What keeps America from protecting itself against radical Islam?
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is adapted from a speech the author delivered this week at the Westminster Institute in McLean, Va. The topic: “Defenseless in the Face of Our Enemies: What Keeps America from Protecting Itself from Radical Islam.”
Two weekends ago in Orlando, Fla., in the wee hours of the morning, a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub teeming with revelers. After killing and wounding scores of people, he took hostages in a restroom. He began calling police and media outlets, began crafting social-media posts, all for the point of announcing what was already clear to the nightclub denizens who’d heard him screaming, “Allahu Akbar!” — Allah is greater! — as he fired shot after shot: Omar Mateen was a stealth Muslim militant.
He was an adherent of radical Islam who committed his atrocity in furtherance of its ongoing jihad against America and the West. He took time in the midst of the carnage to make bayat — a pledge of allegiance — to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of the Islamic State terror network and its proclaimed caliphate.
By the time police barged in three hours later and killed Mateen in a firefight, he had murdered 49 people and wounded another 53, many quite seriously.
It should have been possible to see Omar Mateen coming. He was a first-generation American citizen, born in this country to immigrant parents from Afghanistan and raised in a troubled household — one in which the father is a visible and ardent supporter of the Taliban, the fundamentalist jihadist group that ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, harbored al-Qaeda as it plotted and executed the 9/11 attacks, and to this day wages war against American troops as it fights to retake the country.
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