Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Did Islamist Serial Killer Avert British Terror Attack?

On Saturday, March 15, 2008, French news agency Agence France-Presse issued a strange report.


 According to AFP, around the time that Britain suffered its first homegrown Muslim terror attack (July 7, 2005), another Islamist terror attack was being developed. This plot had no relation to the failed attacks of July 21, 2005 (7/21). The plot never came to fruition, AFP reports, because a Moroccan living in Belgium had informed the authorities. In Britain, arrests were made in the summer of 2005, and in Liverpool, material for use in a terror attack was seized.


 What is truly bizarre is that the informant - who had apparently been paid by Belgian intelligence services for two decades - is not only an Islamist leader with links to Al Qaeda and other groups, but by his own confession he is a serial killer. Six men have died at his hands, with some of these killings apparently happening while he was a paid informant.


 The man is 51-year old Moroccan-born Abdelkader Belliraj, who has dual Belgian/Moroccan nationality. He was arrested in Morocco on February 18 this year with 22 other individuals. He had gone to Morocco in mid January, apparently to visit a relative.


 Moroccan police announced that the 23 arrested individuals had belonged to an "Islamist network", described by police as "a major terrorist network with Jihadist (holy war) roots, which was preparing to carry out acts of violence on the national territory."


 The next day, the number of people arrested had risen to 32, and eventually a total of 35 people would appear before the Appellate Court in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.


Weapons, Heists, Politicians And Plots


The arrested individuals included two politicians. One of these was Mustapha Moatassim (pictured) who was the secretary-general of the al-Badil al-Hadari (Civilizational Alternative) Party. This party had only been allowed to exist officially in 2005. It took part in elections in 2007, but failed to get any seats.


 Moatassim said on the 2007 campaign trail that his party would "create a society that stands together, where social disparities would be reduced; a society that highlights the equality of chances in terms of investments and production, a society characterized by the culture of local consumption for the good of development process and open to the great mutations in the world."


 On Wednesday, February 20, Morocco's prime minister Abbas El Fassi officially banned al-Badil al-Hadari.


 The spokesperson for the al-Badil al-Hadari party said after the ban: "For us, it is astonishing news because since we founded our party we have made it clear that democracy is our goal and we've proved that when we were among the first parties to condemn al-Qaeda and the use of violence in politics."


 Another politician who was arrested was Mohamed Merouani (Marwani). He is secretary general of the Al Oumma ("Ummah" or "The Islamic Nation") party. This small Islamist party also contested the 2007 elections but gained no seats. One mainstream politician was also said to be part of Abdelkader Belliraj's "Islamist network".


 Mae El Ainain Abadila (aka Alaa Badella Ma-El Ainin) is a member of the Justice and Development Party (Parti de la Justice et du D??veloppement or PJD). This opposition group has 46 of the 325 seats in the Moroccan parliament. Abadila, a pharmacist, was arrested with the others linked to Belliraj. He heads a commission on the Western Sahara, which has been trying to cede from Morocco.


 A reporter, Abdelhafid Sriti, was arrested. He was employed by the Al Manar TV channel, a media outlet for terrorist group Hizbollah.


 Chakib Benmoussa, Morocco's interior minister, gave a press conference on February 20. He said that in raids in Casablanca and Nador in the northeast of Morocco, weapons had been found (Belliraj had been born in Nador in 1957). The weapons included nine Kalashnikovs, two Uzi machine guns replete with six magazines and a silencer, seven Skorpio sub-machine pistols with ten chargers and 5 silencers, 16 automatic pistols and other munitions and detonators.


 Benmoussa said that the "Belliraj" group had been in contact with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001. Between 2001 and 2004, the "Belliraj" network was connected with the Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, or GICM. This group has active cells in Belgium and other European nations. It was responsible for the train bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004 (killing 191 people and injuring nearly 2,000). The group was also connected with the suicide bombings in Casablanca on May 16, 2003. The Casablanca attacks killed 45 (including a dozen bombers) and led to Morocco introducing a terrorism act.


 The Moroccan interior minister also said that Belliraj's group had tried to develop links with the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) in 2001, 2003 and 2004. The group had links with and took part in Algerian GSPC terror training camps in 2005.


 The GSPC was formed in Algeria and has long been associated with al-Qaeda. It is led by Abou Mossab Abdelouadoud (Abu Mossaab Abdelwadud or Abu Mussab Abdel Wadoud). On September 14, 2006, Abdelouadoud announced that GSPC was officially a wing of Al Qaeda. He stated on the internet: "We pledge allegiance to Sheikh Osama Bin Laden... We will pursue our jihad in Algeria. Our soldiers are at his call so that he may strike who and where he likes."


 Since that time, announcements made by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's deputy leader, have referred to GSPC as "Al Qaeda in the Maghreb". The Maghreb is North Africa.


 Chakib Benmoussa additionally stated that in 2002, Belliraj's group tried to get terrorist training from the Hizbollah-run camps in Lebanon. He said the group planned to carry out bomb attacks, to assassinate Moroccan ministers, civil officials, and also military heads. In 1996 it tried to assassinate some Moroccan Jewish citizens.


 He said that Abdelkader Belliraj, who also used the aliases "Ilyass" and "Abdelkrim" had conceived of his terrorist group since 1992. In that year he had plotted attacks upon Moroccan Jewish citizens, a notion he had returned to in 2005.


 The interior minister said that jewelry stolen in Belgium was also smuggled into Morocco, and was melted down to produce gold ingots by one of the individuals who had been arrested. Abdellah Remache, who was on the list of arrested individuals, was a goldsmith from Casablanca.


Benmoussa said that a 2000 robbery on the Luxembourg headquarters of Brinks had seized assets worth nearly $4 million. The funds had been smuggled back into Morocco in 2001 by being laundered through businesses, tourism projects. This robbery was already tied to one of the arrested men - Abdellatif  Bekhti, aka Abdellatif Saad.


Bekhti had been among six or seven armed men who carried out the robbery in Kehlen in Luxembourg on April 17, 2000. The group had intercepted a van carrying bullion, but Bekhti was the only individual to be connected to the robbery, through a fingerprint. On January 16, 2003, Bekhti was sentenced to prison for 20 years for carrying out the Brinks raid. Two months later, Bekhti managed to escape from Scharrig prison in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. From that time until his arrest on February 18 this year, no-one had heard from Bekhti, and even his family had thought he had died.


 At the press conference given by Chakib Benmoussa, one surprising allegation, gleaned from the results of the police questioning, came to light. Belliraj had apparently confessed to six unsolved murders which had happened in Belgium.


The Belgian Serial Killer


 The interior minister said that Abdelkader Belliraj had confessed to committing the murders between 1986 and 1989, but gave no details. Gradually, the details of these six murders began to appear in reports in the Belgian press as they became investigated by the authorities. It now seems clear that the earliest murder took place in July 1988 and the last killing took place in October 1989.


 The first of Belliraj's victims was a greengrocer who had opened a store at Saint-Gilles near the Gare du Midi, a train station in Brussels South. This man, 65-year old Raoul Schouppe, was shot in the head with a single 7.65 mm bullet from a revolver. It is believed that Abdelkader Belliraj murdered Mr Schouppe in his greengrocer's store because he thought he was Jewish. This murder took place on July 28, 1988. Belliraj appears to be mistaken in his assumption that Mr Schouppe, a Flemish former soldier, was Jewish.


 Mr Schouppe specialized in selling spices from North Africa. He spoke Arabic and was popular among the Moroccan population in the Midi district of Brussels.


 A short time after the murder of the greengrocer, Belliraj is said to have carried out his second targeted killing. On August 16, 1988, 53-year old Marcel Bille was killed. Mr Bille was a native of Brussels, but his body was found some distance away. Marcel Bille had been clubbed around the head with a gun, and then a 7.65 mm bullet was discharged into his head. Apparently, Belliraj had gone with Mr Bille to Koekelberg and had then killed him in his sleep. Belliraj then transported the body to Braine-le-Chateau in Walloon Brabant.


 Though this was chronologically the second murder, it was the last one to be linked to Belliraj. Marcel Bille's body had been taken to a location halfway between Brussells and Nivelles, and had consequently been investigated originally by Nivelles' police department. Belliraj had allegedly stated to his Moroccan interrogators that he had killed Marcel Bille because he was a homosexual, who had made a pass at him.


 The third and fourth murders were the two which had first been mentioned in the Francophone Belgian press. The double killing had been internationally reported at the time. On February 14, 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued his death-fatwa against author Salman Rushdie for writing his "blasphemous" novel, The Satanic Verses.


 One of the most influential clerics at that time in Belgium was Abdullah Ah-Adhal El Hasi. This Saudi-born imam was the rector of the Grand Mosque in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels. This mosque had been opened by the Saudi king, Khaled Ibn Abdul Aziz al-Saud in 1978. When the fatwa was issued, Abdullah Al-Ahdal El Hasi publicly objected to its nature, claiming it was un-Islamic.


 Ahdal appeared on French-language TV channel RTBF on February 20, 1988. Through a translator he condemned Rushdie's book as "gratuitously blasphemous of all religions including that of Abraham." Despite this, the 36-year old rector said of the Iranian fatwa: "You must make a distinction between Islamic society and this country. Khomeini is responsible for his own country, but we are in a democratic country where everybody has the right to express his own thoughts and express themselves as they want.... You can't condemn a man to death like that."


 Ahdal had suggested that there should have been a trial at which Rushdie would have been given a chance to repent to conform to Islamic law, the rector had claimed.


 On March 29 1988, Abdullah Al-Ahdal El Hasi and his assistant were shot in the head and neck in an office in the Grand Mosque. The assistant who died was 40-year old Tunisian Salim el-Beher, who worked in the mosque as an archivist/librarian. Beher had been in Belgium for 10 years.


 Initially, it was suspected that a Lebanese group called "Soldiers for Truth" had carried out the double murder. Reuters reported that 24 hours after the event, this group had informed a Beirut news agency that it had carried out the killing.


 The fifth murder victim was Egyptian-born Samir Gahez Rasoul, aged 24. Mr Rasoul worked at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Brussels, where he was the chauffeur for the ambassador. On June 20, 1989, he had been shot through the head with a single 7.65 mm bullet. The supposed reason for this killing was on account of the Saudis taking a lukewarm approach to the Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie.


 The last of the six victims that have apparently been listed by Abdelkader Belliraj was murdered because he was a prominent Jewish figure. 48-year old Joseph Wibran (also spelled Wybran) was a renowned immunologist, who headed the immunology department at the Erasme Hospital in Anderlecht, Brussels. Mr Wibran was also the president of the co-ordination committee of Jewish organizations in Belgium (CCOJB). On October 3, 1989, he was shot in the parking area outside the hospital where he worked.


 At the time of Joseph Wibran's murder, terrorist group Abu Nidal was blamed. His widow Emmy claimed that she had thought that the murder of Joseph and the murder of Abdullah Al-Ahdal El Hasi were related. She said: "They both were man of peace and dialogue. Extremists don???t like people of dialogue." She added: "I want to see the face of the people who masterminded and executed the assassination."


 The Ministry of the Interior in Morocco is now apparently preparing to reopen investigations into the attempted murder of a Moroccan Jewish man. On November 23, 1996 in Casablanca, a motorcycle had approached Abraham Azenkot. Two men were on the vehicle, and these had opened fire, seriously wounding Mr Azenkot. Now aged 63 and a successful businessman still living in Casablanca, Mr Azenkot said that his injuries have healed and that he had now "turned the page" since the attack.


Informant Or Double Agent?


 Chakib Benmoussa, Morocco's Interior Minister, later claimed that Belliraj's terror structure was "a dangerous terrorist network that has reached advanced stages in preparing and carrying out its operations, marked by the definition of specified targets and the setting up of a political and destructive organization, as evidenced by its plans to carry out assassinations in 1992, 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2005."


 Members of the group had been charged in Morocco with "forming a criminal gang to prepare and carry out terrorist acts aiming to undermine the public order through terror and violence", "premeditated murder", "transporting and possessing illegal firearms and ammunitions to use them in terrorist projects", "forging official documents", "usurpation of function to carry out terrorist projects", "fund donation and raising to finance terrorist projects" and "money laundering." The suspects are all being held in the prison at Sal??.


 At the end of February this year, Belgian news agency Belga and certain Belgian newspapers announced that Abdelkader Belliraj had been an informant, in the paid employ of the Belgian State Security Services.


 Following this announcement, the Moroccan interior minister claimed that it was "obvious" that the Belgian intelligence services had known about Abdelkader Belliraj. Chakib Benmoussa additionally confirmed that the weapon used to attack Abraham Azenkot in Casablanca in 1996 had been among the weapons retrieved in the February raids upon suspects' addresses in Casablanca and Nador.


 The Belgian newspaper "The Final Hour" openly questioned how the Belgian security services had recruited an Al Qaeda killer to act as an informant. According to the French language TV channel RTBF, Belgian's justice minister Jo Vandeurzen was concerned about the behavior of the security services. He said that an investigation should be launched into the affair.


 On Tuesday March 4, Belgian media carried more information on how Belliraj interacted with the State Security Services (Staatsveiligheid). The newspaper De Morgen reported that Belliraj was receiving a virtual monthly salary spying "for Belgium". He was also said to have been working for other intelligence agencies, including France's DGSE and the CIA. Additionally, the newspaper claimed that on a trip to Afghanistan in 2001, Belliraj had personally met Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of Al Qaeda.


De Morgen claimed that since late February this year, a delegation of FBI and CIA members have traveled to Morocco to investigate the claims made by Moroccan investigators.


 Jo Vandeurzen, Belgium's Minister of Justice, spoke on the same day to the Belgian House of Representatives. He said that he could neither confirm nor deny whether or not Abdelkader Belliraj was a police informant. He said that he had handed responsibility to the Permanent Intelligence Oversight Committee. This body had been charged to investigate the case and draw conclusions.


 By March 7 it became clear from leaked documents submitted to the Permanent Intelligence Oversight Committee that the intelligence wing of the Belgian army had also been aware of Belliraj. The newspaper De Morgen reported that the committee had requested and received "hundreds" of documents from the State Security Services and also from the Algemene Dienst Inlichting en Veiligheid (General Information and Security or ADIV).


 The manner in which such details were being openly discussed caused Alain Winants, the general administrator of the State Security Services to issue a complaint. He said he "deplored" the media comments on issues which dealt with "highly classified" information. He also said that ignorant reporting of the Belliraj case also led to a negative presentation of the State Security Services, with reports misrepresenting its tasks, missions and effectiveness.


 Alain Winants has been head of the Security Services since October 2006. He said that the "total irresponsibility" of media reporting could compromise relationships with other agencies. He confirmed that this is the first time that the department has had to answer public questions on "operational data". He also said that he had gained approval from Belgian Justice Minister Jo Vandeurzen, to take legal action against the person who had first leaked the news that Belliraj had been a long-term paid informant.


 The Moroccan authorities have stressed on more than one occasion that their conducting of investigatory activities have been sound. A delegation of six police officers from Belgium had been sent to Morocco, and early in March returned with reports that they had been treated with helpful cooperation. This opened the way for a larger official inquiry team to be sent to Morocco.


 According to Belgian newspaper De Tijd on March 7, not only did Abdelkader Belliraj act as an informant. He apparently helped to foil a terrorist attack in "another European country". This country was not specified. The sources for De Tijd's report were not named.


 There were already many questions about the role of Abdelkader Belliraj in Morocco. He had been, according to most reports, a paid informant for eight years. He had also made 45 trips abroad. He lived in a rented property in Evergem in the Province of East Flanders. His landlord, one "Brahim L.," was also being accused of being an "informant" and his Ghent property was searched.


True Or False?


The sensational aspects of the mass arrests and the aspects of serial killing, organized crime and espionage have caused both shock and intense media interest in Morocco and Belgium. The angry reactions of Alain Winants of the Belgian State Security Services suggest that the media have burrowed too close to truths which may - in the interests of national/international security - be better remaining unexposed. However, there are questions of morality if the intelligence services employed someone in the knowledge that this person consorted with terrorist groups, committed crimes, plotted anti-Semitic and political murders, and had committed at least six murders.


 The story - though fascinating - has not been covered by the British press in any depth. The revelation on Saturday March 15 by Agence France-Presse may inspire British journalists to examine their case files from 2005.


 AFP drew its information from the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique. The country that was "saved" from a terrorist attack by intelligence given by Abdelkader Belliraj is now alleged to be - with no sources named - Britain.


 I have tried to check reports of arrests of Islamist individuals in Liverpool in the summer of 2005 with no success. If these arrests happened, it is possible that judges ordered "media black-outs" on reporting. It is reported that materials that could have been used in a terrorist attack were retrieved. There is so far no evidence to confirm or deny this information.


 In February 2006 the US Treasury listed several British companies, including three based in Liverpool, as being Specially Designated Terrorist Entities. Connected with these businesses, eight people were arrested in May 2006 in Manchester and Liverpool, but it is unlikely that this fundraising group was plotting a British attack.


 It is also theoretically possible that the story of Belliraj actually being "useful" may itself be a deliberate "leak" made by Belgian security services to "save face". It is possible that there is no truth whatsoever in the story, but that is a cynical interpretation. The notion that a man who killed and plotted to kill people merely because he thought they were Jewish does not fit my notion of a "hero". Even if he did report on a terror plot in Britain, this does not absolve him of his murders or his confessed plans to commit terror attacks.


 One thing is certain. This story is intriguing, and it will not immediately evaporate into the ether. The upcoming trials of Belliraj and his 34 associates in Morocco will almost certainly bring out into the open details which European governments appear to be trying to suppress.


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Adrian Morgan, aka Giraldus Cambrensis of Western Resistance, is UK-based writer and artist. He also writes for Spero News, Family Security Matters and He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

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Comments Notes: Keep comments short. Our system cannot separate paragraphs. Comments must be relevant to the topic of the article. We did not regulate the comments but if irrelevant comments, materials, adds of other websites etc. are being uploaded, we will have to regulate the comments and even ban the IP addresses of such nuisance posters.

Name: SomeOne
Date: Saturday March 22, 2008
Time: 08:06:18 -0700


Endlich - der erste arabische hardcore Anti-Islam-Blog ist da. Endlich - der erste arabische hardcore Anti-Islam- Fotoalbum ist da. --- At last - the first Arab hardcore anti-Islam blog is here. At last - the first Arab hardcore anti-Islam Photo Albums is here. --- أخيرا أول مدونة تعري وتفضح الإسلام أخيرا أول البوم صور يعري ويفضح الإسلام

Name: Scott
Date: Tuesday March 25, 2008
Time: 12:47:19 -0700


I understand that western ideology and islamic faith do not mix. I understand that Islam cannot be allowed to live among my people and will not be tolerated. The world will not be secure until islam is wiped from the face of this planet.

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