Ali al-Timimi won’t help convince many that Muslims shouldn’t be watched carefully:
Prosecutors said the defendant — a native U.S. citizen who has an international following in some Muslim circles — wielded enormous influence among a group of young Muslim men in northern Virginia who played paintball games in 2000 and 2001 as a means of training for holy war around the globe.
Five days after Sept. 11, al-Timimi addressed a small group of his followers in a secret meeting and warned that the attacks were a harbinger of a final apocalyptic battle between Muslims and non-believers. He said they were required as Muslims to defend the Taliban from a looming U.S. invasion, according to the government.
While nobody ever joined the Taliban, four of the defendant’s followers subsequently traveled to Pakistan in late September 2001 and trained with a militant group called Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Three of them testified that their intention had been to use the training they received from the group to join the Taliban and fight in Afghanistan, and that it was al-Timimi’s speech that inspired them to do so.
Of course, freedom of speech and religious freedom were a big part of the defense.
Al-Timini was convicted of charges including soliciting others to levy war against the United States and inducing others to use firearms in violation of federal law. The firearms convictions require mandatory life imprisonment.
Defense lawyer Edward MacMahon said, “Obviously we’re disappointed in the verdict. We’ll file a motion to set aside the verdict and to request a new trial.”
A new trial might not even be necessary:
Judge Leonie Brinkema agreed to allow al-Timimi to remain free on bond pending his sentencing in July. Prosecutors had argued that federal law required the judge to immediately revoke bond when convicted of such serious charges, but Brinkema said the law allows her discretion “when there is a reasonable basis for reversal” of the convictions on some counts.
Remember, many have suggested that the war on terror should be fought primarily with law enforcement and the courts and not the military.
UPDATE: Kevin at Wizbang writes:
What do Martha Stewart and and Muslim Cleric Ali Al-Timimi, who was convicted of of urging his followers to go to Afghanistan and help the Taliban fight U.S. military forces, have in common?
They’re both free to roam around their house wearing only a electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
This July he will have his sentence hearing but until then he will be tanning in his backyard and grilling hot dogs while he continues his apocalyptic ministry of hate and death.
I have no illusions that law enforcement and the courts are not vital components of this World War. And I have no illusions that military force alone is enough to carry the day. But if our military performed anything like our law enforcement (see the Border Patrol and the Federal Air Marshal Service) or our courts (this case, for example) we would be doomed. And I’ve written before that pressure against stricter enforcement of laws will build as time goes by.
But America won’t be safe if any Bible Banging Judges are approved.