There is a lot of truth to that. The problem is that wanting to “help with violent attacks” and “simply researching his faith” are actually not, in this case, mutually exclusive options. “Judge: Enough evidence for jury in terrorism case,” by Megan Matteucci for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 11 (thanks to James):
A jury will decide Tuesday whether to believe a Roswell man wanted to help with violent attacks or was simply researching his faith when he communicated with overseas terrorists.
A federal judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence for the case against Ehsanul Islam Sadequee to proceed to a jury….
Sadequee, who is representing himself, will present his own closing argument Tuesday morning in his trial in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on charges he conspired to aid terrorists wage violent jihad.
Duffey denied Sadequee’s motion for acquittal on Monday afternoon after listening to a week of testimony….
On Monday, jurors listened to the defendant’s older sister, Sharanika Sonali Sadequee, describe her brother as a quiet, inquisitive man who traveled to Bangladesh to marry his long-time love.
Federal prosecutors argue the wedding was a cover for Sadequee’s Bangladesh trip, where he planned to enroll in a terrorist camp.
“He’s being criminalized for dialoguing and exploring with other men,” the sister said after testifying. “It’s a complete violation of our constitutional First Amendment right. Lots of young folks are going to be exploring these issues.”
Prosecutors argue her brother did more than explore – he provided videos of Washington landmarks to a convicted terrorist and talked of attacking U.S. oil refineries, along with Dobbins Air Force Base.
Prosecutors say Sadequee supplied information to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a terrorist organization focused on the fight over Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
On Monday, Sadequee told a jury that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba wasn’t labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. until months after he started talking with them.
Oh, well, then it’s all right!
Sharanika Sadequee, who lives in Dallas, Ga., said her brother played paint ball, but was never violent.
The defendant, who describes himself as a devout Muslim, wore a religious skullcap Monday. His mother, covered in a sari and head scarf, silently whispered prayers throughout the proceedings….
The sister complained that Sadequee has been prohibited from talking about certain things in the trial, including details of his arrest in Bangladesh – which she calls a kidnapping – and being attacked by another inmate in prison.
Yes — how can an accused jihadist get a fair shake if he can’t claim victim status?