British authorities raided a house in Bristol Thursday night and arrested Andrew Ibrahim, a 19 year old British Muslim convert, suspected of planning a terror attack. Later on, the police carried out a controlled explosion of different devices found in the residence of the suspect defined as "suspicious material".
Although this plot is still at its early stages of investigation and only little information has become public at this point, it brings up a known and alarming threat that has already become a phenomenon - the role of Muslim converts among the ranks of radical Islam and "Global Jihad".
Muslim converts have long been a desired target for recruitment by radical Islamic elements. The Muslim convert enjoys several operational advantages over the Muslim descendent recruits: in addition to western travel documents and the western language, they possess a western look which allows them to travel more freely through international border crosses and does not attract attention as "Middle Eastern" or "South Asian" looks often do.
In recent years, the Western world has faced this phenomenon in many terror plots and attacks as Muslim converts took major part in planning and participating in them, sometimes even as suicide bombers. Among the famous "global jihad" Muslim convert terrorists one can find:
- Muriel Degauque - A Belgian citizen who became a suicide bomber in an attack against an American army convoy in Iraq.
- Germaine Lindsay - a British citizen of Jamaican descent that was among the suicide bombers of the 7/7/2005 attack on the London transportation system.
- Willie Bridgette - A French citizen arrested in Australia for involvement with a terror plot to explode a nuclear facility near Sydney.
- Richard Reid – A British citizen of Jamaican origin that tried to crash a commercial flight using explosives hidden in his shoes.
- Jack Rosch- an Australian citizen born in the UK that was directed by Al-Qaeda's most senior elements to conduct reconnaissance on Israeli targets in Australia.
- Jason Walters – A Dutch citizen with a dual American and Dutch citizenship that led the radical Islamist "Hofstadt" group.
- Steven Vikash Chand - a Canadian citizen that was a member of a terrorist group which plotted to target Canadian symbols in Toronto and Ottawa.
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