The recent jihadist attack in San Bernardino was another clear wake-up call that the Islamist terror threat has long ago crossed the oceans and landed here in the U.S. Our leaders can no longer spin today’s terrorist attacks as something that is happening “over there.” U.S. law enforcement has been clear: they will not always be able to protect us from terror attacks, especially when jihadists are crossing our borders with such ease, and living amongst us as friends and neighbors. American citizens must help law enforcement by being extra eyes and ears for them — and we must never be afraid to report something seen as suspicious.
Remember: One next door neighbor in San Bernardino, California could have saved 14 lives by speaking out when confronted by unusual and suspicious activity in and around the home of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook. But political correctness caused that individual to remain silent. The result was devastating.
That is why ACT for America, the nation’s largest national security-focused grassroots advocacy organization, has unveiled our #OpenEyesSaveLives campaign.
It is imperative that we stay alert and understand what to actually look for as we continue to witness many horrific events transpiring before our very eyes. This is where you come in. YOU can be the eyes and ears within your community. YOU can educate yourself and those around you on what to look for.
Remember: If you see any suspicious activity that is alarming, please call 911 or use the “See Something, Send Something” app from the Department of Homeland Security for reporting details to law enforcement.
In this #OpenEyesSaveLives issue, we wanted to focus on some traits that may be an indication of radicalization, as noted by experts in the national security arena—important information to know.
Possible Radicalization Traits
- The individual starts to grow a beard, stops listening to music, stops smoking and drinking (if they previously did these before), and begins to dress in Islamic clothing rather than Western clothing.
- Abruptly abandons friends and family members.
- Stops participating in activities that used to occupy much of their time such as sports or community associations.
- Exhibits growing hatred and intolerance towards others who don’t adhere to their beliefs.
- Turns his/her back on life as it was before radicalization.
- Surfing of violent jihadi/anti-government websites takes up increasingly large chunks of the day (12-16 hours).
- Develops obsessive patterns of behavior and pines for martyrdom and the apocalypse.
- Begins talking about known radical groups such as ISIS in a more positive light when he/she may have felt a different way in the past.
- Another important trait is when the individual actually used to be very devout, had a beard, wore Islamic clothing, and has now started to smoke and drink when he/she previously did not. This is another way that terrorist groups are evolving to radicalize Americans. They want them to fit in more with western civilization and be accepted.
- The individual changes his/her Islamic name to a more western accepted name.
- As mentioned by radical teachings, in order to better fit in with western society, an individual should not make it obvious he is a practicing Muslim nor grow a beard if he has not yet grown one for it will bring unwanted attention. If he has grown his beard out, he is advised not to shave the beard completely because that would cause suspicion from friends and family.
“Don’t make it too obvious you have become a practicing Muslim. For example: If you haven’t grown a beard, don’t grow it now, because you will bring unwanted attention onto yourself. Mujahideen in Muslim lands remove their beards for deceptive purposes.” In addition, “Practicing Muslims” are instructed “not remove their beard if they already have one. This would only draw unwanted attention to yourself from friends and family, and this will in turn lead them to spy on you.” – one ISIS training manual
Every jihadist who has come to the attention of the authorities has exhibited several, if not all, of these traits. However, not every individual who demonstrates some of them has necessarily become fully radicalized to violence.
Here are a few more national security tips on what to look for, as well as a few important reminders:
Unusual clothing in a particular setting
If you live in a warm state such as Florida or Arizona and see someone dressed in an overcoat or unusual clothing for the season and the place, they may be hiding or packing explosives or a suicide belt. Report anyone appearing unusual to the authorities immediately.
Backpacks, bags, and luggage left unattended
Be aware if a person strategically places and leaves a bag. It’s the holiday season where shopping malls and centers are packed with people. If you see any bag or backpack left unattended in any place, notify the authorities immediately.
Unusual activity in or around your neighborhood (you know best!)
The signs you heard about in the news in connection with the San Bernardino attack is the perfect example.
Take note of a person taking pictures or recording of a building’s side doors, loading dock, cameras and back alley. This includes any sporting event, concert, stadium or arena.
Always trust your instincts
We cannot emphasize this point enough. Better safe than sorry. If you strongly feel uncomfortable about a situation or a person, please do not hesitate to call the authorities and bring it to their attention. This is critical.
You can send information to authorities anonymously.
The “Open Eyes, Save Lives” campaign from ACT for America is more important today than ever before, but we need your help! Please help by donating today
or setting up a monthly donation so that we are able to reach millions of Americans and help save lives.
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Stay tuned for more specific tips, reminders, and articles on what to look out for regarding national security in our #OpenEyesSaveLives email series. You do NOT want to miss these!
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