We cannot screen for a mentality

· November 18, 2015  
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Somali terrorist trial in Minnesota. Jim Mone | AP Photo

Thank God the citizens of this country rose up to demand their tone-deaf political elites shut down the suicidal Islamic refugee program.

A conservative House member told me yesterday that he received more calls in opposition to the Islamic refugees than his previous record-setting switchboard meltdown—the pleas to vote against John Boehner.  It appears that GOP leadership is getting the message they must at least pretend to care about the issue.  The problem, as we noted yesterday, is that they are merely pretending instead of attacking the matter at its core.

Misunderstanding the broader threat posed by Islamic immigration, many GOP leaders are focusing exclusively on Syria and ISIS, suggesting mere improvements in vetting to screen out ISIS infiltrators.  What they fail to see is that while the potential for ISIS infiltrators is certainly an immediate concern, the more foundational and existential threat is from the larger number of immigrants who agree with ISIS or adhere to strict Sharia Law. We have already admitted hundreds of thousands of immigrants form the Middle East who have clustered together and cultivated the climate of homegrown radicalism.

One could argue that Somali refugees present an even greater threat to our security and cultural stability than the Syrian refugees.  While it is less likely that ISIS will infiltrate the Somali refugees based on geographical proximity, we have seen more radicalism from the Somali community than most other Muslim demographics.  Over 40 known American-Somalis from the Minneapolis area have joined ISIS or other terror groups since 2008.  This is something that cannot be vetted.  How many of the impending Somali refugees will agree with ISIS?  How many hate Jews? How many will exacerbate a subculture that is vulnerable to radicalization, like what we’ve seen in Europe and what’s already taken root in places like Minneapolis and Brooklyn, NY?

This is why any effort to bar or defund resettlement of Syrian Muslims must include Somalia and other volatile regions as well.

Since 1993, we’ve admitted roughly 115,000 Somali immigrants, mostly through the refugee program, at an average clip of 10,000 a year.  Almost 100% of them are Muslim.  Obama plans to bring in 15,000 more refugees from East Africa for FY 2016.  In light of all the problems we’ve had from that region—not just the lack of vetting capabilities, but the lack of assimilation—how can Republicans let this slide?

Nobody expressed the problem with the Somali community better than Minnesota’s US attorney Andrew Luger:

“To be clear: We have a terror-recruiting problem in Minnesota. And this case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here.  Parents and loved ones should know that there is not one master recruiter organizing in the Somali community locally. What this case shows is that the person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend, may not be a stranger. It may be their best friend right here in town.”

Minnesota is home to at least 30,000 Somalis.  Many have been here long enough to become U.S. citizens.  Watch this man-on-the-street video of the Somali community in Minneapolis and, when coupled with the observation of Andrew Lugar, you will see why this “vetting” narrative is a daunting oversimplification.

You cannot vet for this mentality.  When most of these Somalis or other Islamic immigrants who went on to fight for ISIS or plot homegrown terror attacks were initially admitted into the country, it was unlikely they had any ties to an official terror group.  Many of them came over as young children; some were even born here.  But as we’ve seen in Europe, the clustering of Islamic communities in western countries, coupled with the successful pan-Islamic cyber jihad over the past decade, will radicalize these individuals once they are already admitted to the host country. The Chattanooga shooter, a homegrown Muslim freelance jihadi who killed five U.S. service-members, is a chilling example of why “vetting” is a red herring.

This is not just about Paris; this is about the record number of small-scale individual jihad attacks we’ve incurred on our soil this year alone.  This is not just about Syria and ISIS but Somalia, al-Shabab and other regions infected with Islamic supremacism and jihad. Paul Ryan is wrong to suggest that the problem is only with Syria and that the concern is limited to ISIS infiltration.  The concern is the survival of western civilization.

As Sens. Sessions and Cruz noted in a press release, “[I]n just the last year, refugees and other migrants admitted to the U.S. from Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ghana, Kuwait and Bangladesh have been implicated in terrorist activity.” By admitting Sharia-adherent immigrants from any part of the world, we are growing the potential pool of ISIS ground troops to implement their attacks or freelance jihad in the future.

Our political class will either learn the lesson of Europe now, before it is too late, or we will all suffer the consequences after the problem is largely irremediable.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.