A 23 minute long video from Journeyman Pictures. I’ve also included a couple of supplementary news articles (between the brackets) about an Australian woman in this video. The link to the video is at the end of this post.
Note: This video features Anwar Al Awlaki, who was eventually killed in Yemen by the US in September of 2011 (just a few months after this video was made). His daughter you might recognize as the one killed in the Navy SEAL raid from January.
The Pied Piper Of Jihad: In Yemen, pressure from Western governments to uncover terrorists is harshening an already repressive regime. It is driving Muslims into the hands of Anwar Al Awlaki and his fundamentalist training camps.
Yemen, February 2011.
For centuries, this breathtaking land has drawn adventurers from afar. But now some who travel here do so in stealth. They have a calling they’d like to keep from the outside world. This poorest of Arab nations has become Al Qaeda’s new frontier and a launching pad for Jihadi inspired terrorism. In an atmosphere of distrust, foreigners and Yemenis alike are being watched and those suspected of collaborating with the enemy can very quickly wind up in a chaotic courtroom.
This man has confessed to killing his French employer. His defense lawyers say that he was sexually harassed, but the prosecutors say that this is a case of terrorism and he was inspired by Al Qaeda.
Anwar Al-Awlaki: He has encouraged every Yemeni to kill a foreigner so when a foreigner is murdered in Yemen, it is considered an act of terrorism.
The young man on trial for killing his employer is sentenced to hang. The judge also sentenced Anwar Al-Awlaki in absentia to 10 years in prison.
The west has urged this country to be suspicious of its own citizens, perhaps to its own peril. Caught up in this uneven often arbitrary crackdown are the foreigners. Are they here to see the sights, search for a deep understanding of their religion, or have they heard the calling of the Pied Piper of Jihad Anwar Al-Awlaki? For years Australian Muslims have been coming here to study in the highly regarded Islamic schools of this pious nation, but 20 Australian citizens have been listed by western intelligence agencies as persons of interest for their alleged involvement in radical organizations. Some, it seems, have simply disappeared here. Others are under surveillance for just having passed through.
Shyloh Giddins, a woman from New South Wales in Australia, left her home and broken marriage and took her two children to Yemen where she converted to Islam and had an opportunity to teach English. Australian authorities tried to cancel her passport to encourage her to go home, but one day Yemeni security forces got to her first and took her from her apartment for questioning over links to Al Qaeda. She was said to have had an extremist interpretation of Islam. Australian diplomats were able to negotiate her release from prison and she has now returned home.
Though there is no evidence that Shyloh Giddins was involved with Al Qaeda, there is evidence that Anwar Al-Awlaki knew her. In an internet speech, he condemned her treatment by authorities.
More on Shyloh Giddins from The Guardian June 3, 2010:
According to her lawyer, Abdul Rahman Barman, Gidden – who converted to Islam in Australia – arrived in Sana’a in September 2006 “to raise her two sons in the Muslim community, where she assumed they would grow up with safety, tranquillity and peace of mind”. She took a Muslim name, Soumaya Abu Ali, and adopted the black abaya cloak and full face veil worn by most women in Yemen. She studied Arabic in one of Old Sana’a’s language institutes.
From there she moved to Nahtha, a neighbourhood dominated by the Iman University, a school teaching fundamentalist Islam established by Sheikh Abdel Majed Zindani, Yemen’s most powerful cleric and a former mentor of Osama bin Laden.
“The organisation portrays the foreigners as individuals so enamoured of the global Islamic community and the Arabian peninsula that they are willing to sacrifice their lives.
“AQAP then uses this to publicly shame Yemeni men, asking them, ‘Why are foreigners willing to die for you and your lands while you remain silent?'”
From Sydney Morning Herald June 10, 2010:
A source close to the family revealed that Ms Giddins had been taken to El Markzi prison, a jail used by Yemen’s feared political security organisation and interrogated for days before being returned to a woman’s prison in the capital city of Sanaa.
“She was interrogated a number of times for up to 12 hours at a time,” the family source said. “On one occasion they had her standing up all day until she collapsed, they were spitting on her and calling her a dog.”
Ms Giddins has arrived home and is staying in south-western Sydney after being locked up in a squalid cell for a month. She and her children, Aminah, 4, and Omar, 7, flew in on Saturday night. They were met by a female relative and Ms Giddins’s Australian lawyer during her detention, Stephen Hopper.
Ms Giddins released a statement last night in which she thanked all the people who helped in her release from prison.
“I have not broken any law either in Yemen or in Australia and don’t really know why all this has happened,” she said.
Ms Giddins moved to Yemen in late 2006, two years after her husband, Mohammed “Mick” Touma, who was an associate of the Darwiche crime family, disappeared. Touma was facing gun charges and was wanted in connection with the murder of a Darwiche rival, Ahmed Fahda, in 2003. He remains on the run.
As a result of information possibly provided by Australian intelligence agencies via the FBI – which has an office in Sanaa – Ms Giddins was arrested by Yemeni secret police last month. Her children were kept under house arrest in the family’s apartment.
“The government profits from the existence of Al Qaeda. To be able to get more financial support from Americans and the west, the Yemeni government exaggerates the importance of Al Qaeda.”
“We are an open country to all tourists and we cannot check who is tourist and who is terrorist until we find out through our intelligence agencies or through the cooperation between different intelligence agencies in different countries.”
“These Australians and other students are being trained for terrorist missions. No question. Their value is in their Australian passports. The money, it comes from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, but their leader is Anwar Al-Awlaki. He is their spiritual guide and father. He is second only to Osama Bin Laden. He knows that the internet is more powerful than the gun.”
At least 20 Australian citizens have disappeared after going to Yemen.