“Like many religious Muslims, became aware of the Taliban in the mid-1990s and believed a pure Islam would rise from there.” But…but…aren’t they inveterate Misunderstanders of Islam?
“Canadian jailed for supporting al-Qaeda: Preached jihad, trained at bin Laden’s camp, U. S. says,” by Stewart Bell for the National Post, July 10 (thanks to Patrick Poole):
A Canadian who left Toronto in 2000 to join Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda was sentenced to 7Â½ years imprisonment yesterday after admitting he had trained with and helped finance the terrorist group.
Although his lawyers described Mohamed Abdullah Warsame as simply “a naive, near-sighted and overweight idealist” who became deeply religious while living in Toronto and travelled to Afghanistan in search of an “Islamic utopia,” prosecutors in Minneapolis argued the 35-year-old Somali, who came to Canada as a refugee in 1989, was devoted to the al-Qaeda cause.
Warsame could be released in less than a year and deported to Canada; he has been in custody since his 2003 arrest and the judge gave him credit for the time he has already served.
Warsame pleaded guilty in May to a single count of providing material support to al-Qaeda. In exchange, federal prosecutors dropped three counts of making false statements to the FBI.
“Mr. Warsame’s actions demonstrate that he was a member of the organization, that he believed in its cause, and that he was willing to violate United States law in support of al-Qaeda,” said U. S. Attorney Frank Magill.
Warsame’s lawyers maintained that his trek to Afghanistan was not driven by violent ideals, but rather religious devotion. “There came a time, however, where it became so apparent that his vision of the new Islamic world was different than that embraced by the other men who had travelled to Afghanistan,” defence lawyer Andrea George wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
“There came a time when Mohamed Warsame had to acknowledge that the utopia that he had envisioned, that the Islamic paradise that he sought was usurped by men who wrapped their piety in bandoliers and announced their faith with explosives.”
Warsame was born in Mogadishu and schooled in India. At age 17, he fled Somalia for Rome. From there, he went to New York and then Canada, where he was accepted as a refugee.
He married a Minneapolis woman in an arranged marriage but had to return to Toronto without her because he did not have immigration status in the United States.
“He could not find spiritual fulfillment in Canada or the United States,” his lawyer wrote, and “like many religious Muslims, became aware of the Taliban in the mid-1990s and believed a pure Islam would rise from there.”…
He wrote other e-mails encouraging friends to join him because he considered it un-Islamic to live in non-Muslim countries, and “I don’t want you to be late for the action, you know what I mean. I hear there may be an attack soon.”
He returned to Afghanistan and, beginning in January 2001, lived at an al-Qaeda guesthouse, where he worked as a guard. At a nearby Islamic institute, he “taught radical Islam and preached jihad to students,” the U. S. Department of Justice said in a statement yesterday….
He later moved to Minneapolis and lived there until his arrest.