With All Due Respect…Give Me A Break!

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

The drama in Lodi continues. On June 10, it was revealed that the original affidavit released to the press was not the same one filed in court. Deleted from the affidavit released were references to “hundreds of attendees” at the Al Qaeda camp and that potential targets for attack included hospitals and large food stores. Department of Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said it was “An unfortunate oversight due to miscommunication.”

Defense attorneys for the Hayats decried the change in the affidavit. Johnny L. Griffin III, representing Umer Hayat, the father, accused the government of “releasing information it knew it could not authenticate.” Wazhma Mojaddidi, attorney for Hamid Hayat, the son, questioned “how this got out and why this got out.” Griffin also said, “If they didn’t have enough to file the charges [of terrorism], in my view they should not say anything….why are they saying these things? Is it to taint the public, is it to paint these men as terrorists?”

Now, Mr. Griffin does have a slight point: unfortunately, when it comes to terrorism, Muslims are frequently deemed guilty until proven innocent. Even the hint at “links” to terrorist activity are enough to automatically make a Muslim guilty of terrorism in the eyes of Americans.

Still, despite the fact that the affidavit was changed, the core of the case remains the same. Yes, Hamid Hayat has not been specifically charged with terrorist activities, but he allegedly admitted to attending an Al Qaeda training camp, where he received training in weapons, explosives, and hand-to-hand combat. If these charges are eventually proven to be true, isn’t that serious enough? Why would someone go to an Al Qaeda training camp? For fresh air? To get in shape? Isn’t one of the goals of Al Qaeda to kill Americans? So, if someone trains at an Al Qaeda camp, what is his ultimate motive?

Now, it is important to remember that Hamid Hayat has not been formally charged with anything, and he has not been convicted in a court of law. He is still innocent until proven guilty, and he deserves a fair trial. Nevertheless, let’s not let the changing of the affidavit muddy the waters in this case. Even if he is only charged with lying to the FBI and is convicted of those charges, that is a big deal in and of itself.

Now, I am sure there are some Muslims who are saying to themselves, “This must be a conspiracy against Islam.” Or, “Don’t believe what the media says when it comes to Islam and Muslims.” I bet some are even saying, “These two guys were set up by the FBI.”

I am also sure that there are some non-Muslims who are saying to themselves, “This is proof that you can’t trust a big beard and a smile.” Or, “See, all Muslims are terrorists!”

I say to both groups of people: with all due respect…give me a break!!!

To the non-Muslims, I say this: never can the whole be judged by the sins of the very few. To the Muslims, however, I say: let us wait until all the facts are in and then make a judgment. But, I also want to address an excuse that some Muslims proffer which, to me, is a total “cop out”: they were “set up” by the FBI.

Give me a break. Let’s say, for example, “Muhammad” is approached by “Ahmad” – in a mosque after prayers – and “Ahmad” says to him, “Psst, I plan on carrying out a ‘martyrdom’ mission to kill these horrible kuffar. Why don’t you join me?” If “Muhammad” says, “Sure!” and goes along and helps him in his mission, isn’t that wrong? Isn’t that violating both the laws of Islam and America? Absolutely.

Now, say that “Ahmad” turns out to be an FBI informant. Does that change the situation? Does that make “Muhammad” any less guilty? Absolutely not. “Muhammad’s” response should have been this: “Absolutely not! That is terrorism and murder! I am a Muslim, for God’s sake, and I do not kill my fellow human beings! How dare you say such a thing to me?!” In fact, “Muhammad” should have reported “Ahmad” to the authorities after he told him such a thing.

Now, being falsely accused by the authorities is a whole different matter. But the fact remains: aiding and abetting a terrorist plot is un-Islamic, illegal, and immoral. Any and all plots against America must be discovered and foiled, and the perpetrators must be arrested, tried in a court of law, and if convicted, punished under the law. The fact that one of the plotters is an agent provocateur is not an excuse and never should be.


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