If you listen to the passengers and crew who flew on American Airlines Flight 1561 last weekend, there's no doubt about what happened on their harrowing trip: A Yemeni man shrieking "Allahu akbar!" at the top of his lungs more than 30 times rushed the cockpit door twice, intending to take down the plane and kill everyone on board.
The clammy, sweaty lone male passenger exhibited classic symptoms of what Middle East scholar and author Daniel Pipes has dubbed "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" -- a seemingly random outbreak of threatening behavior or violence by a hysterical Muslim adherent who had not previously exhibited signs of Islamic radicalization.
It took at least four men to tackle and restrain Rageh Ahmed Mohammed al-Murisi. "There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," passenger Angelina Marty told the San Francisco Chronicle. And no, that "something" did not mean enlisting his fellow flyers in a midair flash mob performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus."
Not everyone was so grounded in reality. Bleeding-heart sympathizers seriously speculated that al-Murisi had simply mistaken clearly marked lavatory doors for the clearly marked cockpit door (because, you know, it's normal to shout "God is great" repeatedly just before relieving yourself as your plane is about to land). Some federal authorities and media whitewashers proclaimed that al-Murisi's motives were "unknown."
If only al-Murisi had been screaming phrases from the Constitution. The Selective Motive Determination Machine -- the same one that rushed to pin the Tucson massacre on the Tea Party, the GOP and Fox News without a shred of evidence -- would have kicked in to full gear.
On Wednesday, a San Francisco judge denied al-Murisi bail. Unburdened by the paralyzing prissiness of political correctness, federal prosecutors noted that "Allahu akbar" was the same refrain invoked by the 9/11 hijackers over Shanksville, Pa., and by the would-be Christmas Day bomber over Detroit. Not to mention Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan, the Frankfurt, Germany, jihadist who killed two U.S. airmen on a bus in March, the young Portland, Ore., Christmas tree lighting bomb plotter, every last suicide bomber across Europe, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, and every last evil al-Qaida beheader broadcast on video over the past decade.
So how, despite a massive transportation and homeland security apparatus, did al-Murisi get into this country and get on a plane? He had no keys, no luggage, $47 cash, two curious posted checks totaling $13,000, and a trove of expired and current state IDs from New York and California -- where relatives said he had not notified them that he was coming.
He is young, male, brought no family with him, had no job or other discernible income, and hails from the terror-coddling nation of Yemen. Yes, the same Yemen that is Osama bin Laden's ancestral home, harbors al-Qaida operatives who are burning the "torch of jihad," and is deemed a "special interest country" whose citizens warrant increased scrutiny by DHS when they cross the border illegally.
As I reported last month, a federal watchdog revealed that TSA's counterterrorism specialists failed to detect 16 separate jihad operatives who moved through target airports "on at least 23 different occasions." Neutered by Islamophobia-phobia and an "overtime over security" mentality, our State Department consular offices' and airline security bureaucracy's stance toward the al-Murisis slipping through their snaking lines is: Nothing to see here; move along.
At least the heroes of Flight 1561 who refused to sit silent learned the proper 9/11 lesson. "I swore to myself that I would never be a victim" after the 2001 attacks, passenger Larry Wright, one of the men who brought al-Murisi down, told reporters earlier this week.
The only effective homeland security begins and ends with a culture of self-defense. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no "see no jihad, hear no jihad, speak no jihad" delusionists on airplanes with Allahu akbar-chanting flyers beating down doors.