Written by Raphael Shore
Two national stories this week clearly demonstrate that the Jihadist ideology of radical Islamists is not restricted to Islamic nations. In two separate cases, one in North Carolina and another in Virginia, individuals raised in the United States were actively conspiring and training to wage Jihad against American interests.
The threat is homegrown. It is being born and bred within our borders. That the arrests continue to take place is a testament to our Homeland Security personnel, but it should in no way be a comfort to those who want to live a safe and free existence in the United States.
The headline that ran in the Associated Press clearly summarizes the radical threat that rears its evil head with ever-increasing frequency: "Seven NC men charged with plotting 'violent jihad.'"
The LA Times report on the Carolina arrests cites Owen D. Harris, special agent in charge of the FBI's Charlotte, N.C., division, which led the investigation. "These arrests today show there are people living among us, in our communities in North Carolina and around the U.S. that are honing their skills to carry out acts of murder and mayhem."
The AP and Reuters quote George E.B. Holding, the U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina. "These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home."
These were two news items covered by the national media, but the issue of radical Islam within our own borders is certainly not news.
The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision for America, a recently released documentary film, identifies the scope of the threat facing America from within our own borders. The film asserts that the type of behavior exposed in the above cases is being spread through a wide network embedded across the U.S.
To be clear, the majority of Muslims in the world, and particularly within the United States, are in no way prepared to engage in - or encourage - acts of violence.
Yet a small, very dangerous minority has adopted an extreme ideology that identifies American values and western freedoms as the clear and present enemy. And when adopted, this ideology is often carried by its holder to the death.
In the Virginia case, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a Falls Church resident was re-sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of plotting with al-Qaeda to commit "a series of September 11-style attacks and assassinations in the United States," including a plot to kill then-President George W. Bush.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee upheld an appeal to increase the prison sentence to life, stating, "I cannot put the safety of the American citizenry at risk."
As one of the reasons for his ruling, Judge Lee cited Abu Ali's "unwillingness to renounce the beliefs that led to his terrorist activities."
These are simply two cases which have hit the papers in the same week. And The Third Jihad outlines others as well. But while the dozens of threats detailed in the feature-length documentary may pose a risk to our national security, the battleground of radicals has expanded beyond acts of violence. Radicals continue their fight with constant attacks on our freedoms and democracy. These attacks take place daily in our courtrooms, our press, our banks, our prisons, and even in our children's schools.
Radical ideology is being advanced inside America by spiritual leaders, terrorist organizations, foreign governments and local non-profits. Their end-game is transforming America into an Islamic nation. It is what The Third Jihad refers to as "Cultural Jihad" - not as dramatic as a terror plot, but just as dangerous to America's future.
All Americans should understand that the threats identified in the cases above are no longer isolated. They are part of a growing effort to undermine the American way of life. By learning more about the nature of the threat, we can better stand up to protect the values that have made America the greatest country in the world.
Raphael Shore is the Producer of The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision For America and the critically-acclaimed Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West.