Matthew Barakat, AP, Apr. 26
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An Islamic scholar who prosecutors said enjoyed “rock star” status among a group of young Muslim men in Virginia was convicted Tuesday of exhorting his followers in the days after Sept. 11 to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops.
The convictions against Ali al-Timimi, 41, carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without parole. But the judge left open the possibility that she will toss out some of the counts.
The jury reached its verdict after seven days of deliberations and convicted al-Timimi of all 10 counts.
Prosecutors said the defendant — a native U.S. citizen who has an international following in some Muslim circles — wielded enormous influence among a group of young Muslim men in northern Virginia who played paintball games in 2000 and 2001 as a means of training for holy war around the globe.
Al-Timini was convicted of charges including soliciting others to levy war against the United States and inducing others to use firearms in violation of federal law. The firearms convictions require mandatory life imprisonment.
He becomes the 10th person convicted in the government’s prosecution of what it called a “Virginia jihad network.” Two were acquitted.