Ms. Ali regrets

Two women from Minnesota’s large Somali community went on trial yesterday in federal district court in Minneapolis before Judge Michael Davis, a judge before whom John and I have litigated and whom we greatly respect. He is an extraordinarily decent man, both on and off the bench.

The two Somali women are charged with raising money for the Somali Islamist terror group al-Shahab. The long-running investigation into al-Shahab out of the FBI’s Minneapolis office has resulted in numerous guilty pleas by previously charged Minnesota Somalis. The FBI believes that at least 21 Minnesota Somalis have returned to Somali to join al-Shabab. We are a little concerned that they might want to return to Minnesota when they finish up their training with al-Shahab.

Even though yesterday’s proceedings were devoted to jury selection, they proved surprisingly eventful. Judge Davis held defendant Amina Farah Ali in contempt for failing to stand as court convened and recessed several times during the day, and later sentenced her to 50 days in jail. Amy Forliti is covering the trial of the AP. She reports:

“I have said I am doing this for religious reasons,” Ali said through a court interpreter. “I am not going to stand up for anyone except Allah.”

“I worry about my salvation,” she said later.

It’s not the first time Ali has made her faith an issue in the courtroom. When she was arraigned after her arrest last year, she told the court she thought she was arrested because of her Muslim faith, and that she did not need an attorney because “Allah is my attorney.”

During court Monday, she continued to stand by her principles.

“When I came to this country, I was told I’d have freedom of religion,” Ali said through a translator. “If I am not allowed to do so, you can kick me out of this country.”

Scott said Ali is refusing to stand based on her interpretation of the hadith, the words of the Prophet Muhammad. Scott said his client believes that since Muhammad told people not to stand for him, she should stand for no one but God.

Ali’s refusal to observe courtroom decorum opens up a new front in the jihad. Codefendant Hawo Mohamed Hassan has declined to join in this particular campaign.

Forliti notes that Ali and her codefendant are American citizens. When it came time to swear allegiance to the United States at her naturalization ceremony, do you suppose Ali took the oath?

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