The CNN photo was taken in Manhattan. Al Qaeda Web sites are becoming more bold. While the threat is unconfirmed, it illustrates the point that life is changing in the U.S. DEBKAfile, an Israel web site has reported increased terrorist chatter directed to the U.S. on the web. But some local messages may be even more direct.
An Arabic-themed school (Khalil Gibran International Academy) is set to open in New York this September. The school's principal, Debbie Almontaser, recently resigned after she was criticized for being part of group selling shirts which displayed the words "Intifada NYC." The Arabic root apparently means "shaking off." However, word has been associated with the violent uprising in Palestine.
45 students are enrolled in Khalil Gibran International Academy. The school intends to teach 6th through 12th grade. The language spoke in the school will be Arabic. Almontaser resigned Friday after refusing to condemn the T-shirts. A New York Post Editorial helped bring attention to the issue. Some argue the purpose of the shirts is to call for a Gaza-style uprising in New York. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not call Almonstaser a terrorist, he did feel her resignation was the "right thing to do." But even without Almonstaser as the principle, all her supporters are still present and the T-shirts are not going away any time soon.
Are "Intifada NYC" T-shirts a threat of terrorism? Would other nations allow such "free speech?"
Update 3-19-08 : Legal Pub was asked what constitutes the crime of a terrorist threat. The following should not be construed as legal advice:
Since 9/11, the crime of terrorist threats has become a serious offense. Terrorist threats are usally defined as threats to commit an act of violence intended to threaten or intimidate another individual with reckless disregard of the risks. Even if threats are hoaxes, the consequences can be very serious. Federal statutes make criminal threats punishable by fine of $250,000 and five years in a federal prison.
A common legal definition of a terrorist threat includes:
-Willfully makes a threat
a. to commit a crime that will result in death or great harm.
b. with the intent that it be taken as a threat.
c. that is so unequivocal and specific as to convey a grave purpose and immediate prospect for execution.
d. that caused reasonable fear in the victim.
State and federal law enforcement agencies may use the charge of “terrorist” or “criminal” threat to prosecute a variety of different crimes, including: hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats, and school violence. (State law may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.)
Those charged with any crime are encouraged to contact an experienced lawyer in their local jurisdiction.