Moving through the interstices of civil society, we lack a minipermeameter to measure the diffusion of jihad’s vapor. There is no such tool. Yet jihad ideology plays out like a bad combination of Fick’s Law and Fourier’s Law. The highly concentrated ideology of jihad moves in a diffusive manner into the more mild communications of thought via a process of heat transfer. On a small scale, this model can be observed in the documentary film, “The Jihadists Next Door”, by Jamie Roberts. It was produced for Channel 4, in the UK. In two days, it garnered more than 10 million video views. The men showcased in the film pack a lot of heat. In their passionate casting about for the will of Allah, they seek to draw others in with their fiery rhetoric. I viewed the film today and consider it an accurate depiction of how radical Islamic preachers peddle their goods.
Moving to the U.S. home front, we are confronted with the news of Dr. Julio Pino, an Associate Professor of History at Kent State University.
The breaking news of an F.B.I. investigation into his activities shows a different permeation of jihad. Federal agents arrived on campus to interview students and faculty. Per reports, the investigation has been in motion for a year and Dr. Pino is being scrutinized for ties to ISIS and possible recruitment of students on campus.
Media outlets opine about Dr. Pino’s eulogy written for a suicide bomber in 2002. There was his infamous “Death to Israel” remark to a former Israeli diplomat who was an invitee to Kent State in 2011, followed by a “Jihad until Victory” rallying cry. But lacking from the reports are the additional digital trails which show the complexities in the thoughs and life of Dr. Pino.
As a journalist, I work within what I call “circles of trust” within the various demographics. I have circles of trust with Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and yes… powerful voices within the anti-jihad blogging industry. These relationships are established based on book-ended Constitutional principles in the Bill of Rights (Amendment I and Amendment IV). Freedom of the press and the right to the privacy of my papers mean that I get to choose what to share, what confidence to keep, and which cards to hold close to the chest.
When the news broke on Dr. Pino, I received a call. Members of a powerful blogging community had archived the communications among themselves and Dr. Pino. These communications have a time stamp of 2006 and are powerful reminders of the permeations of jihad. The communications appeared to track back to a computer of Dr. Pino at Kent State University. Because of the nature of one of the communications, outside legal counsel was obtained and an alert into one of the alphabet security agencies was sought.
While the individual vignettes shared with me are frightening enough, there is a more troublesome thought. If ISIS recruitment has moved into college communities, how long will it be before recruitment moves into the high schools of America? The United Kingdom has already grappled with high school recruitment of brides for ISIS fighters in Syria and a fifteen year old British juvenile who plotted to decapitate police officers at an Anzac Day parade in Melbourne. He is now Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist. Australian’s reeled when a fourteen year old boy killed a police accountant in an act of jihad.
What makes the investigation of Dr. Pino of greater interest is one uncomfortable thought: If the professor was actively recruiting on campus, Kent State may face a costly quagmire of liability from any given parent who discovers that their child was influenced on Kent State property. Children are sent to college to receive an education. Every parent wants to invest in the child who aspires to engineering. We do not send them off to become radicalized into committing acts of aggression in a lone wolf fashion. No sane parent wants to end up with the child who is a bomb maker in Syria or a gun-toting fool in Chattanooga. And absolutely nobody wants to end up with the permeation that produced Tafsheen Malik.
Let the thought sink in. All of the above examples are based on permeations of jihad. Once again, there is not a tool. There is no means to fully evaluate any individual human psyche. But what we can and must evaluate more critically, is how recruitment into ISIS does not qualify as freedom of expression. It qualifies as treason.
The West has watched with a sense of aloofness for too long. The corpses were not on our doorstep so the stench did not matter. But then we had Paris. And quickly on the heels, a massacre in San Bernardino struck our emotional circuitry like lightning.
As a journalist, I have had extensive interface within the Muslim community in America. My posture has always been consistent. * Put down deep roots in our soil for your future generations *Work for the good of America * Engage in volunteer activities (in other words, give back to America) * Don’t fall prey to “back home syndrome”. These are the good times within your community.
But I have also experienced the bad times, the permeations of jihad in all of its manifestations. I have broken bread with individuals with cold eyes and even colder hearts. Language programming has destroyed the ability for independent thought. And within these circles of trust, I have also learned many things. Recruitment is not always packed with heat. It can be accomplished with the gift of a book, shared over a cup of coffee, or a conversation over a cup of tea with a sweet. Emotional triggers can be pulled over statements shared with a tear or platitudes offered with a smile. And as the saying goes, “Who is good to you, might not be good for you.”
Evaluate your friendships today. Cherish and keep your own circles of trust. But trust no man who seeks to lead you astray.