From Kevin Bohn
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Muslim lecturer, Ali al-Timimi, was indicted by a
federal grand jury Thursday, on charges including counseling people to
engage in a conspiracy to levy war against the United States, to aid the
Taliban and to use firearms in violent crimes.
The United States alleges al-Timimi, who lectured at a prominent Northern
Virginia mosque until the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, told followers
attending a meeting that Islamic history justifies attacks on civilians,
that those fighting Americans in Afghanistan would die as martyrs and how to
reach a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.
"We are going to deny all the charges," al-Timimi's attorney, James Vann,
"He has a record of lectures going back years and years, 15 to 20 years
preaching non-violence and cooperation between the Muslim world and
The indictment is part of a government case in which 11 men were charged
last year as part of a "Virginia jihad network." The 11 faced accusations of
helping the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and using
paintball games as a way to train for possible terrorist activity. Nine of
the men either pleaded guilty or were convicted. Al-Timimi was not charged
in the indictment.
Lashkar-e-Taiba, designated by the United States as a terrorist
organization, has fought to gain independence for Kashmir. India and
Pakistan have fought two wars over the disputed region, which is divided by
the "Line of Control."
The indictment alleges al-Timimi helped at least five of those defendants to
levy war against the United States, supply services to the Taliban and take
part in military expeditions against U.S. allies.
The indictment states that al-Timimi told seven of those defendants at a
September 16, 2001, meeting, "The time had come for them to go abroad to
join the mujahedeen engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan."
It also charges al-Timimi told them that "American troops likely to arrive
in Afghanistan would be legitimate targets of the violent jihad in which his
listeners had a duty to engage."
Prosecutors allege the lecturer advised some of the men how to reach
undetected a terror training camp run by Laskhar-e-Taiba and al-Timimi said
the meeting must be kept secret.
The indictment alleges that between September and October of 2001, four of
the men who had attended al-Timimi's meeting went to Pakistan to train at
"While bodies were still being pulled from the rubble of the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, and while America was mourning the loss of over
3,000 people, the defendant counseled young men to bear arms against the
United States. Today's charges are a major step forward in holding this
lecturer accountable for his dangerous actions against America," U.S.
Attorney Paul McNulty stated in a news release.
Concerning the meeting listed in the indictment, al-Timimi's attorney said
his client was invited to a dinner where he talked about the problems facing
Muslims living in the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
"The extent of it [was], if you are concerned, go to another country and
reside with your wife," Vann said.
Last year, al-Timimi told Arabic language network Al-Jazeera: "An American
citizen should never kill another fellow American, no matter what the
pretext. In Islamic law, if an Islamic country is attacked, those citizens
of that country have a right to self-defense. And this is something that is
not just an Islamic law, but it's also an international law.
"So, for the government to take a discussion that I might have had in the
past, talking about the law of warfare in Islam, where I might say in a
lecture that I gave in 1996 that if an Islamic country [is attacked], by
Islamic law, then the inhabitants of that country can defend themselves. And
now to try to say that therefore I have encouraged killing, it is really a
very silly and theatrical sort of way of trying to present charges."
Officials said al-Timimi is not under arrest, and he is expected to face
arraignment October 1.
Vann said, "We feel the timing of this is suspect" because the attorneys had
told the government that al-Timimi is scheduled to defend a dissertation on
cancer research in five weeks, and the indictment will make that impossible
unless he is freed on bail.
Vann said al-Timimi has made himself available to the government and had
been interviewed seven times.
Worry not my daughters, worry not my sons