Suicide Click

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New at Reason: Jacob Sullum considers the precedent being established in the case of website builder Sami Al-Hussayen.

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  1. No fun at all. I have a feeling we won’t be seeing anyone go to trial over the collection jars in Greek Cypriot grocery stores in Queens any more than we saw hundreds of Irish-immigrant pub owners thrown in jail for the collections they took up at the height of the IRA’s activity.

    The government could be right on this one, but it doesn’t look like they are. There are people in the US — computer programmers, newsstand owners, whatever — who raise funds and send arms to terror groups. Then there are others who sympathize with some of the terror groups’ goals, and that’s more complicated. More ambiguous still are people who fix a terror sympathizer’s fax machine or build a website for a group that includes but is in no way comprised entirely of terror sympathizers.

    Hamas executes bombing campaigns, but it also builds schools and runs free clinics. There’s a lot of overlap between Kurdish and Basque groups that do community work and groups that funnel guns to militias. Is that coffee can full of nickels and pennies at my neighborhood Pakistani sweet shop really a collection for Kashmiri disaster relief or is it for Kashmiri mortar rounds? Maybe it’s for a little of both, just as some Jewish charities circa 1946-1948 helped plant trees and buy math books for kibbutz schools at the same time that they were buying grenades for the Irgun. Just as some Israeli charities to this day build parks, fund language classes for new immigrants… and finance the construction of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

    This kind of thing is complicated by the many different reasons people give money or support to causes.

  2. s.m. koppelman-

    Well, if we err on the side of “caution” and incarcerate all of them, at least we’ll know that we got all the bad guys 🙂

  3. I wonder if this also includes the home-grown groups, from ecoterrorists to violent right-to-life organizations.

    How big are the prisons?

  4. As big as they want them Larry….

    Eminent domain will take care of the running out of land problem.

  5. Sami, and his supporters are marching, demanding support for this poor oppressed man. Well I ain’t buying. If the Aryan Nations asks me to design and maintain a website I tell them to go to hell, because I know what type of people they are. Guilt by association? There is at least a grain of truth to the saying, you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.

    Sami not only designed and maintained web-sites he provided money, allegedly in the form of loans (several hundred thousand $’s), to this assembly of “peace loving muslims.” And this is not the first time his name has come up in relation to support of organizations identified as enemies of the west or the US. About 4 years ago he was questioned for his ties to a similar organization (the same? can’t find a link). He used the standard jihadist tactic. Pose with the wife (who spoke out on his behalf too – I wonder how much his wife can speak on his behalf back home?) and kids, claim to be a caring, loving father dedicated to peace. Then he went about his business of money laundering, and recruitment of muslims. I don’t care what he says, what do he and these “peaceful” organizations do? They have been found funneling money to organizations that promote and practice violence against the west and the US.

  6. So J, does that mean that we should incarcerate anyone who supports any violent organization? How about people who support Greenpeace or PETA? Where do you draw the line in saying that a person “supports” terrorism? Do they just have to say nice things about the group? Or give money? Or have friends who commit crimes?
    Hey, maybe that’s the next step on the drug war too, lets imprison all friends of drug dealers! Oh, we are already doing that, at least if they live in the same house.

  7. From the article it sounds like the “fatwas” were postings in a discussion forum.

    Some people on this forum have said some pretty loony things. Hell, I’ve said some pretty loony things. If just one of those statements can be construed as calling for acts of violence against civilians then maybe the staff of Reason should be imprisoned too.

    Oh, wait, they staff of Reason appears to be non-Muslim and mostly Caucasian.

    Before anybody gets too upset over my invocation of the race card there, consider another case: A couple years ago Salon.com reported on an East African immigrant (and naturalized citizen!) who ran a business wiring money overseas. He happens to be Muslim. After 9/11 he was accused of helping terrorists send or receive money. Eventually the gov’t dropped all allegations, but his business was shut down anyway, and for several months he was not allowed to do any financial transactions, i.e. he wasn’t allowed to do any sort of job that would involve a paycheck.

    Meanwhile, it turns out that at least some of the 9/11 hijackers used Western Union to send or receive money. So far no Western Union executives have been arrested.

    So, the white guy who renders some professional services to suspected terrorists is just doing a job. The dark-skinned guy who renders the same services is obviously a sympathetic member of a terrorist group. Or something…

  8. If just one of those statements can be construed as calling for acts of violence against civilians then maybe the staff of Reason should be imprisoned too.

    Look out Ruthless, they might be on to you.

  9. thoreau:

    Concerning your playing of the race card — you really should look into the case of one Sherman Austin, a young Californian webmaster who was imprisoned for distributing potentially dangeous information to the lefty/grunge/hippy counter-culture.

    Random link on the topic: http://www.infoshop.org/shermanaustin.html

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