The Ft. Lauderdale Shooter: A symptom of a hidden cancer

Ft. Lauderdale shooter
Ft. Lauderdale shooter

The Ft. Lauderdale shooter, Esteban Santiago, registered on MySpace under the Islamic name “Aashiq Hammad” and recorded Islamic religious music three years before being deployed to Iraq. It seems he had converted to Islam before joining the military.

The first of the three Islamic songs Santiago (aka Aashiq Hammad) recorded on his MySpace account was “la illaha il-allah”, which means “there is no God but Allah”, and is the first half of the ‘shahada’ — the affirmation used to declare oneself a Muslim.

Santiago listed his social media accounts under an address in Penuelas, Puerto Rico. Santiago was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Penuelas is right next door to the Islamic Center of Ponce, which consists of a large mosque and Islamic Law School that was established in 1987. One of the principle purposes of a mosque is the spread of Islam — which includes conversion programs. Mosques usually implement these programs in nearby neighborhoods. Esteban Santiago, or Aashiq Hammad, his Islamic name, grew up in a neighborhood next to a mosque.

While doing my research on the Ft. Lauderdale shooter, I discovered that mosque building is on the rise in Puerto Rico and has been since the early 1980’s. Additionally, there are several other major Islamic Centers, or combination mosque and Islamic Law School, in Puerto Rico. Muslims send their young male children to these Islamic Law Schools to learn how to raise their future families according to Islamic Law; to learn how their future wives must behave according to Islamic Law; and, to learn their duties to Islam.

One of the foremost tenets of Islam is jihad. And part of the overall concept of jihad is implementing Islamic Law.

The main Islamic Centers in Puerto Rico are in Aguadilla, Fajardo, Hartillo, Jayuya, Montehiedra, Ponce, Rio Piedras, and Vega Alta. It seems Puerto Rico is a hotbed of conversions to Islam and the teaching of Islamic Law.

Muslim converts in Puerto Rico are rising at a frightening speed. And because of this rise, mosque building is also on the rise – which then leads to an even faster Muslim population growth. All mosques have “conversion programs” where mosque members are organized and instructed by the imam to convert others to Islam.

I discovered that Florida (where Santiago traveled to and killed five people) now rivals New York in Puerto Rican population. And that Hispanics and Latinos are the fastest growing sectors of the Muslim community in America. And since the Hispanic/Latino population is America’s largest minority group, this rapid growth in conversions to Islam in the Hispanic/Latino community should alarm us.

An enormous number of America’s Christian population, via the Hispanic/Latino population, are converting to Islam. Their fast growing numbers could one day overwhelm America’s Judeo-Christian values as neighborhood by neighborhood becomes influenced by the growing number of mosques and Islamic Law Centers throughout America.

The American Muslim Association of North America says Florida is rapidly becoming home to the largest number of Muslim converts in America — thanks to the conversion programs promoted in mosques.

Mosques send their members out to Hispanic neighborhoods to promote Da’wa (conversions to Islam). But they also have conversion programs implemented in most every prison throughout America, primarily targeting blacks and Hispanics. African Americans are the second largest group of Muslim converts in America, thanks to the conversion programs in prisons.

Florida has around 120 mosques – that is a very large number. And members of these mosques are promoting Da’wa in the surrounding neighborhoods.

I also discovered another alarming set of facts. In November of 2015, Turkish President Recep Erdogan went to Cuba and announced the construction of a Mega Mosque in Cuba. Also at that time, Erdogan told a conference of Muslim leaders from Latin America that Muslims had reached the Americas before Christopher Columbus and that Cuba rightly belongs to Islam.

According to Islamic Doctrine, when Muslims step foot on foreign land, that land becomes Islamic land forever. Erdogan saying that “Muslims discovered the Americas” has very serious implications.

During Erdogan’s visit to Cuba, he told reporters at the conference that the Cuban government had given Saudi Arabia permission to build a Mega Mosque in Havana and that Turkey planned to build other mosques in various locations throughout Cuba, so Puerto Rico isn’t the only target for conversions to Islam.

Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia see the rapidly growing Muslim population in Cuba as an opportunity to expand that growth even further, and to spread their form of ideology, Wahhabi, which is based on Islamic Supremacy and jihad to spread Islamic Rule throughout the world.

Qatar is also busy in Cuba, renovating existing mosques and giving enormous donations to Muslim groups there.

Erdogan’s claim that Muslims discovered the Americas and using the Islamic Doctrine of “Offensive Jihad” and “Opening the Door”, is going to be a major problem for America. “Opening the Door” is when a Muslim steps foot on non-Muslim land.

A good example of “Offensive Jihad” is immigration — when Muslims step onto a land as immigrants, this can be a deliberate form of “Offensive Jihad” — a form of spreading Islam.

I will use al-Aqsa mosque in Israel as an example of “Defensive Jihad” because we may soon see similar types of “uprisings” in the Americas as we see in Israel, thanks to Erdogan’s comment that “Muslims discovered the Americas”.

According to Islamic Doctrine, al-Aqsa mosque, which Palestinians commit constant violence over, and which ISIS uses in its propaganda against Israel — states that al-Aqsa must be “liberated” from “occupation”. Islamic Doctrine states that Islam owns the land that Muslims have “opened”—or have stepped foot onto.

From that point on, Muslims are to “defend” that land – they must fight for it. This is called “defensive jihad”. Hence, in the case of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Muslims believe they must “liberate” their land from Israeli “occupation” — they must “defend” it.

This massive conversion of Hispanics and Latinos, not only in America, but in neighboring Christian countries, combined with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s build up of mosques and the conversion programs promoted in those mosques, means we must begin to become much more aware of Islam, its teachings and its doctrines. If we don’t know the symptoms of this growing cancer, we won’t be able to fight it.

Originally published at CheriBerens

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.