The Combination Of Dua (Prayer) And Work A Powerful Force For ‘Terrorists' Helpers

16 December 2009

By El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan

The combination of DUA (prayer) and WORK is a powerful force; as the last divinely sent Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Tie your camel and have trust in ALLAH.”

Despite angering the presiding judge, both Ehsanul Sadeqee (aka Shifa) and Syed Haris Ahmed received lenient sentences, relatively speaking, today in federal court.

Fatigue has set in, and so I'm going to keep this short. Insha'Allah, I will provide an in depth analysis on what took place in the coming days - including some perspective on the amazing decision by the government (just days before the sentencing) to pursue a significantly lighter sentence for Shifa (20 years) than what he had originally faced (60).

For now, what follows are two AJC reports on the case - one before sentencing, and the other after. On a final note, I congratulate the many people (Muslim and non-Muslim) who packed the courtroom in support of these two young men and their families!

Below are some interesting articles from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Family prays for lenient sentences for terrorists' helpers
By Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - 12/13/09

More than 2,900 students, civil rights activists and friends have written letters to a federal judge asking for a lenient sentence for an Atlanta man convicted of helping terrorists.

Eshanul “Shifa” Sadequee and his friend, former Georgia Tech student Syed Haris Ahmed, are scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

On Sunday night, Shirim Sadequee told the AJC she spent the entire weekend praying for her son and his friend. The mother is asking U.S. District Judge William Duffey to consider her son’s ailing health since his incarceration when he makes a decision on his future.

“We want to release Shifa and Haris. Both boys are very young and they have been in prison for three and a half years,” the mother said from her Roswell home.

In addition to the mother’s plea, more than 2,900 students from Bangladesh have sent letters to the judge asking him to sentence Sadequee to the time he has served or the minimum sentence under the federal guidelines, the mother said.

On Sunday night, Sadequee’s two sisters and friends held a rally in Midtown to pray and gain support prior to the sentencing, the mother said. The rally was hosted by the Free Shifa Campaign, Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative and the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, which is headed by Sadeqee’s sister.

In August, a jury found Sadequee, 23, guilty of conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and attempting to aid terrorists, particularly Lashkar-e-Tayyiba -- a Pakistan-based terrorist organization. Ahmed, 24, was convicted of aiding terrorists in June.

The two men have been jailed in solitary confinement since 2006. Since then, Shirim Sadequee said she has seen her son and his friend lose more than 10 pounds each.

“Both of their health is broken,” she told the AJC Sunday night. “They look like sick persons. Their skin is pale and they are very weak.”

Prosecutors are seeking 20 years in prison for Sadequee and 15 years for Ahmed. The maximum penalty for Sadequee’s four counts is 60 years.

Prosecutors said they possibly halted an overseas terrorist attack with the convictions. According to prosecutors, Sadequee talked about waging violent attacks in Pakistan, northern Europe and on U.S. oil refineries.

“We can wait until something happens or things get very close to happening,” then-U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said in August. “I think we all learned on Sept. 11, we don’t wait any more.”

Shirim Sadequee said her son was just “talking” about jihad and exploring ideas with other youth. “These are just boys and they need to release them,” she said.


Homegrown terrorists sent to prison
By Bill Rankin

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - 12/14/09

U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey on Monday said he hoped Atlanta's two homegrown terrorists would accept responsibility and express remorse for what they once plotted to do -- wage violent jihad.

But neither Ehsanul Islam Sadequee nor Syed Haris Ahmed made such concessions. Duffey sentenced the 23-year-old Sadequee to 17 years in prison, saying the Roswell man viewed truth, justice and the American way as his "anti-Christ."

Ahmed, a 25-year-old former Georgia Tech student, said he now believes terrorist acts are not the message of Islam, but Duffey wouldn't buy it. He sentenced Ahmed to 13 years in prison, saying he was "committed to conduct and values we abhor."

The prison terms were imposed in two separate sentencing hearings, with both Sadequee and Ahmed acting as their own attorneys. Both men were also sentenced to 30 years on probation, during which time they cannot have access to the Internet.

In June, Ahmed was convicted of a single count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorist groups here and overseas. In August, Sadequee was convicted of four terrorist-related counts, including providing support to a Pakistani-based terrorist organization.

The two slight, bearded men first met at the Al-Farooq Masjid on 14th Street near the Tech campus. In 2005, they took a bus to Canada and plotted with like-minded extremists, talking openly of attacking oil refineries, even disabling GPS satellites with lasers.

A month later, they drove to Washington and made amateurish videos of area landmarks. Ahmed later told agents the videos were uploaded on the Internet and sent to "the brothers" overseas.

In the summer of 2005, Ahmed traveled to Pakistan believing he would die a martyr fighting the Indian army in the mountains of Kashmir. But once there he chose not to join a terrorist training camp and returned home. At sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney noted that in online chats with co-conspirators, Ahmed expressed regret about his change of heart.

The prosecutor also referred to the recent arrests of five American men in Pakistan, where authorities say they were trying to connect with militant groups. "The threat continues," McBurney said. "There are people in the United States who are still willing to take up arms against American soldiers and American interests."

Duffey told Ahmed, "While there was no attack in this case, it's because you were stopped. You are just one of many threats that face our country."

Ahmed said that since his arrest he has changed his ways. "Evil things cannot be stopped by evil," he told the judge. "They must be stopped with good." The killings of random people by terrorist attacks "are not helping Islam, it's not Islam."

He asked Duffey to convert to Islam, an invitation the judge refused. "I will not adopt your view of God and what it calls you to do," he said.

Duffey noted that Ahmed tried to belittle his actions by portraying himself as a naive, impressionable young man. "But you're a smart, calculating ... and committed young man," Duffey said. "You're committed to conduct and values we abhor."

At his sentencing, Sadequee gave a lengthy statement in which he quoted passages, often in melodic chants, from the Quran in Arabic. Sadequee said his intent was to "bring the message of God and his greatness and his wisdom and his purpose."

"I submit to no one's authority but the authority of God," said Sadequee, who refused three requests from Duffey to stand when being sentenced. Sadequee also said passages from the Quran called for him to surrender to God's will, which he said included bloodshed and, if necessary, jihad.

If what he said made it worse for him in regards to his ultimate sentence, Sadequee told Duffey, "it doesn't matter to me." Duffey sternly scolded Sadequee for his acts and his "distorted view of the world. ... If there is any contradiction to God's will, I would say you are it."

Sadequee's beliefs, the judge said, were "chillingly displayed" on videos the two men took of Washington-area landmarks. As they drove by the Pentagon, Sadequee videotaped the military complex and said reverently, "This is where our brothers attacked."

Those comments, Duffey told Sadequee, were "without any regard to those innocent fathers and mothers and children who were on the plane that crashed into that building."



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