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What do Portland, OR, Minneapolis, MN and Raleigh, NC all have in common? Each of these locations has been the home of United States citizens convicted of terrorist activity.

In southwestern Portland, Oregon seven individuals formed a group called Katibat Al-Mawt, or squad of death. This group studied material on jihad and trained in weaponry and martial arts prior to the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Following the 9-11 bombings, the United States began its offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan October 7, 2001. This same month, the six men of Katibat Al-Mawt traveled to China and tried several times to cross into Pakistan. Failing because of visa problems and heightened Chinese security, they returned to Portland.

The lone female of the group is the ex-wife of one of the men. On September 26, 2003 she pled guilty to six counts of money laundering. She admitted to transferring money from the U.S. to an outside country for the purpose of helping her then husband supply services to the Taliban.

The following November of 2003, a federal judge sentenced the ex-husband and another member of the Oregon group to 18 years in prison. They pled guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy the previous month.

In February 2004, the remaining three members of the Oregon group were sentenced to eight and ten years in prison. The oldest man agreed to testify against the other two (who are brothers) in exchange for a reduced sentence.

On October 29, 2008, a United States citizen killed himself as a suicide bomber in northern Somalia. He had traveled there from his home in Minneapolis, MN for that purpose. Reportedly, he had recruited as many as 20 other young men who also traveled to Somalia. More than a dozen of those were men of Somali descent that vanished, leaving their families here to worry as Federal officials searched.

The resulting investigation has led to the arrest of two more Minnesota men. Both are US citizens and both pled guilty to terror related charges that stemmed from traveling to Somalia and joining forces with Islamic Militants. Of the remaining missing men, at least 3 are thought to have been killed.

Monday, July 28, 2009 found eight more individuals pleading guilty to charges related to terrorist activities. Of those eight, one was from Minnesota. The remaining defendants resided in Raleigh, NC. The North Carolina men – three of which were a father and his sons – were charged with plotting jihad (holy war) and participating in military training for attacks abroad. All of these men, except for one legal resident are United States citizens.

What does any of this have to do with the inhabitants of a tiny rural community in eastern Tennessee?

If you’ve read the first few pages of The Vision, you’ll know that these events parallel eerily with best-selling author Debi Pearl’s plot. Pleasantville, Tennessee is where Debi resides with her husband Michael Pearl. Neither Debi nor Mike could have known how current events would come together to give her book an added credibility at the time of publication. It is apparent however, that this couple has a grasp of world events as seen through their deep faith. In November of 2008, Michael Pearl wrote about a potential for upheaval in our nation in a No Greater Joy Magazine article entitled Hard Times Coming. No Greater Joy is the Pearls’ ministry. No Greater Joy Magazine is offered free online or with a subscription at www.nogreaterjoy.org. Check it out for a view of current events from a perspective beyond today’s headlines.


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