Muhammad Dawood, aka David Hicks, whose case we have followed here for several years, has pled guilty to supporting terrorism. Hicks is one Muslim convert whose Muslim name has never been used in news reports about his case. Why is that? The media would never have stood for such treatment had its object been Cassius Clay or Lew Alcindor. Why is Muhammad Dawood different? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are cultural icons, while Muhammad Dawood is a would-be mass murderer?
In “Gun-toting jihadi was not an angel” in The Australian, Janet Albrechtsen sums up the Muhammad Dawood case, noting that the spin still goes on:
FINALLY David Hicks, also known as Abu Muslim al Australia, aka Abu Muslim Philippine, aka Muhammad Dawood, has pleaded guilty to the charge of providing material support for terrorism. And now watch as the real PR campaign goes into angelic overdrive. His vociferous cheer squad will proclaim his innocence, declaring the plea was the only way for Hicks to get out of Guantanamo Bay.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown was out in front. “His guilty plea is simply a plea for release, for exit from the inhumane Guantanamo Bay gulag,” he said. “And that’s a human response.” Spin doctors will bring up the rear, completing the sanitisation of a gun-toting Islamist revolutionary into an accidental, adventurous Australian tourist.
Before the book deals, chat shows, newspaper and television profiles get under way, it’s worth putting emotion to one side. Forget about the photos of an angelic nine-year-old with freckles and a crooked fringe. Forget about the ads where his father, Terry Hicks, declared his love for his son. Let’s come back to the inconvenient aspects of the Hicks saga, those that never make it on to a “Free Hicks” billboard: the law and the facts.
Now to the facts. Hicks has pleaded guilty to his extensive links to terrorist organisations and his activities in Afghanistan, where he met Osama bin Laden and completed al-Qa”ida training courses. The specification Hicks admits to sets out the extraordinary detail: he travelled to Afghanistan with the help of Lashkar-e-Toiba to attend al-Qa”ida terrorist training camps. He was schooled by al-Qa”ida in weapons familiarisation, landmines, tactics, basic explosives, guerilla warfare, ambush, camouflage and surveillance.
He then moved up the ladder to urban tactics training and surveillance of the US and British embassies in Kabul. The specification Hicks admits to traces how he went to Pakistan, only to return to Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks, joining al-Qa”ida forces at Kandahar airport, later travelling to the front lines in Kunduz to fight coalition forces. He was captured by the Northern Alliance in December 2001 while trying to flee to Pakistan.
Long before his admission yesterday, Hicks has made plenty of other, earlier admissions: training with the Kosovo Liberation Army in Albania and fighting with Lashkar-e-Toiba, where he “got to fire hundreds of rounds” into Indian-controlled Kashmir. In letters home to dad, he called himself a “well-trained and practical soldier”. He admitted to preparing for martyrdom because “the highest position in heaven” goes to those who “go fighting in the way of God against the friends of Satan”.
Hicks has called the Taliban regime “the best in the world” and congratulated the regime for running “the country by strict Islamic law”, making particular mention of the death sentence and “all Islamic punishments”. He urged “an Islamic revolution”, hoping that the Afghanistan model would “spread throughout the Muslim world” so that “Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim rule again”.
Read it all.