It is a rare occurrence that journalist gets to talk to a juror about why they made the decision they made. But OPB’s April Baer managed to talk to one of the alternate jurors, Wendy Burton, in the Mohamed Mohamud trial. Mohamud was convicted Thursday of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
As an alternate juror, Burton could have been asked to serve on the jury if one of its members was unable to serve.
Burton cited the reason she believed Mohamud was guilty: the activities he took part in before the FBI sting-writing for jihad magazines and corresponding with known Islamic radicals. She said, “As far as I was concerned, there was no doubt.”
Here we have the heart of the matter – anyone who espouses an Islamist ideology is assumed to be a potential terrorist. It does not occur to Burton that Mohamud could espouse radical ideals and not have the potential to kill hundreds of people. After all, its not as though the Middle East has a shortage of people who would say things like Mohamud did – and yet not everyone does. This is because the step between hate and violence is a big one. You must have hate to have violence, but you can have hate without violence. Ultimately, hate speech is not a terrorist attack.
Unless you’re a Muslim, I suppose.