National Security Agency Yearbook: Handful of Homegrown Jihadis

The conflict in Syria (Reuters/Scanpix)
4/14/2014 3:15 PM
Category: Politics

Although its conclusions on possible Russian subversion were more anticipated (stories coming soon), the Internal Security Service's annual yearbook released today has a section that notes that some people have traveled from Estonia to Syria, presumably to become involved in the civil war.

Arnold Sinisalu, the director general of the organization, which has a wide range of functions ranging from counterintelligence and national security to anti-corruption, said at the presentation that he didn't have more information on the background of the individuals or whether they were citizens, but that they were fighting against Assad's forces.

Sinisalu told Postimees that Estonia had a relatively small Muslim community and he couldn't go into details to avoid revealing information. But he did say none of those who had left had returned.

Most of the would-be jihadis from Europe are, logically, young men, though have have been males under 18 years of age and women.

The ISS has called on anyone with a relative who has an increased interest in traveling to crisis zones to contact them.

Sinisalu noted that a number of foreign Islamic organizations had been trying to establish a "foothold" in Estonia, most notably the Turkish Fethullah Gülen Movement (FGM), operated by a reclusive leader in exile in the US. It does not advocate extremism or violence but did, Sinisalu said, follow a practice of consolidating power and manipulating. In Estonia, its influence appears to be limited to university students, most Turkish themselves.


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