Jim Brock: ISIS in America?

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The grisly on-camera murder of American journalist James Foley has made it difficult for isolationist Americans to oppose military action in Iraq and Syria. With every passing day, we are seeing just how dangerous the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become.

And as ongoing domestic issues in Ferguson, Missouri. continue, we are starting to see ISIS and Ferguson in the same headlines.

It seems the fear of American gang violence as a counter-cultural reaction to a black man being killed by a police officer is no longer the worst-case scenario.

There are predators far worse than gang leaders waiting to pick up the pieces.

According to an Aug. 19 Mail Online report, an ISIS sympathizer who called himself Mujahid Miski recently tweeted “So how is democracy treating you guys? #FergusonUnderIS #Ferguson.”

Another tweet read, “I thought u guys back in #Ferguson were supposed to be Free & that u had equal rights. I’d really like to know what changed? #FergusonUnderIS.”

The report said Miski claimed to be from Minneapolis–Saint Paul but “suggests he is now based in ‘the horn of Africa.’”

Miski also retweeted messages from @AmreekiWitness, whose tweets focus on the mistreatment of blacks in America, “praise Malcolm X for embracing Islam and urge angry young black men to take up the religion as it means the police ‘will fear you,’” Mail Online reported.

It makes you wonder if these tactics actually work.

Well, apparently something is.

According to an Aug. 26 report from the Minneapolis Fox affiliate KMSP, 33-year-old Douglas McCain, formerly of Minneapolis and San Diego, was one of the “foreign Jihadis” killed last weekend.

McCain’s passport was found with his body at the battle site, according to a source linked to the Free Syrian Army. State officials suspect that McCain was fighting with ISIS.

As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, it’s difficult not to let emotion cloud our judgment on this subject. After Osama Bin Laden was killed, many of us thought we had finally received the justice we deserved. In fact, during our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we probably thought we had some type of control over terrorist activity.

We were wrong.

This isn’t a war that can be won with bombs, because no matter how many we kill, more will rise in their place.

Bombs cannot destroy an idea, and they are willing to sacrifice their children, their wives, their family and friends, and themselves for this idea – Jihad.

Recruitment is not difficult in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and recruitment of Westerners is getting easier.

As a crime reporter in metro areas, I am well aware of how gang members are recruited. The most vulnerable are troubled young men with low self-esteem, a precarious home life and the absence of a male role model.

Young black Americans typically fit these criteria.

Here are some statistics:

According to an August 2013 study from the Pew Research Center, the incarceration rate for white men under all jurisdictions was 678 inmates per 100,000 white residents. For black men, that number was 4,347 per 100,000 black residents.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that black men were more than six times as likely to be incarcerated in 2010.

According to a Sept. 17, 2013 report from CNN Money, median household income in 2012 was $51,017 per year in 2012.

The report said Asian Americans had the highest household income with $68,600, whites earned $57,000, Hispanics earned $39,000 and blacks earned $33,300.

The Pew Research Center also states that the median wealth of white households was 20 times that of black households in 2009: the typical black household had $5,677 in wealth – assets minus debts – and the typical white household had $113,149.

What does this have to do with terrorist recruitment?

When an 18-year-old black man is gunned down in the street, and the black-vs.-white war begins on every news channel, newspaper and social media site before the investigation is over – members of the young, less privileged class will be susceptible to an attractive offer from a Jihadist.

They are susceptible because they have difficulty gleaning the American Dream through the tear gas outside their bedroom window and seeing their friends and neighbors handcuffed by police officers in military gear.

Right or wrong, perception is reality.

And if your only options by the age of 17 are a fast food job or a life of crime that could lead to jail or an early grave, what would you choose if another option comes your way?

So now that we know ISIS is recruiting Americans, what are we going to do about it?

Will that embolden us to be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all?”

Or will we continue to point fingers and focus on our differences? There is enough wealth in this nation for everyone.

But the solution isn’t redistribution. It’s creating a free-market economy where everyone is afforded the opportunity to experience the American Dream.

The vulture capitalism that has become the status quo and is jealously protected by the establishment is unconscionable.

Furthermore, the idea that our inherent values separate “us from them” is not a valid argument. Put anyone in a desperate situation, and they will do just about anything to survive. The unfortunate reality is that many people in America in the year 2014 really are that desperate.

It’s time to make a change.

Ponder that!


Jim Brock is managing editor of the Nebraska City News-Press.