The danger is here and now. In an earlier post, AT editor Thomas Lifson reports on the activities of two homegrown terrorists: the French citizen who murdered an Israeli couple (and two more people) at the Brussels Jewish Museum and an American citizen who blew himself up in Syria. Lifson points out how with a slight change of appearance, the American terrorist could have easily accessed say a US shopping mall to carry out his deadly deed.
Europeans have previously tasted the bitter vile of homegrown terrorism – for example, the perpetrators of the London tube massacre were British citizens. In America, with the exception of Timothy McVeigh, we have been largely spared this scourge. (I don’t count the Tsarnaev brothers as homegrown, but the Fort Hood Islamist, Major Hasan, certainly counts.) Yet there is every reason to be concerned that this deadly phenomenon – that is, homegrown terrorism – will be practiced on our shores with greater regularity in the near future.
This is a frightening development. But let's be clear about a few indisputable facts concerning the issue:
- Future perpetrators are virtually guaranteed to be Islamists, newly radicalized by extremist elements found in US mosques and other Islamic organizations.
- Their targets are likely to be Jewish, but their hatred of America parallels their enmity toward Jews and Israelis – so domestic iconic landmarks (e.g., the Statue of Liberty) and mass venues (e.g., shopping malls) will certainly be on their hit list.
- The surest means to combat this plague include: (i) call it what it is – terrorism, not "workplace violence"; (ii) prosecute those caught before, during or after their heinous deeds and put them to death; (iii) infiltrate, disrupt and destroy domestic (and foreign) networks that support domestic jihad; (iv) bring the full weight of law enforcement (including military capabilities) to bear in the fight against domestic terrorism; and (v) combat the foreign entities that support and inspire domestic terrorists.
- It will be difficult to carry out the previous steps without impinging on the liberties of law-abiding American citizens. The effort will be concentrated in the executive branches of government; but it must involve the legislative and judicial branches as well in order to protect said liberties.
During the twentieth century, the United States led the free world in the ultimately successful battles against Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism. The sooner we recognize that we are now engaged with a twenty-first century totalitarian enemy – radical Islam – the quicker we will defeat it and spare our citizens future bloodshed at the hands of homegrown terrorists.
Ron Lipsman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, writes about politics, culture, education, science and sports at http://ronlipsman.com