An Eden Prairie man--Abdulahi Hassan Farah--'was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with making terroristic threats, a felony,' reports the Strib's Vince Tuss. Farah's crime? He expressed an unpopular political viewpoint while visiting the Eden Prairie Library. The Star Tribune continues:
Eden Prairie police went to the library on Wednesday, after a man on his way out handed a note to a worker at the service desk.
The note was in a foreign language and included drawings of buildings, a Star of David and "911," the complaint said, adding that the worker believed it was a reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Police returned Thursday after another worker received a note, one with pictures of a plane crashing into something. According to the complaint, the notes were believed to be written in Somali or Arabic.
On Friday, staffers told a detective who was in the library that the man was back and that he was seen writing two notes, according to the complaint. The man left one note under the desk where he was working and the other at the counter, the complaint also said.
If you handed someone a note and the recipient could not even identify the language it was written in, it would be weird were you to subsequently be charged with 'making terroristic threats', no? (If the note was later translated into English and was determined to contain an unambiguous threat, the reporter should certainly have noted that, right?) But let's be clear on the main issue: It's entirely legal for a person to express admiration for Osama bin Laden or the 9/11 hijackers--and to seek to make her viewpoint known in the public square.