Ex-honor student gets 5 years in terrorism case

April 17, 2014

 

An immigrant teen who had earned a scholarship to an elite U.S. college but helped solicit support for Jihadists he met online was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Mohammad Hassan Khalid had earned a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University after just a few years in the United States, where his family was building a new life after leaving Pakistan.

As his parents and siblings worked to achieve the American dream, he retreated to his bedroom in the family’s cramped apartment near Baltimore, and joined radical Islamist chat rooms by the time he was 15. He was soon conversing with Coleen LaRose, a troubled Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” and other extremists.

“The upheavals of my life were distorted into a force of hate so strong that it wrapped me in its claws,” Khalid, now 21, told U.S. Judge Petrese B. Tucker. He said he had trouble speaking without being misunderstood.

Defense lawyers argued that Khalid was isolated and vulnerable because he was young, an immigrant and had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed since his arrest.

Federal prosecutors say Khalid used his “brilliance and eloquence,” along with his computer and video skills, to help them translate documents and try to recruit westerners. That got the attention of the FBI, which visited Khalid repeatedly.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ex-honors-students-terror-sentencing-scheduled/2014/04/17/14cd9ab8-c5f7-11e3-b708-471bae3cb10c_story.html

Jury Selection Begins at Trial of Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law

March 4, 2014

 

In the days and weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, a Kuwaiti-born cleric, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, became a familiar figure in propaganda videos for Al Qaeda, appearing in some with Osama bin Laden, and other times alone, issuing blistering threats against the United States.

“The storms shall not stop, especially the airplanes storm,” he said in one speech, a federal indictment charges. Mr. Abu Ghaith, who later married Bin Laden’s daughter Fatima, was captured last year and brought to the United States on terrorism charges. His trial started on Monday in Manhattan with jury selection which resumes on Tuesday morning. He is the most senior Bin Laden adviser to be tried in a civilian court since the Sept. 11 attacks, experts say.

“Abu Ghaith held a key position in Al Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime,” George Venizelos, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s office in New York, said last year. Unlike Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Abu Ghaith has not been accused of having advance knowledge of the attacks or being involved in terrorist operations. But prosecutors portray him as a trusted adviser and confidant of Bin Laden’s, and they believe he was probably aware of the plot in which Richard C. Reid tried unsuccessfully to blow up an airplane on a trans-Atlantic flight by detonating explosives in his shoes.

The trial, coming more than four years after the disputed and since abandoned plan to try Mr. Mohammed in Manhattan, may further the debate over whether international terrorism cases should be tried in civilian court.
Mr. Abu Ghaith, 48, has pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support for terrorists; if convicted, he could face life in prison. The New York Police Department declined recently to discuss any security measures related to the trial, which is expected to last about a month. “This is a high-profile case,” Stephen Davis, the department’s top spokesman, said, “and we’ll take the necessary steps to ensure safety in and around the courthouse and the city.”

At least two men who had been involved in terrorism who are now cooperating with the authorities are expected to testify for the government against Mr. Abu Ghaith. They are believed to be Saajid Badat, who had agreed to carry out a shoe-bomb attack but later backed out, and Sahim Alwan, a member of the “Lackawanna Six,” a group of Buffalo-area Yemeni-Americans.
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/nyregion/bin-laden-relatives-trial-may-fuel-debate-over-trying-terrorism-cases-in-civilian-courts.html?action=click&module=Search&_r=0
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/nyregion/bin-laden-aide-began-qaeda-propaganda-day-after-9-11-us-says.html?action=click&module=Search&gwh=677A49224F0D0A3EC6B79A8BBC5455C8&gwt=regi

Torino, Spiritual Festival. Three public reading from the Koran including passages from Fatima, Khalid, Asnan, Sara

We are standing and, after a few moments we hear a clear voice, who begins the serenade, in Arabic, of selected verses of the Koran: Khalid, Fatima, Sara, Asnan, but you are not among faithful in a mosque but at a public event in a 16th century palazzo in Torino.

 

These are the young Italian Muslims, during the spiritual festival, comprised of three public readings of the Koran, one every day during the festival. After the reading, which is also translated in Italian, there will be time for questions from the public.

 

No Food for Muslims in the Parliament Building: Rep Chaouki thinks this should Change

August 8, 2013

“I have asked my party to bring up this issue tomorrow (today, ed.) and to attend the ceremony for the end of Ramadan.” The deputy Khalid Chaouki, elected by the Pd, is a practicing Muslim, and this month has followed the fasting of Ramadan; he now asks his colleagues to join in the celebration. What’s more, he also proposes that the refreshment stalls have halal meat.

He will tell you the problems faced by Italians are part of his campaign…
“I know that what I say may seem like a provocation, but my intent is to open a debate on the perspective of our multi-religious society and this includes our Parliament.”

How was the month of Ramadan?
“Difficult for the pace of work that we have had. I was also excluded from the conviviality of my colleagues who celebrated here with refreshments. Here you risk getting served croquettes that should be vegetarian and instead contain ham…”

Yeah, because he does not eat pork …
“I think it will be important to open a discussion on how public places and institutions should ensure the opportunity for all to have food that fits into the laws of their respective religion.”

Then would he like meat to be butchered according to Islamic rites?
“I think it is a duty to guarantee all citizens the right to eat. Here for example we have a chaplain but I would like to speak an imam.”

 Are you not afraid to start a controversy?
“We need to make changes to institutions in our society. Although there are many misconceptions about Islam: similar to the Catholic representatives who cast their votes according to their constituency, there are also Muslims who are secular legislators.”

Birmingham terror plot ringleader jailed for minimum of 18 years

Irfan Naseer and co-conspirators planned attacks that could have been more devastating than 7/7 bombings. The ringleader has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years. Irfan Naseer, 31, was described by a judge on Friday as the “leader, driving force and man in charge” of the terror cell in Sparkhill, Birmingham, which planned to set off eight to 10 suicide bombs and timed explosive devices in crowded places. The other leaders of the cell, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 28, were handed jail terms of 18 years and 15 years respectively. Khalid, who boasted of creating “another 9/11”, was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years, while Ali will serve 10 years before he can be considered for parole. Naseer’s plot had the blessing of al-Qaida and was intended to further the terror organisation’s aims. The judge took into account that Khalid, who was under the influence of his “inseparable” friend Naseer, had been found to be in the bottom 2%-5% in terms of cognitive ability. Chemistry graduate Naseer and Khalid, both from Sparkhill, had travelled to Pakistan twice for training – on the second occasion spending two months at an al-Qaida training facility in Miran Shah, north Waziristan, where they had to flee from US drone strikes. The group tried to fund their mission by posing as Muslim Aid charity street collectors in Sparkhill, raising £14,500 within two weeks. The cell’s chief financier, Rahin Ahmed, 26, from Moseley, pleaded guilty to collecting, investing and managing money for terrorism, and assisting others to travel to Pakistan for training in terrorism. He was sentenced to 12 years in jail and will serve at least six before he can be released.

Meeting Featuring Anti-Gay Islamist Canceled by University of East London

20 March 2013

 

A meeting featuring Khalid Yashin, an anti-gay Islamist preacher, scheduled to be hosted by the University of East London (UEL) last Friday, 15 March, was canceled after lobbying by the UEL LGBT Society and the Peter Tatchell Foundation. The meeting was scheduled to be held on the UEL Stratford campus.

 

Khalid Yashin has previously said that homosexuality and lesbianism are sins and aberrations and has endorsed the execution of gay people. Yahin’s controversial positions and the insistence of the event organizers on gender segregated seating prompted a backlash by university groups and human rights organizations, who claim that such events are contrary to the tolerant university environment.

 

The UEL student union issued a statement announcing the cancelation of the event, but neither they nor the UEL administration issued a public denunciation of Khalid Yashin’s positions or of his invitation to speak on campus.

Three Muslims convicted for bomb plot

British born Muslims Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, were convicted last week for plotting to launch bomb attacks across Britain.

 

Inspired by the online sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed last year by a US drone attack, the trio planned a huge series of explosions at crowded shopping centres and railway stations across Britain.

Judge Justice Henriques said: ‘You were seeking to recruit a team of suicide bombers to carry out a spectacular bombing campaign, one which would create an anniversary along the lines of 7/7 or 9/11.

According to the police, the bomb plotters had the means, the will and the know-how to carry out mass murder in the biggest terror attack on the British mainland ‘in a generation’.

Naseer was found guilty on five counts preparing for terrorism, Khalid was convicted of four, and Ali was convicted of three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011.

Although willing to cause havoc in the UK, the operational capabilities of the convicts are highly disputed by the media. Despite the long surveillance period the police report admitted that the trio did not identify any targets. More importantly, despite their attempts they could not get hold of any explosive.

The trio is expected to receive the highest sentence.

The City State of Bremen will sign a treaty with the Muslim community

December 11

 

The mayor of the City State Bremen Jens Böhrnsen (SPD) defined the treaty of the City State of Bremen with the Muslim community as the right step. Muslims would be an integral part of Bremen. The treaty includes the implementation and recognition of religious-related holidays, including school holidays, religious education and burial rituals for Muslims. The treaty guarantees three official holidays: Eid ad-Adha, Ramadan and Ashura. The equality of men and women is a premise.

 

However, the treaty does not grant the Muslim community the corporation under public law. Muslim teachers will not be allowed to teach Islamic education. Unlike Hamburg, the Bremen Senate did not approve to implement “Islam” as a school subject. Approximately 40000 Muslims live in Bremen.

 

The Islamic association of Bremen “Schura” welcomed the treaty draft. Khalid Preukschas, board member of the Schura described the treaty as a positive sign for Muslims and Bremen. The treaty would be an important step towards the recognition of Muslims as a part of the society. Muslims have proved their willingness to integrate into the society.

 

Three British Muslims accused of plotting a suicide bombing campaign appear before court

22 October 2012

 

The suspects Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were arrested last September in Birmingham on the suspicion of planning to cause “mass deaths and casualties” in Britain.  All three deny charges of preparing acts of terrorism in the UK.

 

The trial continues.

Guantanamo prisoners charged in Sept. 11 attacks seek court recess on Fridays, during Ramadan

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Lawyers for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks are asking a military court to put their legal proceedings on hold during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The lawyers also ask that no court sessions be held on Fridays, when many devout Muslims seek not to work.

Defense lawyers argue in court motions unsealed Friday that the court has an obligation to respect the men’s faith and their need to fast and pray during Ramadan, which comes in late summer this year.

Prosecutors say any blanket restriction would make it too difficult to schedule hearings.

The five defendants include the self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. They face the death penalty if convicted. Their next hearings are scheduled to start Aug. 8, during Ramadan.