News / USA

    Jihadist Recruitment Tools Raise US Concerns

    FILE - Douglas McAuthur McCain, a U.S. citizen, believed to have been killed in Syria fighting for the Islamic State.
    FILE - Douglas McAuthur McCain, a U.S. citizen, believed to have been killed in Syria fighting for the Islamic State.

    The deaths of as many as two U.S. citizens in Syria fighting alongside the group known as the Islamic State are raising fears about the number of Americans drawn to the jihadist cause and the possibility of an Islamic State attack in the United States.

    A jihadist video posted on the Internet claims to show U.S. citizen Moner Mohammad abu-Salha, part of the propaganda machine intended to draw more Americans to the fight.

    "I have one word to say to you kafir [infidel] - we are coming for you,” he said.

    Unlike the U.S. citizens who fought with the Islamic State and recently died in Syria, abu-Salha fought with the rival jihadist group al-Nusra Front.

    “He was actually able to return to the United States after having been in Syria, and [return there], where he died as a suicide bomber, which indicates that he evaded intelligence," said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who is with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

    Overall, the United States has done a good job making sure such so-called foreign fighters do not return home to unleash terror attacks, but that one radicalized American was able to slip through the cracks illustrates the dangers, he said.

    Of all the jihadist groups, the Islamic State is the most likely to be plotting such attacks, according to officials and analysts.

    The RAND Corporation’s Jonah Blank says the death in battle of American Douglas McArthur McCain shows the group may not be focused on grooming its Western recruits for terror attacks in their home countries.

    “If that were its main goal, it wouldn’t let him get anywhere near a bullet,” he said.

    The way the Islamic State touts its exploits on social media could help undercut any plots to export terror.

    “It presents the FBI, Homeland Security and other security organizations with a valuable way to keep tabs on these individuals,” Blank said.

    Either way, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the United States “is not turning a blind eye” to the Islamic State’s aspirations.

    “We are taking not just a regional approach but even a global approach to how we’re trying to look at what they’re trying to do,” he said.

    Officials said as many as 100 Americans are thought to have traveled to Iraq and Syria to cast their lot with groups like the Islamic State. Add in Europeans and the number grows to 1,000 or more.


    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: amadasun igbinosa peter from: nigeria
    August 29, 2014 12:01 PM
    if the islam state will die down slowly, the world have to come together and act now.

    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
    August 29, 2014 8:08 AM
    The jehadists' recriutment tools certainly raise concerns in America and our friendly states in Europe, in many countries in this world as well. The recent beheading of our journalist Foley by the the ISIL militia confirms some of the UK nationals do move with it. And, the example of Douglas McArthur McCain who recently died fighting along the side with the ISIL militia clearly confirms the ebriation of our youth by the IS ideologies to join and fight along with it.

    It clearly confirms that our Homeland Security Dept. and our FBI have not kept attention that the IS luring seeds have already germinated in our American soil; so, in some of our friendly states too. There should be steps in creating such counter-ideologies to ISIL that keep our youth inside our federal territory instead of acting in the lines of Douglas M McCain.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.