He became involved in al-Qaeda as he grew more devout and committed to Islam. Law enforcement officials are now required not to notice that or pay it any attention, but actually it is the key to understanding his motivations and actions. “Federal jury in Boston convicts terror suspect Tarek Mehanna of supporting Al Qaeda,” by Milton J. Valencia, John R. Ellement, and Martin Finucane for the Boston Globe, December 20 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Sudbury resident Tarek Mehanna was convicted today of conspiring to support Al Qaeda and other charges.
Tarek Mehanna, a young pharmacy college graduate from the leafy Boston suburb of Sudbury, was convicted today of conspiring to support Al Qaeda and other charges for traveling to Yemen in search of terror training in 2004 and then, when he failed to find it, taking to the Internet to try to spread the terror group’s message….
Mehanna, who had become increasingly radical in his views, traveled to Yemen in 2004 seeking terrorism training, so he could carry out jihad, or holy war, against US soldiers in Iraq.
After failing to find training there, he returned to the United States, determined to help Al Qaeda by translating and distributing propaganda promoting jihad on the Internet.
Defense lawyers argued that Mehanna did not provide support to Al Qaeda. They said he was simply expressing his own views in opposition to US foreign policy, particularly to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, activity that was protected by the First Amendment.
They also offered a different story for the Yemen trip. They called Mehanna a budding young scholar committed to his religion, saying he had traveled to that country in search of education — to further his studies on Islamic law and in the Arabic language.
But a series of Mehanna’s former friends testified against him, saying he had promoted extreme ideology, endorsed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and once said he considered Osama bin Laden his “real father.” Together, the former friends recalled, they watched videos glorifying suicide bombings in Iraq.
These two things are only mutually exclusive to someone who believes that Islam is a Religion of Peace. In fact, he went to study Islamic law and became involved with al-Qaeda — and almost certainly saw no contradiction.
Several FBI agents also told jurors that a search of Mehanna’s computer uncovered countless documents promoting Al Qaeda, including materials that Mehanna had translated into English, for non-Arabic speakers.
One of those documents was “39 Ways to Make and Participate in Jihad,” a call for Muslims to take action that was written by an Al Qaeda member.
Mehanna was convicted of charges of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a foreign terror organization, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing and attempting to provide material support to terorists [sic], conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy, and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators….