a house nearby and then abandoned her in an Upper Darby park wearing only a T-shirt. A Good Samaritan, Nelson Mandela Myers, found her the next morning and called police.

Regusters was convicted in September of kidnapping, indecent deviate sexual intercourse and related crimes. She remains jailed on $4 million bail pending her sentencing, which is set for Jan. 20, according to Kline and court records.

The complaint blames the district of failing to properly screen Littlejohn or train and supervise employees on policies governing the dismissal of students.

“The school district, which despite its public admissions of fault, has refused to accept any responsibility for enabling one of the most heinous crimes in Philadelphia history,” Kline said in a statement. “We are now one major step closer to a civil federal jury hearing the horror story of an innocent taken from the sanctuary of a kindergarten classroom into a den of horror, and the reforms needed to make our schools safe again.”

The suit seeks more than $150,000 in damages. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Chicago: Burqa bank robbing trend continues, this time at Chase

At least one thief called it the ‘perfect disguise’. Another contribution Muslims have made in America – the perfect disguise to rob banks. A hot trend in Philly (18 incidents in 7 years), Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, California and now Chicago, via Man disguised in burqa attempts to rob La Grange bank: reports | mySuburbanLife.com.

LA GRANGE – Federal agents stopped a bank robber’s plan to steal nearly $168,000 in cash early Thursday morning at a La Grange Chase Bank, according to media reports.

Gildardo Lopez Jr., 31, of Chicago and suspected getaway driver Douglas Pineda, 31, of Chicago were both arrested after Lopez allegedly exited the bank disguised in a Muslim woman’s garment, reports said.

Lopez reportedly was an ATM technician at the bank and had a key to access the bank at 14 S. La Grange Road. Pineda worked as a Transportation Security Administration airport screener, according to reports.

A judge on Friday placed both men on house arrest. If convicted, they could each face up to 10 years in prison.

Philadelphia: Another Bank Robbery In Muslim Garb

via Male In Muslim Garb Attempts To Rob Northeast Philly Bank « CBS Philly. h/t Islamist Watch

bank_suspect

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are searching for a male who attempted to rob a Northeast Philadelphia bank while wearing Muslim garb.

The incident happened Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Bank branch on Castor Avenue in the city’s Oxford Circle section.

According to investigators, the male suspect, dressed in Muslim garb, entered the bank and presented a teller with a threatening demand note.

After failing to obtain any money, the suspect ran out of the bank and was last seen on Magee Avenue.

There were no reports of any injuries.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’6” tall with a thin build. He was wearing Muslim garb.

Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to call 911 or 215.686.TIPS (8477).

Related burka bank robbery posts.

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