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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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 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 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.