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Paintball Training for Jihad

Erick Stakelbeck, a good friend to ThreatsWatch and the forming Center for Threat Awareness, has an interesting report airing tonight on CBN, where he is a Terrorism Analyst and Investigative Reporter. At his blog, he previews "Radical Islamists Using Paintball to Train for Jihad?", with its full broadcast version airing on the ABC Family Channel 11pm (Eastern Time)/

So why is CBN News interested in a game that's been called the modern day equivalent of "Tag" or "Hide and Seek?"

Well, since 9/11, several jihadists in the U.S. and Europe have been arrested and charged with using paintball as a form of paramilitary training. One of the London subway bombers--Mohammed Khan--was an avid paintball player. Likewise, 17 Toronto Muslims charged this summer with plotting terrorist attacks in Canada used paintball to train. Another Canadian Muslim charged with planning terrorist attacks, Mohammed Khawaja, also played paintball.

Here in the U.S., two Georgia Muslims charged earlier this year with plotting attacks against U.S. targets played as well. The most notorious case, however, occurred in the Washington, D.C. area. A group of 11 American Muslims there have been convicted for plotting to wage jihad against U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Indian troops in Kashmir. They trained by playing paintball in the northern Virginia countryside. One of the men told a grand jury he considered paintball "a form of jihad."

Like Erick, we direct readers to consider the following article which appeared in the September 10 edition of the UK's Times Online:

But the men who pursued each other last Sunday morning through the wooded grounds of Delta Force’s paintballing park near Congleton, Cheshire, had little in common with the stag parties and company teams nearby.

Instead of listening to corporate pep talks between sessions, the young Asian men were instructed by an imam dressed in fatigues on the need to unite Muslims worldwide in an international empire.

One senior member of the group, who is a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT), which Tony Blair has proposed should be banned, insisted that devout Muslims should refuse to vote in British elections.

Be sure to see Erick Stakelbeck's report. He's been investigating for some time and it is certain to be informative.


10,000 people in the US play paintball -

Of course there are. It's immensely popular. No one is saying that paintballers are terrorists. Nor is anyone even saying that Muslim paintballers are terrorists.

It's the opposite approach. Terrorists find value in paintball as training rather than entertainment or recreation. That is a known fact, stated as such in an al-Qaeda training manual.

There are millions of guns in the United States. Guns are used in bank robberies. That is not to say that gun owners are bank robbers. But when you find a bank robber, chances are you'll find a gun.

The question to ask is, if a terrorist is found in the United States (or Europe, for that matter), what are the odds that he has sought paintballing as a form of weapons and tactics training?

Perhaps some insight can be gleaned by asking, just how many of the 'local yokels' (including myself) imagine themselves as a Rambo-type while playing?

Now plug that into the mind of a Jihadist.

Paintball makes perfect sense. Brilliant, actually.

Why set up the attention magnet of a live-firing range at a camp in the wooded mountains of Oregon, when one can go sign up for paintball without raising a single eyebrow?

Not quite as effective, perhaps, but it is a question of Risk VS. Reward.

Terrorists are extremely risk averse until the moment of truth. What good is all that effort and passion if you get nabbed before fulfilling your Holy duty, as one may see it?