The 21st Century Phenomenon



Agroup of 7 Muslims, 5 French citizens, a Moroccan and an Algerian. were sentenced, on Wednesday 05/14/2008, for up to 7 years in jail for recruiting volunteers and would be suicide bombers to fight USA in Iraq.  The group, named by the French authorities – the “19th quarter Network”, the quarter in Paris where most of the defendants lived, was accused of sending 12 volunteers, through Syria, to fight with Al Qaeda and Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Iraq.

 The group was headed by Farid  Benyettou, 27, (picture), the former young Imam in the local Mosque of Buttes Chaumont, a suburb of Paris. He was arrested in 01/2005. Farid  Benyettou was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. 

Boubaker el-Hakim, whose brother was killed in Iraq, urged in a French radio interview from Baghdad in 2003 his Paris neighbors to go to Iraq. He was given a 7 year sentence, as was the Moroccan Said Abdellah al-MaghreBi, 39, who had reportedly trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and had been sought by French police for months. 

The Algerian Nacer Mettai, accused of forging documents for potential fighters, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

The three other defendants: Mohammed el-Ayouni, who lost an arm and an eye in Iraq’s battlefields, Thamer Bouchnak and Cherif Kouachi, who both were arrested days before they planned to travel to Syria in 01/2005— were given 3 year sentences, 18 months of which were suspended.

A member of the group, known as Peter Sherif, volunteered to the war in Iraq under the influenced of Farid  Benyettou. He was captures in Falluja in 04/2004 (see – Falluja Battle). On 12/02/2004 Peter Sherif was sentenced in Iraq for 15 years in jail.   

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