White Trash Jihad: The Man behind Shariah4USA

A four-minute video posted on his Shariah4USA YouTube account is titled “Dedicated to Shaikh Usama bin Laden ‘Winds of Change.’” Earlier this month he linked on the Facebook page another YouTube video of American traitor Omar Hammami (aka Abu Monsoor Al-Amriki) plotting attacks against Ethiopian troops while fighting with the Somali al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Zentmyer has apparently enlisted his wife in his cause. They were married in February 2009. On her Facebook page, Fatima Zentmyer (nee Kristyn Torres) counts among her friends the notorious Revolution Muslim leader Sheikh Faisal, who was jailed and later deported from the UK in May 2007 for inciting hatred against Jews, Hindus, and Westerners and now resides in his native Jamaica where U.S. diplomats have expressed concern about his influence there. No doubt her defenders will claim that most American suburban housewives associate themselves with international Islamic hate clerics.

And speaking of suburban housewives, Fatima Zentmyer also includes as a Facebook friend “Jihad Kathie” Smith, the Indianapolis grandmother who was the subject of a Fox News investigative report last December that cited Homeland Security officials who said that she was under investigation for her terrorist ties. Smith’s German jihadist husband was linked to several members of German terrorist cells and, more recently, Arid Uka, who gunned down two American soldiers on a military bus at the Frankfurt airport earlier this year.

Friends and relatives of the Zentmyers I spoke with expressed concern about their increasingly radicalized behavior. A Homeland Security official I also spoke with said that the pair represents a new disturbing trend of homegrown radicalization.

We are seeing an increasing number of lower class, poorly educated Americans being attracted to the global jihadist movement, what some are calling “white trash jihadists.” They are actively targeted by Islamic organizations for conversion, and once they get them online they get plugged into an international network where they quickly get recruited. And we saw with the “Jihad Jane” [Colleen LaRose] and “Jihad Jamie” [Paulin-Ramirez] cases that women can be recruited too.

In [Zentmyer’s] case, he probably converted in prison for protection. A small built, young guy like him would definitely need it. And he gets exposed to a virulent form of Islamic ideology, which we call “prison house Islam,” that is tailored to easily transition someone from the “thug” lifestyle to being a jihadist.

When he gets out, as a convict and a not-too-particularly bright individual, he doesn’t have a lot of options. And so the promise of being part of a global movement giving them some kind of meaning and identity is very appealing. Like any cult group, they’re given the keywords, phrases and Quranic verses that assure them that they possess the secret knowledge that marks a true believer. And when one act of jihad can absolve you of all your past sins and send you straight to heaven if you’re a martyr, these Islamic groups make an attractive offer that is hard to refuse.

In fact, on the same day I spoke with this official it was announced that two American-born prison converts, including one of Zentmyer’s YouTube friends, had been arrested in Seattle for plotting a terror attack on a U.S. military facility. And the Homeland Security official expressed fears that Devin Zentmyer may be intent on following their path:

You only need to read his statements online and watch his video to see that in his mind he’s already justified violence in the name of Islam. He’s totally bought into the ideology. And he’s moving in the online networks where people have already engaged in terror attacks. And you have people like Awlaki authorizing “lone wolf” attacks against American civilians. I don’t think he’s going to be another Zach Chesser who tries to board a plane to fight jihad with a terrorist group overseas. When he does something, he’s going to be another Nidal Hasan or Faisal Shahzad doing something right here at home.

In the end it doesn’t matter if we believe that they can actually replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law, it only matters if they believe it’s possible and are willing to act on that belief. Zentmyer has past that point.