In the years after 9/11, Americans waited for the other shoe to drop. What would Al Qaeda pull next from their bag of bloody tricks? Concerns about old Russian nuclear weapons, chemical agents, dirty bombs, and other means of mass murder were embedded deep in our national consciousness.
And then, nothing happened. Thanks to an intelligence community no longer constrained by the divisions that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place, terrorist cells were broken, plots were thwarted, and the country began to relax. 13 years later, however, a new threat has emerged. Instead of focusing on dedicated cells aiming for spectacular, expensive terrorist attacks, authorities warn that so-called “lone wolf” extremists are much more likely to emerge.
Terror Comes to Australia
One such extremist captured headlines this week as he held hostages at gunpoint in Sydney, Australia. Man Haron Monis, according to his social media history, had a long infatuation with radical Islam. He also had a considerable rap sheet. Before he held 17 people hostage inside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe for 16 hours, Monis had racked up dozens of criminal charges. Those alleged crimes, according to the New South Wales attorney general, included 45 sex-related charges and two counts of being an accessory to murder. The victim? Haron’s ex-wife.
Monis, who was out on bail at the time of his one-man jihad, kept the world media entranced as his hostages held up an Islamic flag to the windows of the cafe. The writing on the flag was in Arabic, and the words translated to “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.” Before the siege was over, two hostages would lose their lives.
The dramatic attack gave further credence to the lone wolf warnings. ISIS, while presenting a prescient threat to the population of Iraq and Syria, has also been extraordinarily adept at spreading their propaganda far and wide. Proving to be deft users of social media, the Islamic spinoff of Al Qaeda is believed to have inspired other lone wolf attackers. Just this year, Brussels, Quebec, Ottawa, and New York City have seen attacks by Islamic extremists unconnected to any organized terror group. Additionally, the shooting at Fort Hood and the bombing of the Boston Marathon were carried out by radical extremists with no official connection to groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS.
Unfortunately, world leaders lay the foundation for these attacks by denying their basis. In almost every case, there is an unwelcome and uncalled-for presumption of innocence when it comes to the reason behind the attacks. Instead of recognizing that Islam is – again and again – the foundation from which these terrorists draw their beliefs, Obama and others bend over backwards to keep from calling it what it is. Their misplaced sympathies will have tragic consequences as these attacks grow more frequent. Political correctness should not come before national security. At some point, someone is going to have to face the facts. Let’s hope it happens before anymore innocent Britons, Australians, or Americans have to die.