News & Politics

The Jihad Terrorist in New York City You Heard Nothing About

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

While the New York Police Department zealously guards Mayor de Blasio’s infamous “Black Lives Matter” street graffiti in front of Trump Tower, other, more serious endeavors continue that, if the city had a rational mayor, might actually have a better claim on the NYPD’s time and resources. Those include Islamic jihad terrorism.

Last Tuesday, a New York-based convert to Islam with the emphatically Christian name of Jesus Encarnacion got 15 years in prison for attempting to aid a jihad terror group.

The Justice Department’s account of his activities makes for hair-raising reading, and reminds us yet again that Bill de Blasio, like other Leftist mayors and governors, is chasing phantom problems (Russiagate, the USPS “scandal,” and many, many more) while there are real and pressing troubles that warrant his attention.

Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, heedless of the fact that many, if not most, Americans, at least those on the Left, take jihad terrorism to be yesterday’s news and no longer a threat to the United States (if it ever was), was a fearless keyboard warrior who called himself “Jihadistsoldgier,” “Jihadinhear,” “Jihadinheart,” “Lionofthegood.”

Ercarnacion, however, was not content to wage jihad only on his computer screen. He got his prison sentence for plotting to join a Pakistani jihad terrorist organization, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), which has carried out numerous jihad massacres, including the infamous Mumbai attack of November 2008, in which jihadis murdered 172 people. The State Department considers LeT to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Audrey Strauss, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, explained that “Jesus Encarnacion plotted to travel abroad, to join and train with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, infamous worldwide for the jihadist murder of innocent civilians, and to carry out shootings, bombings, and beheadings in behalf of that terrorist organization.”

Traveling overseas was not actually Encarnacion’s first choice for his jihad. He told someone he thought was a fellow Muslim but was actually an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to carry out “a bombing and shooting” for Allah in the United States, but didn’t have either the “guidance” or the “guns” he thought he needed in order to do so.

Nonetheless, he emphasized to the agent, he was “ready to kill and die in the name of Allah.” Once he joined up with Lashkar e-Tayyiba as planned, he said he wanted to become an “executioner,” explaining: “I want to execute. I want to behead. Shoot.”

Strauss gave credit where credit was due for the apprehension of this charmer, saying: “Thanks to the FBI, the NYPD, and the Joint Terrorist Task Force, Encarnacion has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for his crime.” After he serves a few years of his fifteen-year sentence, he will begin a life term of supervised release.

That’s where the trouble starts. Supervised release has already proven to be more “release” than “supervised.” Last year in London, for example, a Muslim named Usman Khan went to his deradicalization class, murdered the instructor, and went out to commit a jihad attack on the London Bridge. Khan was wearing an electronic tag the whole time.

What’s more, the gratitude that Strauss expressed for the efforts of the FBI and NYPD in bringing Encarnacion to justice only brings to mind yet again the fact that the FBI has in recent years been far more involved with framing the president of the United States for a crime he didn’t commit than with stopping jihad terrorism, and the NYPD is suffering from severe budget cuts and a massive redirection of its priorities.

Will it have the resources to stop another Jesus Encarnacion, or will the cops who might have brought down the next jihadi be too busy guarding propaganda messages painted on the street?

There are also numerous unanswered questions swirling around Encarnacion’s case. Where did this convert learn about his new religion? What mosque did he attend in New York City?

Has this mosque been investigated for the possibility that Encarnacion learned there that Allah would be pleased with him if he committed murder? Why not? Why is it being assumed that he was a “lone wolf” who existed in a vacuum, with no one around him who shared his views or aspirations?

Or are the relevant agencies simply too busy with other matters, and too wedded to the idea that Islam is a religion of peace that calls for no greater concern than one would give to Amish Christianity, to try to find the answers to such questions?

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 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 Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.