Four Marines fell in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015 at the Marine Corps Reserve Center. One had earned two Purple Hearts and their unit served in the battle of Fallujah. Yet on this Thursday they died on home soil.
Twenty-four-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez pulled the trigger. But it seems a murderous viral ideology loaded the gun and filled his mind.
On his Facebook page he recently posted the following:
"This life is that test designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire … we ask Allah to make us follow their path … to give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength to live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world."
While his post didn't pledge violence, it seems clear the seeds of murder had already been sown. It's not clear ISIS inspired him but his behavior fits their call for "lone wolf" attacks during the month of Ramadan against U.S. military and police.
But those calls for Western Muslims have been issued for many months. In Destination Jerusalem this reporter cited specific ISIS instructions issued last year:
"Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes." p. 152
We're now living in the time when as one expert said the worlds of international and domestic terrorism collide. So called "lone wolves" - who may not have direct contact with a foreign group like ISIS - nevertheless embrace their same mission and motive … and act.
FBI Director James Comey warned Congress just days ago when he explained how these calls by ISIS play on fertile minds: "This is not your grandfather's al-Qaeda. There's a device, almost a devil on their shoulder all day long saying, 'Kill, kill, kill, kill.'"
We're at war.
On July 16, the battlefield was Chattanooga. Who knows where the next battlefield will be on U.S. soil. But many are at war with our country and way of life. Many years ago, Osama bin Laden issued a declaration of war against the United States of America. That declaration spawned 9/11.
Now ISIS - the Islamic group that has usurped the lead role of al Qaeda in global jihad - is continuing that war. Just over one year ago on July 5, 2014, the leader of ISIS declared a caliphate. The significance of his declaration laid in the fact that al-Baghdadi and many Muslims see the world far differently than most Westerners. As Baghdadi proclaimed they divide the world in two:
"O Ummah (nation) of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy - the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the Jews." P. 62
He espoused one of the basic tenets of Islam - that dogma divides the world into two spheres: The House of War and the House of Peace. The House of Peace consists of those lands under the subjugation of Islam; the House of War makes up those lands yet to fall under the sway of Islam.
ISIS, al Qaeda and some other Muslims feel it is their duty to make sure that the House of War is subjugated to the House of Peace. Those lands include Israel, Europe, the United States … and Chattanooga.