Understanding the Jihadi Threat: An interview with Chris Gaubatz


It’s a word that evokes a thousand memories with just one simple word. Memories of 9/11. Of recent bombings or news stories.  Of political speeches and rallies.

It’s a word that in one brief instance can be both divisive — “us” against the terrorists – as well as uniting: we, the survivors, the heartbroken, or protectors.

But even among those who are united in our want or need to protect our country, there is all too much opportunity for misunderstanding and reaction when it comes to this all-too-important, hot button topic.


Join presenter Chris Gaubatz, Vice President of Understanding the Threat.com to learn about:

  • The jihadi threat, including their strategy and modus operandi.
  • The jihadi groups operating within the United States, including their doctrine, organizations, and strategy.
  • The role of state and local law enforcement in dismantling the jihadi network in the US. 



Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Your webinar is about the Jihadi Threat to America? Can you give us a sense of what that threat is? And what that means to the average patrol officer or first responder?

 Chris Gaubatz: Jihadis, whether we are talking about Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Taliban, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood et al, they all say that they are Muslims waging jihad to establish a global Islamic State (Caliphate) under Sharia.  Whether a jihadi is operating in the Middle East, Europe, or North America, they are all saying the same thing.  Understanding the Threat trains law enforcement who the enemy is, why they are fighting, and how they can locate, investigate, and prosecute terrorists (jihadis).




“If you can’t discuss the enemy,

you necessarily cannot defeat them.”

Chris Gabautz,
Understanding the Threat


JCH: You mention “Jihadi Threat” specifically? Can you compare this to perhaps other forms of terrorism that America and our first responders should be aware of?

 Chris: 100% of authoritative Islamic law defines jihad as ‘warfare against non-muslims’.  Total warfare- to include media, propaganda, interfaith dialogue, intelligence, espionage, kinetic, political influence, and law enforcement outreach (sensitivity training etc).  This is an international movement with influence at every level of the US national security apparatus.  There simply isn’t any other group operating in the US that compares to the jihadi movement.



JCH: How does one walk that balance between being “vigilant and aware” without becoming Islamaphobic, or even biased in their outlook?

Chris:  It’s good that you bring this up. Typically, we think of the term, ‘Islamaphobia’ as an American media-coined term to describe the unrealistic fear of Muslims.

However, most people don’t realize ‘Islamophobia’ is also a tactic used by jihadi organizations, to include the Muslim Brotherhood, which according to evidence entered into the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial in US history, the US v Holy Land Foundation, has the same goals as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (to create a Caliphate under sharia, or Islamic law). The purpose behind the ‘Islamophobia’, smear is to shut down any discussion of jihad and sharia. If you can’t discuss the enemy, you necessarily cannot defeat them.

Law enforcement needs to know what jihadis believe, and how they operate to effectively protect their communities; this isn’t a matter of bias, it is about officer safety and situational awareness.


Fighting terrorism is like being a goalkeeper.

You can make a hundred brilliant saves

but the only shot that people remember

is the one that gets past you.

Paul Wilkinson (1937-2011),
terrorism expert and director of the
Director of the University of St Andrews Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
London Daily Telegraph, September 1, 1992




JCH: While terrorism is a popular topic right now, usually people who actually work in this arena are passionate about the topic. What drew you to this area of justice? What keeps you motivated and engaged in this arena?

 Chris: I conducted undercover research with Hamas doing business as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) for six straight months in 2008.  The book, ‘Muslim Mafia’, by Paul Sperry and my father, Dave Gaubatz (Air Force Office of Special Investigations) was published in 2009.  The book was based in large part on my experience undercover, and the over 12,000 pages of documents obtained throughout the course of the project.  I have been passionately involved in counter-jihad work ever since.



“Like slavery and piracy,

terrorism has no place in the modern world.”

President George W. Bush,
Address to the United Nations General Assembly,
September 23, 2008



JCH: A large number of our readers and subscribers are in law enforcement, but we have representation from all parts of the justice arena. Can you share some specifics of what different types of justice professionals or first responders will gain by attending your webinar? What skills or new knowledge will they gain that they can immediately use the next day on the job?

Chris: Locating, investigating, and dismantling the jihadi network is truly a team effort.  Law enforcement, first responders, prosecutors, judges, public relations all need to understand this threat so that they are better able to protect their communities.


To Watch “Understanding the Jihadi Threat,” click here.


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