U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Muslim cleric and influential member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP):
"The death of Anwar al-Awlaki is another significant victory in the global war on terror. I applaud the American military and intelligence community for eliminating one of the single greatest threats to our nation's security. On the heels of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, the death of al-Awlaki will add further disorder to the already reeling al-Qaeda network and its affiliates across the globe. I commend President Barack Obama for his commitment to eliminating the threat posed by al-Awlaki.
"In stark contrast to the peaceful teachings of Islam embraced by more than a billion devout Muslims around the world, Anwar al-Awlaki preached a culture of hate. For years, al-Awlaki called for the violent overthrow of the United States and used his position as an influential cleric to persuade other Muslims to embrace Jihad. He publicly stated that a, "culture of martyrdom needs to be revived because the enemy of Allah fears nothing more than our love of death," and ""it is necessary for you to join a group that has Jihad as its main objective."
"As a powerful member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, al-Awlaki also provided religious guidance to several of the 9/11 hijackers; counseled Major Nidal Hasan, who later killed 13 people and wounded 30 others in cold blood at Fort Hood, Texas; and provided assistance to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national who attempted to destroy Northwest Airlines flight 253 as it landed in Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day 2009.
"Last year, I introduced a measure encouraging the U.S. Department of State to consider al-Awlaki's actions against America as a voluntary relinquishing of his citizenship. Shortly, I will be reintroducing similar legislation to allow the Department to investigate the actions of American citizens who take up arms against the U.S. and make an administrative determination if the individual intended to renounce his or her citizenship. Following that determination, the individual can challenge the findings in federal court.
"As I have stated in the past, the death of a single terrorist leader like al-Awlaki is certainly a major step forward in the dismantling of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, but it by no means represents an end to the global war on terror. The activities of al-Awlaki, coupled with recent news that a Massachusetts man was plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol and Pentagon, reminds us the radicalization of American citizens is a very serious threat to our safety. The American people must remain dedicated to combating extremism and vigilant in working to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad."