Adnan Babar Mirza's alleged jihadist activity and his more conventional charitable activity and dawa, or Islamic proselytizing, in the community are not mutually exclusive. Qur'an 9:60 provides for the allocation of zakat to "those whose hearts are to be reconciled," but also for those fighting in the cause of Allah. Similarly, one will recall that, on the morning of his rampage at Ft. Hood, Nidal Hasan gave away food and Qur'ans. And Islamic organizations like Hizballah and Hamas boast of their "social services" in addition to armed jihad. One neither rules out nor excuses the other.
Jurors on Monday heard two wildly different views of ex-Houston Community College student Adnan Babar Mirza, who is on trial for possessing weapons illegally and conspiring to give money to the Taliban.
Federal prosecutors painted Mirza as having violated the terms of his student visa, participated in military-like training in Texas woods in preparation for aiding U.S. enemies in Afghanistan and hoping to get some money to the Taliban, a designated terrorist organization.
His lawyer, David Adler, told jurors that Mirza was a good student who regularly fed Houston's homeless and worked with Houston police on a local public access channel to explain Muslim ways to police and citizens.
Adler said his client did learn to fire a weapon, but never violated his visa and wanted to send money to war victims, not to the Taliban.
Mirza, 33, sat in court wearing glasses and a beige suit across the room from a 14-person panel of jurors and alternates in U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein's court.
A co-defendant, Kobie Diallo Williams, previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in which he admitted to paramilitary training and donating money to the Taliban. He was sentenced to 4½ years in prison.
Jurors were shown a picture of Mirza and three other men in front of a tent while camping in Willis. In the photo were Williams, an FBI informant and an undercover agent.
Prosecutor Jim McAlister told jurors he expects to prove that Mirza violated his student visa by holding an unspecified job, and that made it illegal for him to have weapons or ammunition, while camping or otherwise.
McAlister said these weren't just camping weekends, but were paramilitary training weekends. "(They) intended to go to Afghanistan and fight, and it was not to fight for the Americans," the prosecutor said....