A recent report issued by the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center aims to instruct federal and local law enforcement officers how to spot Islamic State operatives who have otherwise blended into society and become difficult to detect.
In the report are nine arrests since 2014 of Northern Virginia residents charged with aiding ISIS through distributing propaganda, communications, traveling to Syria, and preparing for jihad, as The Washington Times report.
As is noted, Minnesota is the typical focal point as the terrorist hotbed in the United States. Many Somalis living there have been arrested by the FBI for making travel plans to join ISIS in Syria. However, it’s the ISIS sympathizers living near Washington D.C., as it turns out, who are prone to carrying out attacks on American soil.
The intelligence report revealed that the threat is among us and will be barely noticeable because of how “normal” they will appear:
Of the nine Northern Virginians who were arrested, all but one were in their teens and early 20s. They included a police officer, a Starbucks barista, Army soldiers, bankers and a cabdriver. Four of the nine graduated from Northern Virginia high schools, one with honors. Two attended Northern Virginia Community College.
In other words, all of them appeared to have opportunities via public education to become successful Americans but instead were charged with what amounted to a devotion to violent jihad.
Couple this with the fact that law enforcement has to walk on eggshells to avoid accusations of racial profiling and one can see the scope of the problem. Northern Virginia resident Robert Maginnis is a retired Army officer and researcher who has noted this particular difficulty:
“Local police are in a particularly difficult situation. They face a severe challenge by Islamists operating in the shadows of our open society. These mostly young male Muslims become radicalized either by Islamist imams at some of the thousands of mosques across America, at school, or over the ever-present internet sites that spew anti-West, anti-Christian hatred.”
“Given our open society, detached parents and politically correct schools, local police in Northern Virginia understandably hesitate to rigorously pursue young Islamist wannabes," Maginnis added.
And that’s exactly how Islamic radicals want us to be: unsuspecting, sitting ducks.
The Times listed the profiles from the report of all nine who were arrested and they are reprinted below:
• Ali Shukir Amin. He pleaded guilty to providing support to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and was sentenced to 136 months in prison. An honors student at Osbourn Park High School, Amin wrote a pro-Islamic State blog, had a Twitter account with 7,000 tweets and instructed people on how to use bitcoin to hide money transfers and on how to travel to Syria.
• Reza Niknejad. Also an Osbourn Park student who was attending Northern Virginia Community College, Niknejad, aided by Amin, traveled to Syria in 2015. He was charged in absentia.
• Heather Coffman. She pleaded guilty to making a false statement concerning involvement in international terrorism and was sentenced to 54 months in prison. She joined the Army but was discharged after four months, and later worked as a sales clerk. She operated multiple Facebook accounts to promote the Islamic State and shared terrorism contacts with possible recruits.
• Joseph Hassan Farrokh. He pleaded guilty this year to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State and received 102 months in prison. He provided $600 to a friend to travel to Syria and attempted to be a foreign fighter.
• Mahmound Amin Mohamed Elhassan. He pleaded guilty in October to aiding Farrokh and lying about his involvement in international terrorism. He spoke openly of supporting the Islamic State and its violence. He had attended Northern Virginia Community College and worked for Starbucks.
• Mohamad Jamal Khweis. He was arrested in Turkey on charges of conspiring to help the Islamic State. His trial begins in April. He graduated from Edison High School and worked for two banks and Highgate Hotels. He traveled to Syria in 2015 to become a foreign fighter before having second thoughts and escaping.
• Mohammad Bilor Jalloh. He pleaded guilty in October to trying to help the Islamic State. He had served as a combat engineer in the Virginia National Guard and worked for consulting firms. He met with Islamic State members in Africa and tried to buy firearms to carry out a Fort Hood-style massacre.
• Haris Qatar. He also pleaded guilty to charges of helping the Islamic State. He attended Northern Virginia Community College and worked for Wells Fargo. He created 60 Twitter handles for Islamic State propaganda and stalked residences in Northern Virginia that were on the group’s “kill lists.” He was preparing to make a video encouraging people to carry out “lone wolf” attacks around Washington.
• Nicholas Young. The oldest of the nine at 36, he has been charged with helping the Islamic State but has not faced trial. He graduated from West Potomac High School and worked as a Metro police officer. He is accused of stockpiling weapons at his home. According to authorities, he traveled to Libya and gave advice to Islamic State followers on how to avoid law enforcement monitoring.