Reid at Sentencing: ‘I Am at War With Your Country....’

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Statement of convicted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid at his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge William G. Young:


I start by praising Allah because life today is no good. I bear witness to this and he alone is right to be worshiped. And I bear witness that Muhammad ... is his last prophet and messenger who is sent to all of mankind for guidance .... Concerning what the court said? I admit, I admit my actions and I further state that I done them. I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. OK?

With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. OK? If you want to think about something, 20 against 2 million, I don’t see no comparison. OK?


Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. OK? I don’t know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the 2 million children in Iraq. OK? So for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions ....

I am at war with your country. I’m at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah. This is the only reason that America sponsors Egypt. It’s the only reason they sponsor Turkey. It’s the only reason they back Israel. OK?

As far as the sentence is concerned, it’s in your hand. Only really it is not even in your hand. It’s in Allah’s hand. I put my trust in Allah totally and I know that he will give victory to his religion. And he will give victory to those who believe and he will destroy those who wish to oppress the people because they believe in Allah.

So you can judge and I leave you to judge. And I don’t mind. This is all I have to say. And I bear witness to Muhammad. This is Allah’s message.

Statement of Judge Young:

This is a sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect ....


You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a solider gives you far too much stature And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court.

You’re a big fellow. But you’re not that big. You’re no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders I have listened respectfully to what you have to say.

And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing.

And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is for freedom’s sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. Make no mistake, though.

It is yet true that we will bear any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That’s the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will.


(Reid leaps to his feet and shakes his fist at the judge)

Young: Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down.

Reid (as he is dragged out the door): That flag will be brought down on the day of judgment and you will see in front of your Lord and my Lord, and then we will know.