A federal court this past week upheld the 2010 convictions of four Muslim men charged with plotting in 2009 to blow up the Riverdale Jewish Center and the Riverdale Temple, and shooting surface-to-air missles at military planes near an air base in Newburgh, N.Y. A panel of three judges rejected the defense claim of three of the defendants, and gave a 2-1 decision against the claims of the fourth, that they were “entrapped” by undercover agents from the FBI who infiltrated a mosque the defendants attended upstate.
The government informant testified that the lead defendant, James Cromitie, “hated Jews and Jewish people and he hated the American people, American soldiers.” In rejecting Cromitie’s claims of entrapment, Judge Jon Newman said the defendant had a “design” and a proven “predisposition to inflict serious harm… Agents would have been derelict in their duties if they did not test how far Cromitie would go to carry out his desires.” The judges also rejected claims of religious bias. Judge Newman ruled, “When a government agent encounters a Muslim who volunteers that he wants to ‘do something to America’ [or die like a martyr] the agent is entitled to probe the attitudes of that person to learn whether his religious views have impelled him toward the violent brand of radical Islam that poses a dire threat to the United States.”
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