The sentencing of 28 year old Adis Medunjanin in Brooklyn on Tuesday represented one of the key steps taken by the American government on its fight against terrorism. The American citizen of Bosnian origin was found guilty of plotting to attack the New York City sub-way system with his former classmates from a Queen’s high school. The federal authorities likened the threat to the most significant terrorist threat after the September 11, 2001 attacks. His co-accused Najibullah Zazi was nabbed by federal authorities in September of 2009, some days before the accused and the third conspirator, Zarein Ahmedzay were in the process of staging the attacks. The two co- accused are assisting the government while they await their sentencing.
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After deliberating for ten hours for a span of two days, the jury found Medunjanin guilty of nine charges against him, comprising of planning to stage a suicide attack on American soil, receiving military training from the al Qaeda terror group and planning to murder American soldiers involved in the war in Afghanistan. According to evidence presented during the trial, the attack on the sub-way system, which is one of the busiest in the world registering an average of 5. 2 million travelers per day, was the command of the al Qaeda leadership.
This trial was special in that in gave a sneak view of the methods of recruitment and operations of the al Qaeda terror group. The trial, according to the commissioner of police of New York City, acts as a strong reminder of the longing of terrorists to repeat the acts of September 9/11 in the city.
This issue has received a lot of following world wide particularly in America concerning the constant threat that is posed by terrorism. The way the channel reported this issue pains a grim picture on the prospects of the fight against terrorism because this security concern and many in the past is being orchestrated by an American citizen.
The paper pays a close attention to the topic of home grown terrorism. American war against terror has always been focused on overseas elements that pose a threat to American security, but this case shows that the real threat could be from within America itself. The accused in a resident of New York, and his mother and sister were present in the trial. They gave a testimony on behalf of Medunjanin and were emotionally moved when they left the courtroom .
This case also highlights the shift in American policy in trying cases of terrorism before a jury instead of a military tribunal. In previous cases, the United States of America preferred to try terror criminals in military tribunals. This shift has been brought about by the constant demands by its security partners for it to close the Guantanamo bay facility in Cuba, which has been associated with torture of inmates.
The reporting of this issue also showed the deficiency of the America policy in its fight against terrorism because it fails to address threats that are homegrown. The government should not ignore security threats from its own citizens because some of them are influenced by radical preaching from Islamic preachers who are available in the internet. The evolving nature of the workings of al Qaeda is also highlighted in this case. The group seems to be shifting to hiring American nationals who appear to be disadvantaged in one way or the other. The accused in this case is from Bosnia, and it is common knowledge that immigrants face a host of challenges like unemployment compared to the locals.
The paper has also focuses on the strong following of commands given by the al Qaeda leadership. The accused, following the commands he received during his trip to Pakistan in 2008, was ready to kill himself in a mission to kill others. The reporting by the paper does not shy away in linking this terror case to Islam. It reports that Medunjanin was motivated by the perceived wrongs against Islam, and was in a mission to revenge. The influence of the propaganda by the terror group had a lot of influence on the decisions of the accused because his plan was to fight and protect people of the Muslim faith, but the method he planned to employ was wrong, and this favored the intentions of the al Qaeda leadership.
The reporting by Al Jazeera does not include that part where the defense attorney mentions the coercing and intimidation of Medunjanin and his family by law enforcement agents as reported by other channels like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The reporting by the BBC includes the confessions of the co-accused that they contemplated attacking the stock exchange, Times Square and the Terminal Plaza (www.bbc.co.uk). The issue in Al Jazeera lacks the British connection which is present in the BBC version where the court received testimony from a British citizen, who had planned to blow an aircraft using a shoe bomb.
The detailed nature of the reporting by BBC and other western media shows the seriousness with which the western world takes terrorism as compared with Al Jazeera which is located in the Arab world. Terrorist reports in the west focuses on even the smallest of details while those by other media houses located outside the west give general information. This can explained by the pain that Europeans and westerners have undergone under extremist. There is also a clear link with Islam in the reporting by the western media than in the reporting by Al Jazeera. The daily telegraph of the United Kingdom calls him a terrorist .
Al Jazeera focuses on international news that report mainly on global conflicts. Over the years, the channel reported on the activities of the al Qaeda network often posting speeches by its former leader Osama bin laden in its website. This reporting is absent in western media because they will appear to be sympathizing with the terror group. Another aspect of reporting by this channel is that its news is not biased. They tend to report in a manner that shows that they are not taking sides. This is evident in the way it reports the Medunjanin case. It does not link terrorism generally to the Islamic religion.
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