Readers, this is the third and most important story on Somalis this morning.
I bet you’ve never heard (through the mainstream media) about the trial of two Somali women in Minnesota who were convicted of conspiracy and other charges for sending money to Al-Shabaab, a designated terrorist group, in Somalia. We first told you about the case here when one of the women told the court that all the “infidels would go to hell.”
Due to her “religious” beliefs, one defendant (“go to hell infidels”) refused to stand when the Judge entered the court room.
If a Muslim woman wasn’t punished for refusing to stand when a federal judge entered his Minneapolis courtroom, others would have been emboldened to show disrespect for the court, the judge has ruled.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis wrote that defendant Amina Farah Ali’s silent gesture — which she said was rooted in religious principle — could have led to chaos during her trial on terrorism-related charges last year.
“If Ali were allowed to sit while court is called, it may have been possible that her many sympathizers would have begun to emulate her in a show of support,” Davis wrote in an opinion and order.
“The court was also concerned that allowing Ali to show disrespect for the court by failing to rise would encourage additional signs of disrespect, leading to a loss of control in the courtroom.”
Ali, 36, is one of two Rochester women awaiting sentencing for raising money for al-Shabaab, a group fighting the government of her native Somalia.
In a pretrial hearing and during the first two days of her trial last October, Ali refused to stand when Davis entered or left the courtroom. The “standing requirement,” as it is known, is intended as a show of respect for the legal system in general and not the judge in particular.
Ali and co-defendant Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 65 (who did stand), were convicted of conspiracy and other counts and are awaiting sentencing; each could get 30 years in prison.
So far, so good! Right! Now get this!
Ali’s lawyer appealed and the Appeals Court sided with Ali and threw out most of the trial judge’s contempt charges.
Ali’s attorney, Daniel Scott, appealed the contempt citations to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Scott argued that Ali’s actions weren’t disruptive and that because they were sincerely held religious beliefs, Davis was obliged under federal law to find the “least restrictive” way to maintain order in the court.
The appeals court agreed. But the three-judge panel also said judges have discretion in how they run their courtrooms.
The appeals court threw out all but the first contempt citation and sent the matter back to Davis to reconsider. At a hearing Tuesday, Sept. 18, (at which Ali stood when the judge entered) Davis reinstated the contempt citations but then “purged” them, saying he would explain his rulings later in a written order.
Incidentally, we reported last December that Minnesota Hard Left advocacy groups rallied around the cause of these two women, here.
For new readers: More than 100,000 Somalis have been admitted to the US through the Refugee Resettlement Program of the US State Department, here, and there is no sign of the feds letting up. Minnesota is one of the top destination states for Somalis. This post about why so many Somalis are in Minneapolis is one of our most-read posts here (at RRW) almost daily. In fact, today as I write this, it is our top post.