Before The 9/11 only very few Americans were engaged in active violent Jihad – probably less then 100. They were involved in the first World Trade Center – WTC attack on 02/26/1993 and the foiled Day of Terror plot in 06/1993. Almost all the group was affiliated to one single Mosque, the Al Farook Mosque in Brooklyn New York, and the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. The group was comprised from Muslim immigrants, USA Citizens from Muslim background and a US convert citizen Clement Rodney Hampton, who was also associated with Jamaat al-fukra.
During the War in Afghanistan against the Russians, in the years 1979-89, USA even encouraged young Muslims, also from USA, to join the so called “Jihad” in Afghanistan and welcomed with open arms the veteran Mujahiddens, often persecuted by their native Muslim countries, who understood the real nature of Global Jihad. Other few joined Islamic militancy abroad, like the convert John Walker Lindh, after the war in Afghanistan. When John Walker Lindh went to Afghanistan, through Yemen, in 02/2000, there was yet no contradiction between his USA citizenship and supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Following The 9/11 and its aftermath it emerged that many Muslims in USA were under influence of radical Islamic institutions like Dar al-Hijrah Center in Falls Church Virginia, the Masjid al-Fatima in Queens, New York and many others were active in many Islamic charities, which channeled some of the money to radical purposes. Many activities considered legal and acceptable prior to The 9/11 became in the new post 9/11 perspective suspicious, illegal and threat to America. Some Muslim activists responded with genuine change of attitude against Islamic radicalization, others fled the USA and joined Al Qaeda-like organizations abroad, other used the first amendment of freedom of speech to promote their radical ideas and other remained potential active terrorists inside the USA. No doubt that the tension between Islam in general and with Muslims in America with the impact of The 9/11 was a source of frustration to many Muslims in USA.
One of the main recruiting domains for Islam was the prison system in USA. Islam gave a purpose in life to many who suffered from negligence and were marginalized in the American society. According to CNN, on 04/07/2007, about 1.5 million Americans converted to Islam in the past decades (since 1997) and that a quarter of the 6 million American Muslims are converts. According to the Arab newspaper based in London Al-Hayat from 11/11/2001 about 34,000 Americans converted to Islam in USA in the two months after The 9/11.
It must be mentioned that only a handful of many thousands who converted to Islam in the prison system of USA really turned to terror, the others were less likely to return to jail and more likely to rehabilitate themselves and to become normative and useful citizens in the USA.
Anyhow the ongoing wars of USA in Islamic countries in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts associated with the war on terror in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan and the support to Israel affected the most US citizens with origin and families in those countries. The ongoing reports of Muslim civilians deaths and atrocities, exaggerated and manipulated by the Arab media, especially Al-Jazeera, and by hundreds of Islamic websites, began gradually to influence American Muslims too, although only in very small numbers. The Arab media as well as the Western Democracies failed to emphasize that although USA did serious mistakes, still way over 90% of Muslims were killed by their fellow Muslims and not by any non-Muslim power (in Darfur, Sudan, or the Algerian civil war in the 90s’, for example – see -Muslim-Violence )
American citizens, who grew up in USA, proved themselves very effective in manipulating propaganda, recruiting new Jihadists and coordinating operation against USA based on their knowledge and understanding of the state of mind of the average American and the frustration of the Muslim Americans. Today figures like Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir-Khan and Omar Hammami – known as Mansour al-Amriki lead the propaganda efforts in the USA while another USA citizen, Adnan El Shukrijumah heads Al Qaeda operation in the Wesat.
Another source of concern is spontaneous initiative of American Muslims, often encouraged through the web from abroad, to do something within their ability to harm America, not necessarily because of ideological Global Jihad but in most of the cases because of personal resentment toward America.
Relatively to the number of Muslims in USA, now (10/2010) estimated 7 million, and the emotions over The 9/11 and the American wars in Islamic countries the number of Muslims US citizens turning to violent Jihad is very low, few hundreds over the last decade, which is, statistically, almost zero (see – NEW.INTELWIRE.COM ). Still organized crime, drug cartels and lunatics with guns who go on a shooting rampage almost every week in USA, for whatever reason, are a much greater threat by all means to public safety in the US.
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