Federal law enforcement officials arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, and accused him of plotting to bomb the square during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The charges against Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-born 19-year-old who was caught in a federal sting operation, are testing tolerance in a state that has been largely accepting of Muslims.
Many questions remain about the extent of Mr. Mohamud’s connections to Islamic extremists, whom investigators say he wrote to and plotted with, as well as about the apparent contradictions in his personal life, as a studious, friendly teenager and a young man seeking to wage jihad within his adopted country.
Many Muslims in Oregon worried that they would face a backlash. And on Sunday, local Muslim leaders emphasized that the case was an isolated incident. Portland Mayor Sam Adams said Sunday that he beefed up protection around mosques “and other facilities that might be vulnerable to knuckle-headed retribution” after hearing of the bomb plot. The move followed a fire Sunday at the Islamic center in Corvallis, a college town about 75 miles southwest of Portland, where suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud occasionally worshipped, prompting an FBI arson investigation and concern about the potential for more retaliation.
Two doctors charged with trying to bomb a Glasgow airport and London’s West End will be portrayed by prosecutors as terrorists in thrall to a fundamental form of Islam, a jury in London heard Wednesday. Justice Colin Mackay also instructed jurors to set aside their prejudices and prepare for “an interesting case.” Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, have been in jail awaiting trial since the abortive June 2007 attacks. The Iraqi-raised Abdulla and Asha, a Jordanian, had worked in British hospitals since 2004. Two poorly designed car bombs abandoned outside West End night spots on June 29, 2007, failed to detonate. They were discovered only accidentally — one when paramedics spotted it emitting smoke, the other after it had been towed away by traffic enforcement officials. Police said both contained drums of fuel, packs of nails, timers and detonators. The following day, an attempted suicide car-bomb attack on Glasgow International Airport caused only one death — that of attacker Kafeel Ahmed, who suffered lethal burns while trying to ignite a propane-based bomb on board his vehicle. Indian-born Ahmed was the alleged driver of the sports-utility vehicle that rammed into security barriers outside the airport, while Abdulla was the alleged passenger. Police suspect that Abdulla and Ahmed also delivered the West End car bombs. Asha was arrested hours after the Glasgow attack while driving with his wife on an English highway, and police subsequently identified him as a likely ringleader based on cell-phone and other electronic records. Shawn Pogatchnik reports.
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