Open Letter to Jahar

Note: I realize that Jahar will never read this, nor is this what I would actually write him if the special administrative measures weren’t in place because he’d probably find it extremely offensive. I just wanted to let out the feelings that have been building inside my heart since opening arguments last week and to write what I would really like to say to him if I had no need to censor myself.

Dear Jahar,

Would you please wake up and snap out of this fog?

Do you not see the devastation you caused? Do you not see the prosthetic legs and wheelchairs of your victims in the courtroom? Do you not see the disturbingly graphic photos from that day—from what you did? Do you not see the tears on your victims’ faces—the tears you caused?

How can it not affect you to see and hear what you did to that precious eight-year-old boy? How can you just keep staring into space without a care in the world?

How could you calmly go buy milk right after the bombing knowing the carnage you caused? How could you go back to your normal life as if nothing had happened?

How could you think that there’s a god out there who is not only pleased by what you did but also will reward you with “the highest levels of Jannah” for it?

It’s disgusting.

I’ve been praying for you daily for almost two years, but after opening arguments, I almost had to force myself to pray for you. The love God gave me for you was momentarily replaced by something that felt a lot more like hatred, though it never got quite that far.

I don’t call human beings made in the image of God “monsters,” but it’s taking all that is within me to not call you an “evil monster.” I thought all along that you followed your brother into this and that you may not have bought in entirely to radical Islam and his plans. Oh how I appear to have been terribly wrong!

You are more evil than I ever dared imagine. The darkness that captivates and emanates from your heart is almost unbearable. The satanic ideology that is radical Islam has completely enthralled you.

The more this trial goes on, the more disgusted I am by you.

Yet, the more this trial goes on, the more heartbroken and burdened I am for you.

So now, as if it were even possible, I’m going to pray even harder for you than ever before. I’m going to cry out to God on your behalf with the most desperation I’ve ever had. I will at times pray through tears of anguish, and this will weigh so heavily on my heart, but it’s all completely worth it. You’re worth it.

Not because of any inherent worth in you. Not because you somehow deserve it despite all evidence to the contrary. But because my God loves you.

Yes, my God—the one you hate so passionately—loves you.

He knew that you would embrace this demonic ideology. That you would build those bombs. That you would detonate them and maim and kill precious creations of His. That you would have a heart cold as ice afterward and pretend like your hands didn’t have blood all over them. That you would take part in Sean Collier’s coldblooded murder. That you had evil plans for what you would’ve done to Danny had he not escaped and what you would’ve done with the bombs in the trunk. That you’d put the lives of even more cops in danger that night. That you would finish your course of terror with a disgusting note proclaiming faith in a false god.

Yet He took nails in His wrists and His feet for you. Yet He took your death penalty on the cross, paving the way to freedom and guaranteed eternal life if you would only receive the gift He so freely offers you.

Yet He looked down upon that boat, saw you on the verge of death, and said, “No, this one is Mine. I want him. I love him.” And He so graciously spared your life. He so graciously kept your heart beating.

You probably wish you’d have died that night. But had God not spared you, you wouldn’t be in Jannah Al-Firdaus; you’d be in hell. You’d have had to pay the price for your sins for all eternity. Words fail to describe how grateful I am to my God that He’s given you a second chance.

Your sins are great, but there is an even greater Savior.

And He bids you come and live. Don’t you hear His voice? He says, “Jahar, My child, come home.” My Father longs to embrace His lost son in His arms and celebrate that though you once were lost, now you’re found, though once blind, now you see. And I long to celebrate right along with Him that my little brother has come home.

So until that moment, I will never stop fighting for you. Because although I now see the sick, evil person you truly are, I also see the beautiful new creation that you can—and I believe you will—become.

May the veil one day lift from your eyes and you see Christ in all His glory for the first time. May you run with all that is within you to the cross and surrender there, receiving His forgiveness. And in doing so, may you experience a freedom like no other even behind those bars.

And whether you’re sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty, may you come to know that you will live no matter what—forever in the blissful joy that exists in the presence of the One who loves you dearly.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Your future sister,

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