Man who plotted to behead anti-Islamist blogger sent to jail

Boston judge sentences 28-year-old to 28 years in prison for conspiring to support ISIS and plotting to behead Pamela Geller.

Ben Ariel,

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A judge in Boston on Tuesday sentenced a Massachusetts man to 28 years in prison after he was convicted of conspiring to support the Islamic State (ISIS) in a 2015 plot to attack police and behead anti-Islamist blogger Pamela Geller, Reuters reported.

U.S. District Judge William Young told 28-year-old David Wright that he had “embraced a monstrous evil” when he plotted with his uncle and a friend to travel to New York to attempt to behead Geller in an act of retribution for her having organized a “Draw Mohammed” contest.

The group never made the trip, as Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, lost patience and told his co-conspirators that he wanted to kill law enforcement officers in Massachusetts, according to Reuters. Agents overheard that conversation, and when police approached Rahim in a supermarket parking lot to question him, authorities say he lunged at them with a knife and was shot dead.

“You are not a monster, yet you embraced a monstrous evil,” the judge told Wright after sentencing him to less than the life in prison prosecutors had sought. “You’ve got to live with the fact that you sent your uncle out there to be killed.”

Wright, who was not present when his uncle was shot, was found guilty in October of plotting the New York attack as well as destroying evidence.

Wright testified during his trial that he had been living in a “fantasy world” when the group discussed plans including somehow hijacking a U.S. warship. He said he was stunned when Rahim attacked police.

“I reject everything that ISIS stands for and represents. I want to apologize to law enforcement to the extent that my words or failure to act put them in danger,” he was quoted as having said.

His defense lawyers had asked for a sentence of 16 years, noted Reuters.

Geller’s May 2015 contest in Garland, Texas featured cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, images considered blasphemous by many Muslims. Two gunmen attacked that event, and police shot them dead.

Geller said her event was intended as a demonstration of the free-speech rights protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting attack, and one of the two gunmen was revealed to have tweeted allegiance to ISIS, but it remains unclear whether the Texas attack was inspired by ISIS or carried out in response to an order from the group.

Earlier this year, an American-born Muslim convert convicted of supporting ISIS and helping plot the 2015 attack in Garland was sentenced to 30 years behind bars.

Gelller, the founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), is known for her campaign against extremist Muslims, which has featured among other things prominent bus ads criticizing Muslim anti-Semitism.


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