- - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Americans witnessed evil once again as a radical Islamic gunman — who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s caliph — recently killed or wounded 102 people while they were enjoying “Latin Night” in a popular gay night club in Orlando. It was the deadliest attack on the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) community in American history.

The Orlando jihadi terror attack was launched by a practicing Muslim, Omar Mateen. He was a 29 year-old U.S.-born son of Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan. He regularly attended the Fort Pierce Islamic Center. For the past nine years he worked as a security guard for G4S — the U.S. subsidiary of one of the world’s largest security firms — where he was authorized to carry a company-issued .38-caliber handgun.

According to FBI Director James Comey, the jihadi had previously made statements about ties to the al Qaeda and Hezbollah terror groups — and during the attack claimed loyalty to Islamic State’s leader and solidarity with the Boston Marathon bombers. A night club survivor said Mateen claimed to carry out the attack because he wanted “Americans to stop bombing his country.” Although homegrown, his loyalties clearly lay elsewhere.

While President Obama and many of his minions are loath to mention radical Islam as the primary cause and focus on gun control legislation instead, CIA Director John Brennan provides a sober and chilling view on the threat. He recently informed Congress that the Islamic State has a “large cadre of Western fighters that could attack the United States.”

Contextually, the Pew Research Center reports there are some 1.6 billion Muslims, representing 23 percent of the total global human population, and Muslims comprise a majority in 49 countries. The United States has about 3.4 million Muslims, worshipping and being educated at about 2,600 mosques and Islamic schools. Mr. Comey stated his agency has ongoing investigations into the Islamic State’s radicalization of Muslim men in all 50 states.

It’s unknown how many Muslims have been radicalized or are sympathetic to groups such as the Islamic State. What is known is that Muslims are currently involved in more terrorist activity, and have criminalized and penalized LBGT behavior with persecution, death and imprisonment, than any other group. For example:

• The State Department Annual Report on Terrorism lists 59 foreign terrorist organizations which, among other things, are deemed as threats to U.S. citizens and U.S. national security. Forty-four of them (75 percent) are Islamic groups in Muslim countries.

• The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association Report on State-Sponsored Homophobia — used by the United Nations and State Department — identifies 38 Muslim-majority nations, or areas controlled by Islamic terror groups, where LBGT behavior is considered a crime punishable by the death penalty (e.g., hanging, beheading, stoning or throwing from rooftops), or imprisonment.

• A Pew Research Center survey of Muslims in 36 countries disclosed that they overwhelmingly considered homosexual behavior morally wrong, including three-quarters or more in 33 of the countries.

Moreover, the late Taher Jaber al-Alwani — a highly trained, greatly respected, mainstream Muslim international authority on Islamic law — issued a June 2003 fatwa making plain that homosexuality is a “moral atrocity” punishable by death in the corporeal world, and eternal torment in the hereafter.

There are a few actions Mr. Obama can take to educate the American public and counter radical Islamic threats.

First, acknowledge that the vast majority of global terror attacks emanate from countries with Muslim-majority populations, and from individuals and groups within Islam who become radicalized.

Second, explain the difference between an Islamist and jihadi. An Islamist is any Muslim who wants to impose and enforce Shariah law, whether by violent or nonviolent means. A jihadi is an Islamic terrorist.

Third, inform that Shariah (a religious legal system governing Islam adherents and derived from the Koran and Hadith) is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. Among other things, it totally subordinates women and mandates many other human rights violations, such as dispensing cruel and unusual punishment on those engaging in LBGT behavior.

Fourth, direct federal agencies such as the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, and the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security to reincorporate radical Islamic awareness into training curriculums, and proactively mitigate threats whenever actionable intelligence deems it necessary.

Fifth, convene a meeting with leaders of the American Muslim community and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (an association of 56 Islamic nations and Palestinian territories), asking for their assistance in eliminating Islamic-bred terrorism and bigotry existing in their communities and countries, and promising consequences of it’s not forthcoming.

It’s beyond time for Mr. Obama to recognize that radical Islam poses a clear and present danger to humanity, and that jihadists will use any available weapons such as guns, knives, improvised bombs and weapons of mass destruction to commit their heinous acts in pursuit of their radical ideology and goals. Let’s hope he listens to the cries of survivors and victims’ families and does something about it. Otherwise, there will likely be more urban terror attacks on innocents like those that occurred in Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels and elsewhere.

Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst who served in the U.S. departments of State and Defense.

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