A British imam, found guilty of 11 counts of terrorist-related activities and scheduled for sentencing Friday in a Manhattan federal courtroom, is now seeking leniency in the form of a light sentence to be served in a facility apart from the general inmate population.
Federal prosecutors have different plans, however, and are seeking a life sentence for Abu Hamza al-Masri. former cleric of the north London Finsbury Park mosque, who was found guilty of his pre-9/11 activities, including offering “advice to Yemeni militants who kidnapped Western tourists in 1998, an operation that led to the deaths of four hostages,” according to Reuters.
Prosecutors said it’s time for him to pay the piper for his activities as a “global terrorist leader who orchestrated plots around the world to further his deadly mission,” according to court documents.
“The seriousness of this defendant’s offenses and the need for just punishment and deterrence cannot be overstated,” prosecutors under Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote.
Abu Hamza bases his plea for special treatment partially upon his disability — he’s blind in one eye and has lost both hands, as the result of “an accidental explosion in Pakistan,” i24 News reported.
[The defendant’s lawyers] told U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest a non-life sentence would be “appropriate” in light of mitigating circumstances.
The defense lawyers also argued that the judge require Abu Hamza be designated to a federal medical center and have accommodations fashioned to ensure he receives fair treatment while in custody.
The record is unclear as to how much “fair treatment” the 1998 kidnapped Western hostages received — especially the four who were killed.
The correlation between Islam and terrorism was made crystal clear last week in Australia, when Muslim leaders there expressed concern over an anti-terrorism measure currently under consideration.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
A Muslim cleric who preaches from certain passages of the Quran could be caught in the “broad” net of the government’s new anti-terror law, Islamic leaders have warned.
Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammad and the Australian National Imams Council have called for the offense of “advocating terrorism” to be removed from the so-called Foreign Fighters Bill, currently before Parliament.
Stated differently, just by the act of preaching from the Quran, an Islamic cleric is “advocating terrorism.” The two — Islam and terrorism — go hand-in-hand.
Although I applaud them for their honesty, I can’t say that they’re doing much to advance their cause.
The Imams, just like Abu Hamza, are seeking special treatment.