For years, our political leaders have learned all the wrong lessons from Israel. They spent two decades trying to localize the jihad and diminish its significance to that of a conventional land dispute between “Israelis and Palestinians.” All the while forgetting Israel was confronted with a global Jihadist threat and that they were the harbinger of what was going to come to the West. Yet, rather than tightening immigration, Europe and the United States opened the doors to the Islamic world and are now facing the same enemy Israel has faced for years, albeit without their robust security apparatus. Now, with the news of the Ohio State attack fresh in our minds, we can appreciate that much like in Israel, bombings, stabbings, and vehicular attacks have become a regular occurrence.
If we don’t get serious about prioritizing our security needs through immigration policy, yesterday’s attack in Ohio State could be just the beginning of things to come. In fact, it is a reflection of a new norm that has already come to our shores. From Chattanooga and Fort Hood to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’ve witnessed jihad through mass shootings. From University of California Merced and the first Columbus, Ohio stabbing last year, to the Minneapolis mall stabbing and yesterday’s stabbing and vehicular attack at Ohio State, we are witnessing jihad by other means. The common thread is not the weapon of choice, but the jihadist motivation perpetrated on America by individual Muslim immigrants or children born to immigrant parents that have been admitted over the past two generations to this country.
Nowhere do our suicidal immigration policies exemplify this problem more than with Somali immigration over the past two decades. We’ve brought in over 130,000 Somali refugees ever since Somalia collapsed into a failed state in the early ‘90s. To my knowledge, we have never taken in a consistent and significant flow of refugees from any other country for this many consecutive years. While everyone is focusing on Syrian refugees, we have brought in at least as many Somali refugees this year, even though the conflict there has been raging for over a generation.
What have we gotten for our hospitality?
At least 40 young Somalis have been investigated for terrorism in the Minneapolis area since 2008 and some of them were convicted earlier this month. But the problem runs much deeper than a few dozen individuals. What sort of climate of neighbors, friends, family, and religious community leaders cultivates the mentality that leads to involvement in terrorism?
Last year, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lugar warned that there is “a terror-recruiting problem in Minnesota” among the Somali youth and that it does not stem from overseas but “may be their best friend right here in town.” Similarly, a federal judge warned earlier this month, “This community needs to understand there is a jihadist cell in this community. Its tentacles spread out.”
Last year, Ami Horowitz (no relation), a filmmaker who produces documentaries, recorded “man on the street” segments with Somali immigrants in Minneapolis’s Cedar Riverside community. His findings were quite disconcerting to say the least. Almost all of the dozen or so people he interviewed said they preferred Sharia law over the Constitution and felt it should be a crime to insult Muhammad. This random sampling, while more pronounced in the Minneapolis Somali community, jives with other findings that show these sentiments to be widespread among American Muslims. A poll commissioned by the Center for Security Policy last year found that 51 percent of Muslims living in America believe “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to sharia.” Twenty-nine percent agree that violence against those who insult Mohammad is acceptable and 25 percent agree that violence against America can be justified as part of Global Jihad. Among males under the age of 45 that number rises to 36 percent.
Thus, the threat of homegrown terrorism is born out of the threat of homegrown subversion and a culture that is fundamentally incompatible with our values. This is why the entire debate over “vetting” refugees is a non-sequitur. Authorities will rarely discover official ties to known terror groups when investigating families with young children apply for refugee status from a Middle Eastern country. But a large number of these families subscribe to Sharia law and raise their children accordingly. In other words, they are not people “who are attached to our Country by its natural and political advantages,” a quality James Madison felt should be a litmus test for immigration.
What experience in America and Europe has shown over the past few years is that the children of immigrants are the ones who are most likely to be drawn into jihad. Yet, there is no way to vet people like Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Ohio State jihadist, who came to America as a teenager. The Chattanooga shooter was just two years old when he came from Kuwait, the Elizabeth New Jersey bomber was a young boy when he came with his asylum-seeking family from Afghanistan, and the Orlando and San Bernardino terrorists were born after their families immigrated here.
Perforce, there is no way to vet a mentality born out of a religious worldview that rejects our values. Europe’s experience stands as a testament to the suicidal path we are following with regards to immigration, particularly from countries like Somalia.
As with any form of immigration, there will always be decent and productive people from any country. Somalia is no different. But it is downright reckless for our political leaders to continue risking our security when we are having such widespread difficulty with many of the Somali immigrants already in America. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a Somali immigrant, wrote last year, “I have no objection to other people coming to America to seek a better life for themselves and their families. My concern is with the attitudes many of these new Muslim Americans will bring with them – and with our capacity for changing those attitudes.”
This is Trump’s first big test. Instead of focusing on flag burning or other sensational headlines, he needs to return to his campaign promises to end these suicidal immigration policies. The Ohio State jihadist demonstrates the veracity of his campaign rhetoric on refugee resettlement. Why is Trump not being more vocal about it?
Furthermore, this will be Rep. Tom Price’s, R-Ga. (D, 62%) other major test, aside from overseeing the repeal of Obamacare. Many people forget that the head of HHS oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement. He must immediately rein in the private resettlement contractors and enforce the letter and spirit of the statutes which require advanced consultation with states and to ensure that local communities are not fundamentally transformed and burdened by resettlement, as required by law. He should work with governors, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbot who are drawing the right conclusions from recent terror attacks committed by refugees:
This is why I removed Texas from the Refugee Relocation Process. I will not be an accomplice to importing terrorists. Refugee reform needed https://t.co/6ZadOgR6KE
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 29, 2016
As I noted last week, Trump can shut off immigration from dangerous countries at will on the first day of his presidency without an act of Congress. Concurrently, it would be advisable for Republicans in Congress to back up his executive order with permanent legislation to prioritize the safety of the American people over the cult of multiculturalism.
Over two decades after Black Hawk Down, the mistakes of our Somalia intervention are plaguing us more acutely than ever and have now become an enemy within. It’s time to stop the madness.
 “James Madison Letter to Morris Birkbeck,” in 1813, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison: 1794–1815, vol. 2 (New York: Worthington, 1884), 576, emphasis added.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.