PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An immigrant teen who had earned a scholarship to an elite U.S. college but helped solicit support for Jihadists he met online was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid
Mohammad Hassan Khalid had earned a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University after just a few years in the United States, where his family was building a new life after leaving Pakistan.
As his parents and siblings worked to achieve the American dream, he retreated to his bedroom in the family’s cramped apartment near Baltimore, and joined radical Islamist chat rooms by the time he was 15. He was soon conversing with Coleen LaRose, a troubled Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” and other extremists.
“The upheavals of my life were distorted into a force of hate so strong that it wrapped me in its claws,” Khalid, now 21, told U.S. Judge Petrese B. Tucker. He said he had trouble speaking without being misunderstood.
Defense lawyers argued that Khalid was isolated and vulnerable because he was young, an immigrant and had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed since his arrest.
Federal prosecutors say Khalid used his “brilliance and eloquence,” along with his computer and video skills, to help them translate documents and try to recruit westerners. That got the attention of the FBI, which visited Khalid repeatedly.
“The FBI tried very sincerely to try to talk him out of his criminal conduct because of his youth. He wasn’t interested,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennfier Arbittier Williams argued. “It was his persistent desire to be an online hero in the world of Jihad” that got him into trouble, she said.
Since his 2011 arrest, Khalid has given significant help to U.S. officials pursuing various al-Qaida offshoots, assistance that took years off his potential sentence of 15 years for providing material aid to terrorists. (Continue Reading.)
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Muslim Honors Student Mohammad Hassan Khalid Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Assassination Plot against Lars Vilks
Mohammad Hassan Khalid was an honors student with a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University. Yet he chose jihad as a career path. Why? Can someone please explain why so many followers of Muhammad, from so many different backgrounds and cultures, misunderstand Islam in exactly the same way? We know that jihad has nothing to do with Muhammad's command to "fight those who do not believe in Allah" (Qur'an 9:29). So what's the common thread?