Of Islamic Terror, Anniversaries and You

LepantoYesterday, the Vigil of Peter and Paul, was the 2nd anniversary of ISIS (which Pres. Obama  – what a guy – called the “JV team”) declaring a “caliphate”.

Dates are important to Christians.  Dates are important to Islamic terrorists.  They attack on anniversaries.  Attack are also up since this years “Holy Month” of Ramadan began.  “Holy”…? The “Bloody Month” of Ramadan.  So far the count is 181 attacks, nearly 1,300 people dead. HERE

Today I read the Letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to Pope Francis for Peter and Paul. He wrote: “In concelebrating with You the venerable memory of the Chief among the Apostles Peter and the Apostle to the Gentiles Paul, who were martyred in Your See and honored greatly by the Elder as well as the New Rome, ….”

Yesterday, ISIS terrorist practitioners of the Religion of Peace murdered innocent people in Istanbul, aka Constantinople, aka the Second Rome or New Rome.

There may be, probably are, other reasons for these whack-jobs to attack in an Islamic nation Turkey, where their leader is pushing toward sharia law.  That makes sense, right?

ISIS has said that it will attack Rome.  Do we believe them? Think about it.  They must attack Rome.  It’s symbolic of everything they are about.

Moreover, today there met the “leaders” of these USA, Canada and Mexico (whence are rushing into these USA who knows who).  Brexit took place a few days ago.  The EU is shredding.  Istanbul was attacked.  These brain-trusts led off with global warming and butterflies.

Meanwhile, the Bloody Month of Ramadan continues until 5 July, a day after an important anniversary in these USA.

Dear readers, this is coming to a town near you.  Don’t brush this off with a shrug, saying, “It’ll never happen here.”   Bad things always happen to someone else … until they happen to you.

But don’t worry!   The Obama Administration says that ISIS is on the run!  HERE

Finally, another important date is 13 October 2017.


Attacks have me thinking.

I often beg you to be aware of your surroundings.

There came into my mind one of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, Gone Tomorrow (UK HERE).


If you want to read what I am talking about, click HERE.  ABC posted the first chapter, free to read.

They posted it on 29 June 2009.

WARNING: If you get hooked on Jack Reacher novels, blame Lee Child, not Fr. Z.

Here is the first part of the excerpt:

Chapter One

Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they’re nervous. By definition they’re all first-timers.

Israeli counterintelligence wrote the defensive playbook. They told us what to look for. They used pragmatic observation and psychological insight and came up with a list of behavioral indicators. I learned the list from an Israeli amy captain twenty years ago. He swore by it. Therefore I swore by it too, because at the time I was on three weeks’ detached duty mostly about a yard from his shoulder, in Israel itself, in Jerusalem, on the West Bank, in Leb anon, sometimes in Syria, sometimes in Jordan, on buses, in stores, on crowded sidewalks. I kept my eyes moving and my mind running free down the bullet points.

Twenty years later I still know the list. And my eyes still move. Pure habit. From another bunch of guys I learned another mantra: Look, don’t see, listen, don’t hear. The more you engage, the longer you survive.

The list is twelve points long if you’re looking at a male suspect. Eleven, if you’re looking at a woman. The difference is a fresh shave. Male bombers take off their beards. It helps them blend in. Makes them less suspicious. The result is paler skin on the lower half of the face. No recent exposure to the sun.

But I wasn’t interested in shaves.

I was working on the eleven-point list.

I was looking at a woman.

I was riding the subway, in New York City. The 6 train, the Lexington Avenue local, heading uptown, two o’clock in the morning.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. chantgirl says:

    I wonder if US intelligence agencies look at religious anniversaries as potential targets. The West seems to be unable to understand that Islam might motivate a terror attack just as it seems to be unable to understand that Catholics willingly went on the Crusades to protect pilgrims from Muslim violence. Some people actually take their religion quite seriously.

  2. Eugene says:

    Writing from Canada, I had to for a meeting to Toronto during this “pride” in perversity week, where the city is covered in that disgusting flag. Drving home I happened to drive by the USA Consulate which had almost half the building covered by the pride flag.
    My immediate thought- the once greatest country on earth, the country that contained the last vestiges of Christendom, the country we could depend upon for safety and security has. totally sold out to evil under President O.
    He and ou “catholic” prime minister don’t care about terrorism, but only about progressive “values” leading us to hell. Maranatha Lord Jesus

  3. Rosary Rose says:

    We serve an awesome God. His timing is perfect. Did anyone notice yesterday’s readings, after Father Z’s post on the SCOTUS decision? What timing.

    Acts 12:1-11, the Church prayed for Peter and an angel saved him from prison – The Church today must pray for the successor of Peter! The same God Who saved Peter will help us in this age.

    Psalm 34:2-9. Keep our eyes on God, He hears our prayers and answers them, He sends angels to protect us. Keep your eyes and heart on God! No matter what! When the storms rage around you, keep your eyes on Jesus.

    Matthew 16:13-19 Jesus gives Simon the name Peter and we have our first Pope – Christ established the Catholic Church. Learn your catechism, pray for Church. Pray for our Priests! Use the Sacraments to help you (while you still can)

    When Our Lady of Fatima warned us, she also told us what to do: pray the rosary daily and make a Five First Saturday devotion. This Saturday is a First Saturday! What timing.

    This is a time to pray, fast, and get in a state of Grace if you aren’t already.

    Take heart. We serve an awesome God who chose us to be alive at this moment.

  4. donato2 says:

    I worry that that President Obama was 100% correct when he called ISIS the JV team. The Varsity team may be yet to come. Western Civilization is collapsing before our very eyes. The collapse is more from internal rot than external attack.

  5. RWG says:

    Too late Fr. Z. I’ve been a Jack Reacher reader and fan for years.

  6. AvantiBev says:

    Thank you, Father Z, for being one of the few priests (along with Fr. George Rutler and my pastor, Fr. Frank Phillips) who hasn’t angered me these past 15 years by pushing an ecu-maniac goop of rainbows, open borders and “Coexist” bumpers while singing Kumbaiya.

    Father Vincent Capodanno pray for us!

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, the FBI and others pay attention. Right after 9/11, the FBI asked people to send in hints or clues regarding the attack. I wrote immediately and told them about the significance of September 11th, and 12th, plus I listed the long hundreds of years listings of the Christian victories over Islam, which cause hatred and revenge, including the victory on October 7th, the victory of Lepanto, now the Feast of the Holy Rosary, (and many more victories) I got a personal thank you for that list from the FBI.

    Historical awareness must be part of our own safety. Sadly, the lack of World History courses in high schools, a terrible thing which began in the early 1980s, means that there are now two generations who have no concept of the history of Europe, which causes political and religious confusion.

    Hilaire Belloc predicted that radical Islam would be an issue in decades to come and he wrote that between the two world wars. He understood history. He knew history.

    The fact that the Catholic Church celebrates on our liturgical calendar two huge victories of Christendom puts marks on all of our backs. And, for trivia, the croissant, which most of us eat now, dates from the September 11-12th victory over Islamic forces in the Great Battle of Vienna, 1683. This bun created by the Viennese is, of course, in the shape of the Islamic crescent. I suggest praying for the current situation every time you bite into one.

  8. chantgirl says:

    Supertradmum- Is there a history book you would recommend for my high school son that would cover this from a Catholic perspective?

    I understand why Islamic terrorists use religious anniversaries for attacks, but I don’t understand why they hit secular targets instead of religious ones. Why the world trade center on the anniversary of the battle of Vienna?

    We must be due for some sort of October 7th event in the coming years ( if Our Lady would allow it), and in the case of this feast day, it would make much more sense if the target was connected to the Papacy or Rome. I think that Fr. Z is right that an attack on Rome is a distinct possibility, and I hope security in the Vatican is up to the threat.

  9. Supertradmum says:


    I was a curricula consultant for several classic ed schools. If I can find the list of texts I recommended and used I can send these to you. However, I am travelling and those are not on this computer. Start with Hilaire Belloc. You have to understand that those of us who taught Classical Ed do not use textbooks but original texts. History from the greats, not texts…

    To the Islamic mind, nothing is “secular”. Our entire financial system, symbolized by the Two Towers, is not sharia financial law, but Western economics. Hence, a target, and an easy one…and more devastating than merely destroying a landmark church.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “There may be, probably are, other reasons for these whack-jobs to attack in an Islamic nation Turkey, where their leader is pushing toward sharia law.”

    Andrew McCarthy at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts to Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism” on Tuesday: “Islam has a rich and diverse history, and there are various interpretations of it, all vying for the mantle of ‘true Islam’ and denying it to one another. Innumerable factions of Muslims have been debating one another, often violently fighting amongst each other, for fourteen centuries.”

    Query: In how far is an attention not only to western solar calendar but also Muslim lunar calendar anniversaries important? Presumably, educated jihadists are attentive to both…

    “To the Islamic mind, nothing is ‘secular’.” I recently heard that ISIS are quite explicit in their publications that anyone who pays taxes to the US, UK, etc., is by virtue of that not some kind of ‘innocent non-combatant’ but a legitimate ‘military’ target.

  11. SKAY says:

    “ISIS has said that it will attack Rome.”

    After the 9/11 attack I was shocked like most Americans and began to try and understand what the attack was about. I remembered that in years past there was a discussion about terrorists hijacking
    a plane outside of the US borders and using it to fly into buildings but it was thought to be a ridiculous idea by some members of Congress.
    Frankly I had very little knowledge of Islam and what the religion was really about. Of course I
    knew about the Israeli/Palestinian conflicts and other problems in the Middle East but I still had
    a lot to learn(and still do). I came across a translation of a speech given by a Palestinian Imam.
    He talked about how they were going after the Big Satan(US) and the Little Satan(Israel) and then
    they were going to Rome. At that time I was not surprised that he said the US and Israel but the fact that he said “Rome” was an eyeopener for me.
    This has been the plan for a long time.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    chantgirl: In addition to the classics such as Belloc mentioned by Supertradmum, here’s a few more books:

    -Diane Moczar’s books such as Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know.

    -H. Crocker’s rollicking history of the Church “Triumph.”

    For further reading on these matters see:

    -Dore Gold’s informative “Hatred’s Kingdom.” The appendix has photographs of Palestinian children reenacting suicide bombings. There are also copies of spreadsheets and cancelled checks, in the original Arabic and summarized English, captured by the Israelis in 2002.

    -David Pryce-Jones’ insightful “The Closed Circle.” Essential background reading on dysfunctional Mideast societies and hatred of certain elements for the West.

    -Samuel Katz’s riveting “The Hunt for the Engineer”. How the Israelis tracked down master Hamas bomb maker Yahya Ayyash.

    -Kevin Freeman’s “Secret Weapon.” This is a book on economic warfare based on Freeman’s 2009 report to the Pentagon. Occasionally speculative, it is well worth the read. It addresses unusual stock market activity just prior to 9/11, concepts such as Dark Markets, Dark Pools, “Arboon,” and Sovereign Wealth Funds, and how these can be employed in the future.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator: Yes, the Islamic comprehension of time can differ from the West. Koran verses such as 9:36 allow Muslims to fight infidels during their holy months. (9:36 really doesn’t compare to the Peace of God or Truce of God from c.10th century Europe.)

    There are a number of websites and apps for Muslims to determine sunrise and sunset during Ramadan to begin and end the all-day fast. Some Imams prefer setting the fast according to the Koran 2:187 where an Imam will stand outside the mosque holding a black thread and a white thread. When the dawning sun allows him to distinguish between the two, the all day fast has begun. Some Muslims will drink tea or water during the fast, others won’t.

  14. chantgirl says:

    Thanks, all, for the reading suggestions.

    I guess if anything outside of the Caliphate is a target, it makes sense that there are no secular targets, just unconquered lands. I always assumed that Islam had more of a problem with the West’s Christian religious roots than our political and economic system. By attacking financial targets, it makes Islam appear to have an inferiority complex due to our more prosperous financial system. If their holy war were really about religion I would just expect more religious targets.

  15. KateD says:

    Islam is a religion of peace. The peace they refer to will come at the end of the world when the entire world converts to Islam and all infidels are killed. They are waiting for their great spiritual leader to make this happen. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to return and for the peace that will come with the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth at the end time. It occurs to me we are waiting for the same event, with different expected out comes. What/who does that make their great spiritual leader?

    Islam is set against Christianity.
    Practitioners are permitted to lie, and encouraged to rape and murder.


  16. Augustine says:

    In our Eastern Catholic parish, where many parishioners suffered the death of relatives under the religion of peace, our pastor is installing new cameras, encouraged parishioners with the proper training to pack heat and convened a security ministry, led by a judo black belt.

  17. Hristoroquen says:

    Here is a bit about Lee, aka Jim Grant. Interesting Tolkien connection. Too bad he begins this book with blasphemy against Our Lady, for which he will pay unless he repents… not likely given his history…No real military , SOF or intel experience…a fakir…..books mildly interesting..Casca-eesque for those with eyes to see….

    Lee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

    Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment.

    Lee has several homes—an apartment in Manhattan, country houses in England and the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

    Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

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