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'Fanaticism' of Faisal Shahzad fuels debate

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 00:10 IST
Faisal Shahzad

The strong justification put forth by terror suspects Faisal Shahzad and Zacarias Moussaoui has surprised many Americans, with "the depth of the fanaticism and hatred," for the US fuelling a debate here.

After cooperating with the authorities for several weeks, Shahzad, who attempted to explode a car bomb in Time Square on May 1, described himself as a "Muslim soldier" and warned that the United States would face more attacks if they continued operations in "Muslim lands."

Why they do this is a subject explored by the New York Times following the recent outburst by Shahzad in which he equivocally waved the flag of his cause.

"His allocution really embodies that credo," said Mary Jo White, a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"And he's telling the world that just because he's pleading guilty under the US criminal justice system, which he doesn't credit, that does not mean for an instant that he has any remorse for what he did," White said.

Shahzad told the judge that he had gone to Pakistan to find the Taliban to get training from them and described himself as "part of the answer to the US terrorising the Muslim nations and the Muslim people."

"I want to plead guilty, and I'm going to plead guilty 100 times over," he said.

Moussaoui, indicted for his role in 9/11, praised Osama bin Laden and testified about his delight at hearing of the grief of victims' families, and said he would kill Americans again — "anytime, anywhere."

"You realised the depth of the fanaticism and hatred," Robert A. Spencer, a former federal prosecutor who cross-examined Moussaoui, recalled.

"It wasn't that he was trying to distance himself from it and save his life. He was proud of it. He was embracing it. It underscored what we're up against," Spencer said.

However, there are several suspects who are much more remorseful when they take the stand.

A college student from Brooklyn, Syed Hashmi, who got 15 years in prison, admitted that he made a mistake for helping an al-Qaeda operative.

"Clearly, I was wrong," Hashmi said, "because as a citizen of the United States, I was not Islamically allowed to give that material support to those who waged war against America."