“Did we break something up? Yeah, we think we did,” said a law enforcement official involved in the case, speaking on condition of anonymity under Justice Department rules. “But we would not profess to say we had anything more than the potential for it.”
No, you didn’t.
A summary by the Washington Post called Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats on the “Paintball trials” that convicted 11 brothers in the DC area The picture that accompanies the article is fascinating to me because I was there that day praying outside with the brothers and sisters. Alhamdulillah, you cannot see the sister’s section but we prayed behind the brothers.
I don’t recall being aware that the photographers were taking pictures as we lined up to pray. I do however remember that their were several construction workers high up on one of the adjacent buildings under construction shouting obscenities at us as we prayed. Umar Lee was quoted in the article and he posted a clarification of his comments on his blog.
Over the past few years, the Alexandria Courthouse which is architecturally beautiful has become a place of so many unjust tactics, trials, and sentences. Men most of whom had no intention of harming anyone and indeed did not harm anyone were given sentences of life or more than life for refusing to lie against themselves or others.
Some brothers plea bargained with the prosecution and received sentences of 2-3 years and some have now been released. The prosecution offered each defendant a plea deal which would have seen sentences generally less than 5 years. If the men were so dangerous why would they offer very short sentences to avoid a trial unless they were afraid of an acquittal at trial due to the weakness of the evidence.
But the prosecution did a good job of keeping the juries in a state of fear by repeatedly invoking 9/11 and Osama bin Laden which in reality had nothing to do with any of the charges against these men. And now we see that Paul McNulty one of the lead prosecutors has been promoted to deputy Attorney General.
But how can one admit to a crime he did not commit? It is a brave and honorable act to stand up for real justice and not give in to the pressures to plea bargain. May Allah subhanhu wa ta ala protects us from ever having to make that decision.
Now, we have many families that have lost a son, wives have become effective widows, and children have become partial orphans. Surely, true justice will be meted out not in the courthouse in Alexandria but on the Day of Judgment.
What happened in those courtrooms was not an exercise of justice. It was not a victory for the war on terror rather it was a salvo in the war on Islam. Some of the points repeatedly highlighted by the prosecution to show the danger of these men:
- They were practicing Muslims.
- They would gather together to watch films or discuss the situation of Muslims around the world.
- They would go to the masjid more than once a day.
- They had books, audio lectures, or videos which are freely available that may not be politically correct but certainly are not illegal.
- They exercised freedom of speech.
- They played paintball together.
- They helped out other Muslims.
- A few received weapons training at a Laksha-e-Taiba base in Pakistan which at the time had not been designated a “terrorist group”.
And for these”crimes”, charge against charge was piled against them and they have been convicted in this temporal life but most certainly will be acquitted in the next life.
May Allah subhanhu wa ta ala protect them and their families and all of us. Ameen.