Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who murdered four Marines in a jihad terror attack in Chattanooga Thursday morning, attended Red Bank High School in the Chattanooga area. In his senior yearbook, he accompanied his photo with this self-pitying note:
“My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?” — Hijabman.
Any national security alert over Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez’s name would have been abundantly justified. In any case, he provides an intriguing case study in how little distinction there really is in the U.S. Muslim community between “moderates” and “extremists.”
Up until Thursday, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez would have been considered by almost everyone to be firmly within the “moderate” camp — although “a source within the pentagon confirmed to IJReview that Abdulazeez’s name was on a watch list and he had been flagged by the intelligence community for potential terror activity.” He may have attracted the attention of the intelligence community, but not of his friends: his high school pal Cagen Wagner remembered him as “a quiet kid, well liked,” hailing from an “average Chattanooga family.”
That “average Chattanooga family” was keenly sensitive to “Islamophobia.” Back in 2010, the future jihad murderer’s sister Yasmeen claimed she had faced discrimination and harassment at Red Bank High School because she wore a hijab. She said of her putative persecutors:
I’m not afraid to go straight toward them and ask them, “Do you really know what Islam is?” There’s this misconception that Islam is a violent religion. Muslims are actually peaceful.
Was it all this “Islamophobia” that “radicalized” her brother and led him to become yet another illustration of the falsity of her claims about Islam and all too many Muslims? Or did the sense of grievance and victimhood that the “Islamophobia” canard fuels ultimately lead Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez to decide that violent jihad was the best way to get redress?
However he arrived at the conclusion that killing for Islam was the best way to defend his peaceful religion, he had abundant justification for killing Marines in the Islamic State’s call to kill Western military personnel.
In September 2014, Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani published a lengthy piece entitled “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” consisting largely of a call for Muslims to mount jihad attacks in Western countries. Al-Adnani wrote:
You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit [rebels against Allah].
Thursday’s attack was on multiple military facilities — a clear attempt to target soldiers and troops of the “tawaghit.” Al-Adnani added:
Strike their police, security and intelligence members. … Knocking off a police, military or any other law-enforcement officer sends a chilling message to the so-called ‘civilians’ and fills their hearts with consternation.
Like young Abdulazeez, al-Adnani’s exhortation is full of self-pity and of the idea that Muslims are aggrieved victims:
O Americans, and O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.
He followed this with a dark warning:
You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill. You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land. Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards. You will pay the price, and we have prepared for you what will pain you.
Al-Adnani also declared:
Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war [the civilian by belonging to a state waging war against the Muslims]. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn. The civilian outfit does not make blood illegal to spill, and the military uniform does not make blood legal to spill.
In either case, the bloodletting was justified because of the infidels’ supposed atrocities against Muslims. Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez would have counted among those atrocities the claim that his name triggered national security alerts, which could only have been true in response to the actions of other Muslims with similar names. They no doubt considered themselves to be committing acts of violence that were justifiable because of other infidel atrocities against Muslims.
The false claim that Muslims in the U.S. are discriminated against and harassed in the U.S. by an overreaching and bigoted national security apparatus is thus shown, in the blood and terror in Chattanooga, to be not only false, but dangerous.
If Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez’s name had really triggered any genuine national security alerts that could have led to his being prevented from shooting those Marines Thursday, that would have been all to the good. Instead, his sense of wounded grievance, fueled by cynical Muslim Brotherhood advocacy groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), ultimately boiled over into outright violence, and four Marines are dead.
If the “Islamophobia” grievance industry hadn’t been egging on young Muslims like Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez to see themselves not as full citizens of a nation that granted them far more freedoms than their native lands (or those of their parents), but as a persecuted, hounded, powerless minority, the victim of “racism” and “bigotry,” those four Marines, and Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez himself, might be alive today.
The Islamic jihad gains recruits worldwide — most notably among Palestinians — by retailing lurid accounts of infidel atrocities, usually exaggerated or fabricated outright. American Muslim advocacy groups, with their trumped-up hysteria over “Islamophobia,” are encouraging young Muslims in the U.S. to go down the same road. Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez is unlikely to be the last Muslim in America to do so.