Sleeper cells and pizza delivery


These are exciting times!

In Camden, N.J. today, six foreign-born Muslim men were charged with plotting to attack the Fort Dix Army base with automatic weapons in an effort “to kill as many soldiers as possible” there, federal authorities said.

Why do I say ‘exciting’? The reason is…well, just take a look at this story. It’s better than most television plots, because you know what? Nobody has really any idea how this real life “24” will end or even how this season continues.

I mean who could write a better script than this as reported Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times: One of the men charged in the case was a former sniper in war-torn Kosovo, according to a lengthy criminal complaint and supporting affidavit by FBI Special Agent John J. Ryan. The court documents said another suspect was a former pizza deliveryman whose family owned a restaurant near Fort Dix, in southern New Jersey, and that he provided the group with a map of the military base so they could better spot their targets and make a quick getaway.

Don’t tell me you would skip the next episode if this week’s episode ended there. Thrilling? Ri-gh-t…

I can never really get behind Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and a Christian radio mainstay, when after describing the end times happenings of the Middle East today, he proclaims, “These are exciting times!”

My fears, even as a believer in Christ, just somehow don’t let me relish the moment as good ol’ Pastor Chuck does.

But, now…seemingly on the brink of more jihad-driven terror right here in the United States, where I live, I have no choice. I guess I have to kinda lean into it now. Maybe I can somehow throw my fears away and just watch.

Or maybe do a bit more than watch as that New Jersey store clerk who in January 2006, not only watched but acted.

A group of men had brought him a video showing them firing assault weapons and chanting, “God is Great!” in Arabic. They wanted him to transfer the footage onto a DVD.

So he called the Mount Laurel Police Department, who in turn contacted the FBI.

Want another plot twist?

All those charged today had lived in the United States for years. Three were in the United States illegally; two had green cards allowing them to stay in this country permanently; and the sixth is a U.S. citizen.

The court documents identified three of the chief suspects as brothers, who are ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia — Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka — and said they were living illegally in the United States and working for a family roofing business.

The others charged in the case were legal residents: Turkish national Serdar Tatar, Jordanian-born Mohamad Shnewer and Agron Abdullahu, also born in the former Yugoslavia. Shnewer, 22, of Cherry Hill, worked as a cab driver in Philadelphia, while the other two worked in a convenience store and a supermarket.

Sleeper cell? You betya! Sure we are still in the allegations phase, but what were these guys doing? Perhaps they are really just actors practicing their scenes for an upcoming “24”?

I think not.

And here’s where it gets a bit dicey. If that store clerk did nothing, where would we be? A nation mourning another tragedy most likely.

Sure, I can get kinda fearful right about now…and maybe some of you can, too. But the bottom line is this: I’m going to trust in God, pray, watch, act when needed…and not sleep during the day.

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