Mubin Shaikh (@MrMubinShaikh) is a former Islamic extremist who became an undercover counterterrorism operative instrumental in exposing a plot to hold Canada’s Parliament hostage and behead the Prime Minister. He is the co-author of Undercover Jihadi: Inside the Toronto 18 — Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism in the West.
What We Discuss with Mubin Shaikh:
- What does “radicalization” mean to someone who’s experienced it firsthand, and how can it convert a teenaged Canadian metalhead into a true believer of a cause that uses terrorism to accomplish its goals?
- What did it take for this true believer to change course and start working for his government’s counter-terrorist agency?
- The differences between Sufi and Wahhabi Islam, and what makes the latter a more suitable creed for extremists.
- The factors that go into someone becoming radicalized, and what to look out for when you suspect a loved one may be going through this process.
- How Mubin’s undercover work exposed a massive terrorist plot, and what the aftermath of this operation looked like.
- And much more…
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Mubin Sheikh is a Canadian intelligence (CSIS) agent who infiltrated and successfully foiled a crazy terror plot in which a group known as The Toronto 18 planned to hold Parliament hostage and behead the Prime Minister. Before that, he was a radical himself, even traveling to Syria to do a deep dive into hard-line Islam.
On this episode, we’ll follow Mubin on his journey from average Canadian teenager to radical Islamic militant, all the way to undercover counter-terror agent, and get a glimpse into the world of online terror recruiting and radical extremism. We’ll discuss the factors that go into someone’s radicalization, what to look out for when you suspect a loved one may be going through a process of radicalization, and why radicalization isn’t always a bad thing. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!
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THANKS, MUBIN SHAIKH!
If you enjoyed this session with Mubin Shaikh, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Undercover Jihadi: Inside the Toronto 18 — Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism in the West by Anne Speckhard and Mubin Shaikh
- Mubin Shaikh at Twitter
- The Fusion Team
- Parents For Peace
- ‘Radicalization’ and ‘Violent Extremism’ UNODC
- Understanding the Path to Radicalization, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
- 4chan, Know Your Meme
- Martin Luther King Jr., NobelPrize.org
- The Meaning of Da’wah in Islam, Learn Religions
- Chechnya’s ISIS Problem, The New Yorker
- Westboro Baptist Church, Southern Poverty Law Center
- History of Quetta, Wikipedia
- Remembering 9/11 in Pictures, National Geographic
- The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya, CRS Report for Congress
- Iraq, ISIS, and the Syrian War, CSIS
- The Relationship between Muslim Men and Their Beards Is a Tangled One, The Guardian
- Avoiding Syria’s Secret Police, BBC
- Mecca History & Pilgrimage, Britannica
- The 10 Best Halal Restaurants in Mecca, TripAdvisor
- Who Are Sufi Muslims and Why Do Some Extremists Hate Them? The New York Times
- Star Wars: Jedi vs. Sith, Wookieepedia
- The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, et al.
- Homegrown Terrorist Plot Thwarted, The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Understanding Syria: From Pre-Civil War to Post-Assad, The Atlantic
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- What Is the Five Eyes Intelligence Pact? CNN
- Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO)
- 2006 Ontario Terrorism Plot, Wikipedia
- Toronto 18 News, Opinion, and Analysis, Maclean’s
- World of Warcraft
- Here’s the Note Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wrote Inside the Boat Where He Was Captured, The Boston Globe
- July 7, 2005 London Bombings Fast Facts, CNN
- The Principles Of Mens Rea And Actus Rea In Criminal Law Explained, The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards
- Marlin .22 Rifles
- Ammonium Nitrate, PubChem
- Oklahoma City Bombing, FBI
- Tim Hortons
- The Fifth Estate, CBC
- 60 Minutes
- Undercover Jihadi: Mubin Shaikh — Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism In The West, IntlSpyMuseum
- An American ISIS Supporter Known As ‘Umm Nutella’ Is Facing Life In Prison, Vice
- Jihad Selfies: These British Extremists in Syria Love Social Media, Vice
- Peter Neumann at Twitter
- International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR)
- How ISIS Returns, The Atlantic
- Caliphate with Rukmini Callimachi, PodcastOne
Transcript for Mubin Shaikh | Up Close with an Undercover Jihadi (Episode 261):
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.[00:00:21] Mubin Shaikh is a Canadian Intelligence, or CSIS, agent who infiltrated and successfully foiled a crazy terror plot in Canada, where a group known as the Toronto 18 planned to hold Parliament hostage and behead the Prime Minister. Before foiling Canada’s September 11th, he was a bit of a radical himself, even traveling to Syria to do a deep dive into hardline Islam. Today on the show, we’ll follow Mubin on his journey from an average Canadian teenager to radical Islamic militant, all the way to undercover counter-terror agent, and get a glimpse into the world of online terror recruiting and radical extremism. This is a fascinating trip and something we rarely get to examine up close, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. [00:01:03] By the way, I met Mubin through my network, in fact a CIA agent or former CIA agent introduced us, so that was kind of cool. I would love to teach you how to create and maintain networks like mine. I want to do it for free because the more people that know this stuff the better. I’ve got a course on how to do this. Six-Minute Networking is what it’s called and it’s free for you at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show actually subscribed to the course and the newsletter. So, come join us, you’ll be in great company. All right. Here’s Mubin Shaikh.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:32] So the term radicalization, unfortunately, it’s trending and I want to know what that means from somebody who’s kind of been in there because I feel like it gets thrown around a lot; it’s in danger of maybe losing a lot of the meaning that it has.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:01:48] Yeah, that’s good to start with, actually. Radicalization is the normal human psychological process whereby people become increasingly extreme in their views. It is a process, and the end of that process is that you become an extremist. You accept that violence or violent acts in the public space are acceptable. And if you act on that, then you’re a violent extremist. You could have a process of radicalization which does not end in violence, and then you could have what is called violent radicalization, or you could have gone through a process of violent radicalization, which does end in violence.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:25] Yeah. Okay, that makes sense.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:02:26] The process whereby people become increasingly extreme in their views.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:30] I can agree with that. I mean, not that I would disagree with your definition anyway, but it does make sense because you see non-violent, and you don’t think of radicals as non-violent, we only kind of really hear about them in the news. But yeah when I go on, not Reddit, but like if I were to look at 4Chan or whatever, over a friend’s shoulder, if you know what that is like, it’s like all those dark webby tight places. You see people on there like. “Oh, this person is a toxic mess,” or “This group of people is horrible and toxic.” That I guess is radicalization. They’re just not doing anything about it, thankfully.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:02:58] Yeah, and we don’t want to make the implication that radicalization equals violent. Just like radicals that we know even in our popular culture. You know, Martin Luther King Jr., he was radicalized. He was a radical in that sense. He wasn’t violent. Then you’ll have others who have crazy ideas, and they’ll just promote those ideas, but they won’t actually act on them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:20] Yeah, that’s probably fortunate for a lot of us.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:03:22] That’s what we prefer.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:24] Were you a recruiter for one of these organizations or was that just something that somebody said?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:03:28] No, no, I gave da’wah, I gave invitation towards — that’s what we would call recruiting — towards supporting this global jihadi culture. Not necessarily a specific group because that global jihadi culture incorporates within it all the groups — Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and so on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:50] Okay, so you are kind of just like —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:03:51] I was a supporter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:54] “I support this, join somebody. I don’t have any particular recommendations.” Why didn’t you pick one group? Not that I’m criticizing —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:04:01] I did. I actually did, because in 1996, because my radicalization period really ran from ’95 to let’s say 2001, but I was kind of on my way off that ramp by 1998 after I got married, but in 1996 is when the war in Chechnya kicked off. And that was the spot that I would always think about wanting to go to as a foreign fighter. I did focus on one and that was Chechnya, but there were other arenas that were being promoted just the same.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:32] So you met your wife in like ’98 or something like that?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:04:34] No I met her in high school in ’92, ’93.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:39] So this radicalization thing was like a big parabolic phase in your life because your wife is Polish and very “Do not look directly at her” because she’s so white.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:04:51] Glow in the dark white.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:52] Glow in the dark white. And so, in high school, you must have been able to relate to women like that, and now you’re able to relate to women like that, but during this phase where you’re, like, super Muslim, she wasn’t, so —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:05:02] It’s so weird how it happened because I met her in high school and you know, we were metalheads, so our friend circles crossed and then in ’95, I have this house party, it gets raided by my uncle, and then I go away to India and Pakistan to get super religious. Then when I come back is when she realizes, “Wait a second, what made this guy go from this all the way to this?” And so that sparked more interest. And then we were just talking, we weren’t dating. I didn’t even make out with her, man. We’re just kind of hanging out and then she was wondering like, “Why is this guy hanging out with me? What does he want?” And I’m like, “Oh, man, how can I get this girl? How can I fit her into my world view where I’m supposed to be married and she has to be Muslim? Like, how do I do that?” So somehow, I did. I convinced her, or she accepted to marry me. That was 20 years ago.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:57] Wow, five kids.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:05:58] Five kids.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:58] So something’s working.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:06:00] Something’s definitely working.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:02] So let’s back up a little, because I know you went to public high school, but you also went to this kind of strict Islamic school. So you had two lives as a kid.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:06:10] Yeah, yeah, for sure. Growing up in Canada, obviously, you’re going to public school, that’s the expectation. And in the evening time, so from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., I’ll never forget, you went to Quran School.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:23] Every day?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:06:24] Every day, seven days a week.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:28] Seven days a week, horrible.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:06:31] They say even God rested on the seventh. Not us. You’ve got to keep going.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:35] You got some catching up to do.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:06:37] So it was two hours a day, seven days a week, and it was a complete contrast to the caring, nurturing environment of public school. This was the hard, austere, stereotypical madrasah, which in Arabic just means school, but its connotation is you know, this India or Pakistan or Afghanistan, boys sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, reading the Quran, not understanding what they’re reading.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:03] So you’re just reading it in Arabic.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:07:04] We’re just reading in Arabic. It’s so weird the way they do it because they basically teach you how to read it in transliteration. If I was to write out English letters to sound out, you know, the Arabic, right? So like, Allah is A-L-L-A-H.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:22] So you’re reading like Romanized —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:07:24] So we’re actually reading Arabic but we’re only being taught how to recite, we’re not being taught what it means. It’s rote memorization and that’s a big problem across the Muslim world even today.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:38] Yeah, we’ll get to that in a little bit. We kind of talked about that outside actually. So this house party. It sounds like you were more or less a normal teenager. Got some metal, some rock and roll, the Devil’s music.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:07:49] Yeah, the Devil’s music. Yeah, it was the last year of high school, you know, I had already grown up going to house parties, so I kind of got the hang of it. So I just invited everyone over; this is before social media. It’s like it spreads by word, and it spreads fast, not as fast as social media, but still. When you hear there’s a house party happening, you go. Right? My parents were out of town. I had the house party. It was so rocking.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:16] Yeah, until?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:08:18] Until that, you know, stereotypical, meanie, scowling Muslim dude, who happened to be my father’s older brother —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:27] He’s your uncle, then.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:08:28] — burst through the door like a SWAT team. Like the door flew open, slammed against the wall, and everybody just like, you know, just the color just drained from their faces in that split second as they also jet out the side doors. People were literally jumping off the second-floor balcony. It was wild.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:49] Does he wear traditional like —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:08:51] Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It was actually the long white robe. It was flopping back and forth and it’s like, “Oh, crap.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:01] And he’s yelling, obviously.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:09:03] Oh, he’s losing it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:04] No. No, so —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:09:06] Because I have defiled the house. I have lots of kuffar, these non-Muslim, these infidel kids, who were defiling the place with their very presence and also with the beer bottles and the joints. That didn’t help, and so it was a huge crime in his eyes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:26] You must have felt horrible. I mean, I assume that you got it from everybody in the family for the next month and a half or more.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:09:34] Yeah, yeah. Yeah for sure. I mean, you know, he got on the phone. He’s calling for backup, you know, he’s trying to get the other uncles to come by. I’ll be honest, there was a stolen car in the garage.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:44] No, what?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:09:45] It was a wild house party. These guys, they just jacked this car and they put it in the garage and I took off that night because like, I panicked and then like I had these guys, basically trying to get in touch and saying “Yo, dude like we got a car in the garage.” And so later, I learned that they went to the house, my uncles were all there, and the uncles didn’t want anything to do with it, so they’re just like, “Take the car and get out.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:09] Wow. They’re like. “Excuse me, we have to get our car.” And they’re like, “No.” And they’re like, “We stole it.” They’re like, “All right, fine. Let’s go.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:10:15] That’s exactly what happened. They did say, “No. It’s a stolen car.” They’re like, “Okay take the car.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:21] “In that case, get it out of my house.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:10:22] “Do it now.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:24] Wow, so then you’d mentioned, okay, decided to get more religious, because I can see your logic here.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:10:31] It’s the guilt trip. The guilt trip really made me feel so bad about what I had done that the only way for me to salvage this is to quote unquote get religious.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:37] Yeah. I can totally understand the thought process. Like, “Okay, if I want them to stop yelling at me, I need to double down on everything they want, which is be super religious conservative because I’ll feel better about myself and they’ll get off my case.” Like I completely —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:10:52] Right, typical kid logic.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:53] But I follow that logic; I understand that. So what is your first step, then? You go to study Quran more with your uncles and you’re just like, “Show me the way!” And dot, dot, dot. What happened? you ended up in a different place?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:11:07] So I ended up joining a group. It’s like a proselytizing fundamentalist group. They don’t try to convert other people. They try to encourage other Muslims to become more observant. So it’s a little different. And they offer this training, if you would like any — let’s call it an immersion program — where it’s for four months, two months in India, two months in Pakistan. And it’s even more austere than backpacking because you’re literally staying in the mosque. You’re cooking your own food. You’re just like really living very, very basic and all you’re doing is just self-indoctrinating in these ways. It’s praying and it’s reading Quran, but none of it is actually studious in the sense, like you’re still not learning what the Arabic actually says, so I would have to go to an English translation to kind of understand what I was reading. It was less intellectual and more behavioral or more devotional.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:04] Sure, that makes sense. You’re almost programming yourself. You’re not learning to think critically about the stuff you’re reading and ask questions.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:12:11] Just blind following.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:12] So that’s what they considered to be more observant, not to learn it but to memorize it.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:12:18] Yeah, to go through the motions, to play the part, to look the part.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:22] That makes sense. I mean we see that in other religions too. You know, you see it with that — what’s that crazy church where they protest soldiers’ funerals and stuff?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:12:31] Westboro Baptist Church.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:33] Westboro Baptist Church. But clearly those people haven’t looked at a Bible and gone, “Oh, you know what? This is clearly the interpretation,” they’re just like, “I’m going to memorize whatever our crazy grandpa — or whatever that guy, whoever is the leader of that — is saying.” So how did you end up starting to get radicalized? Because there’s a difference between memorizing things and going to the worst backpacker hostel ever in Pakistan with a bunch of other people and then being like, “I got to take action in this completely violent and unreasonable way.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:13:00] It’s a good distinction to make, because again most people who do get radicalized don’t become violent, and for me what had happened is now that I am in Pakistan, we were sent to a city called Quetta. And for those who do know, in the mid-’90s, Quetta was the stronghold of this newly formed Taliban movement. So if you remember ’79 to ’89, the Soviets were in Afghanistan, they fought it out. The Mujahideen, quote unquote, they were the good guys at this time. Then there was a five-year Civil War after that, and then by ’95 the Taliban have come to power in Afghanistan. So I literally ended up walking into one of their areas. And it was a total chance encounter. It’s not like I went and I joined the Taliban in Pakistan. That’s not what happened. I went and, with this group who happened to be in the same city with the Taliban, and then I went around just you know, walking around like part of our thing is to encourage other Muslims to be more observant.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:56] Oh, so you’re like looking for somebody.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:13:57] Exactly, yeah, and we would say “Brother, you know, we’ve come from Canada and blah blah blah.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:05] “I came from Canada here to Pakistan. Let me teach you something about being a Muslim.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:14:19] You know how many people said that to us? They said “Why are you here? We’re already Muslim. Beat it.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:14] “It’s new for you. That’s not new for me!”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:14:16] We’ve been here a while, a little while. Yeah, but of course there were also these Taliban members were around and I kind of chanced upon them. They were just kind of sitting around there and the spiel that we would kind of give is, you know, “To be successful in this life and the next life, you must follow the commandments of God as shown by the way the prophet, Alayhi Salam — peace be upon him.” And one guy said “Well, he goes if you want to be successful in this life and the next, you do with this.” And he picked up the AK-47.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:44] That’s kind of badass at that age. Right?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:14:46] That was the moment. Because this Muslim kid who’s seeking this new identity — especially this identity of following the pure, religious ways of however they perceive it — it all came together for me. This was an identity that I could buy into and that’s what happened to me is when I realized, “Yeah, you know what? Militancy is the way forward. Because it’s strength.” And especially me, this young Muslim kid coming from what I thought was a position of powerlessness, now I belong to something much greater. Now I am more powerful.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:22] Yeah. I can understand that. How old were you at this point?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:15:25] 18 or 19.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:27] So 100% get it. I can totally see myself falling into something like that, especially at that age because you lack purpose at that age. And you’re kind of being treated as a kid by your parents, maybe society, but you’re biologically an adult, but you got nothing really going on, just out of high school or maybe still in high school. So then it’s September 11, 2001 or September 10, 2001. You said that was your last day as an extremist. What happened?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:15:52] Yeah, and I mean 9/11 happened. It was Tuesday morning and I was driving to work. I heard a plane hit the building. I was like, “Oh, my God,” you know, I actually said, “Allahu Akbar,” which contrary to what people think, it doesn’t mean I’m about to blow myself up. A lot of times it does also mean, “Oh, my God, and then just the events of that day, watching it on TV, everybody kind of sharing in that collective trauma. And then later that day going to see the bad friends that I was hanging out with, because I had left the group that I was initially with and then kind of came back and joined up with more extreme, more politically vocal, what they call Salafists or Wahhabis. They were just a lot more in tune with the geopolitical situation. I remember one friend of mine and my friend asked, “I understand fighting the cause in combat; how do you justify flying planes into buildings? These are not combatants. These are not military targets,” and there was a pause. And it’s never just one moment, but that was a moment that really struck me because the guy paused, trying to come up with an answer, and then ended up saying, “Well, they’re all infidels anyway, so it doesn’t matter.” And then both my friend and I, we turned to each other with that, “Mmm, that doesn’t jive.” That’s when I realized that I didn’t know Arabic. I needed to study it properly and formally. And then I would decide to undertake a trip to Syria in 2002 to do just that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:21] Yeah, I can understand this. I mean your friends and family were already telling you things like “Extremism is toxic.” Like your parents and uncles — even the guy who probably kicked down the door of your house party was probably like, “Whoa, man, calm down.” I wonder what he felt. He was probably like. “Man, this is partly my fault.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:17:38] Well, it’s funny because a lot of these people didn’t know that I had this change of heart. It’s when I started to make known my intention, that I’m going to Syria. Everybody was like, “Oh, crap. Oh, boy, we’ve heard of this.” But it wasn’t like that. And even though when I got there, one of the first things that I actually did was register with the Canadian embassy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:59] Just in case something happens.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:18:00] Just in case, right? Which worked out a little bit later. On the show, we’ll get into that, but it ended up working in my favor anyway. Then the war in Iraq kicked off in 2003 and I watched as a Syrian regime sent students in air-conditioned buses to go and join the fight against the Americans. I was invited to go, of course. You know, thank God I didn’t go.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:20] They just over like people studying anthropology or whatever —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:18:24] Not quite anthropology. It was Islamic university, definitely Islamic university. I could see there were some really shady people there, like quite a few of them did end up going and none of them came back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:38] Yeah, I can imagine that Iraq isn’t like, “Well, we’d better save these foreign fighters for later.” They’re like, “Oh you’re going to show up here? Go ahead. And we’ll save our own boys for wave two.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:18:46] That’s right. “We’ll kill the Americans.” As far as the Syrians were concerned, they didn’t care.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:51] Yeah. Oh, yuck. You don’t hear about too many people going to Syria to get deradicalized, though.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:18:56] Not today. Obviously not since 2010, when the Civil War began and the atrocities by the Assad regime. Nobody in their right mind would go there for this sort of stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:08] No, but Syria is more, under Assad, is mostly secular, not secular but —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:19:13] I would call it authoritarian secularism. They are that, yes, but they’re just incredibly authoritarian, which —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:23] I heard you mention that you’d said something like, “Yeah, we’re all online complaining about how Canada is turning into a police state, but then you went to Syria and you’re like,
“Oh, this is what a police state is really like. Got it.” So what are you talking about when you say that? Like what’s going on?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:19:36] Yeah, it was really just the disillusionment I felt while I was there in Syria, like studying and being this westerner and really being this kid, who was trying to like, force this costume onto himself. And now I’m referring to myself in the third person.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:50] That’s fine. No problem.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:19:52] But that’s basically what happened. It didn’t work because I was still in a very idealized state, especially coming out of the west, Canada in particular, where you can wear whatever you want and you have a right to do that. And if anyone questions you, you’d stand up, you’d tell him. But in Syria, it’s not like that. You don’t do that. And people didn’t look like me, right? Like, giant beards were frowned upon. The government would actually tell people to come and trim your beard if it was too long, because they consider that a sign of extremism. But I was a foreigner, so nobody was going to tell me that. In fact, I was told that, but by the Islamic school teacher, which really made me like — I thought to myself, “How dare you? This is like the beard, like the Prophet had a beard. I got to have a beard!” It’s like, you know later on, people ended up telling me it’s like “Well, you know, the Prophet also rode a camel, so where’s yours, buddy?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:45] I guess they’d probably tell you to do that because they don’t want to be on the radar of the police, either.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:20:50] Yeah. Yeah. I mean again, that whole back to that police state concept. Everybody is, you know, if they’re not passively informing on you, they’re actively informing on you. But I wasn’t up to anything nefarious while I was there. I mean, I was an open book and they could see what I was doing, and everything was fine. I’ll never forget walking by the Mukhabarat, which is the secret police, and I just waved to the guy and he replies to me, “Walaikum salam abu mujahid.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:22] Oh, he knew your name?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:23] I was like, “What?” He knew my name. I didn’t know who he was.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:26] Was he just standing outside the building?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:28] Yeah. He was just standing there and he’s like, yeah, “Abu mujahid, what’s up? I know you!”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:23] Wow, he had to memorize your — how many?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:35] Well there wasn’t — I was living in a little town outside of Damascus. It was just my wife and I, so they’ve never seen people like us.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:43] Your wife lived in Syria, too.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:44] Oh, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:45] Oh, I didn’t think about. That makes sense, of course.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:47] We had two kids at the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:51] Wow, she must have been like, “What did I get myself into?”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:21:54] She’s gung-ho. Because when we got married in ’98, we went on this crazy honeymoon trip, like we went to Israel/Palestine and did the holy land tour there and India and Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Mecca and Medina, like the religious sites. So she’s very adventurous and she, you know, she’s cool with that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:11] Mecca and Medina must be interesting. I will never experience firsthand, probably, but they look really interesting.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:22:18] Yeah, it’s unfortunate. though. I guess literalist readings that people have where — because in the ancient context, it was polytheists who kind of ran that area and then they were basically taken over, if you will. The Muslims became powerful and dominant and so the edict basically was “Don’t let non-Muslims into these holy cities.” Now, you know a thousand, 500 years later, you know, where we have global transportation, and you have business people coming there to Jeddah, which is just 30 minutes from Mecca. I mean you can get that close, I guess. But they’ve taken it really literally, and so on the highway, it’ll say “Makkah this way, non-Muslims that way,” and it’s got an arrow. I don’t know why they need to do that. I think they should open it up to people and just experience it because people want to.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:13] I would check it out. Yeah, I had a friend invite me to Jeddah. I was like, “Oh, it’s really close to — is it Mecca or Medina?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:23:17] Yeah to Mecca.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:18] Yeah, I was like, “That would be so cool.” And he goes, “No, you need a special visa.” And I go, “How do I get it?” He goes, “Well at first, you convert to Islam.” And I was like “That sounds like it’s going to take a lot longer than waiting in line at the embassy. Maybe we won’t do that.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:23:30] Yeah. Well, I can hook you up with like a certificate, a fake certificate.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:33] That sounds like a terrible idea.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:00:00] But you could get in. You would be able to get in with it
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:38] And I’d have to learn —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:23:39] No. No. Don’t be afraid. I’d give you the whatever. Yeah, but it’s funny, some people are like, “Don’t turn it into a tourist haven.” But have you seen the Muslims there? Have you seen the Muslims there? It’s like there’s Halal KFC like right there and people flock to it. Halal McDonald’s, Halal Burger King. So it’s like you don’t want to make it into a tourist haven?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:03] You know, Starbucks has mugs from different stores. Is there one that says like Mecca in the Starbucks?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:24:07] No, I haven’t seen that. I doubt they’d have that uncovered woman, though on the cup. Probably have to like black marker it out —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:17] It would be the Starbucks gal, but with a full niqab. They could do that, but that might not have the same branding effect.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:24:25] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Mubin Shaikh. We’ll be right back.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:40] All right. So you go to Syria. It’s a real police state. How do you then become working with the Canadian CSIS, which is I guess the Canadian CIA? Is that the equivalent?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:27:51] Well, a little bit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:53] FBI, more like? I don’t know.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:27:55] Yeah. Yeah. So basically, what happens is I go through a period of deradicalization while I’m in Syria. I’m introduced to the Sufi sect of Islam, or the Sufi understanding of Islam. They’re not a sect. It’s more like an understanding. The Sufis are like the Jedi of the Muslim world and the Wahhabis are like the Sith.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:14] All right.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:28:15] That’s the analogy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:16] Gotcha.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:28:17] We both draw from the Force. One is dark side of the Force. So, you know I deradicalized while I was there. I realized that my interpretations were wrong. You know, I learned the history properly. I learned the prophetic traditions, went into the core and in-depth, and finally became so like almost depressed that I was in Syria. I just want to go home and I had this newfound appreciation for the rights that we have in the west at least in Canada anyway. I can’t really comment on the US situation here.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:48] Can’t throw stones at this glass house.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:28:51] I finished my two years there. I basically gave up in this sense because I had this idea that I was going to stay there for many, many years and not realizing, of course, the war that kicked off in 2010, God only knows what would have happened to me and my family if we were still there. Yeah, I don’t want think about it. I mean the horrible videos that I saw already coming out online. I just couldn’t imagine if I was still there. Guaranteed I would have been killed by the regime. I have been tortured for years and then hopefully killed. So basically, I come back in 2004 to Canada. And the first week that I’m back, the first Canadian has been arrested on the post-9/11 terrorism charges. Momin Khawaja was arrested in connection with the 2004 London fertilizer bomb plot, was the plot before the subway bombings moment. Momin Khawaja sat beside me in that Quran school I went to as a kid in Canada. We used to play Hot Wheels cars together. He lived on the eighth floor, apartment 808. I picked up the phone. Do you remember once upon a time they had phone books?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:52] Yeah, vaguely.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:29:55] I basically found the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and I called them up and I said, “Hey, I know this guy, I know the family.” And they’re like, “Oh, you know him. Okay. Well, then someone’s going to come in and have a chat with you.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:07] Don’t move.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:30:08] “So where are you going to be in the next hour and a half?” That’s what he said. The intelligence officer came. I told him my whole life story again, and he just basically put to me the prospect of consulting for them in an undercover capacity and basically guiding them as to who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:26] Wow, that was fast. They must have already checked you out if they did that.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:30:30] I would hope so. I mean, I think though, they did see the value that I brought, because I had the ability to access those vulnerable communities or those specific targets that they had in mind. They knew I could get next to those people without any problem, because if people did back check me, which they did, you know, I remember coming to one place and the guy was like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, we did a credit check on you and everything checked out.” And I thought to myself, “Credit check? Oh.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:00] Oh, that kind of credit.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:01] Right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:01] Street creds. Not Equifax or whatever they have up there.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:04] Right. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:05] Wow, that’s interesting. I wonder how they do that. They just go, “Oh, where did you study? Oh, that. All right. Who do we know that was there? Who knows this guy?”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:11] Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly what they did both from the government side and the bad guy side. For the government, it was, “Okay, check if this guy registered with the embassy,” and it was like, “true enough, he did.” Ding.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:25] How do you know that was what did it, though? They tell you?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:29] Well they told me. Oh, yeah. And he told me straight. Basically, what he said was, “Your background check would have taken much longer had you not registered with the embassy.” Because then what they do is they then ask the local Syrian police to go and find out what was this guy doing? Who was he with? What town was he living in? Who was he studying? Doing this and that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:48] Sure, so they’re cooperating. “Okay, just make sure, for your sake and ours, this guy’s not getting radicalized right now.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:53] That’s right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:54] That’s interesting.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:31:55] It worked out for me because I was deradicalizing right at the point.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:53] Because it would have been tough for them to call Syria after and be like, “Dp you have any info on this guy?” “Maybe. What’s it to you?” Yeah, tit-for-tat. Okay, so you’re kind of trying to go undercover — actually, you’re trying to vouch for your old friend who turns out to actually be —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:32:12] A bad guy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:13] Yeah. So, what were you like? “No, no, he’s fine.” And they’re like, “Here’s all the evidence.” You’re like, “Never mind.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:32:18] Yeah, they were basically saying “Look, it’s out of our hands, his case, because the police lay charges,” and the way it works in Canada is the security intelligence component is done by CSIS, the federal policing is done by the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in the US, the FBI does both.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:38] Okay.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:32:39] Got it. The CIA does what’s called foreign intelligence collection. Canada does not have a foreign collection of intelligence.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:46] At all?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:32:46] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:47] I didn’t know that.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:32:48] We do piggyback off of allies, Five Eyes. What’s called the alliance called America, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and we do kind of piggyback off of that with liaison officers. But we don’t have a dedicated agency to do that, like the CIA. Yeah, even the Australians actually have ASIO, Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:08] You don’t have your own spy agency? Dang. But if you can piggyback off the US, you don’t really need to worry about it. It saves some money.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:33:14] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:15] All right. So, what do they have you do, then? They got an idea for you.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:33:20] Yeah, it’s basically “Get close to these people and tell us what they’re doing.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:25] Who were these people, though?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:33:27] So these people are Muslim people who for whatever reason have come under some kind of suspicion. They are online and they are in the mosque, and my job is to basically become friends with them or find out what’s happening with them. And I’m not told anything. If the service has any information on them, I’m not informed of that and that is to keep me honest, really. That there’s no bias involved, that I just freely report what I’m able to access. I was really good at my job and I was able to get in with a lot of people and either verified what the service already knew or denied what others had claimed of this person. So for example, it was also getting people off of suspicion.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:16] Yeah, sure, because they might be like, “You know, I don’t like that guy; I kind of want his house. I’m going tell somebody that he’s doing something shady, and he’ll get thrown in jail.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:34:24] Perfect example. There was this imam who was making truckloads of money doing Arabic teaching, Arabic classes online, and other imams who were jealous of him contacted the service and said “This guy is Taliban.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:40] Damn, that sucks.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:34:41] And when it came to me, I was like, “What?” I’m like, “That dude is not Taliban. He is not Taliban.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:49] Yeah, that’s so horrible.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:34:50] So, basically, they told me that because a couple of imams are saying that he is. I was like, “Those imams are jealous of him that he’s making that kind of money and they’re not.” And they’ve learned this in their countries, because in those countries, anonymous phone calls do qualify as evidence, and that’s it, and you’ll be disappeared for years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:09] You hear about that. You hear about that in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:35:14] It happens all the time, right? And so thankfully we live in a society — and I would hope we would want to live in a society — in which you need more than that, you need more than just anonymous phone calls, and so that’s where a person like me comes into place.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:26] Yeah. Okay. So then they got you on these kids who don’t really look all that impressive on paper, right? I’ve looked at the whole Toronto 18 investigation and like, the mastermind dude just looks like he played a lot of Fortnite. Well, it wasn’t Fortnite back then, but he played the equivalent, man, like World of Warcraft or something like that. And this attack plan — well, we’ll get into that in a second. But there’s like this — the guys have a training camp in Northern Canada where it looks like kids in snowsuits running around with paintball guns and they’re freezing, they’re sleeping in their car. I mean, what was that all about?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:36:02] Yeah, the Toronto 18 case in 2006. It started off with CSIS, them telling me, “There’s a bunch of guys, tell us what they’re up to.” Now CSIS already knew 11 days before they sent me in that these guys had a training camp quote unquote planned. And so, I basically became friends with them, and they basically started to try to recruit me, or they were a kind of saying, “Yeah, brother, don’t you believe that the Canadians are a fair target because of their deployments in Afghanistan and because of what the Americans did in Iraq and since the Canadians are partners to the Americans again, they’re fair game?” So this is the general grievance narrative that emerged post-2003, really. Even if you look at the Boston Marathon bombings, the guy literally wrote it in blood in that boat: “This is because of Iraq and Afghanistan.” So those grievances have played a big part in the things that have happened. Afterwards, London subway bombings were a result of that as well, or in retaliation/response. So in this environment post-2003, these kinds of groups are popping up all over the world. In Australia, there was a similar group, in the UK, in the Nordic countries, and now also in Canada. And this is what a lot of Canadians couldn’t understand, that there were people like this, and what the heck is radicalization? It’s still a very relatively new term.[00:37:23] So these guys got involved online. They were fantasizing a lot about this stuff for five years. All they did was online companionship, basically fantasizing about wanting to do something. And then in 2005, they decided that, enough talk, It’s time for action. And a number of things were set in motion. A guy came from the UK, two guys came in a Greyhound bus from Atlanta, Georgia up to Toronto, and three guys were in Toronto. They all met together and they decided, “We need to escalate.” So this became very aspirational. They had this idea in mind, and that idea was basically commit catastrophic terrorist attacks. Now a lot of this, them being depicted as these bumbling amateurs, it comes from me because that’s what I saw. I’m the older guy. I’ve been exposed to more serious things. Like you said, these guys were kids, and even I’ve used that term. I mean they were technically adults in law, but they were four young offenders in law, like they were under 18. And they were really kids. I made this joke about one kid who put his shoes too close to the fire. They melted the rubber on the shoes. Or one guy bringing a spring tent that we were supposed to stay in, and I’m just like, “What? How are you going to survive in a spring tent?” And that’s why we ended up sleeping in the car, because I kept the heater on all night because these kids, they could die from hypothermia in there. And then that’s really what I was thinking about is like, “Wait a second; it’s very unsafe in that sense.” [00:38:57] So that’s what happened. This training camp was held for like 12 days. We went up there and played GI Jihadi, basically. But the main thing was this: that they had some plans. Nothing was really concrete. It was aspirational. Their reach exceeded their grasp. They were not going to succeed in the catastrophic terror attacks that they had envisioned, simply because the group had been sufficiently infiltrated. But the test in law is not whether you can succeed in a catastrophic terrorist attack. The test in law is: Do you have a guilty intention, and have you taken steps to realize that intention? Simple. And so they did, and I mean that aspect of the law, at least at its basic core, of mens rea and actus rea, that was fulfilled.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:48] Yeah, because they were smuggling guns or trying to smuggle guns up, had gotten some guns, you at one point had gotten a rifle for them, and then you like didn’t give it them or something?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:39:56] Oh my God, this is just to show you how complex and like on-the-fly things are, this is very early on, December 4, 2005, and the guy calls me. And he’s like, “Hey, I need you to come. I need to talk to you right now. You need to come right away.” So I was like, “Sure, okay,” hopped in my car and drove over. Now unbeknownst to me even, he had enrolled in a hunting course, and the instructor had a store in which she was selling this rifle, and he had his eyes on that rifle. But without telling me any of this he simply said to me, he said, “Look, we need to go and go shopping for guns. Can you do that?” Because they knew that I had a gun license. So I said, without hesitation, I said, “Sure.” He replies, “Okay, good. That was a test, because some people were saying that you might be a spy.” There you go. So now, look at how —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:52] Were you worried about that at all?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:40:53] Well, let’s walk this through. Look what ends up happening. The next day we go gun shopping and we go to three different locations that sold guns. The first one they looked at us and we were shady as F. He was just like, happy to get us out of there. The other guy just like “Yeah, whatever,” didn’t care, probably thought we weren’t going to buy anything anyway, and so whatever, and then we got to the store that the lady owned where this guy knew exactly the rifle that he wanted was a .22 caliber long rifle Marlin, and pulls out a wad of money, and he’s like, “Here’s money. I want that rifle and I want a thousand rounds of ammunition.” Now what am I supposed to do?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:35] You have to buy it.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:41:35] I have to buy it, but I just bought a gun, a rifle, and a thousand rounds of ammunition. I thought to myself, “All right, I don’t know that he has any other .22 rifles,” so I said, “I’ll keep the rifle and you can keep the bullets.” Well he said, “I wanted to keep –” you know, he wanted both, but I said “No, let me keep the weapon just in case somebody comes to my house to check on it,” and so at least I had the rifle —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:01] That’s quick thinking, because you have a gun license, maybe they can actually —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:42:03] Exactly, exactly, and so this is the kind of on-the- fly, by-your-wits thinking that we’ve got to do. And what ends up happening, of course, is that I get accused of, “Well, you’re the one that bought the gun.” “Well, you’re the one that facilitated all of this and it wouldn’t have happened without you.” So I mean, that’s the thing, and what people don’t realize is that they can enlist the assistance of criminals to get illegal guns. Like they have done it already, so it’s not a far cry that they could have done this elsewhere. Basically, what ended up happening is I had to give the bad guys this false story that the Intelligence Service came to visit my home and they were asking about the rifle. And so when I told the story to them, they were like, “Oh, yeah, that’s because of us because, you know, we were involved in some pretty serious stuff, so blah blah blah.” It was like a badge of honor. And then we basically have to come up with a story. I said, “Okay, look man, I want to get rid of this rifle. I’m just going to get you your money back and I don’t want to deal with this anymore,” but the bullets were still out there and that’s something that at least it was manageable. The main thing is the rifle —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:09] Get the weapon off the street. Yeah, and I know that one of the guys had put like a few thousand dollars down supposedly on some guns from Mexico. These guys had intent and they were they were going after it
Mubin Shaikh: [00:43:19] They did successfully bring over at least one gun, because that was the one gun that we had with us on the training camp. That of course turned into “Well, it’s Mubin’s handgun,” and “It’s not my handgun.” And what’s funny is how, for a long time, probably to this very day that we have a lot of Canadian Muslims, especially those who accuse me of entrapment in this case, they think that I’m armed. They think that I have a gun that I carry around all the time, and it’s like, “Guys, I don’t.” But it’s like, “All right, well, whatever. I’ll let you continue.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:53] Whatever keeps you safe.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:43:55] But it just kind of showed how this is what you got to do. Like sometimes it’s a test and if you blow your cover or you remove that undercover element, they go dark and you lose contact.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:08] Sure. Which is scary.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:44:09] And then you don’t know how long it’s going to take before something ends up happening, and we don’t have the luxury of doing that. So a sting operation manages the close of that investigation by arresting them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:21] What was your plan? Their plan, not your plan.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:44:24] So there’s some confusion here. So initially, let’s call it a large aspirational generic plan, and that is basically: Blow shit up somewhere. Simple. But then it becomes more specific. The one really fantasy plot was: Attack the Parliament building in Canada in the capital city, Ottowa. Take the members of Parliament hostage, and begin to cut their heads off one by one, and force the eviction of Canadian Forces from Afghanistan. We joked about how we would put snipers, so that if anyone came, we could obviously take them out. There was another — going through scenarios — could we have car bombs go off in the city to draw the attention of first responders, and distract them while we stormed the Parliament. So that was one plot. But then what happened is the group kind of split because Zakaria Amara basically began to think that Fahim Ahmad was a big bullshitter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:25] So one of the guys thought the other leader was just kind of full of crap.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:45:28] Yeah. It’s very similar to a gang scenario, where it’s like, “Don’t follow that guy. I’m going to be the leader. I’m the captain now.” And then what happened is he basically took a smaller group of guys, and they developed a plan to detonate three one-ton ammonium nitrate truck bombs. The Oklahoma City bombing, the Murrah building, that’s what a one-ton ammonium nitrate truck bomb does. It takes the whole half of the building right out. So that was their intent, and they and they thought of three locations. The first one was the CSIS building, the intelligence office. Of course, underneath it, so if you were to put that bomb on that road, it wouldn’t just take out the building above it. It would take out the pedestrian pathway beneath it. The Toronto Stock Exchange was the second target, and also one of the guys wanted to make fraudulent investments and make money off of that attack
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:19] To short the market and then profit.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:46:21] And then the third target was an Air Force Base where our fallen soldiers are repatriated because of the psychological impact of killing your guys a second time. And so that’s what it ended up becoming.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:34] Wow. Jeez, so that is really a despicable plan.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:46:37] They would not succeed in this attack.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:40] It’s a complicated attack. You’re going to attack intelligence headquarters? I mean, like, no one’s looking for that kind of chatter and every —
Mubin Shaikh: [00:46:47] Exactly, you know, “One does not simply come up with one ton of ammonium nitrate.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:51] Hey, Amazon. Go on Amazon and order every bag of ammonium nitrate.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:46:56] Well, what they did, they thought they were smart, but they created a false company called Student Farmers, and they printed t-shirts and the business cards and a website because you know, that’s all it takes. You don’t think they’re looking for people ordering one ton of ammonium nitrate?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:12] “Sir, someone just ordered one ton of ammonium nitrate.” “Well, check them out.” “Well, they did print t-shirts that said they were Student Farmers.” “Nah, that’s fine. Let them have it.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:47:18] And we do laugh at it because it is impossible that they could have succeeded. The seriousness to me is what they fantasized. What they saw happening in their head was just macabre. That’s what it was. It was macabre.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:35] If they couldn’t have gotten the fertilizer because the order got dinged and they didn’t get arrested, they would have just figured you can go to the mall with a bunch of swords and start hacking people up, and you can still do damage. I mean at some point you’re just going to do something horrible.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:47:48] Well, and that’s a good point, because what does happen when they realize that “Well, I can’t achieve that?” Well, are they just going to completely abandon all plans whatsoever?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:57] “I guess I’ll go to college now.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:47:58] Exactly, exactly. Because even we know, I mean certainly the Americans know, like just one pistol — one pistol with 15 rounds, how many people you can kill? Or more pistols or a long rifle with 900 rounds of ammunition.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:13] Start a fire at a stadium full of people.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:48:15] That was the thing is that, even though that was a plot that they could not have pulled off, they could very easily have just dropped down a few notches and taken the loss, and go with a less spectacular attack, but still kill people. They certainly were of that mentality.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:32] I do wonder though, when you guys are at that camp, weren’t locals kind of surprised that a bunch of super Islamic-looking dudes are hanging out in the woods and then like popping in to Tim Hortons every few hours to pee and get a drink?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:48:43] Yeah, that was really funny. We went to this no-frills to get I think, tuna, and it was like, we were in like Whitey McWhiteville and these brown-bearded, camo-wearing — when we walked in, it’s like you could hear the pin drop and like the necks just go whoosh! Like, “What is this?” It became public knowledge afterwards that in fact, the police had told the neighbors, “They are being watched and don’t engage them. Don’t confront them.” There was this hermit dude who kept coming out and saying, “Hey, guys, what’s going on?” and just like totally, he seemed like he was just spaced all the time. I don’t know what it was, but he was just like, “Hey guys, you know, sometimes the UFO lands over there!”[00:49:34] Yes. I don’t know what but you know, he was just this really eccentric figure who was a local. He just didn’t bother us. There were some snowmobilers who were kind of like, “Hey, what are you guys doing here? You know, this is like Joel McDonald’s land.” Not realizing like we are basically squatting on this guy’s property. [00:49:52] They were basically told, “Just leave it alone. We’re watching this, and carry on.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:56] Wow. They must have been — yeah, so they knew, man. That’s the biggest thing to ever happen up there.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:50:01] Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:03] So you bust this plot wide open, the kids get arrested, there’s a video of it. We can link it in the show notes. They basically, they’re like unloading all these fake bags of ammonium nitrate, which are probably rock salt or something. And then these armed SWAT cops come in and bust these dudes in Student Farmer t-shirts, coveralls. “Damn it, the t-shirts didn’t work!” Your dad finds out because he sees you on TV.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:50:26] Yeah, I actually told him in advance before that show aired, because he does watch that show religiously and I did tell him right before the show.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:36] Wait, he watched which show?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:50:38] It was called The Fifth Estate.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:38] Is it like a news show?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:50:40] Yeah. It’s like your 60 Minutes or W5. I basically told her, I was like, “Listen, you heard about the arrest that happened of all those guys,” because the arrest happened early June and I gave my interview in July basically and so I said, “Listen, you heard about these arrests. I’m the undercover on that case.” And he just looked at me, and he was just like, “Alḥamdulillah,” –all praise be to God — “Tell them to give you a full-time job now.” That that was his thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:08] And they did right. That was the first thing he said?
Mubin Shaikh: [00:50:10] That was the first thing he said. He was like, “Tell them to give you a job, Alḥamdulillah.” I think he then very quickly realized, “Wait a second.” Now that it became very public, the impact of that started to be felt. He is so respected in the community that I think maybe I’m sure a few people did tell him that, “Hey, what your son did was not good,” and he just didn’t tell me so as not to hurt my feelings. But he claims that most people said that “What your son did was right, and you know, you should be proud of him.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:43] Well, that’s good.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:51:43] Yeah. Yeah, and then he’s got such cred in the community that nobody even tried to blacklist him. Like they totally blacklisted me. Don’t get me wrong. To this day, I’m persona non grata in a lot of these things, which is fine with me because I don’t have time for their Biryani dinners and where they backbite about other people. I don’t have time for that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:06] You have five kids. You don’t have time.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:52:07] I got my own life and things happening. But they didn’t even try to do that to him. I think one of the reasons why I didn’t get whacked is because the people who could basically call for me to get whacked know my dad very, very well. They’re just like, “No, it’s bad what he did. We don’t agree with it, and he ruined these kids’ lives, but he didn’t kill anybody.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:32] I mean you didn’t ruin their lives. They ruined their own lives. They would have died in that attack.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:52:36] Well, again, they wouldn’t have even been able to succeed in that attack or even if they would have moved on to some other attack, maybe less of a spectacle but still lethal. That was irrelevant to me. Those are all secondary factors to me. It’s like, this is what you want to do in a city that I’m born and raised in, in the name of my religion. I’m not going allow that to happen. I don’t care what people say. Those things alone that you want to blow shit up in my home and use my religion as a cover, not acceptable.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:11] Yeah, not on my watch.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:52:12] I’ll end your life if I have to.
Jason DeFillipppo: [00:53:18] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guests, Mubin Shaikh. We’ll be right back after this.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:51] Another thing that surprises a lot of people is that this radicalization thing, This hits all social strata. It’s not like broke-ass, poor people from nowhere. There are people that go over there where you’re like, “Wait a minute, your dad’s a lawyer your mom is like a surgeon.”
Mubin Shaikh: [00:58:04] Yep, middle class, educated, they have stuff. You know, it’s funny. I do this presentation because I train US Special Forces now on ISIS, especially those who are you know going to deploy, and I have this whole section. And on one of my sections I have these photos of food pictures that ISIS guys were posting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:23] I noticed, I was searching on Twitter, and I was looking for what jihadis were talking about. A lot of it’s an Arabic or whatever. I can’t read it, and then I look at stuff and I’m like, “Is that kebab? Is that a freaking shawarma-looking sandwich?” It was funny to me because I’m thinking, okay, there’s a lot of pictures of food. But what’s going on here? ISIS members are freaking talking about the pictures of their lunch in Racca. Like it’s like jihad meets like some hipster from Brooklyn, like some guy from my high school who now is making bespoke kombucha in his apartment in Williamsburg. Yet, these guys are also like “We’re going to blow up and then shoot a bunch of stuff. Also, we have kebab. Look at this fresh goat we just slaughtered.” It was just kind of surprisingly human in a way like everybody takes pictures of their food, even ISIS.
Mubin Shaikh: [00:59:05] Yeah. In those days what was happening, they were trying to recruit people to get them over and join their lands, and people were afraid that “Am I going to be able to eat the way that I ate?” So they would put out these recruiting posters. “Kebabs? Yeah, we got that!” and there’s a picture of nice kebabs. And then it’s like, “How can I not take a picture of that?” and it’s like a milkshake and then they have like frappuccino from Starbucks. Or Nutella was a big thing. There was like this whole thing with ISIS and Nutella. You listeners right now if you were just to go and Google that. Go and Google that right now, ISIS and Nutella. You’ll see the kind of stuff that came up and in one of those pictures was really, like you said, cutting across social strata. This Indo-Pakistani, Indian subcontinent in the UK British citizen in Syria, referring to pizza as home food. He’s like, “Home food, how I missed you,” and it’s pizza.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:59] Wow, the irony, man.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:00:00] Right? But what that told you is these guys, these people, they are products of the society they grew up in. They can front all they want and wave their placards and their flags and their slogans, but you are products of the west. If I can flip the script a bit, there is a woman, female, who admitted, she said that “All I wanted to do was get my piece of eye candy.” And basically, she was —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:23] Oh, she went there to find a man?
Mubin Shaikh: [01:00:24] No. No, she didn’t go there. She was watching these jihadi videos and seeing these guys with long hair, big guns, and the phrase she used was, “I wanted to get my piece of eye candy.” And we laughed because it’s like we use that phrase. That is a purely western phrase. It kind of also shows you that these are young kids or maybe young adults who have been told to suppress their sexuality where they can’t even interact with members of the opposite sex without it being framed under marriage or virgins in Heaven after you blow yourselves up. Like, dude, just get a girlfriend right here on Earth.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:02] Yeah, yeah, you’d prefer. Yeah. Definitely. What type of people get radicalized though? Like are there —
Mubin Shaikh: [01:01:08] All types. All backgrounds. Male, female, rich, poor. You name it. White, black, Asian.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:14] You’ve got these four factors though, like geopolitics or ideology, money, adventure, frustration. Can you talk about that a little? You don’t have to go into too much detail, but that was an interesting combo.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:01:24] Basically, there are always a multiplicity of factors. There’s a great quote by Peter Neumann. He’s the founder of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation that says “Ideology without grievances doesn’t resonate, and grievances without ideology are not acted upon.” One more time. “Ideology without grievances doesn’t resonate, and grievances without ideology are not acted upon.” Another quote that’s mine is: “Sometimes religious ideology is indeed a driver for violent extremism. But at other times, just a passenger with other psychosocial factors at the wheel.” And so that will include then your sense of meaning and belonging, needs. The geopolitics falls under the grievances, the wars that are happening in different lands. Because people ask, you know, “Why do they hate us?” Well, you’ve been bombing them for decades and decades. You’re destroying their societies. So what do you think is going to emerge from those societies if not extremist thinking?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:24] Yeah, of course, yeah, the frustration of geopolitics and the ideology.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:02:28] Exactly. Right? So, these are the things they relate to and why I put poverty, for example, people say sometimes poverty is a factor, other times it’s not a factor. What you’ve got to look at is every individual in their context and look at every factor relative to that individual in that context. Ideology could be prevalent for some people and it’d just be a secondary factor for somebody else or for some other people.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:53] Right, like some people who have nothing might go for the money because they’re just like, “Whatever.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:02:57] That’s right.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:58] But other people are going, “No, I’m here for the ideology. I don’t care about the money, but also the adventure’s kind of cool, because I’m 18, and I’m bored off my ass.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:03:06] That might be an opportunity to go from zero to hero overnight. How intriguing, how enticing is that for a young person who sees themself as a zero, just living at home doing nothing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:18] What can we look for? Our parents or friends? Like what am I looking for? If I’m like, “Is this person doing some radical weird stuff?” Like maybe I wouldn’t have somebody like that in my circle, but maybe there’s like a Muslim kid or Muslim parent who’s like, “My kid is being weird. They’re on the Internet. I don’t know what they’re doing.” What do they look for?
Mubin Shaikh: [01:03:35] Yeah. It’s a very, very good question, very timely. You know, sudden changes in behavior are the biggest warning sign. And especially extreme changes. Now just because you know, your daughter comes home with a hijab or your son decides he’s going to convert and wants to grow a beard, that in and of itself is not a sign of extremism. You have to look at clusters of behaviors. When you start looking at unequivocal black and white thinking, especially where you begin to demonize others, so it’s like believers and disbelievers and kuffar. It’s like you’re really demonizing people who don’t believe in your religion, right? It’s something to say, “Oh, they don’t believe in my religion. Okay we have a difference.” Versus “Anyone who does not believe what I believe is going to Hell.” Now even that, that’s like you could say that’s extreme conservative thinking. So, let’s look at more clusters and really, ideology is going to be a big kicker in that. As soon as you start to justify or sympathize with certain activities or certain actions that are saying, “Well, this is okay what they’re doing because…” Then now you’re starting to get into sympathy, and then that starts to lead into membership. You might obviously look to see, “Hmm, is this person carrying around ISIS paraphernalia? Or is it Al-Qaeda paraphernalia?” Or “I don’t even know what that is; who do I call?”[01:05:00] So if I can just give a quick shout-out and open plug in to a group called Parents for Peace. They are at parents4rpeace.org. There is a line for parents, a 1-800 number that they can call, where there are people that will actually talk to you. There is some assistance in that regard for that. Like I said, ideology is the big one. Look to see what sect that they are either converting to or something along those lines and that will be a good start in terms of seeing what your kid is actually up to. Because the last thing you want is the FBI basically breaking down your door and hauling your kid out.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:35] So you talk to some of these extremists online right now try to kind of debunk their BS. Is that one of your hobbies now, I guess? I don’t know.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:05:43] Yeah, basically, what happened is after like the Toronto 18 court cases went down in 2010 and this whole ISIS thing really started to kick up in 2012 and lasted for a number of years. And in those years, what I was doing from 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’17, I was online every day with these people, engaging them directly, engaging them, trolling them, responding to them using you know, Islamic sources to counter their deviant interpretations, training government agencies in trying to do the same thing. Obviously not to the level that I was doing. So I did do that for several years, day in and day out. I stopped doing that because I just got fed up with it, to be honest. It took so much out of my soul, because they’re so needy. They require so much, especially those who are young kids, the young recruits and ideologues or professed acolytes of ISIS. They were just like hours and hours of the day, and I’m an adult. I have a life. I have a family. I have like things that I got to do. It’s like they just sucked up so much of my time. I did do that for a while, but you know, ISIS was largely defeated. I’m going to put that in air quotes because they’re not defeated. They are going to rise again. They’ve just kind of gone into hiding and laying low until a more opportune moment, but that’s what I did in that time.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:06] I mean, a lot of these people are loners with like no friends, and they’re finding their community online. So yeah, you going, “Hey look, I got to go eat dinner with my kids,” they’re like, “Well, I’m going to be online for another seven hours. I have nothing to do.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:07:16] I would do that deliberately. You know, I would say to them, because I would make them wait for me to come back, because they were like dying. That’s all they do, they were online all the time. And it’s like, “Okay, well I have a life now, so I’m going to go and I’ll be back in a few hours,” and just kind of tease them like that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:33] What’s the volume of discussion and recruiting? Is it like hundreds of people, or is it like thousands of people are online recruiting kids for ISIS?
Mubin Shaikh: [01:07:41] Now the whole recruiting for ISIS thing has plummeted, is really the word. In 2012 when it’s just started to kick off, 2014 is really when it started, 2015 it escalated, the attacks began, ISIS attacks. The first ISIS attack happened really at the beginning of 2014, but late 2014. Because mid-2014 is when they declared their caliphate — or their califake as I call it — and then 2015 was even more, 2016 was more than that, 2017 was more than that, and then by 2018 it started to come down. So those are the years in which it really starts to peak. And what they were doing — and there have been some studies done on this as well on [their] amazing use of technology, the use of bots. They did that hijacking hashtags, so they would come on during World Cup. And ISIS and beheading video, and then you, who’s kind of scrolling through, it’s like, “Oh, ISIS beheading video? Let me check that out,” dah, dah, and then you go further down the rabbit hole. So this was like a trawling almost, right, that they were doing. There were thousands of recruiters, but a lot of them were bots.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:49] Oh, interesting.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:08:49] So they were a core group of recruiters who were putting the messaging out, that messaging was being amplified by followers, by electronic accounts, like bot accounts. It did spread far and wide in that time. What’s interesting is that we kind of watched how social media gave platform to these people, and allowed them to recruit openly in many cases. It frustrated the hell out of me that this was allowed to happen that kids are being recruited. It’s happening. Here, look. Go and watch and see it happen.[01:09:19] But what’s funny is that I spoke to a CIA friend of mine who said basically, “If we just turned out the lights, then they would just go dark and we wouldn’t know where they’re going, who they’re going with, where they’re staying. Allowing these guys to talk, it’s like, okay a few dozen people get recruited, but you know what this does is it opens up the door for hundreds of them to be compromised. So look at the trade-off.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:44] Right, you can monitor and try to trace back.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:09:46] So that’s what ended up happening, so that’s what happened with the whole recruiting thing anyway.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:51] How do you deradicalize? I mean you kind of did it by seeing the September 11th attacks, going to Syria, learning stuff. It’s kind of hard to go, “Oh, you know, some of your beliefs are wrong. You should do this multi-year self-education so that you make sure that you’re right and find out that you’re not.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:10:09] I try to liken attempts to deradicalize people like trying to convince somebody to change their political stripe. Think about how difficult that is.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:19] So almost impossible.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:10:20] It is, it is, and that is what you’re looking at with deradicalization. Unfortunately, in this context, now we’re dealing with a lot of individuals who are in custody or have been arrested and so that deradicalization is really under coercion, right? And so it’s hard to know if they’re sincere about it. How do you know? And I’ve taken recently a harder line on deradicalization. It is not a magic bullet. It’s not something that it’s assumed or automatic or whatever. It’s extremely difficult. And one of the things — I’ll mention only some things, because I don’t want to give away all, because these guys will deceive you. They will tell you what you think you want to hear so that you go give them the check mark of deradicalized and then maybe get a lesser sentence and maybe get out sooner. But you know, basically, you have to look to see the changes in ideology, right? Change in religious practice. How do they see Islam? How do they view the world? How do they view those who are not like them? There are nuances that you want to be able to look at, and really the best way to do this is using former extremists, like myself, even in some cases in Germany. Because in Germany, the deradicalization of white supremacists is actually what began this whole deradicalization thing.[01:11:34] It was in Germany in the ’80s where people were leaving neo-Nazi groups and then the principles of that were now transferred over to jihadists. And so in Germany, you have an ex-white supremacist who actually counsels jihadists.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:48] That’s got to be an odd couple hanging out.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:11:50] It just kind of shows you. Now we’re trying to get a more formalized system in place. My friend, our mutual friend Brandon Blackburn, we’ve been actually trying to work with State Department to train other countries how to conduct deradicalization and how to conduct training for some of these government agencies. Because a lot of the Middle Eastern countries, there are tens of thousands of foreign fighters who are going to return back. I actually do have like the most up-to-date numbers for the US.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:23] On how many foreign fighters.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:12:25] Yeah, actually if you got a second —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:24] Yeah, take your time.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:12:25] This is actually the freshest information available right now. So 300 in total tried or succeeded going to Iraq or Syria, Americans
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:37] From the United States? Wow.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:12:38] 18 are back. 11 males who were charged, two males who were not charged, plus two females who were charged, and three females who were not charged. So 13 males and five females. Okay, so that’s 18, plus at least 13 children.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:58] That they’ve had over there.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:12:59] That are back.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:00] That are back.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:13:01] Yep.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:02] Oh, wow, so like hundreds of people —
Mubin Shaikh: [01:13:04] So that’s what you’re dealing with in the US. These are relatively low numbers. I mean the US is so far away. Just like Canada, we’re dealing with fewer numbers. I mean, I think there’s like 30 some odd in custody right now, six who were men, nine who were women, and 17 who are children, most that are under the age of five. Those are small numbers. Now you start to go over to the Middle Eastern countries, where you’re dealing with thousands of people, Germany, Belgium, even Europeans, because it’s relatively very close proximity and so for them, they were able to go. So that’s the situation we’re dealing with now, facing the prospect of these individuals going back to those countries, and basically waiting to see what happens in the next few years if they kick off.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:45] What kind of programs are there for jihadists who come back to their home country and are like, “All right. I should probably deradicalize.” Or they’re not even thinking that, they’re just like, “Eh, I’ll chill in America because this ISIS thing’s not working out; Syria is a mess.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:13:57] Well, the US is really good in the sense that their material support of terrorism charge is very broad and allows them very easy prosecutions in that regard. Other countries not so much. Canada is struggling, the UK is struggling — especially Commonwealth nations — Australia is struggling to charge these individuals because it’s very difficult to get evidence of war crimes in a war zone. And in a lot of these cases, these individuals are not being charged at all.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:24] Does everybody need to be charged? I mean, look, maybe I’m naive, but some of these people are just dumbass 18-year-old kids. They’re probably like, “Wow, I’m so glad I’m not there anymore. The place sucked.”
Mubin Shaikh: [01:14:32] Well, we need a triage process to determine who those people are, because I submit that it is a colossal failure of our legal system that we can’t charge these people. Because you’re basically telling them, “You got off. You got off of being part of a raping, mass-murdering terrorist group.” And what message does that send to people? Does it dissuade them? I don’t know.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:55] Of course not.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:14:56] It’s not going to dissuade them. They’re going to think they’re “protected by Allah because the kuffar can’t touch me. I killed, I shed blood, and nobody can charge me.” That’s like, so why would we go out of our way to repatriate these people? At least in the US, they’re getting significant jail time in some cases.[01:15:12] There is one guy who was captured by the Kurds in Syria, and he was like a total dumbass, the way that he spoke, you could see his Arabic wasn’t good. Like, he would be somebody that I scored low on the threat and risk scale. He got 20 years. And 20 years of US federal prison, that’s an appropriate sentence in my view. I mean in some cases like in Canada, we had a pretty big one like nine years given to one guy. I was actually surprised at that case. I was one of the higher sentences given but a lot of these other guys they’re not even getting charged. We have a guy who came back. He was part of The New York Times podcast called Caliphate by Rukmini Callimachi. He is just fantastic.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:56] So interesting. We’ll link to it in the show notes.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:15:58] Yeah, great, because I’m featured in, I think, episode five.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:01] Are you? So I’ve already heard you, I didn’t even know.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:16:03] Yeah, but Abu Huzaifa, the Canadian, who is featured in that, the guy admitted to killing two people.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:08] Yeah. I know.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:16:09] And we know who he is and this and that. He wasn’t charged, nothing. And in fact, he bragged about how “The kuffar can’t touch me,” this that and the other. So that’s the dilemma that we face, right? And so, some of these people truly, if you want to bring them to justice, that means holding them accountable for the crimes that they committed, not just crimes that we can charge them with that we can prove in a court of law.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:30] Yeah. I feel you. I mean, look, it’s a different game, right? It’s a war. Are you worried at all about retaliation now that extremist groups — you know, you’ve sent some of them to prison, you are actively trying to foil their terror plots. That’s never a good way to make friends. You’re online messing with their recruiting efforts. Like, are you worried about these people at all?
Mubin Shaikh: [01:16:47] Look I do use, you know, ghosting software — government-issued ghosting software — so I basically hide my location or whatnot. And they did in those years. anyway, when I was that active, they have put out warnings against me on their Facebook pages. Yes, they had Facebook pages that were eventually shut down. They actively tried to find out where I was, and even on Twitter they would post photos of some poor sucker’s backyard in New Jersey because that’s where my IP address showed my location to be. So I do take steps to avoid detection by them, and the agencies are also watching out for me, and so I’m not too worried.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:25] Well, thank you for your work keeping us safe. And good luck. We’ll see you on Netflix, hopefully.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:17:30] Yeah. Yeah. I want to give a shout-out to fusionintel.com, of course. Yeah, Brandon and I have been doing a lot of good work. In fact, I would like to say one of the high priority missions that we are working on now is to actually repatriate one of these children back to the custody of her father from which she was stolen and taken and basically kidnapped to join ISIS and has been, you know, captured by the Kurds. So that’s what we’re doing nowadays.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:58] I saw on Vice there was a guy whose wife bounced while he was on a business trip. She apparently died in an airstrike but the kids — there’s people who say they’re alive, but then when they go interrogate people at the refugee camps they get, “Oh they’re over there. Oh, they’re dead.” And so now they’re thinking they’re alive, they’re just being hidden. It’s heartbreaking. Because this guy is like a taxi driver. He went on a trip to visit somebody and then comes back and his wife’s like, “Well, you didn’t want to join me. Kids are gone.” He videochatted with them for a while.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:18:25] There’s all kinds of these stories. Unfortunately, that’s just the mess that ISIS left everybody, so…
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:33] Thanks for doing your part to help to clean it up.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:18:34] Thank you, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:35] I appreciate it.
Mubin Shaikh: [01:18:36] Cheers!
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:39] Thanks to Mubin for coming on the show. We’re going to look for him on Netflix or something thereabouts. Hopefully that’ll wrap up soon. We’ll get to watch a little bit of his work. In a fictionalized format, of course. Of course, there’s a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. And there are worksheets for every episode so you can review what you’ve learned from Mubin at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes.[01:19:02] And if you want to know how I create a network that gets me amazing guests like Mubin, check out Six-Minute Networking. It’s our course, it’s free. It’s over at jordanharbinger.com/course. The number one mistake I see people make when it comes to personal or business networking is just not digging the well before you get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you’re too late to build them. So, get on it, dig that well before you get thirsty. The drills take six minutes per day, not even. It just that five-minute networking was taken. So, it’s Six-Minute Networking. jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, the people you hear, they subscribed to the course and the newsletter. A lot of them come from my replies. Join us, you’ll be in smart. Speaking of building relationships, you can reach out and/or follow me on social. I’m at JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. [01:19:47] The show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger, Jason DeFillippo and edited by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola, and I’m your host, Jordan Harbinger. [01:20:00] Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own and yeah, I’m a lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting which should be in every episode. So, please share the show with those you love and even those you don’t. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen and we’ll see you next time!