What would it take for you to commit mass murder in the name of Allah?
Would you do it for money? For love? Out of a sense of justice? Out of a sense of religious duty?
Absurd as they may seem, these are serious questions, for as jihad mass-murder plots are being uncovered in the United States more frequently than ever, those accused of perpetrating them, and several Islamic groups, increasingly are charging entrapment: that overzealous FBI agents pushed poor innocent Muslims into taking part in a jihad plot that otherwise would never have existed.
And so it was last Tuesday, when a 21-year-old convert to Islam, Antonio Martinez (who now calls himself Muhammad Hussain), faced a federal grand jury and was charged with attempted murder of members of the U.S. military (which he sees as an enemy of Islam), along with attempting to set off a weapon of mass destruction.
The newly minted Muhammad Hussain’s defense attorney, Joseph Balter, declared that his client would “vigorously contest the charges,” and was considering claiming entrapment. The same possibility has been raised in the case of Mohamed Mohamud, a Muslim in Portland, Ore., who tried to murder those who had gathered for the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Mohamud’s case is strikingly similar to Hussain’s, in that both involved Islamic jihadists’ attempt to explode bombs that they did not know were harmless decoys supplied to them by FBI agents — rather than the real thing.
Islamic advocacy groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have also complained about law enforcement officials’ use of informants inside mosques, claiming in some cases that the jihad plots thereby thwarted would never even have existed in the first place if undercover agents hadn’t started meddling.
Yet charges of entrapment are silly responses for Muhammad Hussain, Mohamed Mohamud, or any Muslim caught in a jihad terror plot. For there is every indication that Hussain and Mohamud were more than willing to do whatever was necessary to enable them to murder large numbers of Americans. This was not something they needed to be enticed into doing.
Prosecutors in Hussain’s case say he passed up several chances to back out, even after he got news about how Mohamud had been caught, and how those he had thought were fellow jihadists turned out to be FBI agents.
What’s more, the very fact they went ahead with their plots ought to be sufficient indication in itself that there was no entrapment. Think about it: what would it take to lead you to participate in a terrorist mass-murder plot? If undercover agents approached you and tried to entice you into working to kill large numbers of innocent people, how hard would it be to convince you to do it?
Speaking strictly for myself, I have absolutely no worries of ever being entrapped in this way; there is simply nothing, under any circumstances, that anyone could say to me to convince me to blow anyone up. And so if someone showed up and started trying to cajole me into doing so, I would find him irritating, but I wouldn’t even come close to doing anything that would enable anyone to portray me as guilty of anything. Muhammad Hussain and Mohamed Mohamud, in contrast, went ahead with their jihad mass-murder plots. Law enforcement agents were not to blame and cannot justly be held accountable for their choices.
These increasingly common charges of entrapment should be seen for what they are: yet another attempt to divert attention from the ugly reality of Islamic jihad activity in the United States and around the world, and to place the responsibility for jihadist misdeeds upon non-Muslims — specifically the ones who are trying to thwart the jihadists’ plans. After September 11, 2001, we were assured again and again that the vast majority of Muslims in the United States and worldwide were peaceful, and sincerely condemned such violence perpetrated in the name of their religion. Yet more than nine years later, we still have yet to see a sincere and effective effort within mosques to expose and report those who hold to the beliefs that led to those attacks.
Instead, we get more finger-pointing. And that means we will also get more jihad.