Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Meet Five Lethal American Converts to Islam

John Georgelas, the Texas-born son of a U.S. Air Force doctor and grandson of a World War II veteran, now calls himself Yahya Abu Hassan. He has reportedly just become one of the top leaders of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Georgelas is not by any means the only convert to Islam to have gotten the idea that his new religion, though touted as peaceful by almost all American authorities, actually commands him to commit treason and mass murder. Those authorities remain resolutely uncurious as to why so many converts to Islam seem to ignore the peaceful teachings of the Qur’an that are so patently obvious to learned imams such as Pope Francis, John Kerry, and George W. Bush.

Those peaceful teachings also elude Joshua Cummings, another convert to Islam. On January 30, he murdered Denver Regional Transportation District security guard Scott Von Lanken. Cummings explained:

I give my bay’ah (pledge) to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and I am committed to being a soldier for the Islamic State. … [However,] on the night in question, what I did do, I didn’t do that for the Islamic State. I did that purely and solely for the pleasure of Allah.

He didn’t explain where he got the idea that Allah would be pleased by the murder of a Denver security guard. Perhaps he was inspired by the Qur’an’s exhortations regarding unbelievers: “[K]ill them wherever you find them” (2:191, 4:89, and 9:5).

Not long after that, a convert to Islam in Kansas City named Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. (who called himself Ali Talib Muhammad and Rami Talib) planned a jihad massacre on President’s Day involving coordinated attacks on buses, trains, and a train station. He told contacts he thought were accomplices but who were actually FBI informants that President’s Day was “going to be a good day for Muslims worldwide” and that it was “good to help strike back at the true terrorist.” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson said of Ali Talib Muhammad:

[He] believed he was part of an ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack that would result in the deaths and injuries of many innocent victims.

While the plot was foiled, the questions remained: where did this convert learn about Islam? From whom? How many other American converts were taught by the same people? Where are they now? Generally media reports about jihad plotters tell us that they were “radicalized on the Internet.” These reports never explain why the supposedly peaceful Islam that these Muslims presumably learned at the local mosque was unable to withstand the appeal of the allegedly twisted and hijacked online version.

The same questions could be asked about 27-year-old Garrett Grimsley of Cary, North Carolina, who several weeks ago was charged with threatening non-Muslims. In February, Grimsley posted a warning online: “Don’t go to Cary tomorrow.”