New York attack and ISIS recruiting

In the past few years, the Islamic State has constantly urged to commit attacks in west countries, by any means, also explicitly mentioning the use of cars or trucks into the crowd. Sayfullo Saipov, resident of Florida, a green-card holder responded to the call on Tuesday. The man, 29-year-old, have worked as a driver. Saipov lived in New Jersey after emigrating from Uzbekistan seven years ago. On October 31st he, in a rented pickup, mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday in New York city. The merciless driver’s rampage left several bloodied victims and mangled bicycles in his wake. The suspect ended his rampage after ramming a school bus. This attack claimed a total of eight victims, with about a dozen more injured.

The man shouted “Allahu Ackbar” and a note was found inside the truck referring to the Islamic State militant group. Andrew Cuomo, New York Governator, said the suspect “was associated with ISIS, and he was radicalized domestically”. The Governator called Tuesday’s carnage a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot. “ISIS has gotten it down to a simple formula that they can put on the internet,” Cuomo said. But over the last two years, a terrorism investigation resulted in charges against five men from Uzbekistan and one from Kazakhstan of providing material support to ISIS. Several of the men have pleaded guilty. It is unclear whether Mr. Saipov was connected with that investigation.

In the world, since the beginning of the year, four of the bloodiest terrorist attacks came from Uzbekistan. The New Year’s shooting in Istanbul was executed by Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek. Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbek, was responsible for the Stockholm attack in April. The bombing in the St. Petersburg metro was led by Akbarzhon Jalilov, an ethnic Uzbek born in Kyrgyzstan. Since its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has been one of the most repressive countries in Central Asia in terms of islamic religion. But in the 1990s, a lot of radical Islamist Uzbeks joined the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Since five yeras some fighters joined ISIS, others the al-Nursa front in Syria.

It is evident that a good deal still remains to be done if the problem of terrorism is to be tackled in a global, forceful and coordinated manner. Terrorists want to create a West that is constantly under attack, scared and militarized, and we still do not realize that the humus that has given rise to all this continues to be alive and flourishing.The causes that led to the rise of ISIS are still the same. To cite some examples: the aftermath of the US wars in the Middle East, the Sunni and Shiite integration, the influence of the Salafis Arab powers and of Russia, the role of Iran, the economic interests of oil energy, the sale of weapons and the use of these in the whole Middle East, and the Israeli issue, a strong US outpost in the area.

In its annual report, USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom) expresses concern at the fact that the Saudi Arabian regime is investing money abroad in order to disseminate its extreme interpretation of Wahhabi Islam – thereby increasing religious intolerance in other countries. In a report on Saudi Arabian states that Wahhabite extremism inspire violence and terrorism in a lot of country, the Uzbekistan is one of them. The Islamic State, Al Qaeda but, even more, the Wahhabi radical Islamist scene, is rich and fully supported in Sunni Middle East, it find a lot of followers in the Arab people.

Stopping the flow of money towards all the Arab countries would certainly reduce the economic capabilities of these cultures which are so far away from the concepts of democracy, protection of human rights and equal opportunities and it would also likely prevent funding to international terrorism. Thousands of newspapers, websites and Islamist television channels (such as Echourouk and Iqra) impose their unique vision of the world: from clothing issues to what is allowed or not, what to fight or not. On them the West is portrayed as the “place of blasphemous countries”, the attacks are reported as the result of attacks to Islam, Muslims and Arabs must be enemies of laypeople and Jews. The Palestinian issue, the destruction of Iraq and the effects of the Western imperialism are used to convince the masses of the holy war.

All this allows the recruitment of more or less psychologically stable followers, willing to immolate themselves through attacks in the Islamic countries as well as in the European and USA ones. Furthermore, we find more and more “second generation” youngsters from Arab families who have lost all original cultural references and have found no room within the European and US youth culture.

In the meantime, we continue to denounce jihadism as the evil of the century, but we do not know how to focus on what has created it and what supports it. Perhaps for the present politicians it seems right to proceed with the current domestic and foreign policies, at the service of what it’s called “politically correct”. Certainly it will serve to their own electoral purpose, to wash their faces and hands after every tragedy, but it will not help them to prevent future attacks and to safeguard human lives and those of our children.

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