Sometimes a Sting Operation Isn’t Entrapment

In the past government sting operations have too often seemed like cases of entrapment, in which hapless dupes are tricked into illegal acts that they would never take of their own volition. In the recent case of the Somali youth Mohamed Mohamud accused of trying to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, however, the FBI seems to haven taken steps to protect itself from such charges. Nonetheless some Muslims have expressed fears that this is just another case of entrapment.

There is a bright line between sting operations and entrapment. I don’t want to pre-judge a case that has yet to go to trial, but before we jump to conclusions it should be noted that in this particular case the prosecution claims it is the defendant who initiated a search for someone he could work with. Further, and again I am not saying the assertion has been proven, it is their claim that the defendant showed no concern or even hesitation over the fact that the victims of the FBI plan were just civilian holiday-goers. If the FBI claims are true, then this case is very different, for example, from real cases of entrapment where the victim has no intention or desire to harm innocents until seduced into it by the entrappers.

In this case the accusation is that the defendant pursued the general path of his own volition and the FBI only provided (fake) means to do what he himself yearned to do. If this charge is false he should be acquitted and those who entrapped him punished for promoting terrorism; but if it is true he deserves what he is about to get.

That said, I agree with the critics that naive young people must be warned against entrapment. We must  not do or say anything to mislead any young Muslims into thinking it is permissible to engage in haram actions (Islamically prohibited acts, including terrorism) as long as you are assisted by self-professed “jihadists” who may or may not be FBI agents.  The only effective means to do that is to teach them that Islam violence against the innocent is haram whether you are invited to engage in it by al-Qaeda, Mossad, the FBI, or a perfect stranger you met on the Internet.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute






3 responses to “Sometimes a Sting Operation Isn’t Entrapment”

  1. […] Sometimes a Sting Operation Isn’t Entrapment | Home […]

  2. Davi Barker Avatar
    Davi Barker

    Exactly right and well stated. This case is particularly ugly given some of the despicable things this kid supposedly said in the criminal complaint.

    I think there’s another issue here though. This kid says he thought 911 was awesome, but he was 9 years old when it happened. There was plenty of room for intervention here. If the FBI had a policy of interrupting Muslim youth on the path to radicalization, rather than paving the way for them, this kid could have been saved.

    Also, I think it is important not to overlook motive. This case, like all other cases of “Islamic” terrorism I’ve seen, was not intended to impose religion on non-Muslims. He said he was comfortable killing American civilians because America was killing Muslim civilians. Flawed as that reasoning is, it is retaliation not aggression. There is a root yo strike here

  3. Simurgh Avatar

    All the times a mere mullah can never be a an Alim !
    Pandering to a prolong FBI habit of doing so ! really ????

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