I was talking with a friend yesterday discussing the topic of this blog. Al Qaeda operatives were found in Bowling Green, Kentucky – roughly an hour north of Nashville, where we are living. Nashville has become a very popular city with many people moving in from around the country – even the world. There are 170,000 refugees in Nashville that have settled from all over the world. Nashville has one of the largest refugee populations in the states.
My friend jokingly said, “What if a terrorist group set up operations in our city?” He had just read Deadly Beliefs and began smiling. That is exactly what happens in the book.
ABC News broke a real-life story this week in which they released video footage and photos of two refugees from Iraq (Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi) demonstrating arms to an undercover FBI agent. Watch the entire ABC News report here. The weapons included a Russian PKM machine gun, a Stinger missile launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher among others – serious weapons! The surprising thing is that these terrorists (with known connections to al Qaeda) came into the country via the government’s Iraq War refugee program.
The story of the arrest of these two terrorists in May of 2011 was lost in the headlines of bin Laden’s capture and death. As a result, however, the FBI, like looking for a needle in the haystack, is going through 100,000+ pieces of bombs, detonators, cell phones, etc. looking for finger prints of other immigrants who may have escaped detection as well. A six-month ban of any refugees coming here from Iraq was suspended as procedures were tightened and improved.
In a frightening quote during an interview on ABC News programs the House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul stated, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that and these are trained terrorists in the art of bomb making that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”
This is scary stuff and not fictional – having it happen an hour from where I live makes it very real. In fact it’s probably happening much closer. I need to point out that the vast majority (nearly all) of the refugees coming to the US are peace-loving, hard-working people looking a safer place to raise their families but we do need to be on the lookout for suspicious activity in our neighborhoods. Report those activities to local authorities – we need to keep out eyes open!