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June 8, 2005
American Jihadis

Police have arrested a father and son and two other men in a counterterrorist roundup in Lodi, California. The pair, US citizens, face charges of lying to federal investigators but remain in custody under suspicion of operating an al-Qaeda sleeper cell:

A father and son were in custody Wednesday after federal authorities arrested the U.S. citizens when the younger man allegedly confessed that he attended an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn how to kill Americans.

Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested Sunday on charges of lying to federal agents and appeared in court Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, Hamid Hayat trained with explosives and other weapons, using photographs of President Bush and other political leaders as targets. The Sacramento Bee reported his age as 22; the Los Angeles Times said he is 23.

Umer Hayat was charged in the complaint with lying about his sons involvement and his own financing of the terror camp, which an affidavit released by prosecutors said was run by a close friend of Umer Hayat's father.

Hamid Hayat has had the FBI's attention for a while. His presence on a flight to Pakistan two weeks ago led the airplane to be diverted to Japan, where FBI agents questioned and released him to continue to his destination. On his return home, he met with his father Umer and two leaders of the local Lodi mosque. Relatives claim that Umer wore a listening device to this meeting, which the the FBI has neither confirmed nor denied. Yesterday all four men were taken into custody.

At first, Hamid denied any involvement with terrorism, but after failing a polygraph, he began talking about training camps in Pakistan where he joined AQ for the specific mission of attacking American assets from within. The Sacramento Bee reported that his targets included hospitals and food processing plants, and that his intention was to kill as many Americans as possible.

I may not be a lawyer, but in my opinion this amounts to one crime: treason. A US citizen has not only given aid and comfort to our enemy during wartime, but has explicity allied himself with them and actively pursued attempts to carry out missions against us on their behalf. If the evidence shows this to be true, Hamid should face trial in federal court for treason and suffer the consequences of that crime. Charging him with anything less would not only encourage others by a show of irresoluteness, but it would mean that no one could ever be tried and convicted of treason in the future. If what Hamid allegedly did doesn't fit the definition, then nothing will.

This also shows the fallacy of the "they hate us because they don't know us" crowd. The Hayats and the other fanatics in Lodi had the freedom to practice their religion and earn a decent living in California -- certainly they made a higher standard of living there than they could have expected in Pakistan or Afghanistan, especially before the Taliban were ejected by American military action. They don't hate us because they misunderstand us. They hate us because all they know is hate, and outreach and kind words don't make a damned bit of difference to fanatics.

It's time we understood the difference between moderates and fanatics, and the difference between youthful indiscretions and outright treason. A free society can handle moderates and survive youthful indiscretions, but it cannot abide fanatics who commit treason. We need to make that abundantly clear in the manner which we handle the latter.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 8, 2005 7:48 AM

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