A Muslim worker at a Dell Inc. plant in Nashville was arrested Friday and charged with attempted terrorism after she allegedly threatened to harm other employees, authorities say.
A co-worker at the plant, owned and operated by CEVA Logistics, told Nashville Metro Police that Amal Ahmed Abdullahi (pictured above) approached him the week before and told him that she was ready to die for Allah. Further, Abdullahi said that her life starts after death and that she should pick up a gun and "shoot all these people," referring to her co-workers, according to a statement by police.
Abdullahi also allegedly said that her people were dying for Allah, that she was ready to die for Allah and that all these "kafirs," or unbelievers in America, should die, The Tennessean of Nashville reported.
The unidentified co-worker notified CEVA management of Abdullahi's comments, which led to an investigation by police and her subsequent arrest. According to police, Abdullahi initially denied that the conversation took place, but later acknowledged discussing a topic of "a religious nature" with her colleague.
"In the times in which we live, statements such as the ones alleged to have been made in this case are not ignored," the Tennessean reported police spokesman Don Aaron as saying.
Aaron told the newspaper that he wasn't immediately aware of anyone previously being charged with attempted terrorism in Nashville.
Abdullahi, 29, is being held in jail on a $50,000 bond and is due in court Wednesday. She is employed by Elwood Staffing, which CEVA utilizes to supplement staffing for certain positions, CEVA said.
Prominent Nashville defense attorney David Raybin told the newspaper that police may have acted correctly in the case, but he questioned the severity of the charge against Abdullahi. The affidavit against Abdullahi accuses her of a class A felony, but Raybin says that's applicable only to instances in which the defendant is accused of committing a "consummated crime."
"[Abdullahi] said she 'should' do something, not that she 'would' do something," Raybin told the Tennessean. "If she had said 'would,' then you would be much closer to having a terroristic threat."
News of the arrest came as a shock to those in Nashville's Muslim community, according to the Tennessean.
Amir Arain, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville, said that he was saddened to hear of the supposed incident. "Islam condemns violence of all forms and condones peaceful coexistence and love for our neighbors," he said.
In a statement, Metro Police Capt. Paul Trickey said it was important that the community understand the arrest was of one person and "not reflective of Nashville's Muslim community."
The combination of the allegations against Abdullahi and CEVA's desire to prosecute prompted the arrest, he said, adding, "At the same time, no other arrests are anticipated."
Abdullahi's arrest is far from the first controversy involving Muslims in the workplace. Followers of Islam and other religions that require the wearing of turbans, beards and hijabs have long encountered discrimination in the workplace because of their appearance.
But in California, legislation signed into law last week by Gov. Jerry Brown makes it more difficult for employers to discriminate against Muslims and Sikhs because of their religious hairstyles or clothing.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the new law doesn't guarantee a positive outcome for workers, but it does require employers to meet a higher standard of objectively in showing how religious accommodation would be a significant hardship to their business.
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