Terrorism: August 29, 2005


Yemen is still trying to shut down Islamic terrorist operations in their territory. Earlier this year, the government ordered 4,000 religious schools (madrassas, containing some 130,000 students) to stop preaching religious hatred, and start teaching useful subjects, or shut down. Some 80 foreign students were expelled, most for entering the country illegally. The most troublesome schools are Shia, which get their subsidies from Iran, while some of the Sunni schools get money from religious conservatives in Saudi Arabia. The most radical Yemenis are Shia tribes, who have long felt themselves persecuted as a minority in largely Sunni Arabia. 

Americans in Yemen have been warned to be careful where they travel in the country. Islamic terrorists are operating in rural areas of Yemen, and have been known to kill or kidnap outsiders. Americans are considered particularly vulnerable to reprisals right now because of the recent prosecution and conviction of Yemeni Sheik Mohammed Moayed, an extremist cleric. Moayed was sentenced to 75 years in prison for financing terrorism and backing terrorist groups.

Many Islamic conservative Yemenis back al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden has family in Yemen. At least 46 of the terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay are Yemenis, and security officials from Yemen have been going to Guantanamo Bay to interview prisoners who say they are Yemeni, or are believed to be Yemeni.


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