Italy doesn’t seem particularly ashamed of admitting that it has mosques under surveillance for illegal activities. In fact, they’re bragging about it:
In a statement praising Saturday’s arrests, Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said the Perugia case “confirms the need to always maintain high surveillance in locations where only religious activities should take place.”
Whether or not learning to fly a Boeing 747–instructions for which were discovered in the Ponte Felcino mosque–counts as a “religious activity” might be an interesting discussion.
Activities at the mosque used films and documents downloaded from the Internet, and included weapons training, instructions on how to prepare poisons and explosives, as well as how to lay an ambush, reach combat zones safely and send encrypted messages, police said in a statement.
Barrels of chemicals, too, although the police insist that this was only an educational operation and that no terror attacks were being planned.
The GICM–the Moroccan group with which these fellows were affiliated–has been linked to the Madrid bombing as well as an attack in Casablanca. They’re tight with Al Qaeda and many of them trained in Afghanistan. Supposedly they have a chapter in Canada as well, which was connected with Ahmed Ressam, the would-be Millennium Bomber.