Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Detroit’s very own Mohamed Atta Mini-Me, made his first bad impression on prospective jurors Wednesday by leaning back in his chair in court and putting his feet up on the defense table.
The attitude was captured nicely by courtroom artist Carole Kabrin here.
Showing the soles of one’s foot is a significant insult in the Islamic world.
No one’s mentioning it now, though. Maybe that’s because the intended target is only the American judicial system – the trial judge and the prospective jurors. In other words, you and me, America.
The U-bomber also acted up by saying things in court like, “Osama is alive,” “Jihad,” and “I'm being forced to wear prison clothes.”
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, explains it this way. "He's delusional. Even al-Qaida has recognized bin Laden is dead. I don't know what point he was trying to make, except being disruptive."
Walid is being too modest pretending not to see the point. You know it can’t be easy for Walid having a prominent Muslim Brotherhood operative in town, hand-picked by al-Awlaki himself, and then not being able to show him any better hospitality than to keep describing him in the press as “delusional,” and “insane.”
Regardless, Walid pretended not to recognize the shoe insult, and confined his shoe-related reaction to observing how the U-bomber has “got more shoes than some poor kids who live in Detroit." We’re not sure what the significance of that is.
Abdulmutallab has more prison clothes than those poor kids do, too: but U-bomber’s complaining he’s forced to wear them, whereas the Detroit kids dress like that of their own free will. What’s up with all that?
What Walid cares about more than anything right now is driving a wedge into your head between this Nigerian kid and his plain-spoken jihadist logic and the word “Muslim.”
All to distract from one of “the most closely watched terror cases since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” Not that that’s saying much, since there have been so few, and none of them closely watched. Closer to the truth that the same Muslim leaders and media brains who brought us “Ten Years After: The 9-11 Tragedy” are never going to get this trial in focus, because Islam is in the dock with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
I’m at least encouraged for now that U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, appointed to the federal bench by the first President Bush, has avoided two pitfalls into which many trial judges fall. The first pitfall is indulging the notion that jury fairness exists in inverse proportion to jury awareness of what happened. “We are not trying to find people who have never heard of this case,” said Judge Edmunds. “We are looking for people who can serve as fair, objective and impartial jurors.” It’s much better for everyone if we have a jury who aren’t not so insulated and ignorant that they’ve never even heard of terrorism, or jet planes or even underwear (in other words, pretty much the same standard used to select the O.J. jury).
The second encouraging thing is Judge Edmund’s finding that the U-bomber’s admissions when he was first being interrogated by the FBI will not be excluded just because he was on a powerful painkiller and wasn’t given his Miranda warnings. The judge said “national security fears justified agents not reading Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights before interrogating him.” A burn until nurse helping treat him said he was “lucid and not confused” in spite of a hefty dose of fentanyl.
DU has been unable to confirm if the U-bomber next will argue for exclusion of his statements on the alternative ground that he made them after the hospital staff taking care of him refused his request to turn off Christmas music, thus violating his First Amendment right to be free from unwanted Christian speech.