This AP story calls Hemant Lakhani a “British businessman” who was evidently meeting someone from a “Somali militant group.” Nowhere do they think it important for you to know that Lakhani is a Muslim who was hoping to “launch a ‘jihad’ against a U.S. commercial airline.” This is just one example of why the American public in general continues to be so woefully uninformed about the threat of jihad terror: case after case like this is reported as if it had nothing to do with Islamic jihad at all. The struggle, we are led to believe, is against the shadowy bin Laden and his band of fanatics, and that’s all. The possibility that such people as Hemant Lakhani, motivated apparently on their own by the jihadist imperative, could even exist is never considered — or allowed to be considered.
“Briton Gets 47 Years in Jail for Missile Plot,” from AP, with thanks to DC Watson:
NEWARK, N.J. “” A British businessman convicted of trying to smuggle shoulder-launched missiles into the U.S. was sentenced Monday to 47 years in prison, effectively a life sentence for the elderly man.
The alleged plot involved the sale of missiles to a group that Hemant Lakhani, 70, thought would use them to shoot down commercial airliners. The weapons’ buyer and seller were actually government agents.
Lakhani was convicted in April of attempting to provide material support to terrorists, unlawful brokering of foreign defense articles and attempting to import merchandise into the U.S. by means of false statements, plus two counts of money laundering….
Lakhani’s trial defense hinged on the argument that he was the victim of government entrapment.
He was arrested in August 2003 at a hotel near Newark Liberty International Airport where he had been meeting with a government informant posing as a representative of a Somali-based militant group.
The government asserted that Lakhani planned to arrange the sale of at least 50 more missiles after the sale of the first one.
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that there is some question about whether Lakhani is actually a Muslim or not. You can see from the link above that my source for thinking so was a Reuters story reproduced in the Daily Times of Pakistan. Others have pointed out that his is not a Muslim name, although it has been elsewhere reported as Hekmat and Hemad — Muslim names. It seems that if he is not a Muslim, he is a mercenary and opportunist, but in any case, the confusion about this may, in all fairness, explain why AP and other sources say nothing about his religion.