FAISAL SHAHZAD, JIHADI, EXPLAINS TERRORISM
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
Shahzad's forthright statement of purpose stands out because jihadis, when facing legal charges, typically save their skin by pleading not guilty or by plea bargaining. Consider a few examples:
Naveed Haq, who assaulted the Jewish Federation building in Seattle, Washington, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Lee Malvo, one of the Beltway Snipers, explained that "one reason for the shootings was that white people had tried to harm Louis Farrakhan." His partner John Allen Muhammad claimed his innocence to the death chamber.
Hasan Akbar killed two fellow American soldiers as they slept in a military compound, then told the court:
Mohammed Taheri-azar, who tried to kill students on the University of North Carolina campus by running over them in a car and issued a series of jihadi rants against the United States, later experienced a change of heart, announced himself "very sorry" for the crimes he committed, and asked for release so that he can "re-establish myself as a good, caring and productive member of society" in California.
These efforts fit a broader pattern of Islamist mendacity; rarely does a jihadi stand on principle. Zacarias Moussaoui, 9-11's would-be twentieth hijacker, came close: his court proceedings began with his refusing to enter a plea (which the presiding judge translated into "not guilty") and then, one fine day, pleading guilty to all charges.
Shahzad, 30, acted in an exceptional manner during his appearance in a federal court in New York City on June 21, 2010. His answers to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum's many inquisitive questions ("And where was the bomb?" "What did you do with the gun?") offered a dizzying mix of deference and contempt. On the one hand, he politely, calmly, patiently, fully, and informatively answered about his actions. On the other, he, in the same voice, justified his attempt at cold-blooded mass murder.
The judge asked Shahzad after he announced an intent to plead guilty to all ten counts of his indictment, "Why do you want to plead guilty?" -- a reasonable question given the near certainty that guilty pleas will keep him in for long years in jail. He replied:
Shahzad insisted on portraying himself as replying to American actions: "I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing [of] the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attacks," adding that "We Muslims are one community." Nor was that all; he flatly asserted that his goal had been to damage buildings and "injure people or kill people" because "one has to understand where I'm coming from, because … I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier."
When Judge Cedarbaum pointed out that pedestrians in Times Square during the early evening of May 1, 2010, were not attacking Muslims, Shahzad replied: "Well, the [American] people select the government. We consider them all the same." His comment reflects not just that American citizens are responsible for their democratically elected government but also the Islamist view that, by definition, infidels cannot be innocents.
However abhorrent, this tirade does have the virtue of truthfulness. Shahzad's willingness to name his Islamic purposes and spend long years in jail for them flies in the face of Obama administration efforts not to name Islamism as the enemy, preferring such lame formulations as "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters."
Americans – as well as Westerners generally, all non-Muslims, and anti-Islamist Muslims – should listen to the bald declaration by Faisal Shahzad and accept the painful fact that Islamist anger and aspirations truly do motivate their terrorist enemies. Ignoring this fact will not make it disappear.
© Daniel Pipes 2010
Originally Published in National Review Online, June 25, 2010
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List, June 25, 2010
The Islamist Fifth Column -- America's Internal Enemies:
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Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
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