Sunday, September 01, 2013

Praying can make you a 'Terrorist Threat'

Can you be a terrorist for praying?  If you are trying to visit the grave of your great-grandparents, and say a prayer, well, yes you can, apparently.  Earlier this year, a group of men were arrested when attempting to do just that.  After the arrest, officials charged the praying men with making ' terrorist threats.'

After a video emerged exonerating them, charges against all but one of the men were dropped.  One of the men, Wayland Gray, can be seen on the video repeatedly asking his arresting officers if they were going to tell their children how they arrested a man for attempting to pray at the grave of his kin.  After the 'terrorist threat' charge was dropped, Gray was still charged with trespassing, a charge for which he refused to plead guilty.  He was sentenced last week to 2 years of probation... for attempting to pray at the grave of his ancestors.

At issue is the fact that the graves were a part of a Mvskoke Nation burial ground recently disinterred in order to build a casino in Wetumpka, AL.  US law forbids the disturbance of graves, and, in particular, native American graves.  Apparently the government of the state of Alabama, which fights gambling when it doesn't get a cut, will allow the desecration of graves if it can profit from it.  If you make ANY waves, you are, of course, a terrorist.

To top this off, one of the few stories I saw in our area covering the topic initially had an incorrect headline about an armed robbery.  This has since been corrected, with no retraction, and shows the disregard for the issue in the press.

Gray is appealing the trespassing conviction, and I wish him luck.