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What Is It About Converts to Islam?

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What is it about converts to Islam? Why do so many of them get the idea that their new religion commands them to commit treason and mass murder?

On March 21, I published an article in PJ Media entitled “Meet Five Lethal American Converts to Islam.” But that was nearly a month ago; there has been plenty of time since then for converts to Islam in the United States and elsewhere to demonstrate anew that one of the gravest omissions on the part of counterterror analysts and law enforcement officials is their total lack of interest in the phenomenon of conversion to Islam and how it relates to “radicalization.”

The day after that article appeared, a convert to Islam in London named Khalid Masood drove a car into a crowd on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing four people and injuring more than fifty. Then Masood got out of the car and stabbed a policeman to death. The Islamic State (ISUS) claimed responsibility for the attack, although British police discounted that, apparently because Masood wasn’t carrying an ISIS membership card.
British authorities ignored, of course, the fact that the Islamic State has called upon Muslims in the West to attack non-Muslim civilians, specifically mentioning vehicular jihad attacks: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.” One need not have contact with ISIS members to believe that the Islamic State is the caliphate and that its calls must be obeyed.

A few days later another soldier of the caliphate, like Masood a convert to Islam, appeared in court in Detroit. According to the Detroit News, “a Detroit man accused of plotting jihad on behalf of the Islamic State accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors Thursday and could spend up to five years in prison. Sebastian Gregerson admitted he acquired a fragmentation grenade last summer from an undercover FBI employee, a crime because the grenade was an unregistered destructive device.” Gregerson calls himself Abdurrahman Bin Mikaayl.

The following week, yet another convert to Islam was in court in Germany. The Associated Press reported that four jihadis were given “lengthy prison sentences,” including a convert identified only as Marco G. The zealous Marco was found guilty “of attempted murder for placing an explosive device at the main train station in the western city of Bonn in December 2012.”

Several days the same scenario played out in Philadelphia. According to AFP, a “New Jersey teen pleaded guilty…to a plot allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group to kill Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to the United States. The US Justice Department said Santos Colon, 15 years old at the time, sought to recruit a sniper to shoot the pope as he celebrated mass in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015. Colon also allegedly planned to set off explosives.”

The week after that, it was Chicago. AP reported that “two suburban Chicago men who posed for photos holding a black Islamic State flag at a Lake Michigan beach park were arrested Wednesday on federal terrorism charges, and an undercover agent said one of the men suggested homosexuals should be thrown off the city’s tallest building.”

The converts, Joseph D. Jones and Edward Schimenti, worked to aid the Islamic State. Schimenti boasted of the day when Sharia ruled in the U.S., and “We are putting you (homosexuals) on top of Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) and we drop you.” AP noted that “Schimenti’s Google Plus profile shows a masked man holding a knife and standing alongside an IS flag. A caption reads in capital letters that if you can’t travel abroad to fight, ‘then slaughter the pagans next to you.’ Another posting reads: ‘Islamic State will control your country, matter of fact, Islam will dominate the world!!’”

As I noted in PJ Media last month, if large numbers of converts to Christianity got the idea that their new religion commanded them to kill in its name, there would be CNN studies and New York Times exposes in abundance; but the ongoing phenomenon of U.S. converts turning to jihad and betraying their own country has aroused no official curiosity at all. The ideological underpinnings of the global jihad remain a matter of indifference to all too many who have the responsibility of protecting Americans from that jihad. Unless and until that changes, the list of lethal converts to Islam is just going to keep growing. And so will the pile of dead bodies.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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