RADICAL PAKISTANI CLERIC AVOIDS ARREST AND THREATENS POLICE
Maulana Fazalullah, also known as “Maulana Radio,” warned the Pakistani police recently not to arrest him otherwise his “supporters will not leave the attacking policemen alive” (Dawn, March 4). Fazalullah is the acting leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat- e-Mohammadi (Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws, TNSM) and is the son-in-law of TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad, who is currently in prison (Terrorism Monitor, November 30, 2006). His nickname derives from the illegal radio station that he operates, which is anti-Western, anti-modern and more recently has criticized the government’s polio eradication campaign (Terrorism Focus, May 17, 2006). The government charged Fazalullah under the Anti-Terrorism Act for inviting support to a banned organization, among other charges, and moved to arrest him on March 2. The police operation was halted, however, after more than 100 supporters resisted Fazalullah’s arrest (Dawn, March 4). Fazalullah is popular in Swat district of the North-West Frontier Province, and more than 10,000 people come to hear his Friday sermons at the Umer Farooq Mosque (Dawn, March 4). He can be found in the town of Imam Dehri and the adjoining villages and is often seen riding a horse (Dawn, March 4). Nevertheless, the police still expect to arrest Fazalullah, with Swat District Police Officer Mohammad Yameen Khan stating, “we will chalk out a strategy to arrest the religious leader because he is required in various cases” (Dawn, March 4).
ALGERIANS ARREST SUSPECT FOR RECRUITING FIGHTERS FOR IRAQ
Early last week, Algerian authorities arrested a member of the National Association of Algerian Muslim Ulemas in El-Oued Province under charges that he was recruiting young Algerians for the war in Iraq (Liberte, February 28). The suspect is 39 years old and lives in the Djabila neighborhood of downtown El-Oued, which is approximately 1,000 kilometers south of Algiers. Security sources told Liberte that last November the individual recruited two men—aged 22 and 23—who made their way to Iraq. Outlining the role that the internet plays in recruitment operations, the suspect is a computer programmer who visited websites that specialize in propaganda in order to print materials that could be used to incite Algerian youth to jihad (Liberte, February 28). In recent weeks, Algeria has experienced a new wave of attacks by Islamist militants. On February 13, seven bombs ripped through Algeria, leaving six people dead (el-Watan, February 14). More recently, on March 3, a bus was bombed carrying workers for a Russian company; four were killed in the attack (al-Jazeera, March 6). These latest terrorism incidents in Algeria have been claimed by Qaedat al-Jihad in the Arab Maghreb Countries (or al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb). The organization is the result of a merger between the GSPC and al-Qaeda, which was announced officially on September 11, 2006. The recent attacks in Algeria and the arrest of the suspect involved in recruiting fighters for Iraq fit what analyst Andrew Black stated in Terrorism Monitor on February 1: “Considering these two mergers together, the result is a broad network falling under the regional leadership of the GSPC, which in turn is aligned under al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda has clearly taken a renewed interest in reconstituting its Maghrebi affiliates with the dual intent of supporting the Iraqi jihad and bolstering its operational assets around the region.”