Warning Signs in Orlando

There were numerous signs that Omar Mateen might turn jihadist. There is plenty of evidence he acted upon radical Islamist beliefs. But we’re told by President Obama and others to ignore all of it.

After a two-year-old boy was attacked and killed by an alligator, Disney World in Orlando finally put up alligator warning signs on its resort properties. When, one wonders, will our society put aside political correctness and talk frankly about the warning signs that might have prevented the jihad massacre in Orlando that took place two days before the alligator attack?

What were the signs that Omar Mateen would turn jihadist? He threatened to kill a sheriff’s deputy and his family, he stalked a colleague, made inflammatory remarks to other colleagues, and tried to buy body armor and bulk ammunition at a gun shop. And there were other significant signs. Mateen, whose Afghan immigrant father is a supporter of the Taliban, spoke of becoming a martyr, and he recently made a pilgrimage to Mecca. He occasionally attended an Orlando mosque where an imam had recently condoned the death penalty for homosexuals. And at his hometown mosque, he associated with a young man who went off to Syria and killed dozens of people by driving a truck bomb into a restaurant.

Several of these warning signs, you will notice, are religious in nature. But these are exactly the kind of signs FBI and other law enforcement officers are instructed not to notice. One sign of radicalization is increased religiosity, and this appears to have been the case with Omar Mateen. According to a friend, Mateen became steadily more religious after his divorce. His imam mentioned that he had prayed for several hours in the mosque just two days prior to the attack. In retrospect, it makes sense. If you were about to commit a supreme act of jihad “martyrdom,” wouldn’t you want to spend some time communing with your God beforehand?

Yet these are the signs that law enforcers are trained to ignore. As Robert Spencer puts it, “the single factor that unifies virtually all jihad terrorists—devout observance in Islam—is the one most commonly discounted and dismissed by mainstream analysts.” That’s because on October 19, 2011, dozens of Muslim leaders signed a letter to John Brennan (at that time the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security) complaining that government agencies were using “biased, false, and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” In response, the Obama administration conducted a purge of training materials for all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Moreover, it implemented a mandatory re-training program in all agencies so as to ensure, in Spencer’s words, “that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.” In reply to the request, Brennan agreed to cull “all training material that contain cultural or religious content including information related to Islam or Muslims.” Thus, the FBI was officially blind to the religious dimension of Mateen’s behavior.

This official blindness has infected the whole society, with the result that each new terrorist attack comes as a surprise, and authorities are typically at a loss to explain the terrorist’s motives. For example, twelve hours after Omar Mateen pledged his loyalty to the Islamic State, President Obama stated that “we’ve reached no definite judgement on the precise motivations.”

That’s no surprise, seeing that this is more or less what the President says after each new terror attack. The New York Post recently ran a short video montage of Obama’s statements following eight different mass shootings revealing that his explanation in each case was of the “none-of-us-can-ever-fully-know-what-leads-a-man-to-do-such-a-thing” variety. That has also become the standard line for the politically correct press. At the end of a long New York Times piece about Omar Mateen, the authors conclude:

Finally, it seems rage consumed the man. Over what—infidels, gays, society’s failure to grant him proper deference—all of it remains unclear.

And always will remain unclear as long as The New York Times keeps to its nothing-to-do-with-Islam narrative.

Well, to be more accurate, if and when The New York Times comes up with an explanation for Orlando, it will be one that is light on Islam and heavy on other factors. In fact, President Obama has been busy constructing just such a narrative. In his talk in Orlando and in other remarks on the subject, there are certain themes that stand out. First, he exonerates the teachings of Islam. The shooter, he said, was a disturbed person who was “inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet” which are “perversions of Islam.”

Having let Islam off the hook, he then moves on to other causative factors which, apparently, he finds more interesting—divisiveness, guns, and our society’s attitude toward gays. The divisiveness seems to be caused by those who won’t go along with Obama’s gun control agenda—people “who should meet these families and explain why that [the easy accessibility of assault weapons] makes sense.” These families, said Obama, “don’t care about politics. Neither do I. Neither does Joe [Vice President Joe Biden].” Yet most of his remarks were about politically charged issues such as gun control and gay rights. As for the latter, “We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the LGBT community—here at home and around the world…we have to challenge the oppression of women, wherever it occurs—here or overseas.” 

The more you read of Obama’s remarks, the more it seems that “we” are the problem because we continue to cling to our guns, because of our oppression of women, and because of our hateful attitude toward the LGBT community.

So an assault by a Muslim true believer in the name of Allah becomes the occasion for a lecture on guns and gays. If Obama is to be believed, the way to stop terrorism is to give up our guns and stop being hateful.

What we have here is a classic case of misdirection. President Obama directs our attention away from the obvious problem and focuses it on secondary issues. The media, of course, has followed suit. CNN’S Anderson Cooper, for example, recently berated the Florida Attorney General for not supporting same-sex marriage—as though her policy position somehow led straight to the Pulse club massacre. After repeated exposure to this kind of message, many of us will nod our heads in agreement and forget that it’s all about Islam.

Just as the administration purged the FBI training materials of accurate information about jihad, it now seeks to purge the rest of us of knowledge critical to our survival. Although each new terrorist attack promises to—finally—wake up Americans, our politically correct President with much assist from the PC media always manages to put them back to sleep.

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About William Kilpatrick 81 Articles
William Kilpatrick is the author of several books on religion and culture including Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press) and What Catholics Need to Know About Islam (Sophia Institute Press). For more on his work and writings, visit his Turning Point Project website.