This morning in Human Events I discuss the free speech aspect of the Ehsanul Islam Sadequee case in Georgia.
Free speech or jihad terrorism?
The case of accused Georgia jihadist Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, who was found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to aid terrorists, centered on that question. Prosecutors said he was gathering information on U.S. landmarks in order to plot jihad attacks; he said that when he made contact with jihadists overseas, he was simply trying to learn more about Islam.
Ehsanul Sadequee’s older sister, Sharanika Sonali Sadequee, said her brother was the real victim: “He’s being criminalized for dialoguing and exploring with other men”¦.Lots of young folks are going to be exploring these issues.”
Exploring what issues, exactly? Syed Haris Ahmed, Sadequee’s friend and alleged co-plotter, has said that he and Sadequee discussed jihad — and specifically, attacks on oil storage facilities in the United States, in order to “disrupt the U.S. economy.” He and Sadequee met in chat rooms and discussed joining Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups.
They also discussed, according to Megan Matteucci of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “obtaining weapons, hiding from police and planning attacks.”
It’s noteworthy that Sadequee would try to characterize such discussions as trying to learn more about the Islamic faith — and perhaps sensing the many weaknesses of this argument, in his closing statement Sadequee (who is defending himself in court) maintained that all this talk was just bravado and braggadocio, not a genuine plan of action: “What the chats do demonstrate quite clearly,” he said, “is we are immature young guys who had imaginations that run wild. But I was not then, and I”m not now, a terrorist”¦Actions speak louder than words. You need to look at what is actually done.”
Or, as many of his ilk have said, America must not act preemptively, even in self-defense. “Wait until you”re attacked” is the underlying theme.