In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.
"This attack," stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), "showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors."
"NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root."
Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target "kafirs" (infidels) in the West.
In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK:
"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be.
"Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."
It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop.
FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. "At some point there's going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris," said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on "an order of magnitude greater."
How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as "heroes" while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.
It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies.
The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries -- including those of Muslim origin -- have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.
Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His "crime" was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.
In 2004, Moroccan-Dutch terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri (left), shot the filmmaker Theo van Gogh (right) to death, then stabbed him and slit his throat.
Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported.
Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the "religion of peace".
Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology?
They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations -- forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.
Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices "courageous"? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security.
In the meantime, "an Islamic State follower posted a message on the Telegram app that said President Trump was wasting his time by blocking refugees from Syria," reported the journalist Rowan Scarborough.
"'Trump is preventing the entrance of the citizens of [seven] countries to protect America from terrorism,' said the message captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute. "Your decision will not do anything to prevent the attacks; They will come from inside America, from Americans born in America, whose fathers were born in America and whose grandparents were born in America."
President Trump's executive order is not a ban on Muslims. Individuals of all religious backgrounds of these seven countries have been affected. Nor is it a ban on refugees. On the contrary, the ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino.
It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep it safe -- as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs -- at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
Uzay Bulut, a journalist born and raised a Muslim in Turkey, is currently based in Washington D.C.