Some neighborhoods grow flowers. Others grow gardens. And still othersÂ tend toÂ a virulent crop: homegrown jihadists. Take John Allen Muhammad for instance. Muhammad is the notorious DC sniper who mowed down at least 10 people in his path. He terrorized the greater part of DC, even turning his .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle (the civilian version of the military M-16) on schoolyard children. But what do we really know about Muhammad?
The story may give you dÃ©jÃ vu. Muhammad served in the Louisiana Army National Guard in 1978 and seven years later volunteered for active service in the US army working as a mechanic, truck driver and specialist metalworker. Just two years into his army service, Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam in 1987. Â Mohammad soon qualified with the Army’s standard infantry weapon, the M16, earning the Expert Rifleman’s Badge. Guess what? The Army reserves this rating as the highest of three levels of marksmanship for a basic soldier.
At the time of Muhammad’s shooting spree, he was isolated from his family, considered a ‘loner’ and had adopted increasingly more militant religious beliefs.
Sound familiar? Hasan anyone? As we fight the war on terror, we have an obligation to control the threat from within. We can no longer stay silent while we actively train Islamic Americans to use our own training against us. The most notable example of this is the Saudi terrorists who took up pilot training in the US before turning themselves and our planes into human bombs.
Like the 911 terrorists, thereÂ is plenty of evidence linking Muhammad and Hasan toÂ jihad. Drawings by Muhammad admitted that the killings were jihadist. Likewise, Hasan emailed Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric who had ties to the 9/11 terrorists. So how can we prevent homegrown jihadists in our midst? A buddy system that allows anonymous reporting to the highest levels? Detainment of anyone remotely suspected of Jihadist underpinnings? A fail-proof system that results in an automatic court martial for military personnel who fail to detain suspected jihadists? It’s high time we all weigh in.