Saturday, June 24, 2006

Miami Terror Arrests: the unstated link

Miami terrorist suspects, source Miami Herald

Yesterday, seven men in Miami were arrested for planning to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. The Miami Herald named the five suspects as Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Rotschild Augustine, Lyglenson Lemorin, and Stanley Grant Phanor. The Guardian provides some detail behind the investigation:

Over several months of meetings, Mr Batiste allegedly swore a loyalty oath to al-Qaida and outlined his plans for a "full ground war" in which his group would "kill all the devils we can". He provided a shopping list of demands, including radios, bullet-proof vests, machine guns, binoculars, cars, and $50,000 (£27,500) in cash, the indictment alleges. The undercover operative also provided Mr Batiste with camera equipment, which he used to collect footage of the Sears Tower and the Miami FBI building.
The man who Batiste met with, who he thought was an al-Qaeda terrorist was actually an FBI agent, leading to the arrest of the group. Five of the group are US citizens, one is an illegal immigrant from Haiti, and one is a legal permanent resident ("green card" holder).

One link that many in the news media seem to be missing is to an American group called the Nation of Islam, the American religious group founded in Detroit in the 1930s and currently led by Louis Farrakhan. The members of the Nation of Islam call themselves Muslims, but their beliefs and practices are radically different from mainstream Islam - to the extent that many mainstream Muslims do not consider members of the Nation of Islam to be Muslim at all - this article explains some of the reasons behind this. The Nation of Islam holds the belief that blacks are the original humans and God's chosen people, and that whites are a race of "devils" created to torment and oppress God's chosen people (blacks).

Two things that lead me to suspect the link between this group in Miami and the Nation of Islam:
  • All of the suspects are black, and most are American citizens. None of the suspects have any ties to the Middle East (the root of mainstream Islam) or southeast Asia. If this group were mainstream Muslims, I would expect at least one or two of their members would have their origin or ancestry from one of these places. The Nation of Islam, however, is made up almost entirely of black Americans.
  • The Nation of Islam often refer to whites and Jews as "devils". The leader of this Miami terrorist group said he wanted to blow up the Sears tower to kill all the "devils" he could - I wonder if he was referring to whites and Jews in that statement.

Do I think the Nation of Islam as a whole had anything to do with the nefarious plot these guys in Miami were working on? Of course not! But, it seems plausible this group may have been an splinter group of the Nation of Islam, or received some inspiration from them.