A man convicted for what he said -- words that prosecutors said incited his followers to train for violent jihad against the United States -- had a few more things to say yesterday in a federal courtroom in Alexandria before he was sentenced to life in prison.
Ali Al-Timimi, a prominent Muslim spiritual leader, delivered an impassioned statement in which he asserted his innocence, read the preamble to the U.S. Constitution and said his religious beliefs do not recognize "secular law." He then compared himself to the Greek philosopher Socrates, who was sentenced to death for corrupting the young and dishonoring the gods of Athens.
"I will not admit guilt nor seek the court's mercy," Timimi told a courtroom crowded with his supporters and prosecutors. "Socrates was mercifully given a cup of hemlock. I was handed a life sentence."
As U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema pronounced the life sentence, Timimi nodded slightly. The judge then revoked his bond, and Timimi walked slowly away in the custody of U.S. marshals, smiling and waving at supporters in the emotionally charged courtroom.
The article notes in passing that the unrepentant Al-Timimi was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. He is an American citizen, which makes me believe that Jim Hoagland's op-ed today may be merely wishful thinking, particularly this statement:
Why has the United States not been attacked since Sept. 11? It's not simply because we are fighting terrorists in Iraq. The terrorists cannot have found the water -- the Muslim American community -- easy to swim in or to use for their malignant long-term purposes.
The Al-Timimi case shows that there is indeed American water for terrorists to swim in.