A Terrorist Speaks

We wrote here about the impending sentencing of would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and the revealing sentencing memorandum that the prosecutors filed in support of their request for a sentence of life imprisonment. Yesterday, federal judge Miriam Cedarbaum imposed that sentence. Shahzad instructed his lawyers to remain silent, and used the occasion to engage in a colloquy with Judge Cedarbaum. Shahzad announced himself a Muslim soldier and said that he is proud of his terrorist activities:

“Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun,” 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad told a federal judge. … “We are only Muslims trying to defend our religion, people, homes and land, but if you call us terrorists, then we are proud terrorists and we will keep on terrorizing you until you leave our lands and people at peace.”

Much could be said of yesterday’s events, but I will note just two points. First, this exchange about Shahzad’s naturalization as an American citizen:

The judge cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.
“I did swear, but I did not mean it,” Shahzad said.

I believe the Koran approves of such oath-taking with one’s fingers crossed. Second, this comment by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro:

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the administration was pleased with the sentencing.
“We tried the case in a civilian court, we were able to use everything that he said and everything that we uncovered for intelligence collection purposes,” he said. “His trial served no propaganda purpose for al-Qaida, and only underscored the strength of our justice system.”

“No propaganda purpose”? I don’t understand that claim. No doubt every pro-terrorist news outlet in the Muslim world will hail Shahzad as a hero, quote his words in open court, and urge other Muslims to follow his example. Was that not, in fact, the principal intended audience for his self-justification? The Obama administration needs to get over the idea that every time a terrorist is caught it is America’s system of justice, not the terrorist, that is on trial.
Andy McCarthy has much more, including this observation:

[W]hether they are right or wrong, there are millions upon millions of Muslims who believe exactly what Shahzad believes about the nature of jihad and the demands of sharia. It is of no moment to them that we do not see ourselves as at war with Islam, or that we see the victims of terrorism as “innocent.” They see things as Shahzad sees them, even if they are not willing to go the next step of commiting acts of terrorism, as Shahzad is.
From the perspective of American national security, it does not matter if those Muslims are wrong about Islam. What matters is that there are a lot of them and they constitute a mainstream current of Islamic thought. They have the support of influential Islamic scholars who tell them Islam is under siege, and they don’t care in the slightest whether Western intellectuals (at whom they scoff) or Muslim reformers (whom they regard as apostates) think they have interpreted Islam incorrectly.

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