Less than a week after two jihadists attempted to assault a ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest in Garland, Texas and one day after the Islamic State officially took credit for the attack, a statement claiming to come from ISIS leadership in America has appeared online threatening the event’s organizer, Pamela Geller, and asserting that “15 states” have been infiltrated by the terrorist group.
The statement– posted on the site justpaste.it, which is a popular landing spot for much of the Islamic State’s output– serves both to warn Geller personally and threaten the nation at large. “Our aim was the khanzeer [“swine“] Pamela Geller and to show her that we don’t care what land she hides in or what sky shields her; we will send all our Lions to achieve her slaughter,” it reads, adding that the attack was perpetrated by “the Islamic State in America” and “the next month will be interesting.” It warns that “everyone who houses her events, gives her a platform to spill her filth are legitimate targets.”
The statement goes on to warn that there are at least 71 members of the Islamic State that have been trained to attack in the United States:
We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday, We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan.
The message also cites “our noble brother in the Phillipines,” perhaps a reference to notorious jihadist Abdul Basit Usman, who was killed this week in the Philippines by his bodyguard, who sought to collect a million-dollar bounty from the United States.
Geller has responded to the message on her website:
This threat illustrates the savagery and barbarism of the Islamic State. They want me dead for violating Sharia blasphemy laws. What remains to be seen is whether the free world will finally wake up and stand for the freedom of speech, or instead kowtow to this evil and continue to denounce me. What’s really frightening and astonishing about this threat is that the media in denouncing me is essentially allying with and even cheering on the Islamic State. I expected this from jihadists. I never expected it from my fellow Americans in the mainstream media.
While Islamic State took credit for the attack on Wednesday, which left only the two jihadists dead, there is no concrete proof that leadership of the terrorist group was involved in planning the attack, only in encouraging it through social media. Law enforcement experts believe that at least one of the shooters, Elton Simpson of Phoenix, Arizona, responded “directly” to these calls on social media to attack the free speech event organized by Geller.
Simpson is documented to have been attracted to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, however, having been arrested in 2010 after telling an undercover FBI informant that he was looking to “bounce” to Somalia and join them in jihad. The earliest tweet found encouraging an attack on the Draw Muhammad contest appears to have been sent from an American citizen currently fighting with Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has long been an ally of Al Qaeda, a rival group to ISIS, but the latter group has made overtures in an attempt to convince Al-Shabaab to become its subsidiary.