Muhammad Masood is a former research coordinator at the Mayo Clinic, and so he could have been spending his time trying to find a cure for coronavirus. Instead, however, he decided to direct his attention to matters that he thought would be more pleasing to Allah. He wrote: “i want to kill and get killed … and kill and get killed,” and now he has been arrested on a terrorism-related charge.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Masood “made several statements to paid informants — whom he believed were members of the Islamic State group — pledging his allegiance to the group and its leader. He also allegedly expressed his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS and a desire to carry out lone wolf attacks in the U.S.”
Masood at one point sent a message to one of these informants demonstrating his mastery of the spelling favored on messaging apps today and saying: “there is so much I wanted to do here .. .lon wulf stuff you know … but I realized I should be on the ground helping brothers sisters kids.”
In line with that determination, he “bought a plane ticket on Feb. 21 to travel from Chicago to Amman, Jordan, and then planned to go to Syria from there. He had planned to leave at the end of March. But on March 16, he had to change his travel plans because Jordan closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Masood and one of the informants then developed a plan for him to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet with that informant, whom Masood believed would help him travel in a cargo ship into Islamic State territory.”
Masood said that once he reached a jihadi hotspot in Syria, Iraq, or the Afghan border, he wanted to “fight on the frontline as well as help the wounded brothers.” He didn’t want to stay in the United States, he wrote, because he “hates smiling at the passing kuffar [non-Muslims] just to not make them suspicios.” His greatest desire, he said, was to spill blood: “i want to kill and get killed … and kill and get killed.”
That is, of course, just the opposite of what a doctor should be trying to do. It’s also a direct rebuke to the common assumption that people turn to terrorism because they are poor and ill-educated. Physicians are generally affluent and well-educated, so if the mainstream assumptions are correct, the idea of a doctor becoming a terrorist would be nothing less than inconceivable.
Mainstream foreign policy analysts all over Washington, as well as in Ottawa and the capitals of Europe, know – or think they know – that poverty causes terrorism. In reality, however, this idea, and the accompanying assumption that showering Muslim countries with money will end it, has been shown to be false again and again — although it is still a core assumption of U.S. foreign policy, at least among what President Trump has just indelibly dubbed the “Deep State Department.”
The New York Times reported in March 2016 that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”
CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”
Meanwhile, Masood was in the United States on a work visa. When he applied for that visa, did anyone make any attempt whatsoever to determine his sentiments regarding jihad against unbelievers? Did they make any effort to discover how devout he was in his observance of Islam? Of course they didn’t; such inquiries would have landed the inquirer in hot water as “Islamophobic,” despite the close correlation between devoutness in Islam and terror activity: not all devout Muslims are terrorists or terror sympathizers, but all Islamic terrorists and Islamic terror sympathizers are devout Muslims.
Nonetheless, such questions are not allowed to be asked. We can only be grateful that Masood didn’t decide to go jihad at the Mayo Clinic while he worked there. But since the false assumptions and untruths that gave rise to his being there in the first place aren’t even close to being corrected, a jihad attack at such a place is going to happen sooner or later. Anyone who sounds the alarm about such an eventuality will be dismissed as a cranky “Islamophobe.” What could possibly go wrong?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.