Monday, December 22, 2008
Five Muslims convicted of plot in New Jersey
Can it really be that five Muslim men from Pennsylvania and New Jersey planned to attack a military base near Philadelphia to kill as many U.S. soldiers as they could? That's what a jury convicted them of Monday after an eight-week trial in federal court in Camden, New Jersey, even though the defendants contended they were just blowing off steam when they discussed attacks on Fort Dix and other military installations. Attorneys for the United States accused the immigrants of trying to wage Islamist holy war, according to the Reuters international news service. FBI agents infiltrated the group after a Circuit City clerk reported they were trying to copy a tape of themselves firing guns in the air and calling for jihad, Reuters said. The defendants claimed there would not have been a plot without the encouragement of the FBI infiltrators. The defendants also argued that they were singled-out because of anti-Muslim feeling after the Sept. 11 attacks. Both of these arguments may be true to some degree. But it is not possible for the two scenarios to be so different. The FBI agents did not help the defendants buy and fire the guns used in the video -- that happened before the government got involved. Yes, men will boast, but there's a big difference between boasting among friends and boasting with weapons. The U.S. attorney says he will seek life-sentences for the five, Reuters said. Sentencing is scheduled for April.