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 Qurʾān. 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 inshā'Allāh and continue the establishment of Islam on the earth with the help and guidence of Allāh 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 imām know that these are people who need to find the sweetness of īmān? 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 Allāh 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 Allāh, of His Lord, His Creator. May Allāh accept this man's faith and guide him even now, just as each and every person needs guidance.