News & Politics

Florida Man Converts to Islam, Starts Making ISIS Videos

U.S. Marshals mugshot of Jonathan Guerra Blanco

I am not the renowned chronicler of all things Florida Man, Stephen Green, but it does seem as if Jonathan Guerra Blanco nevertheless deserves a place among the Florida Men, as he is among the first-ever jihad terrorists to join the hallowed ranks. (Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on behalf of the Islamic State in 2016, was the first, or at very least the most horrifically effective.)

The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Guerra, who was born in Cuba and now lives near Fort Myers, is currently incarcerated in Miami and has been charged with providing material support to the Islamic State (ISIS). He was denied bail and is looking at twenty years in prison, although his lawyer, Ana Davide, said that he intends to cop a plea.

Guerra, according to the Herald, “was swept up in an FBI undercover operation that targeted an ISIS suspect known as ‘Confederate A’ who allegedly collaborated with him in producing promotional and recruitment videos that were distributed on the Islamist terrorist organization’s encrypted social platforms and networks, including ‘IMN1’ and ‘IMN2,’ a criminal affidavit says. Guerra’s alias was ‘Abu Zahraal-Andalusi.’”

The FBI stated that Guerra intended the videos to “incite and equip primarily Spanish-speaking followers to conduct operational attacks in support of ISIS.” He also worked on producing translations of the ISIS propaganda material into English, Dutch, French, German and Indonesian.” One of his videos threatened jihad massacres on subways in Spain, as well as attacks on the Spanish National Police. He was also responsible for the notorious article entitled, “Elabora una bomba en la cocina de tu Mama,” “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” which al-Qaeda published a few years ago and the Boston Marathon jihad bombers followed when assembling their pressure-cooker bombs.

Guerra, a naturalized U.S. citizen, produced another video that threatened jihad attacks in the U.S. itself, featuring video footage of Las Vegas and the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. When one of his comrades got arrested in Spain, Guerra taunted the FBI, sending them a link to a graphic entitled Jamas Nos Capturaras, that is, You Will Never Capture Us.

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Guerra told the same FBI operatives that all he was trying to do was “make the word of Allah…the highest,” and explained: “I always strive to please Allah. I don’t want to brag, but I dedicate my life to [jihad].”

All this raises numerous important issues. The main one is the question of how it is that yet another convert to Islam somehow got the crazy idea that his new, peaceful religion encourages violence against unbelievers. Pope Francis tells us that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” Hillary Clinton famously said: “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” which is certainly true of a great number of Muslims. French President Emmanuel Macron recently declared, “France has no problem with Islam.”

Statements from non-Muslim leaders insisting that Islam is a religion of peace, if I quoted them all, would make this article longer than War and Peace. Everyone knows today that the real problem is that Muslims are victims of “Islamophobia,” and that there are so many misconceptions swirling around their benign, cuddly religion. So how is it that Jonathan Guerra Blanco, and so many other converts to Islam like him, somehow missed all the teachings of peace in Islam that Pope Francis and Hillary and the rest find so easily and consider to be so obvious?

Law enforcement officials should be pondering that question and others. It would be illuminating to know not only how Guerra came to believe that his new religion commanded him to wage war against and try to kill unbelievers, but where. Who taught Jonathan Guerra Blanco about Islam? Where did he go to mosque? What does that mosque teach?

Why aren’t Fort Myers officials asking — and answering — those questions? For as long as these questions and others like them are ignored, the only thing we can be sure about is that there will be other Florida Men like Jonathan Guerra Blanco.

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.

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