Homeland Security

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.”

He explained to a friend:

For too long the kuffar [non-Muslims] have spit in our faces and trampled our rights. This cannot continue. I cannot speak of anything. Say your dua [prayers], sleep, and watch the news tomorrow. It will only be the beginning …

These were not empty words. According to WTVD:

[A] search of Grimsley’s apartment by the FBI, SBI, and the Cary Police Department revealed an AK-47 assault rifle, four 30-round magazines, and approximately 340 rounds of 7.62 millimeter ammunition.

Clearly Grimsley meant business, as did Emanuel Lutchman, another convert to Islam who plotted to attack patrons at Merchants Grill in Rochester, New York, with a machete. When he was recently sentenced to twenty years in prison, he screamed out in court:

There’s going to be more of us … You think because I’m going to be incarcerated there aren’t going to be more of us that rise up?

Lutchman had previously made a video in which he said:

The blood that you spill of the Muslim overseas, we gonna spill the blood of the kuffar.

There are so many other lethal converts to Islam, some of them quite high-profile: John Walker Lindh, the “Marin County Mujahid,” was discovered fighting alongside the Taliban and al-Qaeda against American troops in Afghanistan; and Adam Gadahn, the self-described “revolting geek of mass proportions,” rose high in the ranks of al-Qaeda until he was liquidated in a U.S. drone strike.

If large numbers of converts to Christianity got the idea that their new religion commanded them to kill in its name, CNN specials and New York Times exposes would dominate the culture. Yet this ongoing phenomenon of U.S. converts turning to jihad and betraying their own country has aroused no curiosity at all in the media, and far too little within the government.

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.