As far as most Americans are concerned, the last jihad activity in the United States took place on September 11, 2001. But jihadists undeniably continue to be quite active in America. A number of incidents in the last few days indicate that they are still trying to pull off an attack on the scale of the July 7 London bombings — or worse.
• Two converts to Islam, Gregory Vernon Patterson and Levar Haney Washington, are being held on suspicion of planning terror attacks in the Los Angeles area. Patterson and Washington were allegedly hoping to commit mass murder at a military recruitment office in Santa Monica and other locations on September 11, 2005 and other dates. Investigators found literature about jihad along with weapons and military equipment in Washington’s apartment. Washington claimed that he and Patterson belonged to a group named Jama’at al Islam (Party of Islam), a jihadist group in California’s prisons.
• Working from information discovered in the investigation of Washington and Patterson, Los Angeles officials arrested a Pakistani named Hammad Riaz Samana. He seems to have been involved in terror plots targeting, among other places, the Israeli Consulate and the California National Guard.
• Lodi, California imam Shabbir Ahmed agreed to accept deportation to his native Pakistan on immigration charges. However, this case was not all about immigration: Ahmed and several others in Lodi allegedly planned to establish a madrassa, or Islamic school, there that would be used, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, “to recruit individuals to engage in jihad.” When asked if he believed that Ahmed was involved in planning a terrorist attack, agent Gary Schaaf responded: “That’s some of the information that has been provided to us.”
• A document leaked from the New York State Office of Homeland Security and published in the Times of London last Sunday revealed that “Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) in an effort to cause mass casualties in the US (and London), prior to 19 September. Attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles…. The stated goal is the collapse of the US economy.”
• A map of the Washington Metro subway system was posted last Thursday on an Internet site that has been linked to Al-Qaeda. The poster noted that a chemical weapons attack in the Washington subways would bring “amazing results” and advocated attacks in the U.S. on the scale of the one executed by Muhammad Atta.
• Three men described as being of “Middle Eastern descent” were spotted videotaping facilities in Santa Monica, California. Tourists? Unlikely. Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts explained: “Ordinarily, when tourists videotape, they don’t videotape security structures for an extended period of time. They don’t focus on access roads, and usually, the tourists themselves are in the photographs to document they were there, and that’s not what these photographs showed.”
• Meanwhile, some officials were tied up for hundreds of hours investigating false claims made by a Chicago Muslim named Abdul Rauf Noormohamed. Noormohamed told agents that some of his relatives were members of Al-Qaeda, and were planning large-scale attacks in Chicago. As the Muslim Prophet Muhammad remarked, “War is deceit.” For diverting manpower from legitimate terror investigations and giving false information, Noormohamed faces five years behind bars.
All this is just from last week. It indicates that the threat of new terror attacks in the United States continues to be real. As stories like these become more and more common in the nation’s newspapers, it becomes ever more difficult for the mainstream media to sustain its indifference to the ways in which jihadists (inside prisons and elsewhere) use core teachings of Islam to recruit and motivate terrorists. And until the media – and more importantly, government and law enforcement – confront this phenomenon and try to formulate effective means to meet the challenge it represents, every new week will bring more stories of this kind. At least until one of the jihad groups in the United States actually accomplishes its goal.