They're scratching their heads in Houston over this one: "A Saudi Arabian national who slashed a Jewish friend's throat after apparently undergoing a religious reawakening has pleaded guilty to murder rather than face trial." This from the Houston Chronicle, with thanks to Mrs. Obelix and Nicolei.
Mohammed Ali Alayed, 23, faces up to 60 years in prison for the Aug. 6 attack in which Ariel Sellouk was almost decapitated with a knife.
He got 60 years because of a deal made involving his guilty plea. The case was not tried as a hate crime; another story about the case explains that
although there was no direct evidence the killing was a hate crime, attorneys said jurors might have been particularly unsympathetic to Alayed because the slaying raised the specter of Islamic extremism and stereotypes surrounding terrorists. "Now is not a good time to be trying a case with these facts," said Alayed's attorney, George Parnham. "I believe a jury well could have given him a life sentence."
That has been known to happen in murder cases. Meanwhile, the prosecution agreed:
Prosecutor Stephen St. Martin said there was no clear motive in the killing, which Alayed's roommate witnessed. There was no strategic advantage to prosecuting the slaying as a hate crime, because that and murder by itself carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, St. Martin said.
The connection to his "religious reawakening" apparently was made by the Chronicle, not by authorities in Houston. Police can't find a motive -- they're just sure that the murder didn't have anything to do with religion:
Although Alayed went to a local mosque after the slaying and no clear motive was established, Houston police said they could not find any evidence that Sellouk, also 23, was killed because of his race or religion.
Nevertheless, these are the facts of the case:
Alayed, of the 2500 block of Winrock, was arrested Aug. 14 in a friend's empty Galleria-area apartment.
According to the victim's father, Michel Sellouk, the victim
became friends with Alayed a few years ago. He said Alayed underwent 'a religious experience' about two years ago, became a devout Muslim and broke off contact with Ariel. On the day of the slaying, Sellouk said, Alayed called his son and suggested they get together. The two had drinks at a bar before going to Alayed's apartment about midnight. Alayed's roommate told police the two were not arguing before Sellouk was killed.
No clear motive? Not a hate crime? This is a craven example of the astounding state of denial that dominates the public discourse today about radical Islam. Did prosecutors investigate the possibility that in the course of his religious reawakening Alayed may have come across the hadith collection Mishkat Al-Messabih? It states:
When judgment day arrives, Allah will give every Muslim, a Jew or Christian to kill so that the Muslim will not enter into hell fire" (vol. 2, no. 5552).
Did they take note of the fact that a recent Muslim murderer of a Jew in France cried after the deed, "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven"?
I am quite sure that they did not. I am quite sure that they thought that ignoring the possibility that Alayed's murder was an exercise of jihadist hatred would be better in the long run. Better not to stir up trouble. But they are only buying for us more trouble down the road.