WASHINGTON – “Lone Wolf terrorism is a concept designed to make Americans stupid. There is no such thing,” bluntly stated Marine Corps University professor Sebastian Gorka on Fox News, moments before President Obama addressed the nation about the Orlando terror attack that killed at least 50 people.
One of the nation’s top Middle East experts told WND there is a much more informative phrase to describe the kind of terrorist who committed the worst mass murder in U.S. history early Sunday morning at gay night club: “individual jihadist.”
WND asked Clare Lopez: Would you say there’s no such thing as a “lone wolf”?
“I wouldn’t say that,” because it would just confuse people who have come to know what the expression is intended to mean, she explained.
“I would just never use that term, ever. Ever, ever. I would rather say this is a case of individual jihad, because that’s an actual doctrine in Islam. I don’t want people to wonder what I’m talking about, so I would rather just explain what it really is. It is individual jihad – that is a doctrine in Islam.”
She observed that just because such terrorists are individuals doesn’t mean they are acting in a vacuum.
The attack happened during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which runs this year from June 6 to July 6, and, Lopez noted, there are Islamic leaders, including the spokesman for the Islamic State, who have “called upon all Muslims to attack Americans especially, and specifically to attack civilians. It’s written that way exactly, to attack civilians. And obviously because of homosexuality being a hudud (a capital crime in Islamic law) that target was chosen. And it was a soft target, too.”
So, those calls act as a trigger regardless of whether there’s any formal affiliation with organized terrorist groups?
“Yes. Maybe as the FBI investigates they’ll find some kind of more formal connection. We just don’t really know yet. We’re not denying that exists; we just don’t know. But what I’m saying is, it doesn’t have to be there.”
In fact, after WND interviewed Lopez, it was reported that shooter Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen of Afghan descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida, called 9-1-1 Saturday night and pledged allegiance to ISIS. That pledge was later confirmed by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said he got that information from the Department of Homeland Security.
Lopez is the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy and has an impressive array of credentials. In addition to spending two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer, Lopez was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. She also served as a foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
She further explained she objected to the term “lone wolf” because, while individual jihadists may not have a formal connection to a recognized terrorist organization, there is still an essential link: a common ideology.
“Their allegiance is to Islam and to Shariah, to Islamic law,” said Lopez. “And, of course, under Islamic law homosexuality is a capital crime. It is one of the crimes called illicit sex, addressed both in the Quran and in the hadiths. The death penalty typically is supposed to be stoning, but bullets will do.”
Lopez described something else that all individual jihadists have in common with such groups as al-Qaida and ISIS: a religious obligation. In fact, it is something that binds all Muslims, at least, in theory.
“Under Islamic law and doctrine, there is something called ‘enjoin the good, forbid the evil,’ and this derives, again, from the sunnah, which is an account of the life of Muhammad, and the hadiths,” said the scholar and former spy.
“What it means is that every single Muslim is individually responsible in a personal way for upholding Shariah. In other words, that doctrine makes of every single Muslim a potential, a possible, vigilante. They are obligated to enforce Shariah on an individual basis.”
She contrasted Muslim and Christian attitudes by observing, “Christians are obligated to live by the 10 Commandments, but each individual Christian isn’t obligated for enforcing them.”
“But in Islam, it’s the other way,” she emphasized. “Each Muslim is obligated to enforce it. They are supposed to start by speaking and trying to persuade somebody, or show them the evil of their ways, or whatever they can. But if that doesn’t work, then they are obligated to take physical action.”
In his comments on the atrocity, Obama did call it an act of terror, but he never once mentioned the words Islam, Islamic or Muslim.
WND asked if there was a danger in Obama not calling it “Islamic terrorism,” and his preference for putting the blame for terror on groups, rather than their common ideology.
“Yes,” Lopez stated simply. “The way the U.S. law works right now, if you cannot tie a person or an act to one of those groups on the foreign terrorist organization list that the State Department keeps, you cannot legally call it terrorism.
“And, of course, that’s absurd because there doesn’t have to be a formal connection. There may be one. We don’t know yet. But there doesn’t have to be one because their allegiance is not necessarily only to a group; it’s to Islam. To Islamic law, to Shariah. That’s the allegiance. And that spans the globe.”
Did she believe there will be an increasing number of these individual jihad attacks?
“Yes. Absolutely,” she said, especially during Ramadan.
Did she have any insight into how a first-generation American, born in this country, could become homicidally radicalized?
“I would never use those words, either. As I understand it, this individual is the son of immigrants from Afghanistan. If he was raised in a devout Muslim family, he learned from childhood what jihad is, and what the obligations of Shariah are.”
She said that would be especially true if he went to mosque with his parents, and if he was put in a children’s class called a madrasa.
“Most mosques and Islamic centers have schools attached to them for the children. I’ve read some of the children’s textbooks they use in these madrasas. They teach them jihad from the first grade.”
The Orlando shooter’s father, from Afghanistan, denied the mass murder had anything to do with religion and insisted his son was provoked when his son saw two men kissing. However, the Daily Mail reported that Seddique Mateen “is a strong supporter of the Afghan Taliban.”
He appears online in a YouTube video saying, “Our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up.”
WND began to ask Lopez, is this more mainstream than …
But Lopez answered emphatically before the question could be completed: “Absolutely.”
She then cited a Pew Research Center survey on the attitudes of Muslims around the world and observed how a disturbing percentage supported Shariah as the law of the land.
“These are the countries of origin for our Muslim immigrants. I mean, where do we think our Muslim refugees are immigrants are coming from? They come from the countries in the Pew Research survey where 80 percent more of the respondents support Shariah as one and only law of the land.”
Indeed, support for Shariah as the law of the land in Afghanistan, where the Orlando shooter’s parents came from, is a staggering 99 percent.
In Iraq, it’s 91 percent. In the Palestinian territories, 89 percent. It’s 84 percent in Pakistan. No figures were given for Syria, where the Islamic State is headquartered.
Lopez described how easily those attitudes are imported to America in the Internet age.
“In the United States, you’ve got Islamic jurists, scholars and imams who are answering questions online to American Muslims. I’m looking at one right now. Just go to the website called Islam Question and Answer.”
“There’s a sheik who is answering questions online and he is from Syria. And he is talking about homosexuality. What is the punishment for homosexuality? He says, ‘The crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest crimes, one of the worst of sins, one of the most abhorrent of deeds and Allah punished those who did it,’ etcetera, etcetera. Then he cited one of the hadiths because that’s where the basis of this punishment comes from.”
“So this is being taught to American Muslims.”
Lopez thought that Islamic immigrants themselves might be too busy becoming settled to become too involved in jihadsim. But the interest is growing among their American-born offspring.
“What we are seeing it is the first and second generation that are more active, and I think that’s the pattern were going to see going forward,” somberly concluded Lopez.
After the interview, it turned out Mateen may not have been an individual jihadist, at all.
Breitbart’s Aaron Klein, WND’s former Jerusalem bureau chief, reported that the killer was a member of a terrorist organization, “one of the groups that fall under the jihadiya Salafiya franchise, meaning the network of loosely-based Salafist jihadist groups such as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and the Al Nusra Front.”