Muslim cleric convicted

Urged followers to fight U.S. after September 11 attacks

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A prominent Washington-area Muslim cleric was convicted Tuesday of urging his followers, days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, to go to Afghanistan and help the Taliban fight U.S. military forces.

Ali al-Timimi, 41, was convicted on all 10 counts of an indictment brought in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty called the verdict a victory in the war on terrorism. In a written statement, he called al-Timimi "a kingpin of hate against America."

"He not only wanted Americans to die, he recruited others to his cause at a time when our country was mourning the loss of more than 3,000 people who were murdered in a heinous act of terrorism," McNulty said.

Al-Timimi's lawyer, Edward MacMahon, said he will appeal.

"We're obviously disappointed in the verdict. We'll continue to fight," he said. "They basically tried the guy for 9/11. He had nothing to do with that."

The jury had deliberated for a week after a trial that centered on al-Timimi's conversations at a meeting with young Muslim men on September 16, 2001.

Three of the followers traveled to Pakistan and received military training but never went into Afghanistan.

Some of al-Timimi's followers were charged separately and convicted earlier as members of a "Virginia jihad" organization.

Government prosecutors said al-Timimi had urged the men to defend the Taliban regime as part of a global war against the United States and the West.

Defense attorneys acknowledged al-Timimi had spoken out against the U.S. government and expressed support for the September 11 attacks.

They insisted, however, that he was free to express his controversial views and had only suggested the men leave the United States for their own protection

The Islamic scholar remains free on $75,000 bail pending sentencing, which Judge Leonie Brinkema has scheduled for July 13.

Possible sentences for the charges on which he was convicted range from 30 years to life in prison.

MacMahon said that unless some of the counts are dismissed on appeal, al-Timimi is likely to end up with a life sentence.



Dr. Al-Timimi’s Statement in Court after the judge denied his motions.

All praise is due to God and may God’s blessings and peace be upon all his prophets – particularly Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

Your honor, it is customary at the time of sentencing that those found guilty give a statement during which they admit their guilt and thereupon entreat the court to show them leniency.

I stand before this court having been found guilty of ten felonies. However, I will not admit guilt nor seek the Court’s mercy. I do this not out of any disrespect to the Court. I do this simply because I am innocent.

My claim of innocence is not because of any inherent misunderstanding on my part as to the nature of the crimes for which I was convicted nor is it because my Muslim belief recognizes sharia rather than secular law. It is merely because I am innocent.

Note: Devout Muslims do not recognize Western Civilization laws.

Few in the history of this country have been charged with what I was charged. None I believe have ever been so removed from the charges.

My experience is therefore unique and is thus worthy of some comment and reflection.

During its closing argument the Government read to the jury the preamble to the Constitution. I frankly found it to be a poor recitation. I will not be in any need of paper to recite those words for I faithfully committed them to memory as a schoolboy long before I was taught or learnt any passage of the Koran.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I declare the government’s recitation poor as it stripped those words of their meaning. Allow me to explain why. The first aim of the Constitution after the immediate raison d’etre – of forming a more perfect Union – is to establish justice. The establishment of justice was mentioned before the aim of providing for the common defence. Common defense is what we today call security. The reason as to why justice proceeded security should be obvious to all: true security can never been attained without true justice.

I, as many of my community since 9/11, have been denied justice.

Note: Devout Muslims have been denied the right to promote violence.

I am not a lawyer so I am unable to cite case law to demonstrate this. I will instead have to appeal to the very philosophy upon which the law is based. Aristotle teaches us that justice means to equate similar things and distinguish between dissimilar things.

Let us recall the crimes to which I was charged: advocating treason, soliciting war against the United States, providing aid and comfort to the enemy, conspiring to levy war against Israel, Russia, India, and Indonesia, and of course at every turn the informal charge of terrorism.

Charges I must say “abounding in crudities and absurdities.”[1]

Note: Devout Muslims believe in the murder of non-Muslims.

For to accept these charges we must believe that a solitary man who would spend his days working full time at one of Fortune magazine’s one hundred best companies[2] and then spend his evenings and weekends engaged in cancer research for a doctorate in computational biology; an individual who never owned or used a gun, never traveled to a military camp, never set foot in a country in which a war was taking place, never raised money for any violent organization would be – could be – the author of so much harm.

Note: Devout Muslims are liars when confronted with the truth.

“Crudities and absurdities” your honor …

Someone who did not observe the proceedings might justifiably ask: How then was he convicted? The answer, of course, was simply out of fear.

The eminent jurist Stephen L. Carter cautions:

When the secular sovereign decides to try a citizen on a charge that amounts to serving a separate sovereign, the jury should be pressed toward the sobriety of democratic respect rather than the intoxicating fury of the witch-hunt.[3]

If this is his admonition for a charge that “amounts” to serving a separate sovereign, how much more so should it be when the charge is the actual raising of arms against the sovereign!

It is said that historically two trials have captured the imagination of Western civilization. The trial of Jesus Christ[4] and that of Socrates.

Rome was a brutal empire. Athens was a democracy.[5] Plato relates to us that during his trial Socrates said the following:

They – in reference to the prosecutors – are headed by Meletus, that good man and true lover of his country, as he calls himself. Against these, too, I must try to make a defense:, Let their affidavit be read: it contains something of this kind: It says that Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth; and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other new divinities of his own. Such is the charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that I am a doer of evil, and corrupt the youth; but I say, O men of Athens, that Meletus is a doer of evil, in that he pretends to be in earnest when he is only in jest, and is so eager to bring men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest.[6]

Note: This Muslim terrorist is no western Socrates.

In the coming months this courthouse will witness the trial of another individual accused of betraying his country.[7] Let us wait and see if the Government’s zealotry to prosecute that case will be as was with mine.

In the end, I too like Socrates am accused and found guilty of nothing more than corrupting the youth and practicing a different religion that of the majority. Socrates was mercifully given a cup of hemlock, I was handed a life sentence.

Note: This Muslim terrorist is no western Socrates.

Imprisonment of any term, as this Court well knows, is a crisis for the incarcerated and his or her loved ones. I am no exception to that.

But the real crisis brought on my imprisonment, I sincerely believe is America’s. For if my conviction is to stand, it would mean that two hundred and thirty years of America’s tradition of protecting the individual from the tyrannies and whims of the sovereign will have come to an end. And that which is exploited today to persecute a single member of a minority will most assuredly come back to haunt the majority tomorrow.

Note: Another Muslim terrorist has been eliminated from western society.

Thank you.

Ali Al-Timimi, Ph.D.

Prisoner of Conscience

Fairfax, Virginia

July 13, 2005

[1] Aaron Burr’s statement prior to his trial

[2] SRA International.

[3] The Dissent of the Governed, p. 119

[4] Even though Muslims do not believe that Jesus Christ was tried and crucified but rather God raised him unto Himself.

[5] I will put aside the analogy of the United States as empire.

[6] Plato’s Apology.

[7] I refer to the upcoming Larry Franklin/AIPAC case.