In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Finally! The U.S. government has indicted Jose Padilla, the ex-Chicago gang member turned Al Qaeda member (allegedly), on charges that he provided, and conspired to provide, material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder individuals who are overseas. The indictment was unsealed in Federal court in Florida on November 22, 2005.
According to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the indictment alleges that Padilla trained overseas as a terrorist so that he could fight a “violent jihad.” It also alleges the cell which Mr. Padilla joined supported terrorists by sending money, physical assets, and new recruits to overseas “jihad” conflicts.
As you probably already know, Jose Padilla was arrested at O’Hare International airport more than 3 years ago after arriving from Pakistan. He was first held on a material witness warrant. About a month later, however, he was declared and “enemy combatant” and transferred to Defense Department custody. There he lay without charge or access to legal counsel for almost two years. At the time he was declared an “enemy combatant,” the government alleged that Padilla was going to set off a radiological, or “dirty,” bomb and/or blow up apartment buildings here in the U.S. Interesting, isn’t it, that he was not charged with any of those crimes in the indictment?
Nevertheless, I am so happy he has been charged. Finally, we are acting like country I love so much. His being held as an “enemy combatant” and thrown in a military brig was very disturbing indeed. It is an act reminiscent of a dictatorship somewhere overseas, not the United States of America.
Let me be clear: I was not disturbed by the government’s actions because Padilla is a Muslim. No. I was disturbed because the U.S. government arrested its own citizen, declared him an “enemy combatant,” and denied him the due process of law that has been enshrined in our Constitution (remember that document, the Constitution?). That is not our way of doing things.
Now, some may say that on 9/11 “everything changed,” and we have to adapt to fight this new enemy. I do not accept this. I do not accept that we should compromise our principles simply because our enemy is brutal and inhuman. That is not our way of doing things. This country has been founded upon the rule of law. Countless brave men and women have given their lives to defend this principle. How can we even think of betraying those principles – and those men and women who died – in our fight against terrorism?
We must never do so. I mean, look up at the top of my blog site. God says: “Never let the hatred of a people toward you move to commit injustice.” I have said this to fellow Muslims time and again, reminding them that, no matter what horrific injustice has been committed against us (and there are quite a few, frankly), it NEVER justifies us doing something morally reprehensible, like killing innocent men, women, and children.
Well, I believe those eternal words of God apply to America as well. No matter what evil Al Qaeda has done – or is plotting to do – against us, it must never move us to commit injustice; it must never make us betray our principles and become something we are not. What’s more, if we refuse to abandon the rule of law in the “war on terror,” I believe God will help us fight this war; I believe He will help us defeat these Satanic murderers who have declared war on all of civilized society, be it Muslim or not.
Now, Jose Padilla may be every bit the terrorist our government says he is. Jose Padilla may be every bit the “enemy combatant” the President said he was. All I’m saying is charge him with that and try him in a court of law. Don’t just call him one, lock him up, and throw away the key. That is not our way of doing things.