No, Religious Freedom Does Not Excuse Joining Terrorist Group

No, Religious Freedom Does Not Excuse Joining Terrorist Group April 23, 2015

Three siblings were recently arrested at O’Hare airport in Chicago while attempting to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS. The oldest had told their parents that they were religiously obligated to do so. Now their attorney says it’s all okay because of religious freedom.

Lawyers for a suburban teen accused of trying to join Islamic State terrorists in Syria are making a new bid for his freedom while he awaits trial on charges they argue should be dismissed on First Amendment grounds.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan of Bolingbrook believed he had a religious obligation to emigrate to an Islamic Caliphate when federal agents nabbed him in October at O’Hare Airport as he allegedly tried to travel to the Middle East with two younger siblings, lawyer Thomas Anthony Durkin argued in a motion filed late last week.

“While it is easy to disagree with Mr. Khan’s unpopular religious beliefs and label them misguided simplistic, or even fundamentalist, it cannot be said that [they] were not sincerely held — and that is all that must be shown,” Durkin wrote.

Uh…no. That’s not all that must be shown. Even if someone does have a sincerely held religious belief, that doesn’t mean they can commit terrorism, or plan or conspire to do so. If the government can show that they were intent on joining a terrorist group, their religious beliefs are totally irrelevant.

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