Ahmad al-Mohammad. Is Greece an entry point for Jihadists into Europe?

ISIS hates refugees, but in Europe refugees are stigmatized as potential jihadists
 
 
The key revelation of the police search on the 13th November massacre was the fact that most of the attackers were French, and some of them were Belgian. For the second time following the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath, it was once more shown that jihadist terrorism is not an imported phenomenon, supposedly originating outside of Europe – which in turn shows that the stricter border controls now being sought by France (among others), and the stigmatization of refugees by the European far right, is not only racist, but also absolutely futile as regards combating ISIS.  And yet, this past week, this dimension was overshadowed by an odd finding outside the Stade de France: a Syrian passport, in the name of Ahmad al-Mohammad, found next to a dead kamikaze bomber.
 
On 3rd October, in Leros, Greek authorities verified a man of Syrian origin carrying the same passport, as the Greek Minister for Migration Policy explained to the Greek media. That man had filed an asylum claim in southern Serbia, in the Preševo reception center; since then, his tracks were lost in Croatia. The news spread very quickly, with very specific Greek newspapers (Proto Thema, Ta Nea, etc.) at the source. Thus, despite the lessons from Charlie Hebdo, the usual attempts to link refugees with terrorism, as had been attempted in January by the Greek right and far right, once more dominated the public sphere. It would be grotesque if it weren’t dangerous: one of the four nominees for New Democracy president (elections will take place on Sunday 21/ November), Adonis Georgiadis, clearly blamed the Prime Minister and the former Minister for Migration Policy for the massacre in Paris, while the alarmist discourse on Greece turning into an entry point for jihadists into Europe was manifest in various guises in news broadcasts and newspapers in the days following the attack.
 
At the same time, credible critical voices, such as that of Patrick Kingsley in the Guardian, as well as left-leaning journalists in Greece, warned that the finding must be approached with caution; not only because it was strange for a suicide bomber to carry a passport, but also because ISIS itself targets refugees fleeing to “heathen Europe”. These voices were of course right. Last Sunday evening, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira confirmed that the passport found next to the dead kamikaze was fake, indeed a good quality forgery, as Greek authorities had stated they were certain it was an original, while it took French authorities two days to prove it was in fact fake. Moreover, last Monday, Serbian authorities announced the arrest of a migrant in the Preševo reception center, who had in his possession a passport identical to the one found in Paris, except for the photograph. Serbian newspaper Blic explained that “it’s highly likely that the two men separately bought fake Syrian passports from the same forger in Turkey”. On 16th November, a Daily Mail correspondent posed for a photograph holding a fake Syrian passport under the same name, which he claimed to have obtained in just four days, for a $2000 fee. The French Press Agency (Agence France-Presse) closed the case just last Tuesday, by announcing that the “real” Ahmad al-Mohammad probably was a Syrian member of Assad’s army, who had been killed many months ago.
 
Following the revelation that the passport was indeed fake, Greek authorities began exploring a scenario for which professional propagandists of refugee intolerance were unprepared: the possibility that the jihadists carried the fake Syrian passport in an attempt to incriminate the refugees fleeing Syria for Europe. It could be said that this was a perfect partnership between jihadism and European far-right, with Syrian refugees as the target: a “Folie à deux”, whereby one half fiercely rages against the other, but in fact the two complement each other. Speaking on Tuesday evening to journalists in Berlin, German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, explained: “There are clear indications that this piece of evidence had been “planted”, though we cannot exclude the possibility that this man was indeed an “Islamic State” terrorist, posing as a refugee. On the other hand, the calculated placement of the passport next to the dead body, perhaps by an accomplice, may be aimed at incriminating refugees for terrorist attacks, and increasing the feeling of insecurity”.
 
Unfortunately, this anti-refugee “Folie à deux”, with ISIS and the European far right at the helm, tends to become dogma for the European Union. Therefore, and despite the fact that all evidence points to the fact that the massacre in Paris had nothing to do with refugees, Greek Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship , Dimitris Avramopoulos, referring to the attacks on 13th November, announced the bad news from Brussels: the European Commission “will hasten its efforts towards the adoption of a security policy based on, among other things, tighter control of the external borders and disincentives for migrants without papers”. In the aftermath of the bloodbath in France, refugee solidarity movements in Greece and Europe have even harder work to do.