Using Billboards to Stake Claim Over ‘Jihad’

CHICAGO — There is an advertising war being fought here — not over soda or car brands but over the true meaning of the word “jihad.”

Backing a continuing effort that has featured billboards on the sides of Chicago buses, the local chapter of a national Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has been promoting a nonviolent meaning of the word — “to struggle” — that applies to everyday life.

Supporters say jihad is a spiritual concept that has been misused by extremists and inaccurately linked to terrorism, and they are determined to reclaim that definition with the ad campaign, called My Jihad.

But last month another set of ads, with a far different message, started appearing on buses here.

Mimicking the My Jihad ads, they feature photos and quotations from figures like Osama bin Laden and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in 2010. “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah,” says one ad, attributing the quotation to a Hamas television station. They end with the statement: “That’s his jihad. What’s yours?”

The leader of the second ad campaign, Pamela Geller, executive director of the pro-Israel group American Freedom Defense Initiative, has criticized the original My Jihad ads as a “whitewashed version” of an idea that has been used to justify violent attacks around the world.

 

Shahzad Gets Life Term for Times Square Bombing Attempt

Faisal Shahzad, the would be Time Square bomber, warned of more future attacks as he heard his fate in a New York district court. “This is but one life,” said Shahzad, upon hearing his life term sentence for the attempted Times Square bombing. “If I am given a thousand lives, I will sacrifice them all for the sake of Allah, fighting this cause, defending our lands, making the word of Allah supreme over any religion or system.”

Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum; interrupted Shahzad’s threatening soliloquy and condoned him for using skewed interpretations of the Koran to suite his justifications for attempting to kill people. “I do hope that you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Koran wants you to kill lots of people.”

Shahzad continued; “Blessed be” Osama bin Laden, “who will be known as no less than Saladin of the 21st-century crusade, and blessed be those who give him asylum.” To which the judge responded; “How much do you know about Saladin, as you called him?” “He didn’t want to kill people…He was a very moderate man,” the judge told the defendant.

Time Square Bomber to be Sentenced

Prosecutors asked the judge, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of Federal District Court, to impose a mandatory term of life imprisonment on Mr. Shahzad, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. “The premeditated attempt to kill and maim scores of unsuspecting innocent men, women and children with a homemade bomb can only be described as utterly reprehensible,” the prosecutors said.

Shahzad said, he wanted to plead guilty “100 times,” citing American military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone strikes and other issues. “We will be attacking U.S.,” he added, “and I plead guilty to that.”

Mr. Shahzad later told the authorities that he believed that the attack on May 1 would kill at least 40 people, having monitored his target for three months through live video feeds on the Internet, to determine which areas drew the largest crowds and when they would be busiest, the prosecutors said.

Video of Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad Surfaces

A video has emerged in which the man who attempted to set off a car bomb in New York defends his actions. Faisal Shahzad says in the tape he is carrying out the Times Square attack as revenge for Muslim fighters, “oppressed and weak Muslims”, and “martyrs”.

Times Square Bomber pleads guilty

By Richard Shulman

Suspect Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty to all 10 counts in the attempted bombing of Times Square, New York.  Unapologetic, he portrayed himself as a soldier of Islam fighting against those who kill Muslims.  This portrayal depicted the current U.S. wars as wars on Muslims.  He admitted being helped by the Taliban of Pakistan.

Aftermath and Consequences

The fact that the suspect was able to get on an airplane even though he had been on the no-fly list caused criticism of the implementation of no-fly list leading to revisions to avoid future mistakes. Also, there has been debates about terror-watch list individuals’ ability to buy guns. Meanwhile, Sen. Lieberman announced his “Terrorism Expatriation Act” revoking citizenship of any American “who is found to be involved with a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department.” At the same time, security measures in NYC and at East Coast airports tightened as two suspicious situation in NYC caused evacuation and investigation. Neither of the two was of terrorist nature.

Following the Arrest

Following his arrest, the suspect has admitted the involvement in the incident and have been charged with five accounts including attempt to explode a weapon of mass destruction. According to officials, the suspect has been cooperating while claiming that he has acted alone. There has been some controversies as to whether the suspect should enjoy from Miranda rights or not.

Time Square Incident and Timeline

On May 1st, a smoking vehicle parked in NYC’s Times Square raised alarms. Times Square was evacuated and investigations confirmed that the vehicle was set to explode. The law enforcement agencies immediately engaged in tracking back the vehicle and identifying the suspect(s). President Obama reacted and speculations began about potential international links. The investigation led to the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American resident of Connecticut, two days later. The suspect was arrested while boarding a plane leaving JFK for Dubai.
LA Times: Pres. Obama: “We will not be terrorized.”