Radical Islamists pose real threat to U.S.
Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11.
The BBC reported recently that jihadist attacks have killed more than 5,000 people just during the month of November. ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Taliban were the deadliest of the radical Islamist groups, carrying out mass murders, bombing schools, churches and mosques, and gunning down students, but 60 other Islamist groups across the Middle East and Africa support those policies.
They are the source of most suicide bombers — at least 3,500 in the last three decades, according to the Institute for National Security Studies.
It is therefore no surprise that the National Counterterrorism Center’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists and the Department of State’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists are all radical Islamists.
Their goal is a return to the 7th Century when Islam was spread by the sword. Islam teaches that there can be no peace until it rules the world. Most Muslims, particularly in the U.S., interpret that obligation as directing peaceful proselytizing, but the radical Salafists idealize a time when Islamic armies conquered half the known world and are conducting a war against modern civilization.
They are inspired by the apocalyptic pronouncements of radical Islamists who preach destruction of non- believers: “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah;” and, “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all!” (Ayatollah Khomeini). Those statements echo the Qur’an: “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (Qur’an 9:5) and “When you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads until you have made a great slaughter among them...” (Qur’an 47: 11-13). Even contemporary Arab secondary school textbooks teach that “A Muslim who kills an apostate … an infidel or a slave, he is not punished” (Kuwait Times).
If Jews and Christians interpreted the Old Testament literally, they would kill witches (Exodus 22:17), kill homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13), kill fortune tellers (Leviticus 20:27), kill non- believers (2Chronicles 15:12/13), kill adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), and execute many others; the Bible commands them to “kill every man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” who worship any other God (1 Sam. 15:3). Fortunately, mainstream Jewish and Christian leaders no longer advocate such violence, and the modern faithful, accordingly, ignore such primitive tribal strictures.
The Qur’an draws on the Old Testament and sanctions the same deadly violence against infidels, which the radicals interpret literally. This has spawned a death cult that glorifies suicide bombers as “martyrs” who will be rewarded with 72 dark-eyed virgins in Paradise. Mohammad Atta’s last message to the other 9/11 hijackers was that he would see them in paradise “with the women.”
To the aspiring martyrs, it seemingly doesn’t matter whom they kill so long as it is done in the name of Islam. This leads to “predatory martyrdom” — indiscriminately killing bystanders. The majority of their victims are actually Muslims, but shopping malls in Kenya, discos in Bali, Spanish trains, London subways, schools in Nigeria, and random airliners are all pathways to paradise.
Their commitment to suicide attacks extends to the Taliban’s deadly indoctrination of young boys, as Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has documented in “School for Suicide Bombers” (YouTube). Theo Padnos reported in the New York Times that his al-Nusra captors were indoctrinating their own children to become suicide bombers and teaching Westerners how to carry out suicide attacks back home.
This brings up the doomsday scenario of nuclear weapons in the hands of a suicide cult. Bin Laden explicitly asserted that “Acquiring chemical and nuclear weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty.” Most terrorism analysts agree with the former head of Britain’s MI5 that “It will only be a matter of time before a crude chemical, biological or radiological attack is launched on a major western city.”
Recent press reports estimate that 16,000 foreigners from 90 countries, including roughly 100 Americans, have traveled to the Middle East or Africa to join the extremists.
Because of the visa waiver program, these Eurocitizen jihadis could conceivably enter the U.S. without a visa. The UK, Australia, Canada, Norway, and other countries are confiscating radicals’ passports, revoking citizenship, and arresting returnees to control their travel, but the threat remains.
Yet, as Aly Salem wrote in The Wall Street Journal, Americans are reluctant to discuss the obvious threat from radical Islamism, which they conflate with bigotry towards Muslims.
There are no sure means of keeping violent jihadis from entering the U.S., a statistical pool which, even if it encompasses as few as one percent of Muslims worldwide, translates into 15 million people.
The potential risk from suicide cultists with weapons of mass destruction is so great that we cannot let political correctness and illusions control our visa and immigration policies. Our intelligence collection, law enforcement capability, and international cooperation must be strengthened to deal with what is potentially an apocalyptic threat.
This article was published in the Mankato Free Press, Dec. 21. 2014.