News from North America, Wednesday 5th June 2013

New York Times: “Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people, told a judge on Tuesday that he believed he was defending the lives of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan from American military personnel when he went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood here in November 2009.

Major Hasan’s remarks were the first public explanation about the motive for one of the deadliest mass shootings at an American military base. His comments came a day after the judge granted his request to release his court-appointed military lawyers so that he could represent himself.”

LA Times: “In key rulings Tuesday, the judge in the Colorado theater shooting case accepted James E. Holmes’ plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, ordered him to undergo mental examinations and ruled that a contested notebook he sent to his psychiatrist must be turned over to the prosecution.

The decisions by Judge Carlos Samour Jr. resolved key legal issues that had been crawling through the courts for nearly a year.”

Huffington Post: “Muslims in the United States have grappled with the consequences of extremism since Sept. 11, 2001, when the actions of 19 men affiliated with al Qaeda ushered in a new era, when fingers are invariably pointed at followers of Islam whenever a terrorist attack takes place.

Since then, Muslim activists have spearheaded efforts to eradicate the perception that Islam is a violent or extreme religion — often laboring to disseminate the simple message that the vast majority of Islam’s 1.6 billion followers worldwide denounce terrorism.

The Boston Marathon bombings in April posed not only a major setback to more than a decade of work, but also a newer challenge: how to counter online radicalization, a known recruitment tool used by terrorist networks overseas, which appeared to have a significant impact on the suspected perpetrators of the attacks that left three dead and hundreds injured.”

New York Times: Cambridge, Mass – “For Mr. Payack, a university professor and poet who moonlights as an assistant wrestling coach at his city’s major public high school, it was well-worn territory — he has run the Boston Marathon a dozen times. He was about a block and a half from the finish line when the two bombs went off, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

Four days later, he learned that one of the suspects in the attack was as familiar to him as the race’s route.

‘I’m a marathoner, my son’s running, and the guy who blows up the Boston Marathon is one of my wrestlers,’ Mr. Payack said recently, referring to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who the authorities say teamed up with his brother, Tamerlan, 26, to set off the explosions.

It is a link that still haunts Mr. Payack and others in this community more than a month after the attack. People knew and liked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And they are struggling to square the accusations against the Tsarnaevs with the diversity and tolerance that they view as inherent in this deeply diverse and long-progressive city.”

Yahoo News: “Internet postings with anti-Muslim hate messages may soon be subject to federal criminal laws, according to Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

On Tuesday, Killian and the FBI office in Knoxville, Tenn., and Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, will be holding a meeting with Muslim leaders in the area.

Killian and Kenneth Moore, the FBI special agent from the Knoxville office, will be special speakers at a special meeting entitled ‘Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society.’ They will be speaking with the Muslim community in Knoxville to inform them of their civil rights, as they pertain to hate speech and hate crimes.

Twitter feeds, however, have been rife with calls to action against the event.”

It was later reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the event was met with a hostile crowd. Counter-jihad activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have claimed that 2,000 people were present at an AFDI rally outside the building.

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