The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago chapter defended convicted terrorist Tarek Mehanna Tuesday, arguing his actions in a plot to kill American troops are akin to a report of American military training for a radical Iranian opposition group.
Mehanna was sentenced in April to 17½ years in federal prison after being convicted of conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida, conspiracy to murder in a foreign country, lying to the FBI and providing material support to terrorists. The charges stem from a plot to kill American soldiers overseas.
To CAIR-Chicago, it’s another example of law enforcement’s unjust treatment of American Muslims, In an article by an intern posted on its website and distributed to its email list, CAIR cast Mehanna as a victim of FBI surveillance and harassment who was simply exercising his right of free speech.
He launched his own al-Qaida “media wing” espousing violent jihad and published translations of al-Qaida materials including 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihadand the Expedition of Umar Hadid.
“So were Mehanna’s online posts ‘material support for terrorism’ or was he just using his first amendment right to voice his opinions?” the article asks. “Mehanna was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison, and it’s suspect that his being Muslim had something to do with his indictment.”