Bismillah walhamdolillah.

Tragically, he made friends with an FBI informant. US law enforcement will speak of what happened recently in Baltimore as the aversion of a tragedy, the prevention of something evil. And certainly any murderous attack on innocent people is an evil.

Yet what happened in Baltimore recently is a tragedy nonetheless.

He also told the judge that he did construction work to support his wife but could not afford a lawyer.

His Facebook page says he graduated in 2005 from Laurel High School in Laurel, Md. His wife's Facebook page says she is a senior majoring in English and education at Pine Manor College, a women-only school in a suburb of Boston. She did not respond to an e-mail.

The complaint also said Mr. Martinez told the informant that he did not have a cellphone and moved from place to place to live, that he had an unspecified criminal record, and that his mother was not happy about how he was living his life.

Mr. Martinez's Facebook page lists his interests as worshiping God and — using Islamic terms — vocal songs, prayer, proselytizing, religious stories and the Qur'an. It also lists marriage, learning, work and the movies “The Last Samurai” and “Avatar.”

In a biography section, he wrote: “IM just a yung brotha from the wrong side of the tracks who embraced Islam,” adding: “We gotta rise up insha'Allah and continue the establishment of Islam on the earth with the help and guidence of Allah we can ya muslimeen!!!”

It also says he is “Looking for: friendship.”

Taken from the New York Times website on 12/08/2010.

Is that the rhetoric of a radical — or just a typical young man (still) in need of good friendship and mentorship?

If there are enough wolves, with enough resources, and hunting in enough places, they will inevitably separate some sheep or catch one that has become vulnerable. So maybe part of the tragedy is how much the government devotes its resources to creating terrorists.

Why can't the FBI send informants who constantly invite people to open soup kitchens, to visit the sick, and to care for orphans? Why can't those informants take down the names of people who meet such invitations with hard hearts and then let the local imam know that these are people who need to find the sweetness of iman? And if one of those people who refuses an invitation to do something good instead volunteers, “hey, let's blow something up!” Then the FBI would be doing everyone a favor by doing something about that person.

But I guess the FBI would much rather encourage people to do evil.

The other part of the tragedy, though, is that we do a poor job as a community of raising shepherds from amongst us to watch out for the whole flock and for the stragglers, too. I do not know whether the Muslims in his local community simply failed to embrace him — not just on the day of his conversion, but in the months and years since then. (Per the article, at least one of the people in his community whom he tried to get to join the informant's plot responded by trying to warn him about the evil repercussions of such a plan.)

But Allah built into Islam mechanisms to strengthen communities, so that communities can watch out for the poor and for the downtrodden, so that Islamic education and worldly knowledge can be effectively shared. We are not part of a religion of monks and people who care for nothing and no one other than themselves. We are Muslims, and we have to care for each other before tragedy strikes, not just sympathize (or cast blame) afterwards.

Every Muslim would say that a convert leaves his old faith for the sake of Allah, of His Lord, His Creator. May Allah accept this man's faith and guide him even now, just as each and every person needs guidance.

4 Responses

  1. jeff

    There is so much spin in this article its disgusting. I am 100% for freedom of religion in the united states and am a very tolerant person when it comes to religion. But muslim’s are REALLY spinning these stories to sound like the person was a “just a typical young man”. I may not be educated greatly on the teachings of the quran but trying to murder innocent civilians with a CAR BOMB in a residential neighborhood is not “typical young man” behavior. Maybe it is in countries were politics are decided with violence and not democracy , but not in america.

    This article bothers me because my mother was working in the direct area of the attempted attack. If this had not been a sting operation and had it been a real car bomb i might have LOST my mother because muslims of the world cannot for the life of them contain this issue and try to educate muslims that killing is in no way acceptable.

    Stop trying to defend islam as a whole and start attacking radical islam as furiously as the rest of the world is. Only then will people start to give true muslims some credibility. The next 10 years of world history is going to define weather or not true muslims of the world can come together and stop this plague. And the only way you are going to do that is to stand on common ground with people and fight against the radicals just as hard as everyone else.

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    • Tariq Ahmed

      As far as what was quoted in my article, that whole text came straight from the New York Times article, to which I gave a link.

      As for what happened in Baltimore, you blame Muslims for the danger your family and community might have been in? Blame the people who chose the targets, who chose to encourage that man to do something so evil in the first place — blame the FBI and all the politicians who do not stand up against these policies. Nothing at all indicates this man would have ever done such a heinous act without the FBI’s direct inspiration and encouragement.

      To blame Muslims for the danger the community faced is foolish at best. I think it is far too easy to pass judgment on people who are targeted by these informants — FBI infiltration of a masjid is no less disgusting than if they were to infiltrate any church or synagogue in the country.

      However, what I wrote is that I blame the FBI for its encouragement of criminal behavior, and I blame the Muslim community of which I am a part for not doing a better job of caring for our own — because it is sad that this man had to find friendship with such a viper. Did the man agree to do something evil? Yes, assuming the facts are as they seem, but just as apparently none of this need ever have happened if the FBI were less disgusting in its tactics and if Muslims were more like the shepherds we know our prophets to have been.

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