Recent events in the small town of San Bernardino (USA), where a mass shooting took place during a Christmas holiday in a public center for people with disabilities, were again forced to talk about the threat of religious terrorism in the United States. As a result of the attack, 14 people died, and 17 people were shot and wounded. According to the police, the fire was fired from automatic assault rifles and pistols. Soon the police services reported that two suspects in the attack were liquidated during the arrest. They were young spouses - 28-year-old Syed Farouk and 27-year-old Tashfin Malik. Ordinary Americans - two years in marriage, a little daughter of six months old. Her daughter was left with her mother Farouk, explaining that it was necessary to visit a doctor. In fact, the couple went to kill. As it turned out, Syed Farouk worked for five years as an inspector in the district health department. He spoke of himself as a pious man, but he never aroused suspicions of sympathy for extremists. What made him take in hand weapon and how many more of these are formally integrated, but in the soul completely closed to the host society, people live in the United States? In other countries, "New World"? One thing is for sure - the crime that occurred was of a terrorist nature, unlike many such murders committed by mentally unbalanced people or people under the influence of narcotic substances. Shortly after the shooting in San Bernardino, the director of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) of the United States, James Komi, said that the suspects who had been liquidated by the US special services could have certain connections with international terrorist organizations. On the possible connections of criminals who committed the shooting of defenseless people with the IG (banned in Russia organization) said in his speech, and the President of the United States Barack Obama. It should be noted that the banned organization of the IG itself did not fail to immediately take responsibility for the perfect shooting at San Bernardino.
Immediately after the shooting in San Bernardino, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a rather sharp statement. She promised to severely punish anyone who criticized migration from the Muslim countries of Asia and Africa. Of course, religious strife in any country is unacceptable, but in this case, the performance of Loretta Lynch left rather more questions. Including the political line of the American leadership. Loretta Lynch is the first US Attorney General of African American origin. Before being appointed as Attorney General of the United States of America, Loretta Lynch worked for almost five years as a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York. She is part of the team of the first black US President Barack Obama. It is with the environment of Barack Obama that many analysts associate an unprecedented in the American stories the growing influence of the Islamic community on the political life of the country.
The formation and growth of the American Ummah
For a long time, the Muslim community did not play a prominent role in American politics. Islam was practiced by relatively small, against the background of European and Chinese immigrants, groups of immigrants from the Old World - first of all, immigrants from Arab countries, Iran, Pakistan. In the first generations of ethnic Muslims who settled in the United States, representatives of the upper and middle strata prevailed. As a rule, these were educated and fairly wealthy people who, for whatever reason, were forced to emigrate from their countries. Most often, among these reasons, fear of political repression was prevailing from ideological opponents who came to power. Thus, in the USA, many representatives of the well-to-do layers emigrated from Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, in which Arab nationalists came to power in the second half of the twentieth century and did not hide their socialist aspirations. On the other hand, among this part of Middle Eastern immigrants, there were also representatives of radical religious organizations, including Brothers-Muslims (this organization is banned in the Russian Federation and several other states, including, by the way, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). Immigrants from Asia and Africa represented one part of the American Muslim community. The other half of the Ummah is represented by the so-called. "Black muslims". Unlike immigrants, they are not ethnic Muslims, but African Americans who converted to Islam by virtue of voluntary personal choice. However, since the organizations of “black Muslims” have been active in the United States since the 1920's - 1930's, many African Americans have already been born to Muslim families and, thus, profess Islam from birth and can also be considered ethnic Muslims.
Unlike immigrants, the African-American part of the American Muslim community has traditionally been much more marginal. If you do not count the "stars" of the African-American world who converted to Islam (a typical example is Muhammad Ali), the majority of the new converts belonged to the poor and poorly educated segments of the population. The adoption of Islam for them became an ideological alternative to Christianity, regarded as the religion of “white lords” or “compromisers” in the African-American environment. At the same time, membership in a religious organization gave numerous social opportunities and advantages. To some extent, it turned out to be a good resource, which could be used to achieve a higher standard of living, protection from enemies, and obtaining necessary assistance in crisis situations. Very often, African Americans converted to Islam in American prisons, where the Nation of Islam communities (the main organization of “black Muslims”) turned out to be the most cohesive groups of African American prisoners, able to support their members and protect them from the administration and opposing white and Latin American groups. At the same time, the American authorities at the serious level did not hinder the Islamization of the African-American population, since they saw in religious propaganda a means of distracting the poor and socially unorganized masses of African Americans from the problems of a socio-political nature. Moreover, right up to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American authorities most of all feared the spread of communist ideas on their territory and the development of the mass left movement among African Americans. Therefore, the Islamization of African Americans was even to some extent beneficial to the American government — blacks who had fallen under the influence of religious organizations were practically guaranteed to be protected from the influence of radical left-wing propaganda. Moreover, the "Nation of Islam" has always been in the right, anti-communist positions. At the same time, the teachings of the “Nation of Islam” differed significantly from traditional Islam and contained many alien inclusions associated with the influence of both African-American culture itself and subsequent layering in the form of “African nationalism” and “negrit”.
Currently, the number of activists of this organization is estimated by specialists within 20-50 thousands of people. But the Muslim community in the United States is much more numerous, although according to official data it does not even make 1% of the country's population (in 2007, the number of American Muslims was estimated at about 0,6% of the total population of the country). It would seem that with such a low number of the American Muslim community, it cannot play any significant role in the domestic and foreign policy of the American state. But this opinion is extremely erroneous. First, American Muslims are a fairly rich and influential community, in which there were initially many business representatives. Secondly, the American Muslim community is closely associated with Islamic states that are strategic allies of the United States, as well as with international Muslim organizations. The importance of the Middle East issues in the foreign policy of the American state determines the significance of the very theme of Islam, the Muslim community and Muslims for the US administration. Finally, the growth of the influence of Islam on the political life of the United States was also facilitated by the growth in the number of followers of this religion among the inhabitants of the United States.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the number of American Muslims increased by more than half a million people - from 1 million to 2,6 million. At the same time, 40% of American Muslims were new immigrants. In contrast to the immigrants of the first waves, they were no longer representatives of the higher and middle strata of Asian and African societies. Among the new immigrants — various people, including refugees from the “hot spots” of Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and even immigrants from the Russian Federation — are known to be a fairly large group of Meskhetian Turks who had previously lived in the Krasnodar Territory and achieved the status of political refugees and asylum in the United States of America. However, Muslims still do not make up even the 1 percent of the country's population, but managed to overtake representatives of other non-Christian denominations in a number of states. So. In 20 from 50 of the US states, Islam came to the second place, after Christianity, in the number of adepts, pushing the Jews aside. The latter retained second place only in 15 US states.
Barack Obama and Islam in the USA
This holiday for the American Muslim community began after President Barack Obama came to power. The first black US president is officially considered a Methodist, that is, a follower of one of the Protestant churches. However, the parents of Barack Obama had little to do with Christianity. The mother of US President Stanley, Eni Dunham, came from a Christian family, but later, like many "children of flowers" of her generation, became an agnostic. Barack Obama's father, a native of the Kenyan people, Luo Barack Hussein Obama, confessed Islam. That is, on the paternal side, Barack Obama is of Muslim origin. These two factors — skin color and descent from a Muslim — played a crucial role in increasing the popularity of Barack Obama, not only among the African American population of the United States, but also among the numerous Muslim population of Asia and Africa. But if Barack Obama is a Methodist, then among his closest associates there are people directly associated with Muslim religious organizations. Among them are the names of such prominent officials as Arif Alikhan, Mohammed Eliabari, Rashid Hussein. These people occupied or occupy very important positions in the government of the United States of America, being responsible not only for the development of US foreign relations with the Islamic world, but also for the internal security of the American state. For example, Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, is considered one of the direct organizers of the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. In addition, Arif Alikhan is known among the co-founders of the World Islamic Organization. Another prominent politician, Mohammed Eliabari, a member of the national security advisory council, is known as one of the supporters of Sayyid Qutb, the founder of Brothers-Muslims. It is Eliabari that make a noise that “the United States is an Islamic state.” Eliabari is also remembered for the fact that in 2013, he placed a palm sign with his four fingers raised on his avatar on a social network - a symbol of the protest campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. At the same time, Eliabari (in the photo) stressed that he did not consider this organization a terrorist one. An important role in American politics is played by Rashid Hussein, who is responsible for relations with Islamic organizations in the United States and was a member of the Council of American Muslims. This is not a complete list of US officials associated with the activities of Muslim religious organizations, both in the United States and abroad.
Conservative circles in the United States are fairly straightforward about the presence of an influential Muslim “lobby” in the country's leadership, and some openly say that Barack Obama in fact does not profess Protestantism of the Methodist trend, but Islam. At least 20% of citizens polled by American sociologists believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim believer. Most of all, that part of the American voters who supports Obama’s opponents - the Republican Party of the United States - is convinced of this. Among conservatives, 34% of respondents state that Barack Obama actually practices Islam. However, in reality it does not matter. Much more important is the fact that it was during the years of his presidency that a fundamental change took place in the very essence of American foreign and domestic policy. The United States of America has become much more loyal to the Islamic world and to the activities of international Islamic organizations. Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey in 2013 reported to The Wall Street Journal that the famous terrorist attack in Boston, which accused the Tsarnaev brothers, was possible, also because in recent years the US Federal Bureau of Investigation hastily The procedure removed from all official manuals and instructions any mention of the threat of religious fundamentalism. According to the former attorney general, this was made possible thanks to pressure from American Muslim organizations that are closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and took the right to speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community in the United States of America. Among American conservatives, voices are increasingly being heard about the need to minimize the influence of the fundamentalist lobby in American domestic and foreign policy. Thus, another prominent American statesman, Frank Gaffney Jr., who previously served as Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States, openly stated that the United States urgently needs to dismiss people representing the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood from official positions in government offices. In turn, the latter also do not waste time. With the help of their channels in the American special services, they are working to gradually squeeze the most conservative-minded figures from American “big politics” who oppose the growing influence of Islam in the United States and adhere to traditional Christian fundamentalist values. First of all, we are talking about politicians from the southern states of the United States, where right-conservative and Christian fundamentalist sentiments are traditionally very strong.
The American press published revelations of a certain John Gwandolo, a former employee of the FBI, who said that John Brennan, who took the post of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States in 2013, took 1990 as early as the CIA in Saudi Arabia. Islam. According to Gwandolo, Brennan repeatedly visited Mecca and Medina together with the leaders of Saudi Arabia. Since it is known that it is forbidden for non-believers to enter the territory of the holy cities for Muslims of Mecca and Medina, the fact of visiting them by Brennan indicates that he could convert to Islam. Whatever it was, but the US sympathy for the radical fundamentalists in the Middle East clearly manifested itself during the Arab Spring of the year 2011. Fundamentalist organizations in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and a number of other states enjoyed the full support of the United States. It looked very strange from the outside, as the United States, not so long ago calling international terrorism its main enemy, became the main patron of Middle Eastern and North African fundamentalists. It is strange if you do not know the main reason for such a turn in the foreign policy of the American leadership - the change in the very paradigm of the further development of the American state. In recent years, the American establishment has strengthened the view that radical Islam can act as a full-fledged partner with whom you can deal in the Middle East. The secular nationalist regimes in power in the Middle Eastern and North African countries showed their anachronism and unpopularity among their own population. At the same time, Islamic fundamentalism turned out to be the ideology that was able to rally the socially dissatisfied masses of the Arab and African populations. For American foreign policy, the activities of radical fundamentalists turned out to be beneficial because it undermines the positions of Russia and Europe, and because it impedes the further modernization of Afro-Asian societies. Also, one should not forget about the subjective factor - the origin of Barack Obama and the policies pursued by his immediate environment.
During the two and a half centuries of the existence of American statehood, religious communities and settlements of representatives of various confessions were established in the United States. Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hare Krishnas - who just did not create their own cultural centers, communities, and even entire urban-type settlements on American soil. There were no exceptions and Muslims, who began to build their own settlements. At present, judging by the publications of the American press, there are at least three such settlements. One of the most famous among them is Islamberg. This settlement occupies an impressive area of 300 hectares in rural areas in the state of New York. The founder of Islamberg is Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, a Pakistani-American who leads the activities of the radical organization Jamaat al-Fugra. This structure maintains fairly close ties with another radical organization operating in Pakistan - Harakat al-Mujahiddin, as well as with the Afghan Talibang. In 2002, Mr. Gilani was suspected of murdering Daniel Wall's journalist of The Wall Street Jornal, but the American law enforcement agencies failed to prove the involvement of an Islamic public figure in the commission of this crime. Repeatedly, Mubarak Gilani also received allegations that he had turned Islamberg into a training camp for the training of militants. However, despite the fact that information about this was printed in a number of American publications, no serious measures were taken to establish or authenticate these allegations by American law enforcement agencies. And this is despite the fact that a video clip of Mubarak Gilani was distributed on the Internet with a call to sign up for mojaheds and undergo combat training in training camps in the United States of America. By the way, it is precisely in these militants that the American special services now need. The strategy of "rebellion-war", used by American strategists in the modern world, involves the incitement of mass unrest, "color revolutions" and civil wars in any region of the world, which requires the presence of trained professional fighters who are ready to go to war to the other end of the world. This requires not only money, but also ideological and psychological motivation. Religious fundamentalists cope with the provision of the latter quite well.
Penetration into the "Latin" environment
Meanwhile, beyond the attention of the media, there is usually another important and interesting nuance. We are talking about the growing popularity of Islam among the Latin American population of the United States, as well as in Latin America itself. Until recently, among the traditional groups of the “old-timed” population of the “New World” Islam was spread only among the African-American population. Black Americans joined the ranks of the "Nation of Islam", "Moorish temple" and a number of other, very specific religious organizations. As for white Americans and Latin Americans, among them the individual people who converted to the new faith as a result of a personal search declared their commitment to Islam. The mass distribution of Islam among these categories of the US population has never been discussed. Moreover, everyone knows that among Latin Americans there are many zealous Catholics who take religious issues very seriously. But this is at home. In the United States of America, immigrants from neighboring Mexico, Guatemala and other Latin American states found themselves in a marginal social environment, most often replenishing the underclass. In prisons, as well as in slums - ghettos of American cities, they were introduced not only to the customs of the criminal world, but also to the radical ideologies prevalent here. By now, the influence of the leftist ideologies - “black panthers”, Maoism, anarchism — that is traditional for the “black” and “Latin” quarters of American cities — has significantly subsided. Religious movements began to occupy the ideological vacuum, in the first place - dynamically developing Islam. For many people from the lower classes, Islam has become an alternative to an immoral way of life, a consumer society, the arbitrariness of the police and special services, and the capitalist system as a whole.
Following African Americans, the first people from Latin America began to accept Islam. Fifteen years ago, in 2001, 64% of the converts of American mosques from among the newly converted citizens were persons of African American descent, 27% were of white Americans, and only 6% of persons of Hispanic origin. After ten years, in 2011, the proportion of Latin Americans in the total number of new American Muslims increased to 12-19%. There were even religious figures and clergymen of Hispanic origin, first of all - people from Puerto Rico and Mexico. It should be noted here that among Latin Americans there are also people with distant Arab roots. After all, when Spain colonized Latin America, first of all they went to seek happiness in Novy Svet, those who had practically no hope of success in Spain itself. Among them were both Spanish crypto-Jews - marans, and Spanish Moors - morisks. Since the 19th century, quite impressive immigrant groups from the countries of the Arab East, primarily Syrians and Lebanese, began to arrive in Latin America. Arabs-Christians prevailed among them, but there were also Muslims. Finally, Islam was practiced by some Indian and almost all Indonesian workers who, after the abolition of slavery, began to be brought in large numbers into the Caribbean colonies of Great Britain and the Netherlands. It was the latter group that formed the influential Muslim communities in countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname. Back in 2007, a terrorist act was prevented at the airport in New York. The investigation of this failed crime led to the activities of radical fundamentalists in the small island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Yasin Abu Bakr's coup
Trinidad and Tobago, a former British colony in the Caribbean, is notable for a very interesting ethnic and confessional population. It lives roughly in half, according to 40%, of indotrinidadians and afrotrindadtsev - that is, the descendants of hired plantation workers from India and African slaves. 22% of the population of the island is Hinduism - this is one of the largest in terms of percentage of the population of the Hindu community outside Hindustan. Another 6% of the population professes Islam. Among the Trinidad Muslims, both hereditary Muslims of Indian origin and newly converted Muslims are Afrotrindadians. In 1980, Islam was adopted by a former Trinidadian policeman who took the name Yasin Abu Bakr. He became an imam and created the radical Sunni organization, Jamaat al-Muslimin. Its backbone was formed by converts afrotrinidadtsy who enjoyed the financial support of international fundamentalist organizations. Over time, after the positions of the organization were strengthened, it began to pose a real threat to the political order in the country. In 1988, the Trinidad police conducted a series of raids and searches in the homes of supporters of Jamaat al-Muslimin. Thirty-four people were arrested and small arms and ammunition seized during their arrest. The detainees were charged with a number of purely criminal offenses - murder, robbery, theft, rape. In response, the organization’s leaders accused the government of Trinidad and Tobago of illegally occupying lands belonging to the community. 27 June 1990, a group of armed Afro-Trinidadians in 114, attempted to carry out a coup d'état in Trinidad and Tobago. This was the first ever attempt to seize power in one of the New World countries by Islamic fundamentalists. In preparation for the coup, the militants of the organization Jamaat al-Muslimin were divided. Forty people broke into the building of the island state’s parliament and took hostage most of the members of the country's government, including Prime Minister Arthur Robinson. Another 72 militant captured the building Trinidad and Tobago Television - the country's only television company, as well as the building Trinidad Broadcasting Company - a local broadcasting company, one of two in the country. In 18.00 on national television of Trinidad and Tobago, the imam of the Jamaat al-Muslimin community, Yasin Abu Bakr, spoke. He reported a coup d'état and the start of negotiations between the Jamaat and the army command.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Arthur Robinson attempted to give orders to the army units, but was wounded from a firearm and severely beaten. Police and army units surrounded the building of the country's parliament. In response to the actions of the rebels, the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Emmanuel Carter, ordered the imposition of a state of emergency in the country, after which he formed several ministers who, fortunately not, were in the provisional government during the seizure of the parliament. On the night of July 27, army units stormed a national television building. As a result of the negotiations, 1 August 1990, the rebels were forced to surrender to the authorities. First, they were charged with high treason, but then the appellate court overturned the sentence. The participants of the performance remained free. The government made a prudent decision not to aggravate the conflict and not to provoke further unrest in a small country, but to resolve the situation by peaceful means. Later, the Jamaat al-Muslimin community began to operate in the country as a legal organization. However, its participants regularly fell into scandals unrelated to political or religious activities. Members of the organization were repeatedly accused of committing crimes of a general criminal nature. The Yasin Abu Bakr group was closely monitored by the CIA of the United States, which studied the possible links between Trinidadian fundamentalists and Middle Eastern and Afghan radical organizations. At the time, Abu Bakr was also suspected of having links with the regime of Muammar Gaddafi and the organization of "training visits" of his followers to military training camps in Libya and Sudan.
After a terrorist attack at New York airport was prevented in 2007, a number of people from Latin America were detained by the police. Among them were American citizen of Guyana descent Russell Defreitas, a citizen of Guyana and former parliamentary deputy of this country Abdul Kadir, another citizen of Guyana Abdel Nur and a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago Karim Ibrahim. It should be noted that the Jamaat al-Muslimin group is not the only such organization in Trinidad and Tobago. It is known that a number of fundamentalist organizations still operate in the country. Among them should be noted “Jamaat al Murabitin” and “Jamaat al Islami Karibi”, as well as “Islamia Wajihatul”. It is noteworthy that ethnic Muslims - descendants of Indian Muslims, adhere to fairly moderate religious and political views, while the radical wing of Trinidadian Muslims is represented, first of all, by people of Afro-Caribbean origin. In Trinidad and Tobago, as in the United States, this is due to social factors. In addition, it is worth noting the significant role that Yasin Abu Bakr plays in the economy and politics of Trinidad and Tobago. His organization receives considerable financial resources from commercial activities, including from the operation of a mineral deposit. Despite numerous court cases, Abu Bakr manages to avoid criminal prosecution and maintain significant positions in Trinidad society.
Social request for religion
Among the US Hispanic population, Puerto Ricans are the most influenced by Islam. On the island of Puerto Rico, the first Muslims appeared only in the second half of the twentieth century. A large group of immigrants from Palestine arrived here. It was the Palestinian Arabs who became the first Muslims of Puerto Rico. As early as 1970, the Muslim population of Puerto Rico numbered 2 thousand, and in 1981 the first mosque on the island was built. Under the influence of Palestinian immigrants, the first Puerto Ricans began to convert to Islam. Currently, at least 5 thousand Muslims live in Puerto Rico. Many Puerto Rican Muslims also live in the United States - there, unlike the conservative Catholic environment of Puerto Rico, it is much easier to maintain religious autonomy from the same relatives. Taking into account the overall growth dynamics of the US Muslim population on the one hand, and the percentage ratio of Latin Americans in the US Muslim community, on the other hand, it is possible to make a logical conclusion that the trend towards strengthening the position of Islam among the Latin American population will continue in the future. Given the unsatisfactory level of social status of the majority of the Latin American population of the United States, especially illegal immigrants from the countries of Central and South America, it is also easy to assume that among the newly converted Latin American Muslims, radical tendencies can spread. It is not by chance that Latin America is viewed as a very promising region for the implementation of proselytizing activities by preachers from the countries of the Near and Middle East and North Africa. The task of attracting Latin American supporters makes it easier for Latin American countries to have impressive Arab diasporas, primarily of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian origin. Of course, Latin American countries are still far from Europe, but they represent an important strategic interest, if only because of their close geographical location to the United States of America.
Many analysts point out that the Latin American world itself is fertile ground for spreading the ideas of radical fundamentalism. Latin Americans have always been a combination of social-revolutionary politics and religion - it’s enough to recall the “liberation theology” and practically deification of Che Guevara by Indian peasants of Latin American countries. The need for a socially revolutionary ideology exists in Latin America today, especially considering the low standard of living of the population, unusually high crime, the spread of alcoholism and drug addiction, corruption, racism and other numerous social and political problems that most countries in the region face. An important role is also played by the traditional hatred of the Latin American population for the United States of America, which has always been viewed as an imperialistic predator exploiting the peoples of Central and South America. We should not forget about the inclination of Latin Americans to the revolutionary struggle, their revolutionary experience, acquired over generations. With the gradual decline of public demand for leftist ideology, the social-revolutionary discourse of radical fundamentalists may well be of interest to a certain part of the Latin American population, especially immigrants from Latin American countries living in the United States. Of course, about the transition of the majority and even a significant part of the population of Latin American countries and even the Latin American diasporas to the new religion is not in question, but in the case of the influx of tens of thousands of Latin American neophytes into radical fundamentalist organizations, the situation in the US domestic policy may change significantly .