Free speech or jihad terrorism?
The case of accused Georgia jihadist Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, who was found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to aid terrorists, centered on that question. Prosecutors said he was gathering information on U.S. landmarks in order to plot jihad attacks; he said that when he made contact with jihadists overseas, he was simply trying to learn more about Islam.
Ehsanul Sadequee’s older sister, Sharanika Sonali Sadequee, said her brother was the real victim: “He’s being criminalized for dialoguing and exploring with other men….Lots of young folks are going to be exploring these issues.”
Exploring what issues, exactly? Syed Haris Ahmed, Sadequee’s friend and alleged co-plotter, has said that he and Sadequee discussed jihad — and specifically, attacks on oil storage facilities in the United States, in order to “disrupt the U.S. economy.” He and Sadequee met in chat rooms and discussed joining Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups.
They also discussed, according to Megan Matteucci of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “obtaining weapons, hiding from police and planning attacks.”
It’s noteworthy that Sadequee would try to characterize such discussions as trying to learn more about the Islamic faith — and perhaps sensing the many weaknesses of this argument, in his closing statement Sadequee (who is defending himself in court) maintained that all this talk was just bravado and braggadocio, not a genuine plan of action: “What the chats do demonstrate quite clearly,” he said, “is we are immature young guys who had imaginations that run wild. But I was not then, and I’m not now, a terrorist…Actions speak louder than words. You need to look at what is actually done.”
Or, as many of his ilk have said, America must not act preemptively, even in self-defense. “Wait until you’re attacked” is the underlying theme.
Sadequee’s sister declared that the entire case against Ehsanul Sadequee was “a complete violation of our constitutional First Amendment right.” Yet according to Matteucci, prosecutors said that Sadequee didn’t just exercise his First Amendment rights. He “provided videos of Washington landmarks to a convicted terrorist and talked of attacking U.S. oil refineries, along with Dobbins Air Force Base.”
These were, said Ahmed, “casing videos.” Prosecutors also say that Sadequee gave information to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a jihad terrorist group in Kashmir.
The free speech claim was especially ironic in light of the fact that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is warring against free speech on an international scale, working at the United Nations to compel member states to criminalize criticism of Islam — under which rubric they specifically include counterterror analysis of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to recruit and motivate terrorists. What’s more, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is on the warpath against free speech in the United States, working to shut down panel discussions on Islam in Chicago and San Diego that would have aired truths about Islam and jihad that CAIR would rather you did not know.
It is revealing that neither the OIC nor CAIR have had anything to say about the Sadequee case: they seem to be unconcerned when Muslims plot violence in the name of Islam, saving their ire for non-Muslims who dare to point out that Muslims are plotting violence in the name of Islam.
As he acted as his own defense attorney, Sadequee frequently veered off point, perhaps angling for an Insanity acquittal as he railed about the antichrist being Superman and Freemasons worshiping the devil. At one point U.S. District Judge William Duffey lectured him: “Mr. Sadequee, this is a court of law where evidence is presented. This can’t be turned into a room you can instruct others on ideological matters.”
That is no doubt true, but genuine “ideological matters” were actually decisive in Sadequee’s case. While political correctness increasingly compels government and law enforcement officials to turn their attention away from the Islamic beliefs that motivate jihad terrorism, Ehsanul Sadequee’s core beliefs about his responsibilities as a Muslim regarding unbelievers were in fact the key that explained the words and deeds for which he is now on trial.
“Actions speak louder than words,” says Sadequee, and that also holds true for the many Islamic jihad groups around the globe, include Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, that regularly commit violence against unbelievers. It is not “free speech” to plot destruction in the U.S. with such groups — and it is free speech to stand against such attempts, no matter how CAIR and the OIC may howl.