Emerging ISIS Threats on U.S. Christian Churches

ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhitibs, Jim presenting on Strategies of Hardening Soft Targets for places of worship. Sept. 13, 2016.

On Tuesday, September 13, I was a speaker at the ASIS International 62nd Seminar and Exhibits. My portion of the presentation with ASIS Cultural Properties Council addressed global emerging threats on Houses of Worship and security countermeasures to protect their assets.

Terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram and Al Shabaab recently vowed to follow the recent lead of ISIS and target both Muslim and Christian places of worship and begin targeting only Christian Churches.

Even more disturbing for folks in the United States are open source reports that ISIS has vowed to attack Christian churches in our country. There will be many that fail to believe that ISIS is operating within the U.S. much less targeting Christian Churches.

But there is more than open source media; recent reports dating back to 2015 from FBI Director James Comey revealed that his agency is investigating suspected supporters of ISIS in every U.S. state.

The following article was taken from HOMELAND SECURITY Relevant insights by the experts from American Military University April 21, 2016

“Glynn Cosker, Managing Editor, In Homeland Security reports that Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has released the monthly Terror Threat Snapshot. The “snapshot” is a detailed assessment of the growing threat America, its Western allies, and the rest of the world faces from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

The April Terror Threat Snapshot shows that – so far in 2016 – nine people have been arrested in eight states for ISIS-related crimes, including weapons charges, lying to authorities, overseas travel to ISIS hotbeds and specific attack plots. Since 2014, 84 people were arrested in 24 states for similar crimes.

Also of note this month is the snapshot’s report of nearly 40,000 foreign fighters – from more than 120 nations – who have traveled to Syria. Of that total, 250 of the freedom fighters were from the United States.

• Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there were at least 150 homegrown jihadist plots in the U.S., including people who traveled overseas receive training on how to execute terrorist attacks at home.
• Nearly 90 percent of ISIS supporters arrested in the United States are male, and close to 40 percent of them have converted to Islam. Their average age is 26.
• At least 34 separate global extremist groups have pledged their allegiance to ISIS.

Recent ISIS-Related Arrests and Developments in the United States

MINNESOTA: A 23-year-old man is facing charges that he lied to the FBI about recent contact he’d had with ISIS; he was also arrested for making violent threats at a local drugstore.

CALIFORNIA: An 18-year-old student who attacked classmates on the University of California-Merced campus in November – was described as a ‘self-radicalized jihadist’ by the FBI in March.”

Following are more recent terrorist events and arrests of terrorist supporters in the U.S.:

June, 2016 An ISIS Supporter was arrested and charged with killing 49 patrons at an Orlando night club.

August, 2016 A Washington, D.C., Metro Transit police officer since 2003 was charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. This is the first time a law enforcement officer has been charged with an ISIS-related crime.

September, 2106 FBI had arrested three men in New York City on charges of attempting to provide support to ISIS.

The list goes on but hopefully this information reinforces my point that Houses of Worship in the U.S., England and other western countries need to prepare for terrorist attacks from Lone Wolf terrorist and organized terrorist groups like ISIS.

In he past few years, I have been asked by House of Worship leaders around the world to publish more information on this site related to protection strategies against terrorist attacks and I plan to do that in the next few weeks. These publications will focus on Surveillance Detection and other cost effective security strategies that are not commonly utilized by Houses of Worship.

Article Dated October 2, 2016

Disclaimer:  The articles contained on this website are written for general information purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be used as, a primary source for making security decisions. It is the responsibility of the end users and viewers to evaluate and seek out additional guidance as deemed appropriate for application.

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