From gangsta rapper to Islamist militant

<span style="font-size:18.0pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Islamic State, sparking fears of homegrown terror in his country
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<span style="mso-bidi-font-size:
12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">As war in Syria and Iraq
attracts a growing number of Muslim extremists from Europe, intelligence
officials in Germany believe a former gangsta rapper has joined the inner
circle of Islamists fighting there.

Denis Cuspert was once a modestly successful member of Germany's hip-hop scene
going by the stage name Deso Dogg. Now he calls himself Abu Talha the German
and is a top propagandist for the so-called Islamic State (IS) caliphate, which
is blamed for several wartime atrocities.

His ascent into the upper IS ranks is raising concerns that such
"homegrown" Islamists could embolden Muslim extremists in Germany or
that they might one day return themselves to target the country for terrorism.

"Cuspert won't come back since there's an arrest warrant waiting for
him," Elke Altmüller, a spokeswoman for Germany's Verfassungsschutz
domestic intelligence agency, told Yahoo News. "But there's a danger he
could incite others."

And as the cross-border conflict in Syria and Iraq continues to rage, it is
luring hundreds of would-be jihadis from Europe, including radicalized converts
like the ex-rapper. Although the German authorities have said they see no
indications an attack is imminent, they are attempting to track fighters
returning from the war zone.

Currently, there are an estimated 400 Muslim extremists from Germany in Syria,
either directly engaging in fighting or otherwise supporting the Islamists.
Altmüller said roughly 10 percent of them were German converts to Islam.
According to intelligence reports, some 40 have been killed in the conflict.

That was almost the fate of the 38-year-old Cuspert after he was seriously
injured in an airstrike by Syrian forces in September 2013. But he survived,
and being wounded apparently helped him win respect among the extremists. He
eventually swore allegiance in an online video this spring to Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi, who has since declared himself caliph of the repressive Islamic
State.<span style="font-size:12.0pt;
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Born to a German mother and Ghanaian father, Cuspert grew up in a gritty Berlin
neighborhood and got involved in petty crime and gangs while aspiring to become
a rap star. He enjoyed some success, even touring in Germany with U.S. rapper
DMX. His lyrics in his song "Who's Afraid of the Black Man" document
his early disillusionment and violent tendencies:

Doing time in my skin like Tookie Williams in San Quentin/
No identity, where will this end?
In a white world full of hate and illusion/
The last option was only violence and emotion.

But he never managed to make it big rapping, and after a car accident he
started to look to radical Islam for direction in life. Over the past four
years, he abandoned his music career to become an Islamist poster boy in the
German-speaking world, posting videos that encourage Muslims to join the
caliphate's holy war.

"I was a sinner. I lived in sin before I turned to Islam. Surrounded by
music, drugs, alcohol and women," he said in one recent propaganda video.

Another scene shows Cuspert hitting the head of a corpse with a rock at the
site of a suspected IS massacre east of the Syrian city of Homs.

The Islamists clearly see the former rapper's potential in recruiting others in
Germany, which has a thriving Salafist scene promulgating an especially
dogmatic form of Sunni Islam. The Islamists clearly see the former rapper's
potential in recruiting others in Germany.

After two policemen were stabbed during a Salafist protest in the city of Bonn
in May 2012, Cuspert used his rap skills to glorify the attacker as "the
German lion Murat K." in a poem. And despite renouncing his musical
background, he regularly composes Islamic chants known as "anasheeds"
in praise of jihad.

According to the German authorities, the man behind the only deadly Islamist
attack in Germany, Arid Uka, watched a video of an anasheed by Cuspert before
he shot dead two U.S. servicemen at Frankfurt Airport in 2011. Uka's Facebook
account was also linked with Cuspert's profile on the social media website


By: Gulf Flyer (5147.64)

Tags: Snackbar, German, Terrorist,

Location: Germany