Let us add American Muslim convert Kobie Diallo Williams to the list of American Muslims in trouble with the law for supporting Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately this will be an endless list.
Houston Taliban supporter gets 4½ years in prison
He promises court that he will turn his life around
By MARY FLOOD
A former local college student, Kobie Diallo Williams, told a Houston federal judge Friday that while in solitary confinement for 33 months, he has reflected on his support of the Taliban and wants to apologize to his family, Muslims and the courts, promising a new focus when he is released.
Senior U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein sentenced Williams to 4½ years in prison, most of which he already has served, and a $5,000 fine. Williams pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in which he admitted to paramilitary training and donating money to the Taliban.
A former Rice University engineering technician who was enrolled at the University of Houston-Downtown in 2006 when he was charged, Williams, 36, said Friday that he will be more careful about choosing his friends. He will refocus on peaceful activities, he said, and he hopes to help Muslim youths who might be misguided like he was.
“I realize that what I said and did was very impulsive, reactive and uncalled for,” Williams told the judge, invoking God in his comments and quoting from the Bible.
Prosecutor Glenn Cook told the judge that every American has the right to peacefully disagree with the government. But, Cook said, Williams went too far by practicing paramilitary operations on camping trips in anticipation of fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and by contributing $350 to a group he understood would give the money to the Taliban, a terrorist organization.
Cook said Williams “crossed the line in practicing for a military jihad and supporting the Taliban.”
Werlein asked Williams about his plan to help the poor and young Muslim men when he gets out of prison. The judge said he was impressed with Williams' support from family and friends and letters indicating how much community work he'd done for the needy before planning the military trip overseas.
Werlein, who stopped six months short of the maximum penalty of five years in prison, told Williams he is convinced that Williams will change his ways.
“I hope you won't let me down,” Werlein said.
John Floyd, William's lawyer, said his client was incensed by the killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and fell in with the wrong crowd.
“As part of his rebirth into his religion, he strayed some,” said Floyd, who was there with a group of supporters from Williams' family.
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