ISIS' threats, Americans' fears growing

by Karen L. Willoughby, |
ISIS tanks on parade in Raqqa, Syria. | CNN/Youtube/screen capture

MOSUL, Iraq (Christian Examiner) – In a new video, terrorists of the Islamic State say they are going to behead U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House and turn America into a Muslim province.

Meanwhile, new information shows Americans' fears are growing about the jihadists' resolve to attack targets in the United States. 

A masked ISIS fighter on the video warns of attacks on France, Belgium and against the Kurds, and promises car bombings in European nations that are part of the coalition fighting ISIS. The video shows the gruesome beheading of a Kurdish soldier with the threat "this is the fate of anyone who opposes Islam."

"Know, Oh Obama, that we will reach America," the fighter added. "Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province."

Importantly, it appears the continued savagery in the Middle East is impacting Americans' view of the Islamic extremists' ability and intention to import their terrorism to North America.

A CNN/ORC poll published March 19 showed 80 percent of Americans now say ISIS poses a serious threat to the United States. That is a sizeable increase from last September when 63 percent of Americans thought so.

An additional 79 percent said they are "very" or "somewhat" worried that the fight against ISIS will balloon into a war that could expand across the region, up from 65 percent from the fall.

At the same time, Americans' confidence in the military's strategy to defeat IS terrorism has dropped from 61 percent to 56 percent.

Despite the growing fears and flagging confidence, a Pew study released in February shows growing public support for the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic militants but also reveals a divided opinion about using U.S. ground troops.

About twice as many respondents approved than those who disapproved of the military campaign against the jihadist fighters group in Iraq and Syria (63 percent to 30 percent). The margin from a fall survey was 57 percent to 33 percent. Meanwhile, data confirms Americans are becoming more open to sending ground forces to the area, but the issue remains divisive.

In the most recent Pew survey, 47 percent favored sending U.S. soldieers to fight in Iraq and Syria, but 49 percent still oppose the idea. But that is a big change from October when only 39 percent supported the idea and 55 percent opposed it.