Before 9/11 the average American did not understand what Jihad meant nor did they identify it as threat to their safety. Why al Qaeda targeted America was a question in most Americans minds after 9/11. With the exceptions of some experts like Richard Clarke very few people understood the dangers posed by al Qaeda. While we did understand that the terrorist were Islamic extremist I think we overlooked the fact that future attacks could come from within from our own citizens and I believe this is one of the results that Bin Laden had counted on. In his book "Future Jihad" Walid Phares proposed that Bin Laden's statregy was built on the premise that 9/11 would create such a back lash against Muslims in America and Europe that it would garner support from millions of Muslims for al Qaeda worldwide. I believe Bin Laden miscalculated the results of 9/11 but the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be slowly achieving that grassroots Muslim support he sought by launching the 9/11 attacks.
America has been fortunate to have avoided a major terrorist attack since 9/11. Most attacks have been thwarted by law enforcement and some attacks have failed due to the lack of expertise on the terrorist as in the case Faisal Shahzad's failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square. If Shahzad had been better trained of had access to better explosives his action could resulted in a deadly attack. (Intell Center, Significant Terror Report) However it seems that there is no lack of individuals willing to carry out these terrorist acts. The recent rash of attacks in America by Americans clearly demonstrates that a small percentage of our population has been swayed into supporting terror groups and to act carry out attacks on their own accord.
I believe the percentage of Muslims in this country who believe in violence is small, but history has proven that a small group of motivated individuals can change world events. I also surmise that our...