Source: Muslims for a Safer America
The FBI warns that there are hundreds of people with ties to Al Qaeda in the U.S. It is unknown how many are American Muslims.
No American Muslims were among the 9/11 hijackers, presumably because Al Qaeda could not find American Muslims willing to participate.
However, several American Muslims have been accused of working with Al Qaeda or the Taliban since 9/11. Some have been convicted. Cases like these tend to cast suspicion on all Muslims. They help to explain why some Americans fear their American Muslim neighbors.
The following is a partial list of cases that are currently pending against American Muslims, and cases involving convictions of American Muslims. This list does not include cases involving non-citizens, unless they are implicated in cases involving citizens. (The Washington Post reported that, as of June 2005, fourteen people had been convicted of terrorism/national security crimes related to Al Qaeda, and that five people had been convicted of terrorism/national security crimes related to the Taliban. However, The Washington Post did not state how many were Americans. See “Narrowing The Field.”)
Allegations of Threats to the American Homeland
In May 2003, a Kashmiri-American Muslim from Ohio, Iyman Faris, pled guilty to scouting targets, like the Brooklyn Bridge, for Al Qaeda, and providing Al Qaeda with sleeping bags, cell phones, and plane tickets. He admitted to meeting with Osama Bin Ladin. He also admitted to meeting with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed after 9/11.
In October 2004, an Egyptian-American Muslim in NY, James Elshafay, pled guilty to conspiring to blow up a NY subway station. A Pakistani Muslim immigrant, Shahawar Matin Siraj, was found guilty in the plot in May 2006. Police paid an Egyptian-American Muslim informant, Osama Eldawoody, $100,000 to watch the local community. The informant offered to provide the Defendants with explosives for the subway attack. The informant videotaped the Defendants talking about blowing up the subway station. The Defendants said the informant suggested the plot and incited them to act by showing them pictures of Muslims overseas being mistreated and by telling them he had received a fatwa saying it was okay for Muslims to kill American troops.
In November 2005, a Jordanian-American Muslim from Virginia, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted of conspiring with Al Qaeda to assassinate President Bush and to hijack planes and fly them into buildings. He was also convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda. He confessed on videotape while in Saudi custody, but he claimed the confession was produced by torture.
In March 2006, an Iranian-American Muslim in North Carolina, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, was charged with attempted murder and felony assault after he attempted to run people over with an SUV. Nine people were injured. He wrote a letter to the media saying, “Allah gives permission in the Koran for the followers of Allah to attack those who have raged war against them, with the expectation of eternal paradise in case of martyrdom and/or living one’s life in obedience of all of Allah’s commandments found throughout the Quran’s 114 chapters.” He also wrote, “The U.S. government is responsible for the deaths of and the torture of countless followers of Allah, my brothers and sisters. My attack on Americans at UNC-CH on March 3rd was in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated by the U.S. government on my fellow followers of Allah in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic territories. I did not act out of hatred for Americans, but out of love for Allah instead.”
In April 2006, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Lodi, California, Hamid Hayat, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists by attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2003. The government paid a Pakistani Muslim informant, Naseem Khan, around $225,000 to move to Lodi and infiltrate the Muslim community; the informant encouraged Hayat to talk about fighting America, encouraged Hayat to attend a terrorist training camp, and cursed at Hayat when Hayat said he hadn’t yet attended the camp. The government claimed Hayat admitted during an FBI interrogation that he trained to kill Americans; that he received training in weapons, explosives, and hand-to-hand combat; and that he volunteered to attack American hospitals and food stores. The FBI said no actual attack had been planned. Hayat later denied that he went to a training camp, and the defense argued that the FBI had suggested answers to Hayat during the interrogation. The government also deported a Pakistani imam from Lodi for immigration violations; the government said it had been watching the imam for years based on suspicions that he was trying to organize a terrorist training camp near Lodi. No criminal charges were brought against the imam.
In July 2006, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Georgia, Syed Haris Ahmed, and a Bangladeshi-American Muslim from Georgia, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, were charged with getting paramilitary training in Georgia in order to attack civilian and government targets, and discussing terror targets with others. The indictment says their motivation was “defense of Muslims or retaliation for acts committed against Muslims.”
In July 2006, during the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Pasco, Washington, Naveed Haq, was charged with killing a Jewish woman at a Jewish center in Seattle. Officials said the gunman was angry about Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon.
In June 2007, a Guyanese-American Muslim, Russell Defreitas, and three Muslim non-citizens, were charged with conspiring to attack JFK Airport by setting off explosives near the airport’s fuel lines. A convicted drug dealer agreed to infiltrate and record the group in exchange for a lighter sentence and financial assistance.
In November 2007, an African-American Muslim, Derrick Shareef, pled guilty to plotting to attack a Rockford, IL shopping mall with hand grenades. Shareef had a White Muslim accomplice, William Chrisman, who was working as an FBI informant. Both men allegedly videotaped their wills. On the video, Shareef allegedly said, “This is a warning to those who disbelieve, that we are here for you and I am ready to give my life” and “This tape is to let you guys know, who disbelieve in Allah, to let the enemies of Islam know, and to let the Muslims alike know that the time for jihad is now.” In court, the informant, Chrisman, testified, “What brought me to the government was after 9-11 Muslim scholars in Saudi Arabia and Morocco said it was incumbent on Muslims to stop terrorists” and “Anyone involved in terrorism was deemed the brother of the devil.”
In December 2007, an African-American Muslim, LeVar Haley Washington, pled guilty to plotting attacks on National Guard facilities, synagogues, and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. Two other African-American Muslims, Kevin James and Gregory Vernon Patterson, and a Pakistani Muslim, Hammad Riaz Samana, still face charges.
In June 2008, an African-American Muslim in Ohio, Christopher Paul pled guilty to plotting to bomb American targets in the U.S. and overseas. He admitted to joining Al Qaeda, receiving explosives training, and then training other Al Qaeda members in explosives.
In December 2008, a Jordanian-American Muslim from New Jersey, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, was convicted of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix (where troops train for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan) in New Jersey. Four Muslim non-citizens from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia were also convicted. The government said they were arrested while trying to buy weapons. Two paid informants infiltrated the group, encouraged the men with anti-American rhetoric, offered to connect the group to an arms dealer, and recorded the group’s conversations.
In January 2009, a Peruvian/Argentine-American Muslim from Long Island, New York, Bryant Neal Vinas, pled guilty to providing Al Qaeda with information that might result in an attack on the Long Island Rail Road, receiving Qaeda training, and conspiring to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. “I consulted with a senior Al Qaeda leader and provided detailed information about the operation of the Long Island Rail Road system which I knew because I had ridden the railroad on many occasions,” he told the judge. “The purpose of providing this information was to help plan a bomb attack of the Long Island Rail Road system.”
In May 2009, three African-American Muslims and one Haitian Muslim from New York – James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen – were charged with plotting to bomb two NY synagogues and shoot down military planes in NY with anti-aircraft missiles. The men were arrested after allegedly planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside two synagogues. The men had obtained the “bombs” with the help of an FBI informant, Shahed Hussain, a Pakistani Muslim. The Muslim informant claimed that Cromitie said he was upset about the war in Afghanistan and that that he wanted to “do something to America.” The Muslim informant became an informant to avoid being deported, after he was convicted of fraud.
In June 2009, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Georgia, Syed Haris Ahmed, was convicted of aiding terrorist groups by making videos of potential targets – including the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol building – and sending the videos to a recruiter for Al Qaeda overseas. In August 2009, a Bangladeshi-American Muslim from Georgia, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, was convicted of the same thing. One of the videos played in court showed Ahmed and Sadequee driving by the Pentagon as Sadequee said, “This is where our brothers attacked the Pentagon.” Ahmed testified that he and Sadequee talked about attacking U.S. oil refineries to disrupt the U.S. economy. A friend, Omer Kamal, testified that he watched jihad recruitment videos, and videos on making explosives, with Sadequee and Ahmed, and that they practiced together for warfare by playing paintball. Kamal testified that they also talked about attacking the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
In September 2009, a White American Muslim from Illinois, Michael Finton, was charged with trying to blow up the federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois. The government initially learned that Finton wanted to get training to fight Israelis in Gaza. Another Muslim, working as a government informant, and an undercover FBI agent, posing as an Al Qaeda operative, suggested that Finton attack an American government target instead; Finton allegedly agreed. The undercover FBI agent provided Finton with a van with a fake bomb inside. The government alleged that Finton parked the van outside the courthouse, and that he twice tried to detonate the fake bomb by making cell phone calls that he thought would activate the fake bomb.
Allegations of Assisting Al Qaeda, The Taliban, And Other Groups Overseas
In July 2002, a Caucasian-American Muslim, John Walker Lindh, pled guilty to joining the Taliban. When Lindh joined the Taliban in Summer 2001 to fight against Afghan opponents of the Taliban, the Bush Administration was providing economic assistance to the Taliban to assist with opium eradication. Lindh was in Afghanistan on 9/11, but he said he had never heard of Al Qaeda, was not aware that Al Qaeda had attacked America, and did not know that America had declared war on the Taliban. At the sentencing hearing after Lindh’s guilty plea, the federal judge stated that there was “no evidence” that Lindh fought against Americans.
In early 2003, six Yemeni-American Muslims in Lackawanna, NY (Yasein Taher, Shafal Mosed, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Sahim Alwan, Yahya Goba, and Faysal Galab) pled guilty to training at an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before 9/11. The men said they went to the camp to learn how to use weapons. At the camp, they met with Osama Bin Ladin and learned that some sort of attack against the U.S. was planned. But the men said they themselves never intended to attack American targets. The government described the men as a “sleeper cell,” but the government made no allegations that they planned any attacks in the U.S. or elsewhere.
In April 2003, an African-American Muslim in Seattle, WA, James Ujaama, pled guilty to traveling to Afghanistan and providing the Taliban with money and computer software prior to 9/11. Charges that he plotted to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon were dropped as part of a plea agreement. He agreed to cooperate with the government in a case against Abu Hamza al-Masri, former imam of the Finsbury Mosque in London.
In the summer and fall of 2003, members of the “Portland Seven” (Patrice Lumumba Ford, Jeffrey Leon Battle, October Martinique Lewis, Muhammad Bilal, Ahmed Bilal, and Maher Mike Hawash) were convicted of planning to join the Taliban and fight the U.S. in Afghanistan after 9/11. The Palestinian-American and African-American Muslims got as far as China, before being denied entry into Pakistan. One of them told the judge he wanted to join the Taliban, because he was concerned that American troops in Afghanistan would kill Muslims who had already suffered enough.
In March 2004, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Maryland, Masoud Ahmad Khan, was convicted of conspiring to join the Taliban to fight against the U.S. in Afghanistan after 9/11. He was part of the so-called “Virginia Paintball Jihad” group. Six other American Muslims of various national origins (and four other immigrant Muslims) were convicted on charges unrelated to attacks on Americans. Some of the defendants admitted in court that they had intended to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
In March 2004, an Indian-American Muslim in California, Ilyas Ali, pled guilty to attempting in 2002 to buy four Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which he intended to sell to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Two Pakistani citizens also pled guilty.
In June 2004, a Pakistani-American Muslim from NY, Mohammed Junaid Babar, pled guilty to conspiring to send money and military gear to Al-Qaeda agents fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and to setting up a training camp in Afghanistan.
In July 2005, an Arab-American Muslim, Ali al-Timimi, was convicted in Virginia of encouraging his students to attend training camps and join the Taliban to fight the U.S. after 9/11.
In February 2006, the government charged two Jordanian-American Muslims, and a Lebanese Muslim with a green card, from Ohio with plotting to provide support for attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and other countries. One of the Jordanian-American Muslims was also charged with threatening to attack President Bush.
In May 2006, the government charged a Pakistani-American Muslim formerly from NY, Syed Hashmi, with conspiring to send money and military gear to Al-Qaeda agents fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
In October 2006, a Caucasian-American Muslim originally from California, Adam Gadahn, was charged with treason for providing support to Al Qaeda. The government alleges that he has met with Osama Bin Ladin and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and helped give them insight into the West. The government alleges that he has helped produce, and has appeared in, videos promoting Al Qaeda.
In December 2006, an African-American Muslim from Texas, Kobie Williams, pled guilty to getting paramilitary training with three Pakistani Muslim friends in Houston so he could prepare to join the Taliban and fight against U.S. troops in Afghanistan; he also pled guilty to donating $350 to the Taliban. A White American Muslim who was an ICNA-Houston member, Jim Coates, made recordings of the men for the FBI. Coates helped an undercover officer, Malik Mohamed, infiltrate the group; Mohamed agreed to be their paramilitary trainer and recorded their conversations.
In March 2007, an African-American Muslim, Hassan Abujihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, was charged with informing Al Qaeda sympathizers about how and where to attack U.S. Navy vessels in the Middle East during the spring of 2001, a few months after the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen. He was a sailor in the U.S. Navy at the time.
In April 2007, an African-American Muslim in NY, Tariq Shah, pled guilty to pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda and offering to train Al Qaeda members in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. The government taped conversations that Shah had with an undercover FBI agent, Ali Soufan, posing as an Al Qaeda recruiter, and a Yemeni Muslim, Mohamed Alanssi, working as an FBI informant. The government paid the informant $100,000. As a result of the sting operation, two other Muslims from NY and Washington, D.C. also pled guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda.
In May 2007, an African-American Muslim from Florida, Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, was convicted of agreeing to treat injured Al Qaeda fighters so they could return to Iraq to battle Americans. The government taped conversations that Abdus Sabir had with an undercover FBI agent, Ali Soufan, posing as an Al Qaeda recruiter.
In August 2007, a Latino-American Muslim, Jose Padilla, and a Jordanian-American Muslim, Kifah Jayyousi, were convicted of conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim overseas, and providing material support for terrorists. (Padilla had previously been held for three-and-a-half years as an enemy combatant, because the government alleged he plotted with Al Qaeda to detonate a bomb containing radioactive material in the U.S., and to blow up American apartment buildings. However, these allegations were not included in the criminal charges. Padilla’s lawyers charged that during his detention, Padilla was deprived of sleep, chained in painful positions, and injected with mind-altering drugs, making him unable to participate in his own defense at trial; he did not testify at his trial.)
In March 2008, an African-American Muslim from Arizona, Hassan Abujihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, was convicted of informing Al Qaeda sympathizers about the movements of U.S. Navy vessels in the Middle East during the spring of 2001, after the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen. He was a sailor in the U.S. Navy in 2001.
In June 2008, two Jordanian-American Muslims from Ohio, Mohammad Amawi and Marwan El-Hindi, were convicted of plotting attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. A Lebanese Muslim on a green card, Wassim Mazloum, was also convicted.
In January 2009, two Egyptian-American Muslims from Chicago, Khaleel Ahmed and Zubair A. Ahmed, pled guilty to conspiring to attack American troops in Iraq.