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PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Terror Comes to (My) Heartland

Posted by kinchendavid on December 10, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
Editor, Huntington News Network

Hinton, WV – “O, by gosh, by golly, it’s time for Santa….” HOLD it right there, Pilgrim. The war on terror is getting mighty close to where I grew up, in small-town Northern Illinois, south of Rockford, the second biggest city in Illinois.

According to the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 9, 2006 (see this link)


A 22-year-old convert to Islam named Derrick Shareef, from Rockford, is charged with plotting to use hand grenades and a pistol to terrorize shoppers at the CherryVale Shopping Center outside of Rockford, IL, according to federal authorities.

“It’s time for Santa and Kris Kringle” indeed! The plot by this “convert” shows that we have to be on guard for fanatics of all faiths, regardless of race, creed or color. There was no identification of Shareef’s race in the Trib story, but the other Chicago daily, The Sun-Times, said his father was a member of the Nation of Islam, while the rest of the family was Christian.

Yeah, I know seeking for logic in human beings is like looking for signs of intelligent life on earth, but the final comment in the story is another exercise in political correctness: “Muslim leaders in Rockford urged the public not to associate the alleged incident with the Islam faith.

’We know of no one who pursues this type of violence,’ said Imam Shpendim Nadzaku. ‘This is not what we believe.’ ”

This is the kind of boilerplate quote reporters for mainstream media outlets put in, to assure potentially terrified Christmas (and Hanukkah) shoppers that most Muslims are peaceful people. Yeah, like the 19 men responsible for the 9/11 attacks. We keep hearing what a religion of peace Islam is and we also hear of stories like this out of America’s heartland. If you’re not safe in Winnebago County (Rockford) or Ogle County (Rochelle, where I grew up) or DeKalb County (where I attended Northern Illinois University) where are you safe?

Federal agents and an undercover informant followed Shareef from the plot’s onset, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said on Dec. 8, 2006. According to the Trib: “Authorities didn’t specify how they originally learned of Shareef. Many elements of Shareef’s alleged plot, including the idea to attack the mall, came from the informant, the charges said. Shareef acted alone, and the public was never in any danger, authorities said.”

This really reassures me!

How about this: “In a recorded conversation with the informant on Nov. 29, Shareef discussed attacking a courthouse in DeKalb County, according to the complaint. ‘I just want to smoke a judge,’ he allegedly said. The next day, the informant suggested the mall become the target. ‘I mean, all right, we gotta look at it this way, we want to disrupt Christmas,’ the informant is quoted as saying in the criminal complaint. Shareef allegedly responded: ‘Oh hell yeah, the mall is where it’s at.’”

Possibly associating the retailing industry with members of a specific group, “Shareef was recorded spewing hatred for Jewish people and the American justice system, authorities allege.”

According to the Tribune story, Shareef was arrested without incident after the exchange and appeared in federal court in Chicago on Friday, Dec. 8, 2006.

“His attorney did not issue a statement but said Shareef was aware of his rights and understood the proceedings,” the story said. “He was held without bail on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and damage or destroy a building. Under the law, grenades are considered weapons of mass destruction. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.”

OK, let’s have another chorus of “Silver Bells” (from the “Lemon Drop Kid, a 1951 flick starring Bob Hope).

For another take on the foiled terror plot to take everybody out of Christmas, with more of Shareef’s background, read this story:


For a column in the Rockford Register-Star (I delivered the Register-Republic, a predecessor newspaper of the Register-Star as a grade school kid) on the incident:


One Response to “PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Terror Comes to (My) Heartland”

  1. “I know seeking for logic in human beings is like looking for signs of intelligent life on earth”

    I am invested in almost nothing except logic, and I can prove it. If you want to compare notes, my Skype address is joshua.pomerantz.

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