According Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI has recently reported that it has 1,000 open cases on radical Islamic extremists operating in all 50 states. The FBI specifically considers the subjects of these cases to be “suspected or potential terrorists.” Wray noted that efforts to counteract the threat posed by these individuals is now the top priority of the FBI. A difficult aspect in curtailing this threat is the manner in which many of these potential and suspected terrorists are being recruited. Many of these individuals are radicalized or inspired by Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamic terror groups over the internet. This method represents the shift in focus since the ISIS lost control of nearly all the land in Syria and Iraq that it considered its caliphate (Islamic governed state). Currently ISIS only has control of a string of villages and small pockets of resistance in Damascus, Syria. However, ISIS has turned to the internet to – very effectively – recruit and radicalize so-called ‘homegrown’ terrorists.
Difficulty Tracking ‘homegrown’ Terrorists
Wray acknowledged the difficulty in tracking ‘homegrown’ terrorists since many operate as ‘lone-wolf’ attackers and do not function as part of a larger – visible – terror group. In a recent hearing before a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Wray told lawmakers, “We are trying to get better at looking for red flags as to when people are getting radicalized and start to make that switch into potentially mobilizing.” Wray added, “What makes it so hard is that there aren't many dots connecting some of these people. They pick soft targets, they use easy to use weapons like IED's, cars, knives, guns and they can make decisions on the spur of the moment.” Carol Rollie Flynn, the former top official at the CIA's National Counterterrorism Center, also noted that “Preventing these types of attacks is very, very hard because the tools of law enforcement to detect and pre-empt attacks don't work if the terrorist is not connected in any detectable way to a known terrorist or terrorist group.”
Attacks May Increase During Ramadan
Also of concern is that attacks are likely to increase with the recent start of Ramadan (a month long Islamic observance) since many radical Islamists consider attacks during Ramadan to be more noble and have greater reward in the afterlife. According to Stratfor – the world’s leading geopolitical intelligence group that monitors Islamic terror groups – “Jihadists see Ramadan as an especially auspicious time for attacks, believing that actions taken during Ramadan are somehow nobler, and despite prohibitions on aggression of any kind during the month. The Islamic State, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups have all sought to foment attacks during Ramadan with promises of greater rewards in the afterlife.” For example, last year ISIS claimed responsibility for over 300 attacks that took place during the month of Ramadan.
Relevant Bible Passages
While many who are radicalized over the internet may not truly embrace the Islamic religion – many who do are following the teachings of the false prophet Mohammed! The practitioners of Islam follow a false prophet named Mohammed who began to teach his false doctrine. Mohammed claimed to have been given revelation by an angel because the Jews and Christians had corrupted the Holy Scriptures. The Bible warns us to be wary of this exact claim in Galatians 1:6-9 and labels those who would promote such false doctrine as “accursed.” The Bible warns us that such false prophets would arise as the end times draws near. Matthew 24:11 warns “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” away from Messiah (Christ). Yet, the Gospel of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection must compel us to love, and witness to, those deceived by the false teachings of Islam. We must be in prayer for all those who are blinded to the truth of Christ and pray for their eventual salvation.