“In a 24-page handwritten submission before his sentencing, Abdulrahman El-Bahnasawy said frustration with how the West treated Islam turned him toward extremism.” Why should he be given a second chance on that basis? What if he gets “frustrated” again? What if President Trump does something he doesn’t like? This blaming of the West is all too common among jihad terrorists, who never take responsibility for their actions. But the idea of its being introduced in court in a terror proceeding is ludicrous, and any judge who takes it seriously should be impeached and removed from the bench.
“Canadian convicted of terrorism in U.S. asks for 2nd chance,” CBC News, March 3, 2018:
A Canadian who was convicted of plotting a terror attack targeting Times Square and the subway system in New York City is asking a judge for a second chance ahead of a sentencing hearing in April.
In a 24-page handwritten submission before his sentencing, Abdulrahman El-Bahnasawy said frustration with how the West treated Islam turned him toward extremism.
The 20-year-old, a Mississauga, Ont., resident, described anger at the U.S. and its allies for “disrupting our life (sic) and murdering our civilians with reckless airstrikes …,” writing later that it was appropriate to use similar methods back. He wrote he was not trying to justify his actions, but just wanted to explain his thought process at the time.
He was 18 when he was arrested in New Jersey on a family trip, accused of conspiring to attack New York City in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Agent communicated with Canadian, 2 others
El-Bahnasawy had shipped bomb-making materials to a contact in the U.S. who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. The agent had been communicating electronically with El-Bahnasawy and two others in the months leading up to the failed attack.
Two other men — Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen — were arrested outside of the U.S. for the plot.
El Bahnasawy pleaded guilty to numerous terrorism charges in October 2016, but his case was sealed for a year until the other two suspects were arrested.
In his letter to the judge, El-Bahnasawy apologizes for his behaviour, writing, “I want to experience life away from drugs and away from war and violence.”
He describes growing up in Kuwait feeling isolated because of his Egyptian heritage and that after moving to Canada, he became enamoured with and eventually addicted to drugs. Letters from his parents describe various ways the family attempted to get him help, including moving back to the Middle East and seeking treatment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. There was also a trip to a psychiatric hospital and another rehab facility along the way.
But El-Bahnasawy relapsed after months at CAMH and his family sent him to an Islamic school, where, he describes in the letter, how initially, he didn’t identify as a Muslim, but soon became interested in the religion.El-Bahnasawy describes his realization that “Islam would fix all the problems in society or the world in general, and that its system and lifestyle would have prevented the life I lived.”
He doesn’t go into detail about the plot he was convicted of or his interactions with the undercover agent, except to describe a time when he forgot the code he used to talk to his contacts and thought it was a message from God to walk away. He eventually remembered he had written it backwards.
“I wonder where my life would be if my memory just hadn’t worked that day,” he writes to Judge Richard Berman….
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