Monday, October 30, 2006

Pause for Thought: Homegrown Terror Overstated?

Over the weekend, I read a story from The Christian Science Monitor titled:
Radical Islam Finds US "sterile ground"
The story came out last Monday but it usually takes me over the weekend to catch up on my reading. The complete story can be found online here.

Alexandra Marks

NEW YORK – The Islamist radicalism that inspired young Muslims to attack their own countries - in London, Madrid, and Bali - has not yielded similar incidents in the United States, at least so far.

"Home-grown" terror cells remain a concern of US law officers, who cite several disrupted plots since 9/11. But the suspects' unsophisticated planning and tiny numbers have led some security analysts to conclude that America, for all its imperfections, is not fertile ground for producing jihadist terrorists.

To understand why, experts point to people like Omar Jaber, an AmeriCorps volunteer; Tarek Radwan, a human rights advocate; and Hala Kotb, a consultant on Middle East affairs. They are the face of young Muslim-Americans today - educated, motivated, and integrated into society - and their voices help explain how the nation's history of inclusion has helped to defuse sparks of Islamist extremism.

"American society is more into the whole assimilation aspect of it," says New York-born Mr. Jaber. "In America, it's a lot easier to practice our religion without complications."

In a nation where mosques have sprung up alongside churches and synagogues, where Muslim women are free to wear the hijab (or not), and where education and job opportunities range from decent to good, the resentments that can breed extremism do not seem very evident in the Muslim community. Since 9/11, however, concern is rising among Muslim-Americans that they are becoming targets of bias and suspicion - by law enforcement as well as fellow citizens. It's a disquieting trend, say the young Muslims - one that might eventually help radicalism to grow.

It's impossible to pinpoint the factors that produce home-grown terrorists, analysts say. But it's also impossible to ignore the stark contrast between the lives of Muslims in European countries where bombings have occurred and those of Muslims in America.

"What we have here among Muslim-Americans is a very conservative success ethic," says John Zogby, president of Zogby International in Utica, N.Y., whose polling firm has surveyed the Muslim-American community. "People come to this country and they like it. They don't view it as the belly of the beast. With very few exceptions, you don't see the bitter enclaves that you have in Europe."

The 'home-grown' threat: Is it overstated?

A small but growing number of analysts believe that some US officials have overstated the threat of homegrown Islamist radicalism in the United States. While Al Qaeda and foreign terrorists remain determined to attack in America, they say, the focus on potential American cells may be leading the US to misdirect its antiterror efforts.

"My theory as to why we haven't found any [homegrown Islamist terrorist cells] is because there aren't very many of them.... They aren't the diabolical, capable, and inventive people envisioned by most politicians and people in the terrorism industry," says John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University. "The danger is that we've wasted an enormous amount of money with all of the wiretaps [and] investigations, and diverted two-thirds of the FBI from criminal work to terrorism work."

The FBI calls such conclusions "uninformed," citing alleged plots by radicalized US citizens. The most notable was the case of the Lackawanna Six, so named for the six Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna, N.Y., who went to Al Qaeda training camps in the spring of 2001.

"The people who make these claims [about threats being exaggerated] are never the ones responsible for preventing these attacks," says John Miller, the FBI's assistant director of public affairs. "The point is that if you're the dead guy, or you're a family member of one of those guys, all you know is that you wanted someone to develop the intelligence and take the actions to prevent it."

Still, a lack of public evidence pointing to extensive Islamist extremism in the US is leading a small but growing number of experts to agree with Professor Meuller's assessment. Like Meuller, though, they add a cautionary note.

"There's not zero threat in any community, but it is good news and we have to hope that reflects an underlying reality that [homegrown extremist cells] don't exist here," says Jonathan Winer, a terrorism expert in Washington. "You've always got lone nuts in every imaginable ethnic group grabbing every imaginable ideology to justify terrorism."

Instead of my usual editorial, why don't you decide?


At 7:09 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Hi AC. No editorial??? That's decidedly unlike you. :)

I beg to differ with the tone of this article. I believe homegrown terrorist cells do exist here, and we are going to be realizing that really soon.

These people are patient people; they're just biding their time.

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite the contrary. I swim in a vast sea of doubt and utter disbelief when I read this article that is strikingly similar to a puff piece that belongs nowhere else other than the CAIR website.

Those that believe terror cells don't exist here are in for a rude awakening. Remember the lessons from the past - we supposedly didn't hear the warnings from Japan but were kicked in the ass at Pearl Harbor.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

I second Gayles insights..and hey wheres your editorial AC! think C-AIR and the mosques are jus waiting for the right moment!..Arrggg!

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In America, it's a lot easier to practice our religion without complications."

This statement alone sums up my belief in America. It is the land of the free, you can worship who and how you want. Without fear of prosecution.
Another aspect of A Democratic society, unlike others who kill and coherse you to obey their idealogic ways.

'some US officials have overstated the threat of homegrown Islamist radicalism in the United States'

You can never overestimate the possability that homegrown terrorism is a is.
And possably so gayle.

"My theory as to why we haven't found any [homegrown Islamist terrorist cells] is because there aren't very many of them"

The terorist who ploted 9/11 were in my back yard! (san diego).
And one Liberal who I used to debate with said, " And I don't see boogymen terrorists in my dreams like the retards in this country."

Say what?
And this guy lives in San Diego!

..'a lack of public evidence pointing to extensive Islamist extremism in the US'

I would have to agree with this assessment. In comparitive to European countries.

Good post Crusader. I will read a bit more later. And I too await your editorial!

But this brings me to

At 12:00 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Some credence has to be given to the fact that we have not had any real HOMEGROWN terrorist attacks here at home.

I don't consider those bumbling idiots in Miami to be anything other than wanna-be's but they were influenced by Islamic thought.

Obviously there are homegrown terrorist such as Al-Timimi(convicted in 2005), an American-born cleric and Fairfax Virginia resident who was sentenced to life for counseling and advising his followers to engage in terrorist activities.

In Jordan(September 2000), authorities stopped a terrorist attack on a 400-room hotel in Amman. The ringleader was an American-born Muslim, Raed Hijazi, who grew up in a well off family and studied business at Cal State. According to Jordanian prosecutors, Hijazi got his taste of radical Islamic teaching at a mosque near his Sacramento campus, whose mullah inspired him to join the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. There he became acquainted with the bin Laden network.
A California Islamist website ( promoted the need for a khalifa (a ruler who will build the worldwide Islamic state under strict religious laws), and this idea is routinely discussed at Muslim student forums in the U.S

Adam Gadahn has been added to the FBI's most wanted list and has been charged with treason and with providing material support to a terrorist group for making a series of propaganda videotapes for al Qaeda, including one in which he praised the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks and referred to the U.S. as "enemy soil."
José Padilla, an American of Puerto Rican descent, has been charged with "conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim people overseas."
And this is a short list of known American-born Islamic terrorist.

Also, we know that radical Islam is being taught here in America with the help of Saudi Arabian money.
Wahibbist documents have been found at many American mosques.
I think this article was more PR than fact. It failed to take a wider look at homegrown terrorism and just focused on one aspect.
It completely disregarded American-born terrorist overseas.
I believe there are many homegrown terrorist cells in this country waiting for the right opportunity.
Also, I believe that Al Qaeda operatives have crossed into this country and may be in contact with these cells.
This type of article lulls people into a false sense of security.
Will there be a terrorist act in this country carried out by American-born Islamic radicals?
I believe it's just a question of time.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

"My theory as to why we haven't found any [homegrown Islamist terrorist cells] is because there aren't very many of them.... "

Sorry to stay but there are indeed homegrown Islamist terrorist cells operating in Canada and the US. We (Canada and The US) are doing a better job at monitoring their activities and their communication (chat rooms, emails, mosques...) however we obviously can't confirm that we're monitoring all of them.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I believe there are many homegrown terrorist cells in this country waiting for the right opportunity.
Also, I believe that Al Qaeda operatives have crossed into this country and may be in contact with these cells.'

Another reason to monitor incoming calls.
We definately would be under a false sense of security if tended not to think so.

Freedomnow said-
'Leftists will always misrepresent such facts and will spin this as, "there is no terrorist threat".'

Are they blind? Are they ignorant?
I just could not believe this guy from SD would say such a thing!

Good assessments Crusader, I agree.
(I read the link you left at my site)
Take care and...

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Pieces such as this one in the Christian Science Monitor lull people into a false sense of security. Walid Shoebat, "apostate," has stated a different opinion. I think I'll believe him over Alexandra Marks.

Are Muslims really all that integrated into American society? Sure, they have the same opportunites for business, education, etc. But integration? I'm not so sure. Many Muslims place great emphasis on their how they live a different life as compared to our Western ways.

THIS BIO of John Mueller is instructive. Also, Mueller was mentioned in FPM's "The Failure of Western Universities".

Could he be a leftist utopian?

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

I tend to agree with AOW; this smacks of propaganda: Move along, nothing to see here...

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

Actually a lot of what this article says is common sense to people who understand the difference between Europe/Britain and the U.S. We've always emphasized diversity and pluralism and immigration more than Europe and Britain.

"we have not had any real HOMEGROWN terrorist attacks here at home."

No? I think you're forgetting Timothy McVeigh.

There have been more terrorist plots besides Sept. 11; they were intercepted by law enforcement. Which just goes to show that it's law enforcement that will "win the war on terror" not randomly bombing foreign countries.

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'randomly bombing foreign countries.'
Ahh Since when do we do that?

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No? I think you're forgetting Timothy McVeigh."

What are you? A pawn for CAIR?

At 6:12 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

I didn't include Timothy McVeigh only because I was emphasizing Islamic terrorism as was the article. Unfortunately, in any large society there is going to be malcontents like Eric Rudolph and Theodore Kaczynski who find violence as their only weapons against society.
This is a completely different topic.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

"malcontents...who find violence as their only weapons against society."

Those are found around the world, but especially in countries that lack democracy, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which, not surprisingly, are the countries that spawned the Sept. 11 terrorists. Interesting how we didn't bomb them, isn't it...we depend on the despotic, repressive, Saudi regime for cheap oil, and we're "allies" with Egypt, another despotism, giving them $2 billion a year in aid so they won't bomb Israel, a tiny country that does nothing for the U.S. yet strangely manipulates us and controls much of our governmental policy. We bombed Iraq because Saddam dared to threaten our oil supply in the first Gulf War, and for internal political reasons (to get the Republicans re-elected). No, ftgf is right, it isn't's much worse than that.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

Here's an example of random bombing, from the Guardian. It sounds like this is really going to help us in the "war on terror":

Tribal fury as Pakistan military kills 80 in religious school

· Attacked madrasa said to be terrorist training camp
· Dead were children and seminarians, say villagers

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
Tuesday October 31, 2006
The Guardian

The Pakistani military launched its deadliest strike against Islamist militants yesterday, with an attack on a purported terrorist training camp near the Afghan border that killed about 80 people.
Helicopters fired missiles into a madrasa, or religious school, in Bajaur tribal region just before dawn, flattening the building and widely scattering debris and body parts. "It was being misused for militant activities," said a military spokesman, Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan, who added that up to 100 men, aged between 20 and 30, were inside but no women or children.

However, angry local villagers said the casualties were not terrorists but innocent children and religious seminarians.
Wailing men tugged corpses, including that of a seven-year-old boy, from the rubble in Chingai village. Thousands of mourners attended mass burials.

Several thousand people marched through Bajaur's main town, Khar, chanting: "Death to Musharraf" and "Death to Bush", in a protest against the Pakistan and US leaders. Jamaat Islami, a hardline but influential Islamist party, condemned the attack as "brutal and barbaric".

At 2:40 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Pakistan's military says the school was a front for an al-Qaida training camp and those who died were militants.
The raid was launched after the school's leader rejected government warnings to stop using the madrassa as a training camp for terrorists.

A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia.

In what way is that random??

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

Hi Elizabeth,

That was a tasty treat you left us. Lets see, you believe that 100 children were playing hop scotch in a terrorist training camp when the Pakistani military randomly bombed them.

So your bright idea is to take terrorist training camps off the list of approved targets. That will sure win the War on Terror!

If you keep mouthing off Al Qaeda talking points I dont see how your propaganda will benefit Western Civilization.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

"freedomnow" do you think a 7-year-old is a threat to America?

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

ac--An Islamic religious school is not the same as a terrorist training camp.

"Pakistan's military says the school was a front for an al-Qaida training camp and those who died were militants."

Since Pakistan is run by a self-serving despot, should we really believe anything his government says?

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

"Pakistanis live in Pakistan and know their country more than you."

So true. Here's a snippet from Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper:

"Monday’s air strike on a Bajaur seminary in which more than 80 people were killed, triggering country-wide protests and a wave of agitation in tribal areas"

So..."the Pakistanis" don't seem to have thought this was a terrorist training camp...recently, by the way, Pakistani officials have stated bluntly that they were threatened by Washington that their country would be "bombed back to the Stone Age" if they didn't comply with whatever Bush I think what Pakistanis want and think is maybe not the determinant of decisions in that part of the world.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

"freedomnow"--would you please cite your sources of information on Pakistan? You seem to be portraying yourself as an expert on the area, but I can't tell where your information comes from.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

Look it up yourself dirtbag.

I never said I was an expert so dont tell me what I think that I am.

I could say the same about you, but I dont...

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

It looks like "freedomnow"'s main rhetorical techniques are libel ("Elizabeth supports Al Qaeda") and name-calling ("dirtbag").

I think that speaks for itself.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

freedomnow, I would respond to your comment, if I could discern the point you were trying to make from the gibberish you spouted.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

It appears that you are not as intelligent as you may think you are.

I sympathize, reading comprehension can be difficult for even fully grown adults.


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