The damage that the U.S. and world economies have suffered as a result of releasing COVID-19 virus from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, makes a perfect model for Islamic jihadists to follow. They have learned that they can inflict great harm using the same approach.
In fact, some Islamic radicals in the Arab world are shamelessly encouraging their followers who catch the infection to try to transmit it to others intentionally. (See an Al-Ain.com report which can be read in English though Google Translate; and Steven Salinsky's "What Jihadists Are Saying About the Coronavirus," in The Wall Street Journal.)
Hypothetically, all they need do is repeat the current pattern of spreading viral infections across national borders and within targeted countries — except perhaps next time such efforts will involve a more deadly virus that can kill tens or even hundreds of millions of victims.
Some 40 years ago, I was an Islamic radical.
I joined the Jamma Islameia (the Islamic Group) in Egypt during my studies at the medical school in Cairo.
Based on my own experiences, I have no doubt that many Islamic radicals today are thinking how to release viruses to cause maximum damage to the United States and globally.
Hypothetically, all they need do is use their radicalization tactics to install one or more believers inside a virology laboratory. Such tactics include trying to radicalize moderate Muslims who work in those labs in any part of the world.
They would not need to do this in the United States.
Moreover, jihadists don’t even need to contact their potential recruits in person. As they have done with frightening success, they can use the internet to radicalize lab workers remotely. Once successful, they can direct recruits to conduct a coronavirus-style jihad, intentionally releasing a deadly virus. Additionally, those who have been radicalized via the internet may independently take the decision to release the virus as a form of "self-Jihad."
The possibility is far from remote. An Islamic radical who decides to conduct such an evil mission might do so via martyrdom — deliberately becoming infected and transmitting the virus to as many others as possible. Remember, jihadists are unlikely to fear death caused by the virus; many of them harbor suicidal tendencies elicited by their ideology.
We know, all too well, that the jihadist mindset has infiltrated many parts of the world and segments of society, including inside the U.S. military.
For example, we cannot forget Major Nidal Hasan of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre.
Nor can we forget the more recent infiltration, when a member of the Saudi Air Force training to be a pilot killed three people at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
If those same people were working in virology labs, they could have unleashed much more havoc among the population.
Let’s be realistic; we were lucky that neither of these men had access to a potential biological weapon. We cannot rely on luck any longer. The biological-warfare threat is much greater than mere mass shootings. That is because the jihadists need not enter the United States to harm us. They can simply initiate the process anywhere in the world and wait for the virus to spread.
We cannot afford any more mistakes in dealing with radical Islam, an ideology dedicated to destroying us.
Likewise, we cannot wait and react to the next disaster after it happens — as we responded to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The next attack, if it is biological, could mean our end as a nation.
Yet, in my opinion, we also cannot continue spending trillions of dollars to fight jihadists, particularly as ineffectively as we have done so far. We can defeat radical Islam, but we must do it via soft power and the internet, using well-prepared ideological warfare — as I have written, fighting radical Islam in the region I call "Brainistan" — a strategy that can cost a fraction of what has been spent so far.
Furthermore, it is equally important to teach and train selected intelligence and law-enforcement officials how to detect covert and early signs of radicalism among those who work in virology laboratories.
Prudent people do not wait for mortal threats to arise to react to them. Rather, they work to prevent those threats before they can reach the stage of causing us harm.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid) M.D.; Mlitt (Edu) has testified before Congress and before the European Parliament. Dr. Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It." Read Dr. Tawfik Hamid's Reports — More Here.
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