As Americans, the threat of terrorism today seems at a comfortable, manageable distance: miles, oceans, and armies away. At most, we turn on our TVs to the international news and watch with a tune of sympathy. However, with every night that we lock our doors and go to bed feeling safe from any immediate threats, we are only fooling ourselves and letting a very real threat draw nearer. Nowhere has this reality recently been made more obvious than when a 24-year-old gunman killed four Marines in an attack on two military sites in Chattanooga.
In fact, the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) has already appeared on our shores. A pair or arrests were made by federal agents in New Jersey to capture men who conspired to join ISIS and to provide support to the terrorist group. Within the past month alone at least nine people have been taken into custody for terrorism-related charges linked to ISIS, and that is without counting the terrorist in Chattanooga. Last year, that man, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, made a trip last year to Jordan, and the FBI suspects that he may have been in touch with extremist groups there.
The other arrests not only included charges of ISIS recruitment, but have involved domestic plots ranging from bombing New York City landmarks, the beheading of Boston area law enforcement officers, a shooting in Garland, Texas and threats to detonate a bomb in a North Carolina shopping mall. Given the flurry of ISIS-inspired domestic activity, why do we continue to remain complacent?
Despite the reticence of Americans to admit that we are at war with ISIS, the truth is that ISIS is already at war with us.
And one of ISIS’s most terrifying strengths is its ability to prey upon vulnerable youth through high-tech recruiting propaganda. Driven by archaic ideological goals sustained by an estimated 2 billion dollar budget and executed through cutting-edge weaponry, ISIS has mastered the art of recruitment. Young people, mesmerized by the glamourized promise of glory and jihad showcased in Hollywood-style videos and popular social media are flocking to buy one-way tickets to contribute to the building of the new caliphate.
While America is a war-weary country with faded memories of September 11th, the terrorists have unfinished business with us – and ISIS’s goal is clear.
The ideological underpinning of ISIS is inspired by “the Prophetic methodology” committed to the barbaric killing of all infidels. Most Americans fall into the infidel category, which includes Christians, Jews, Hindus and pretty much anyone else who does not adhere to their form of radical Islamic ideology. The ruthless and savage methods of ISIS include beheading innocent men on camera, attaching explosives to people’s necks to blow off their heads, throwing men from rooftops while filming their gory deaths and lowering men in locked cages into water to slowly drown.
As ISIS continues to plow through the Middle East eliminating country borders in Iraq, Syria and beyond, these terrorists will stop at nothing to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate operating under strict Sharia law. From Palmyra to Mosul and Nimrud to Ramadi, the determined fighters continue to expand ISIS’s reach, seizing city by city.
The number of innocent people subjected to ISIS’s systematic genocide, enslavement and rape of non-Muslims is growing. At least five thousand Yazidis have been murdered in genocide and several thousand have been sold as sex slaves, forcefully converted and repeatedly raped by ISIS fighters.
As long as ISIS continues to successfully pursue its geopolitical conquest while enlisting extremist fighters, America and its allies are not immune from ISIS’s wrath.
And to wait for a tragedy to occur on American soil would be catastrophic.
Now more than ever, America needs a wake-up call. While we can change the channel on our TV screens when news reports of ISIS’s brutality seem too gory and graphic, we cannot change the reality of ISIS’s growing threat toward Americans. ISIS is on a global revolutionary mission, and America needs to be ready to defend our borders and our allies.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks domestic terrorism activity, over 85% of U.S. residents involved in assisting foreign terrorist organizations since 2014 have been directly linked to ISIS since it declared its independence from Al Qaeda last year. We have already lost Americans to Islamic State recruitment and ISIS training camps exist as close to us as Mexico, just a few miles from the Texas border.
America, the threat is here. It’s time to turn the tables. It’s time for ISIS to fear us.