EgyptAir And The Jihadi Problem

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Kenneth Timmerman President, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
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Hillary Clinton just can’t say the words. Like Barack Obama, she is stuck in a fantasy land where Islamists who shout “Allah Akbar” before they unleash hell on the innocent are some kind of nameless, ideology-less “violent extremists.” 

Just last night, she blasted Trump again for what she called his “Muslim ban,” a plan to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to this country until our security apparatus can figure out how to distinguish individuals who constitute a threat from the overwhelming majority who do not.

While acknowledging it appeared that EgyptAir 804 was taken down by an “act of terrorism,” she couldn’t name the threat we face, trying to sound firm about battling vague “organized terror groups,” not jihadi terrorists.

In fact, some of the most spectacular terrorist attacks in recent months have not been the work of “organized terror groups,” but of isolated cells inspired by the ideology of the terror mothership.

ISIS seeks to “inspire” followers by fulfilling the goal that all devout, Sharia-following Muslims are taught to seek: establishing an Islamic caliphate, where Sharia law rules. This – not Donald Trump’s words – is a huge recruitment tool.

Young Muslims in Europe and the United States who attend jihadi recruitment mosques are taught that the Caliphate is their version of heaven on earth.

Among the Islamic jihadis who carried out the terror attacks in Paris last November and Brussels this March were individuals with European passports who felt the call of ISIS, went to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, then returned to Europe to commit mayhem in the name of Allah.

They did not act as an “organized terror group,” as Mrs. Clinton would have it, but as a loose-knit network of ISIS sympathizers without central control or authority other than their jihadi interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. San Bernardino, Fort Hood, and the Boston marathon bombers exhibited a similar pattern. No central control, but a shared ideology.

The French have understood the problem for years. For decades, the French security services would round up the usual suspects – around 4000 of them – in advance of a public event they felt could provide the backdrop for a spectacular terror attack, and detain them for several days without charges.

As political correctness descended on the French, they stopped talking in public about jihadi terrorism. Indeed, the Mayor of Paris even threatened to sue Donald Trump for daring to say what every Frenchman and woman knows to be true, that there are “no-go” suburbs in Paris where jihadi clerics and their goons impose Sharia-law, forcing young women to wear full head scarves.

The November attacks against the Bataclan theater, a sports statdium, and several Paris restaurants temporarily changed that. President François Holland declared a state of emergency, unleashing the security forces to detain suspected Islamists around the country and to close jihadi mosques used as ISIS recruitment centers.

Even at the peak of political correctness, the French kept a register of jihadi mosques and individuals, albeit without the resources to conduct active surveillance on them. That gave them a knowledge base they could quickly ramp up.

(Thanks to Obama, who has dismantled similar programs in the U.S., we have become totally blind in this country, as the San Bernardino attacks showed).

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks last November, the French re-examined security procedures at the Paris airports, withdrawing security clearances from 57 individuals with known jihadi ties who worked as baggage handlers or had access to the aircraft.

As the investigation into the cause of the EgyptAir crash begins to focus more narrowly on the possibility that a bomb was placed on board the plane during its stopover at Charles De Gaulle airport, the French have expanded their examination of potential jihadis with access to the security zone around the aircraft.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in February that 254 French jihadis had returned to France Iraq and Syria during 2015, nearly one-third of them women. Since they travel on French passports, they can purchase tickets on any commercial flight to the United States and come to this country without a visa.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, they all have one thing in common: they happen to be Muslims. Until we can develop better intelligence and better screening procedures, a temporary ban on Muslims coming into this country is the only tool we have to prevent more jihadi infiltration of this country, since the Obama administration – with Mrs. Clinton’s strong assist – has dismantled all the others.

Kenneth Timmerman is a New York Times best-selling author. His latest book, Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary and Obama Blamed for Benghazi, is forthcoming from Post Hill Press.