In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Thank God they were caught. Two men – with extensive criminal backgrounds – were arrested on charges of plotting to attack a military processing center in Seattle, Washington. According to the complaint:
Both men are U.S. citizens and converts to Islam, according to the charges. Abdul-Latif is a felon who spent 2 ½ years in prison on robbery and assault charges. Mujahidh had been living in Los Angeles, but came to Seattle as the plan developed, according to the charges. He has no felony criminal history, although he was named in a civil domestic-violence protective order filed in King County in 2007 by his wife.
The men are charged with conspiracy to murder U.S. officers, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (a grenade) and other firearms-related counts. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler ordered them held pending a detention hearing next Wednesday. The maximum penalty for the crimes is life in prison; however, the firearms-related counts carry 30-year mandatory minimum sentences.
There are a number of important points that must be made.
First, thank God they were caught. If what is alleged against them is actually true, it would have been a heinous crime, such as that in Fort Hood, Texas. This is not the way to change policy, and in no way does Islam sanction such methods. If you disagree with our nation’s foreign policy, then you work peacefully to change that policy – not kill and maim people. Period.
Second, the men are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. While the charges are serious, we must let due process take its course. Third, it is important to point out that the actions of these men are an aberration, the actions of a criminal mind (if what is alleged against them is true). They are not representative of the Muslim community, or Islam, or Muslims in general. As the U.S. Attorney said:
These are the actions of individuals who adhere to a violent and extreme ideology and do not represent and should not reflect on the Muslim community as a whole. We hope there is no backlash here. That would not be fair or what we stand for.
Fourth, and most importantly, the plot was foiled by another Muslim. As reported in the complaint:
The complaint details an escalating plot discovered by police on May 30 after Abdul-Latif approached another man who he believed shared a radical Islamic ideology.
The charges allege that Abdul-Latif had known the man for several years and believed he could help him obtain weapons he wanted to use to attack the U.S. military because of events in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The man, however, went to Seattle police. The complaint does not identify the informant by name, but describes him as a five-time felon who was paid for his efforts.
True, the informant was not a model citizen. Nevertheless, this shows the fact that – rather than being complicit in terror plots, as Congressman Peter King (R-NY) alleges – the American Muslim community is an active participant in the fight against terror. Many plots, in fact, were foiled by the Muslim community itself.
We love this country, and we are against anyone – Muslim or otherwise – who seeks to harm this country and her people. Thank God these men were caught, and if what is alleged against them is true, may they receive the judgment and justice they deserve.
May God protect our country and protect the Muslim community from barbaric criminals who would do something like this. Amen.