Here's hoping this demand is rejected.
Lawyers for accused Sept. 11 attacks mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four co-defendants are seeking to postpone their Aug. 8-12 hearing at Guantánamo, noting it falls toward the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The trial judge, Army Col. James Pohl, set the date for the hearing in May and specifically ruled out an extension on grounds that it coincided with Islam’s fasting month. He noted in his order then that no defense lawyer at that point had raised objection to a hearing that coincided with Ramadan.
But the attorneys do just that in a June 21 filing currently under seal on the Pentagon’s war court website entitled “Joint Defense Motion for the Military Commission to Respect the Religious Observances of Enemy Prisoners under Common Article 3.”
Pohl is hearing motions in another Guantánamo case next week. But that hearing ends by July 19, before Ramadan starts. The 9/11 case pre-trial motions would be heard toward the end of Ramadan.
“The last 10 days of Ramadan commemorate the night God —Allah— revealed the Holy Quran to the Prophet Mohammed,” said James Connell III, the Pentagon-paid defense counsel for Mohammed’s nephew, Ammar al Baluchi. “These 10 days are the most holy period of the Muslim calendar and are typically observed by fasting, prayer, and seclusion.”
This should be rejected for two reasons.
The first is that our courts do not run according to Islamic law -- that would violate the First Amendment.
The second is even more straightforward. We've seen over the last dozen years or so that Islamic terrorists do not stop planning terrorist attacks during Ramadan and do not stop committing terrorist attacks during Ramadan. Why, then, should we refrain from trying Islamic terrorists during Ramadan -- and hopefully executing them during Ramadan as well?