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CAIR Calls VA Paintball Sentencing ‘Draconian’

A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today called the harsh sentencing in the Virginia “paintball
Jihad” case “draconian” and said the Muslim defendants faced selective

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema sentenced one of three
Muslim defendants to life in prison and imposed an 85-year term on another
for conspiring to aid an Islamic group in conflict with India. Judge
Brinkema told those in the courtroom that the sentences, mandated under
federal sentencing guidelines, were “sticking in my craw” and that there
are murderers who have “served far less time.” One of the defense attorneys
called the sentences “the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever been
involved in.”

SEE: “Strict Sentences Meted in Va. Jihad Case”

In a statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) said:

“It is the near universal perception in the Islamic community that these
men would never have been charged had they not been Muslims, and that once
convicted, prosecutors would never have sought such draconian sentences.

“American Muslims reject terrorism or any other form of criminal activity,
and wish to preserve the security of the United States and its citizens.

But we cannot help but compare the prosecution and sentencing in this case
to that in the case of a non-Muslim Florida terrorist who had bombs ready
to attack 50 Islamic institutions and got just 12 years in prison, or that
of a non-Muslim Illinois terrorist sentenced to probation and anger
management classes for blowing up a Muslim family’s van.

“In other cases involving Muslims, we saw initial leaks and allegations
against defendants turn out to be nothing more than public relations hype
or wishful thinking on the part of prosecutors. Where does Army Chaplain
James Yee go to get his reputation back after being accused of crimes that
could have resulted in the death penalty? Where does Oregon attorney
Brandon Mayfield go to regain his good name? How does Sami al-Hussayen
resume a normal life with his family after being falsely accused of aiding

“Under the current administration, we are quickly approaching a state of
affairs in which there is a two-tier prosecutorial system in America; one
system for Muslims, and one for all other Americans. This disturbing trend
should be of concern to everyone who values America’s centuries-long
tradition of equal justice under the law. We call on Congress to conduct
hearings into the selective prosecution of Muslims since the 9/11 terror


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