They wanted to kill Pamela Geller for blaspheming Muhammad, and they were confident that Allah would grant them the rewards of Paradise. For these were devout, observant Muslims: Ismail Abdurrashid, an assistant imam at The Mosque for Praising Allah in Roxbury, Massachusetts, said that Usaamah Rahim was “a very pleasant young man. He had a firm understanding of the religion. Observant, very much so.”
“In Geller beheading plot, men ‘hoped to achieve martyrdom,’” by Chris Villani, Boston Herald, September 22, 2017:
An Everett man dismissed by his own lawyer as a fat, failed loner was the mastermind in a plot to behead conservative columnist Pamela Geller, his alleged co-conspirator testified yesterday.
“We hoped to achieve martyrdom,” Nicholas Rovinski testified in Boston federal court, referring to himself, defendant David Wright, who is facing terrorism charges, and Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, who was shot and killed as he brandished a knife in a confrontation with police and federal agents in Boston.
Rovinski said the three men hoped “that by going forth with the beheading against Pamela Geller, that we would then gain martyrdom through our death. We had pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State.”
Wright, 28, of Everett is charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, among other charges, and could face up to life in prison if convicted.
During the second day of the trial, Rovinski said Wright was the leader of the trio and did most of the talking when the three met on an isolated Rhode Island beach to discuss the plot to behead Geller in May 2015, before they went out for pizza.
Authorities say they targeted Geller because they were upset she had organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas.
“There was a reiteration of how she deserved to be killed for the fact that she had insulted the Prophet Muhammad,” Rovinski said. “We did not discuss in detail a specific date, but we were discussing the possibility that we could go for a future event she was holding in New York.”
Prosecutors showed text messages between Wright and Rovinski that mentioned the plot and played phone conversations that had been recorded by law enforcement, including one in which Wright laughed hysterically at the mention of beheading.
On cross-examination, Wright’s attorney, Jessica Hedges, tried to show the group more as bumblers than lethal jihadists.
Hedges pressed Rovinski on other ideas he had come up with to cause havoc, including taking over a battleship, unleashing an electromagnetic pulse, or overloading the U.S. with opiates and then suddenly cutting off the supply….