Commentary: FBI Refuses to Acknowledge Link Between Islam and Terrorism in Idaho Case

Alexander Scott Mercurio
by George Rasley


In a case that has gotten almost no establishment media attention the FBI has arrested Alexander Scott Mercurio, 18, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS in connection with a plot to conduct a suicide attack on a church.

After the arrest the Department of Justice issued a news release saying in part:

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Mercurio pledged his allegiance to ISIS and intended to commit attacks on its behalf. He planned to attack individuals at churches in Coeur d’Alene on April 7 using weapons, including knives, firearms, and fire…

“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant swore an oath of loyalty to ISIS and planned to wage an attack in its name on churches in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, the defendant was taken into custody before he could act, and he is now charged with attempting to support ISIS’s mission of terror and violence. The Justice Department will continue to relentlessly pursue, disrupt, and hold accountable those who would commit acts of terrorism against the people and interests of the United States.”

“The defendant allegedly pledged loyalty to ISIS and sought to attack people attending churches in Idaho, a truly horrific plan which was detected and thwarted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This investigation demonstrates the FBI’s steadfast commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to stop those who wish to commit acts of violence on behalf of – or inspired by – foreign terrorist groups.”

Who or what is this ISIS you might ask?

Even though the FBI’s affidavit goes into great detail describing Mr. Mercurio’s decision to become a Muslim and follow various tenets of Islam, Islam is mentioned only once in the initial statement of facts as incidental to the meaning of ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham.

For example, the FBI states that Mr. Mercurio “made a bay‘ah statement” with no explanation that the practice of bay’ah (the taking of an oath of allegiance) is one of the classic procedures for formalizing relations between individuals or organizations in the Muslim world. The concept has become fundamentally important within the global jihadi movement.

The concept is an oath of allegiance straight out of the Qur’an which promises conquest to those who make the pledge, “Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what it was in their hearts, so He felt down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.” (The Use of Bay’ah by the Main Salafi-Jihadist Groups, by Carlos Igualada and Javier Yagüe)

In an online chat monitored by the FBI, Mercurio explained his anxiety about being separated from his newly acquired Muslim faith, writing:”Brother please I don’t like asking this but please tell all brothers in GC to make dua [a prayer for assistance from Allah] for me, my parents want me to stop being muslim and praying and drop everything 100 percent tomorrow or they take away absolutely everything and send me to in-person school to make sure I don’t pray or if that doesn’t work send me to youth camp or juvenile hall or something IDK please I just don’t know what to do, this will probably be my last message in a long while…”

Yet, the FBI makes no direct connection between Mercurio’s stated preference for being Muslim and his decision to conduct a terrorist attack against a church.

In another chat monitored by the FBI, Mr. Mercurio writes:

“I thought about what you said, and to answer your question: My ideal self would be someone who is fulfilling all his religious obligations to the best of his ability; someone who is always striving for the sake of Allah however he can, whether that is with his pen, the mouse, the sword, or the paycheck; someone who is knowledgeable enough to always be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, permissible and forbidden; someone who is always ready to fight and give up everything for the sake of Allah at a moments notice; someone who upholds proper Islamic values, etiquette, creed, beliefs, and character; someone who is utterly sincere and steadfast in their religion regardless of the circumstances, never throwing the religion behind their back. My physical jihad without constraints would either be fighting on the frontlines or fighting on enemy soil, to kill and be killed.”

This is what’s called motive in other criminal cases. However, instead of drawing the obvious conclusion that Alexander Scott Mercurio’s decision to mount a terrorist attack on a Christian church was motivated by his adherence to Islam, and to be “someone who is always ready to fight and give up everything for the sake of Allah at a moments notice” the FBI said “This case should be an eye-opener to the dangers of self-radicalization, which is a real threat to our communities…”.

Self-radicalization to what? The FBI never says in its news release crowing about the arrest or in the charging document released after Mr. Mercurio was arrested.

However, in the FBI’s apparent blindness to the motive behind Mr. Mercurio’s planned attack on a church the Bureau does say, “Protecting the American people from terrorism remains the FBI’s number one priority, and we continue to encourage the public to report anything suspicious to the FBI or your local law enforcement.” To that end we invite them to review this video and take action.

– – –

George Rasley is Edotor at Conservative HQ.
Photo “Alexander Scott Mercurio” by Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office; background photo “Courtroom” by ohioduidefense.



Reprinted with permission by

Related posts