Op-ed

ISIS_exporting_global_terror_Montages.jpg

ISIS exporting global terror

by Candice Malcolm

Toronto Sun
June 15, 2016

The world is once again grieving from yet another radical Islamic terrorist attack.

Drawing eerie similarities to the attack at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris — sieged by three heavily armed ISIS agents last November — Omar Mateen stormed the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

He peppered it with bullets, took hostages and engaged in a three-hour stand-off with police.

By the time the damage was done, Mateen had shot 102 people and killed 49 of them.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Mateen was a radical Islamist who had pledged allegiance to ISIS.

He was openly and unapologetically homophobic, racist, anti-American and pro-terrorism.

He was a jihadist, and he wasn’t shy about it.

Neighbours, co-workers, high school friends and both his current and ex-wife have said they knew Mateen was violent.

Even the FBI knew he was a radical. They had investigated him several times. Each time, they dropped their case.

Despite the mounting evidence that Mateen was an ardent, radical Islamist, many political elites refuse to recognize simple facts.

In typical fashion, U.S. President Barack Obama failed to make the connection between the attacker and his ideology.

Despite Mateen’s own 911 phone call declaring allegiance to ISIS, Obama told Americans “we’ve reached no definitive judgement on the precise motivations of the killer.”

Two days later, Obama admitted he doesn’t like using the words “radical Islam”.

Instead, he lectured the public about religious tolerance, called for strict gun controls, and saved his harshest words, not for the enemy that kills in cold blood, but for a political opponent, Donald Trump.

Rather than discuss the complex reality before him – this calculated act of terrorism was conducted by a radicalized American Muslim – Obama fell back to his familiar, stale rhetoric.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also fell into this trap when he called this a “domestic terrorist attack”.

True, Mateen was an American citizen, but he was also an ISIS jihadist.

And there’s nothing domestic or American about the Islamic State.

It’s an international force, with agents and cells all over the world.

Part of its strategy is to radicalize and recruit Muslims everywhere.

Equally misleading is calling this a “lone wolf” attack, as many in the media are.

Islamic State leaders and their propaganda agents tell followers to act alone and to strike civilian targets, using any means possible. Guns, knives, cars, improvised explosives, airplanes.

This is the third year in a row they’ve told their members to strike and kill civilians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Just a few weeks ago, they issued a statement specifically calling for civilian attacks in the United States during Ramadan.

Mateen was very much an agent, following the commands of his leaders.

Orders to attack may not have been issued directly to him, but he followed a tactic frequently used by ISIS.

Islamic State has changed its strategy from a ground war in Syria to launching attacks against the public anywhere it can. It’s become a global menace.

Often these agents become radicalized in extremist mosques. They get recruited online through fierce propaganda campaigns. They are trained and motivated while sitting behind their computer screens.

You cannot win a war unless you first recognize the enemy.

If we treat this latest attack like just another mass shooting, rather than acknowledging the broader war being waged against us by jihadists, we will never prevail.

Image:AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

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