University of Denver expert warns of more terrorist attacks and the dangers of self-radicalization

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 20:37:56-04

University of Denver Director of the Center for Middle East Studies said there appears to be a lot of similarities between the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting and previous attacks.  

"We in many ways have seen this story before. The parallels with the San Bernardino massacre are very poignant and direct," said Nader Hashemi.

Hashemi is referring to the couple in the San Bernardino shooting who were both self-radicalized, similar to the Orlando mass murderer.

President Obama said on Monday that Omar Mateen, who took the lives of 49 people in Orlando, appears to have also been motivated by online extremist propaganda.

MORE | What we know about the gunman behind the Orlando nightclub mass shooting

In both shootings, the gunmen were inspired by ISIS but not directed by the terrorist group.

"One of our biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the internet," said President Obama.

"That's incredibly difficult to stop because we live in a free society," said Hashemi.

Hashemi said because online radicalization is much harder for police to stop, ISIS is using these lone wolf attacks to wage war.

"Inspire people to stage attacks in their name as a way of sending a message, despite territorial loses, the setbacks there still a formative force," he said.

As ISIS continues to grow its online and social media propaganda, Hashemi believes we will continue to see similar "homegrown" terrorist attacks.

MORE | Officials say Orlando shooter was a 'homegrown extremist'

"There is going to be further attacks of this nature, of this form, motivated by similar individuals -- this is not ending anytime soon," he further explained.

Hashemi said the challenge for law enforcement is to come up with a way to better track self-radicalization without giving up on our rights as Americans.

"I don't think there's any quick fix here, any simple solution," he said.