Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An American story


In middle school, he played on a traveling basketball team, one of those who goes from burb to burb, later on even played a little high school football. His mother often sat in the stands. You couldn't miss her--she was the only one in the hijab.

The kid was no star, but he had a great laugh and the rest of the guys thought he was a scream, a fun guy to be around. Truth be told, he and his family--his father was a Palestinian, his mother a converted Irish-American--lived in a quiet, gated Florida community. They were not poor. That's no answer here. They weren't poor at all. Some reports maintain the family owned several grocery stores.

The mosque where he worshiped was so small they had no imam, just a dozen believers getting down on their knees together, operating as if they were some old country church with an elder reading the sermon. In fact, because they had no regular leader, this kid sometimes became one because he seemed to know his way around the Koran as well as, if not better than the handful of others who came together to pray.

He liked cats, and he was a big fan of the Miami Heat, which means, almost certainly, that he, like millions of others, loved to watch LaBron James toss crushed chalk into the air in James's own never-miss pre-game ritual. Who knows?--a navy blue Heat jersey, number 23, may still be hanging in his closet.

Back in June, he made a video of himself eating chunks of his American passport, then burning the rest. “I lived in America; I know how it is,” he said. "Just sitting down five minutes drinking a cup of tea with mujahedeen is better than anything I've ever experienced in my whole life," he said. "You have all the fancy amusement parks, and the restaurants, and the food, and all this crap and cars. You think you're happy? You're not happy. I was never happy. I was always sad and depressed. Life sucked. ... All you do is work 40, 50, 60 hours a week."

So much for the American Dream.

And then, "You think you're safe where you are, in America or Britain,” he adds. “You think you are safe. You are not safe."

All of this from the cut-up, a kid with a sparkling sense of humor often seen dribbling down the street in Vera Beach, the kid who turned a rock-hard pillar of faith. "I want to rest in the afterlife," he said in an earlier video. "There is nothing here--my heart is not resting here in this life." He told others that his transition into the violence of the Middle East was relatively easy, not difficult at all because "Allah made it easy for me," words of a true believer.

"Glorious is God, and thank God--this is a grace from him," he says in a tape released later. "When I came to Syria, I had nothing. I had no money to buy a gun and ammunition, now God granted me all of that and much more." 


Just a few moments before he and four other suicide bombers ran their explosive-packed truck into a target in Syria and killed an as-yet undetermined number of Syrian soldiers, he radioed his accomplices, "I can see paradise and I can smell paradise."  

Those in the know, fear that while Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha was the first American suicide bomber in the war in Syria, other Americans have been recruited, which is to say, there may be more.

And this:  "I have one word to say ... we are coming for you. Mark my words. You think you killed Osama bin Laden? You sent him to paradise. Just know that we are coming."

He was 22 years old.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

ISIS is for real and is a threat. They have declared war on the USA, beheaded one of our reporters, and recorded it for the world to see. They are slaughtering, raping and torturing Iranian Christians.

Our president is sitting on his hands. War-weary or not, Americans need to face this threat head-on. Barrack Obama now needs to step-up and show leadership.

No more leading from behind....

Anonymous said...

Just read this today. Hmmm....

Brace yourself for a shock. Something's about to take place and you're going to find it hard to believe. I'm about to raise up Babylonians to punish you, Babylonians, fierce and ferocious - World-conquering Babylon, grabbing up nations right and left, A dreadful and terrible people, making up its own rules as it goes. Their horses run like the wind, attack like bloodthirsty wolves. A stampede of galloping horses thunders out of nowhere. They descend like vultures circling in on carrion. They're out to kill. Death is on their minds. They collect victims like squirrels gathering nuts. They mock kings, poke fun at generals, Spit on forts, and leave them in the dust.

Habakkuk - The Message

Anonymous said...

Choose you this day, whom you will serve. As for I and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

This is a huge problem for our country Within our border are children raised with American values in our schools, yet they become radicalized with what? Thoughts of killing for revenge to a God that doesn't want revenge. Let them listen to Imams and faithful Muslims against the hijacking of your religion for evil purposes. The opposite of Paradise is reserved for the likes of terrorist bombers.

Anonymous said...

Our borders are open for anyone to come across.

"Secure the borders first" has been the mantra of the Republicans since Obama has refused to enforce the immigration laws already on the books. What a mess...

When suicide bomber start operating in the USA, watch out!

Anonymous said...

One more thing I just learned... a large percentage of the ISIS barbaric savages are comprised of British Muslims... this is appalling!

jdb said...

As is often the case, the situation on the ground is a little more complicated. ISIS has as its stated goal the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate to replace the existing governments , first in what we consider to be the Middle East. ISIS is a radical fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam that the does not even consider Shia (Shite) Muslims to be Muslims. Iran, being primarily Shia, is very concerned about the rise of ISIS. Religious minorities such as Christians and the Yazidis of Northern Iraq are not the major concern for ISIS. The continuing violence in Syria is in part due to the ISIS forces attacking the embattled government as well as other less radical forces also opposing the government in Syria. There may well be spillover of the violence to other parts of the world, but we in the West are not front and center in this conflict. Picking out the "good guys" in these conflicts will not be an easy task.

The Shia-Sunni struggle in Islam, as ugly as it is now, and as ugly as it may become, has a way to go before it can compare to the 30 Years War (at least in part Protestant vs. Catholic) in Central Europe during the early 1600s. Religious violence is nothing new. Islam has no corner on the market.

Anonymous said...

I get a real kick out of your "ho-hum" attitude ...

"Religious violence is nothing new. Islam has no corner on the market."

I guess you agree with Obama, ISIS is just a JV team.

Anonymous said...

If ISIS gets their hands on an atomic bomb let's see if they are still a JV team or do they jump to the level of an NBA team...

I am not interested in finding out... I say defeat them...

Anonymous said...

An American story? Not really. He was from America. Big whoop. This crap is taught OVERSEAS! This is not an American story.