Ali Muhammad Brown, the radical Muslim accused of murdering four people near Seattle and in New Jersey, has confessed and said the acts were retaliation for U.S. foreign policy. This is no longer solely an Islamist hate crime; itâ€™s an act of Islamist terrorism.
It is now believed that Brownâ€™s murder spree began on April 27 with the drive-by shooting of Leroy Henderson in Seattle.
Then on June 1, Brown allegedly murdered two homosexuals near Seattle, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young, after he lured them into a trap using a gay dating phone app.
The latter two deaths were described as an execution and they were deliberately targeted because of their sexual orientation. It is suspected that he chose Said as a victim because of his Muslim name, making his homosexual lifestyle exponentially more offensive to Brown.
This was the second anti-gay attack by a radical Muslim in the Seattle area this year. Another Islamist tried to burn down a nightclub frequented by gays on New Yearâ€™s Eve. Islamist doctrine holds that the punishment for homosexuality is death.
Brown escaped to N.J. and murdered Brendan Tevlin on June 25. Four days later, he robbed a man at a coffee shop in Point Pleasant, but spared his life. Brown was apprehended on July 18 at a homeless shelter.
Brown has confessed to the murders and made it clear that he had terroristic motivations. This was not just a hate crime against gays or a typical murder spree. It was an act of terrorism, morally indistinguishable from the Fort Hood shooting or the Boston Marathon bombings.
â€œ[When a] man sees evil, then he must take action against that evil,â€ he explained.
Brown said that the â€œevilâ€ he was responding to was U.S. actions towards Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.
â€œAll these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,â€ he said.
Brown said his violence was not purely political in nature. His religious views permitted it. He said, â€œMy mission is my mission between men and my Lord.â€
He said his murder of Tevlin, only 19 years old, is a â€œjust killâ€ because he is an adult male and no women, children or elderly persons were put in danger.
Brown may have links to other Islamist terrorists. He reportedly attended a jihadist training camp in California, but there is no information available that is more specific. The court documents have not confirmed that report.
In 2004, Brown was arrested with three other Islamists for money laundering. They deposited fraudulent checks into accounts at several banks. The FBI believed they were financing terrorists in Somalia, but were unable to convict them on terrorism charges. The ringleader, Rupert Shumpert, later traveled to Somalia and joined Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaedaâ€™s affiliate there. He was killed in combat.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray confirmed that Brown had Islamist motivations in a statement on August 20.
â€œThe charging documents reveal disturbing details about Brownâ€™s motive for committing these murders, which appears to have based on anti-American sentiment and an extreme interpretation of the Muslim faith. While Brown invoked his faith, we must be clear that Brownâ€™s views and his actions do not reflect the values of Muslims,â€ it reads.
Brownâ€™s decision to target homosexuals, particularly one with a Muslim name, is significant because it shows that he was not merely a violent political activist. Grievances over U.S. foreign policy are not the driver of his extremism.
Political causes do not trigger beliefs that death is due for homosexuals and American civilians. There has to be another source for his outlook.
His anti-Americanism and hatred for gays is a product of the Islamist ideology and not a product of political frustration. His Islamist radicalization caused the rage over foreign policy, accompanied with bigotry and violence.
Brownâ€™s violence needs to be appropriately characterized by the media as a terrorist attack. He murdered four civilians. The Tsarnaev brothers murdered three in the Boston Marathon bombings and a police officer afterwards.
The motivations of the Tsarnaev brothers and Brown are the same. Even the death count in their attacks is the same. Brownâ€™s terrorism is not as dramatic, but itâ€™s still terrorism.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.orgâ€™s national security analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.