Opinion divided on the crime of cleric who preached Jihad

Apparently it is ok to preach Jihad in America, but dare to read the Bible in public and go to jail

Washington, April 5 (PTI): As a landmark case against a cleric who preached holy war and inspired, among others the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, is pending in a US court, different opinions have been expressed whether he could be punished for his words, as the American constitution gives freedom of speech to all its citzens, a report said on Monday.

A Virginia court is to decide whether 41-year-old US-born Ali Al-Timimi can be prosecuted for words advocating war against the State or only for actions against the State or fellow citizens.

Civil rights advocates had assumed that the Constitutional right of freedom of speech protects words, no matter how inciting to murder and mahem — and that an American can be prosecuted only if he did something violent or conspired to do so with someone else.

In the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, government says that Timimi’s advocacy of jihad against the United States in his mosque constituted treason.

Prosecutors also note that his words inspired some young Americans to go to Pakistan to seek training in guerrilla war at camps of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, for war against India in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world and which has been labelled a terrorist organization by the U.S. Government, the Washington Post said.

His defenders say tht ‘he is not accused of anything except talking. It is all about him saying something’. Shaker Elsayed, a member of the executive committee of Dar Al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Timimi preaches, said: ‘If this is not a First Amendment (right of free speech under the U.S. Constitution) issue, I don’t know what is.’

The Hindu News Update Service

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