One of my friends has apparently looked abject evil in the eye dozens of times. Each occasion left her more irked than fearful, but that was before she learned she had a very good reason to be afraid.
Abror Habibov, a 30-year-old native of Uzbekistan, has been held without bail in Florida since Wednesday. He is suspected of plotting to help ISIS wage war against the U.S. He was charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison.
My friend routinely encountered Habibov at Savannah’s Oglethorpe Mall. He operated a kiosk there and owns others in Jacksonville, Florida, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One of Habibov’s employees is Akhror Saidakhmetov, a 19-year-old native of Kazakstan. He was arrested at Kennedy Airport in New York on Wednesday while trying to fly to Turkey and Syria, ISIS’ base of operations.
Unsurprisingly, my friend was stunned to learn about Habibov’s alleged involvement with terrorists. She discovered it shortly before dawn on Thursday while nursing her child.
“It makes it even more difficult to grasp when you are holding the essence of innocence while looking at the face of evil you’ve brought into contact with your child a number of times,” she said. “When you think your biggest problem is that your baby is awake at 4 a.m., you are very, very wrong. I kind of wanted to cry.
“Every time you went to the mall, they were right there in your face — literally.”
Contrary to the optimism of the Obama administration, Islamic terrorism’s tentacles are expanding their reach daily. That’s why it is unfathomable that House Republicans are toying with the idea of defunding the Department of Homeland Security and Congress and the president haven’t moved to immediately secure the border. It is my belief that these derelictions of duty are treasonous.
“(Habibov’s) kiosk was seemingly harmless, but he was using it to send (Saidakhmetov) to join ISIS,” my friend said.
She wondered aloud if Habibov, a very aggressive salesman, was casing the malls where his kiosks are located. In recent days, ISIS has pledged to attack U.S. malls. Abdurasl Hasanovich Juraboev, a third man arrested Wednesday on terror-related charges after scheduling a flight to Turkey, alledgedly planned attacks in the U.S., including one against Obama.
My friend said Habibov was especially assertive with one of her acquaintances whose husband is in the U.S. Army. ISIS has vowed to harm military families.
“I don’t know if they knew ahead of time that she was military, but they harassed her and wouldn’t leave her alone,” my friend said. “At first, it seemed like casual conversation, but then they started asking a lot of questions. She knew something wasn’t right and she walked away.”
Vatandosh-Uzbek American President Farhod Sulton knows Habibov. While speaking with the Associated Press, he described him as a “lost man.”
“Abror was not educated,” Sulton said. “He was so eager to learn Islam and he had a lot of questions. A couple of times, I remember warning him about his thoughts and where he was getting his information.”
The well of misinformation is gushing in the Middle East. The FBI has been concerned for months about the rising number of Westerners heading there to quench their thirst for murder.
The U.S. needs to move swiftly and powerfully to cap the flow of hatred where it is originating. As the number of terrorist candidates increases, so does their potential to inflict major damage upon us.
My deeply concerned friend summed up the situation perfectly, saying, “You hear about this stuff and people say, ‘I’m not so worried about it because I’m not going anywhere. The thing is — they are coming here.”
She’s right. Their evil eye is trained squarely on us. Their intent to kill us couldn’t be more clear. Will our political leaders continue to turn a blind eye to their activities and a deaf ear to their words?
Unfortunately, our leaders are likely to keep blinking in the face of adversity.