Fifteen Years After 9/11: Living in a 9/10 World

A 9/11 survivor-turned-terrorism-analyst reflects on America’s slumber.

I lived in the closest residence to the World Trade Center (Gateway Plaza), which was immediately deemed a crime scene after the terrorist attack. An entire wall was blown off my workplace high-rise building.  I ran for my life, jumped onto a Coast Guard rescue ferry and made my way to the home of strangers in New Jersey, who were kind enough to take me in.  I was homeless for two months. My office was closed and displaced for eight months. It took years to recover from the trauma of 911, and yet, I was one of the more fortunate ones: I survived.

Fifteen years later, I reflect on my career and the state of our nation.  I relinquished my career as an attorney, choosing instead to devote my life to our nation’s security and raising awareness of the jihadi threat in all its forms.  I developed an expertise in the Islamist stifling of speech known as blasphemy laws or “defamation of religions” and its implications for national security, religious freedom and human rights.  I now teach, speak and write on these subjects.

I am saddened to report that in many respects, we are not safer this September, 2016, than we were on September 10, 2001.  To the contrary, we are moving in the wrong direction.  The Enemy Threat Doctrine mandates that in order to win a war, we must know our enemy and know ourselves.  I fear we don’t know either. We have relinquished our Judeo-Christian values in favor of multi-culturalism, eschewed the notion of American exceptionalism, and embraced Islam as an innocuous religion, willfully ignoring its pernicious political aspects.

The War on Terror is not primarily kinetic in nature. It is an ideological war. The other side is successfully waging disinformation campaigns and influence operations to persuade us to unwittingly assist them in sabotaging the West from within. We are facing the existential threat of Sharia in all its forms, both violent and stealth.

We must not be afraid to assert the superiority of Western values to those of Islamic supremacists and we must fight vigilantly to maintain our ideals.  The claim of multiculturalism’s moral equivalence is a farce.  All values are not equal. We should assert that true freedom, equality and human rights trump totalitarian ideals even if they are cloaked in the language of religion.  The Constitution requires tolerance for those who hold the same: it is not a mandate to commit suicide.

It is time that our government and other societal institutions wake up from their slumber.  The jihadi terror attacks we have witnessed in recent years were not due to PTSD, workplace violence or random acts of “violent extremism”.  The proliferation of terrorist groups we have seen throughout the Middle East and Africa are not based on purely local grievances, and the wars we are experiencing with Islamic organizations and state sponsors of terror are not separate, isolated wars.  They constitute one war in different theaters against the Global Jihad Movement.  They were inspired by an ideological enemy that seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate and implement worldwide Sharia law, for both Muslims and non-Muslim alike.

In the West, stealth jihadists have infiltrated our governments, interfaith and cultural institutions, laying claim to our lexicon, and forbidding all language that allows us to recognize the Enemy or to produce policies to defeat it.

If we continue to refuse to acknowledge these facts and fail to engage in the War of Ideas properly rather than to ignore it or capitulate to its false narratives, we will see more jihadi attacks in the future and the potential demise of freedom as we know it.  The Enemy is amongst us.  He is here now.  I pray America wakes up before it’s too late.