With the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and national focus on the actions of the ISIS terror group expanding rapidly, citizens of the United States of America have been reminded of the struggle to combat global terrorism.

But for the University of Richmond community, claims that the murder of sophomore Brendan Tevlin was an act of terror could be a sign that combating terrorism within U.S. borders is equally unsettled.

Ali Muhammad Brown, one of three men charged with Tevlin’s murder, told detectives that Tevlin’s death, as well as the deaths of three other men Brown is charged with killing in Washington state, were acts of revenge for U.S. military action in the Middle East. NJ.com reported Brown’s quotes from court documents filed in Washington in August.

“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government, so, a life for a life,” Brown said, according to the documents.

Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University, William C. Banks, told NJ.com that if the court papers were accurate, Brown could be facing much more than murder charges in either state or federal court.

Banks told NJ.com, “If he’s got the motivation that he announced he has, which is to exact revenge for the U.S. killing of Muslims in that part of the world, he’s a terrorist. It’s a matter of motivation.”

Tevlin, 19, was shot and killed in New Jersey on June 25, in what was initially thought by authorities to be a targeted homicide. But, as one radio host in New York pointed out last week, Brown’s alleged confessions show that this was potentially an act of domestic terrorism.

Todd Pettengill, host WPLJ's "The Todd Show," introduced his show Sept. 10, at a time when he “simply had to speak, no matter the consequences,” and proceeded to discuss Tevlin’s death for more than eight minutes.

Pettengill said: “If there was ever a reason to riot in the streets in the name of humanity it would for this case. But has that happened? No. And I’m not suggesting that it should. What I’m suggesting should happen is that this should be talked about and written about, and the American people should know.

“The loss of a young man, a son, a grandson, a brother, a friend to so many is always heartbreaking regardless of the circumstances. But this wasn’t a robbery, or a car accident, or a work place incident or an illness. It was in fact an act of jihad, perpetrated by a fellow American who sympathized more with those who want to annihilate us than with his own country and its people.”

Contact staff writer Jeremy Day at jeremy.day@richmond.edu

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