Follow that Muhammad

In the case of the five “Minnesota men” charged with seeking to join ISIS that is pending trial in May, prosecutors have given notice that they intend to introduce evidence that a member of the defendant Mohamed Farah’s defense team has been preaching jihad. That would be Imam Hassan Ali Mohamud, a legal assistant at the firm of P. Chinedu Nwaneri. Judge Davis ordered the parties to file their responses yesterday and set the matter for a hearing this afternoon. If the hearing takes place as scheduled, I’ll be there.

In a motion filed this morning, Nwaneri says let’s call the whole thing off. He seeks to withdraw as co-counsel representing Mohamed Farah.

Nwaneri’s co-counsel is Murad Mohammad. In his response yesterday, Mohammad argues that the prosecutors have a “paranoid” interpretation of jihad and that Mohamud’s comments concerning jihad “are in no way actionable or problematic.”

Mohammad even quotes the Koran in Arabic and English to make his argument. Mohammad argues that jihad means “‘struggle’ within oneself” and as such is good. Defendant Mohamed Farah’s alleged effort to travel to Syria to wage jihad adds an additional layer of, ah, complexity. Quotable quote: “The entire conflict is a product of the Government’s paranoid (or worse) imagination that any theological or historical statement that uses the Arabic term for struggle implicates a potential crime. The Government’s imagination reflects nothing but their own election to present their case in somewhat phobic terms.”

What did the original Muhammad mean by “jihad”? What did Imam Mohamud mean by “jihad”? What did Mohamed Farah mean by “jihad”?

The Star Tribune reports on yesterday’s filings here. I will only add that in the land of sky blue waters, you can’t tell the Muhammads without a scorecard.