Many Muslims in the U.S., Canada and Europe are supportive of the 15,000 Al-Qaeda linked fighters in Syria who are part of the 100,000 anti-Assad rebels. It's because of the strong Islamic component of the anti-Assad forces in Syria that the rest of the world is reluctant to help them out - unlike in Libya which was more secular (USA Today). But young radicals - closet terrorists? - are going to Syria to help out. The fear is that in Syria, they will become more radicalized and "return to the U.S. as battle-hardened security risks."
A report in the Huffington Post says that:
This year, at least three Americans have been charged with planning to fight beside Jabhat al-Nusrah - a radical Islamic organization that the U.S. considers a foreign terrorist group - against Assad. The most recent case involves a Pakistan-born North Carolina man arrested on his way to Lebanon.
At a Senate homeland security committee hearing this month, Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., said: "We know that American citizens as well as Canadian and European nationals have taken up arms in Syria, in Yemen and in Somalia. The threat that these individuals could return home to carry out attacks is real and troubling."
The most recent arrest is of Basit Sheikh, 29 at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on charges he was on his way to join Al-Qaeda group Jabhat al-Nusrah. Sheikh is charged with planning to assist a group the State Department has declared a terrorist organization.
Huffington Post also reported:
Current FBI Director James Comey (photo right) said this month that he worried about Syria becoming a repeat of Afghanistan in the 1980s, after the Soviet invasion, with foreign fighters attracted there to train.
A federal magistrate ruled that Sheikh should be detained until his trial because there was clear evidence that he wouldn't appear if released on bond and that there was a "serious risk" to the community if he were freed. Basit Sheikh's arraignment is scheduled for January. He could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Defending against Muslim terrorists is an ongoing battle. It doesn't help that many Muslim Imams still preach intolerance of infidels and hatred of Jews - but then they are just interpreting their Qur'an literally - just like fundamentalist Christians interpret their holy book literally. The difference is that Christians are ignoring some sections of the bible (like those that allow slavery and killing gays) while fundamentalist Muslims ignore less of theirs.