The defiant words a former third-grade teacher spat at a judge in Alexandria, Va., in April are more poignant now that sources in the Indian and U.S. governments are saying they believe Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistan-based terrorist group, was behind the mass murder in Mumbai, India, last week.
"What government was supposed to be intimidated by my actions?" Ali Asad Chandia asked U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton at the April hearing where the judge reconfirmed Chandia's 15-year prison sentence, according to The Associated Press. "Do you think the government of India will feel intimidated by a few boxes of paintballs?"
Chandia taught at an Islamic school in the Maryland suburbs before being convicted in 2006 of "providing material support to terrorists."
In a Jan. 23, 2008, opinion affirming Chandia's conviction but remanding his sentence to the district court for reconsideration, Judge Blane Michael of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit summarized the government's case against the schoolteacher.
"Specifically, the government alleged that (LET official) Ajmal Khan traveled to the United States to secure high-tech equipment and other materials for LET and that Chandia provided material support to Ajmal Khan during his trips," wrote Michael. "The alleged material support included picking up Ajmal Khan at the airport, providing him access to a computer and e-mail at Chandia's residence, and assisting him in shipping paintballs to Pakistan for LET use in military training operations."
How many paintballs? "Chandia was found guilty of ... helping Khan ship 50,000 paintball pellets from the U.S. to Pakistan," reported The Associated Press.
Others who (like Chandia) attended the now-closed Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va. -- which is about 11 miles from the U.S. Capitol -- did more than ship paintballs.
Judge Allyson Duncan of the Fourth Circuit explained their activities in a Sept. 1, 2006, opinion affirming the convictions of Masoud Khan, Seifullah Chapman and Hammad Abdur-Raheem on terrorism-related conspiracy charges.
"Khan, Chapman and Hammad attended the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., where Ali Timimi, a primary lecturer, spoke of the necessity to engage in violent jihad against the enemies of Islam and the 'end of time' battle between Muslims and non-Muslims," wrote Duncan. "Several of the attendees, including Chapman and Hammad, organized a group to engage in activities in preparation for jihad.
"In the spring of 2000, members of the group began simulating combat through paintball exercises and practices at firing ranges," the judge wrote.
How did this tie-in to LET and India?