by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
“…About 20 years ago, I prosecuted a dozen jihadists, led by the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, for waging a terrorist war against the United States — including the World Trade Center bombing and a plot to attack the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, as well as other New York City landmarks. The defendants were caught on tape building bombs, scheming to strike at American military sites, and planning attacks timed to achieve maximum infidel carnage.
At trial, the jihadists tried to tell the jury they were just moderate, peace-loving Muslims who had been provoked by American foreign policy, a perception of anti-Muslim bias, and videos of Muslims being persecuted in Bosnia. The Blind Sheikh insisted his incitements to jihad were simply a case of faithfully applying sharia principles, which, according to his lawyers, the First Amendment gave him the right to do.
So I asked the jury a simple question:
Is there any obnoxious, insulting, infuriating thing I could say to you, or show to you, that would convince you to join up with mass-murdering terrorists? To become a terrorist yourself?
Of course, a dozen commonsense New Yorkers did not need to be asked such a question. They laughed the defense out of the courtroom.
Alas, in the 20 years since, the defense they laughed out of the courtroom has become the bipartisan government policy of the United States.