On June 13th, Egyptian national and former University of South Florida graduate student Ahmed Mohamed agreed to plead guilty to terrorism charges and is facing a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Mohamed, along with fellow student Youssef Megahed, was stopped by police in South Carolina last August. Police found in their possession explosives and a laptop which hosted an instructional video for terrorists. An analysis of the laptop shows that the 12-minute video, which showed how to use remote control toys to detonate explosives, had been uploaded to YouTube in July 2007 and viewed hundreds of times.
Then CAIR-Tampa spokesman Ahmed Bedier defended Mohamed and Megahed:
Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization for Muslims, said family members have told him they think the materials were leftover fireworks Megahed kept in his trunk since July 4.
"Both of them are really naïve kids," Bedier said.
Lest you think news of Mohamed's guilty plea would make Bedier reticent about his public apologia on the part of an accused (and now, a soon-to-be convicted) terrorist, the former CAIR denizen instead chose to double down and turn this case of a successful arrest and prosecution of a terror suspect into another "Islamophobic" incident.
On his blog, Bedier writes:
Today former USF graduate student Ahmed Mohamed chose to cut a plea to one count of material support, which carries of a maximum of 15 years in prison, rather than risk spending the REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE behind bars if convicted.
In other words, according to Bedier, Mohamed did not plead guilty because he is guilty (as Mohamed himself asserts on page 7 of his plea agreement), but rather only because he doesn't want to chance a life sentence.
Next, Bedier directs his readers to quotes he gave the local Tampa-area newspapers. First, the Tampa Tribune:
Local Muslim activist Ahmed Bedier, who has spoken in support of Megahed, stressed that he doesn't know Mohamed or the Mohamed family. He said the video, as described in court documents, was "unacceptable." (emphasis Bedier's)
He said the case is "a reminder to all Muslim youth out there, especially young males, that they have to be very careful about their actions and what they say. Even if they don't think they're doing some kind of criminal act, it might be perceived by law enforcement ... that you're promoting something illegal. That can have some very bad consequences." Mohamed, Bedier said, "was sent here on a scholarship to do a doctorate in engineering and not to make videos, and now he's going to pay the price for that."
So, according to Bedier, Mohamed's actions are not illegal, they are only "unacceptable." And he should have just been more careful about what he "said." And what did he say? After instructing his audience on how to detonate the explosives, Mohamed states (see page 10 of the plea deal):
Instead of brethren going to, to carry out martyrdom operations, no, may God Bless him, he can use the explosion tools from a distance and preserve his life, God willing, the blessed and exalted, for the real battles, unless he was forced to do so.
And Bedier ends his post with:
The plea deal shows that that there was never an actual real plot to carry out violence and no one was in imminent danger.
That's a relief. And what the plea deal further states, which Bedier purposefully and conveniently chooses to ignore, is incredibly sinister. On page 11 of the agreement, we see that Mohamed:
…stated that his purpose in producing the audio/video recording was to teach "martyrdoms and suiciders" how to save themselves so they could continue to fight the invaders. He said that he considers the United States military, and those fighting with the United States military in Arab countries, to be invaders. He said that he intended the technology demonstrated in his audio/video recording to be used against those who fight for the United States. (emphasis added)
Or, as Bedier would say, nothing imminent or dangerous. Bedier told the St. Petersburg Times:
"We're relieved that the issue is being resolved and people are moving on, and we're also relieved that no one was hurt," said Ahmed Bedier, a local Muslim rights activist.
No thanks to Bedier, of course, who clearly would like to see Mohamed skate, since Bedier feels he's only guilty of not being careful and getting caught. The Times continues:
Bedier, who has never met Mohamed, said he counsels young Muslim men to be cautious in a climate that has zero tolerance for the appearance of anything terroristic.
Yes, clearly the problem is the "the climate" and not Mohamed and Megahed transporting explosives or Mohamed's making audio/video material "intended …. to be used against those who fight for the United States." Even considering Bedier's staunch defense of convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian, and his refusal to condemn the terrorist group, this may constitute a new low.