Officials say alleged Fed Bank bomber had big plans

Who is Quazi Mohammed Nafis? When CBS News asked his father, a banker in Bangladesh, he said he’d spent his life savings to send the quiet, timid boy to college in America.

At a small Missouri college, Nafis struck fellow students from Bangladesh as an intense young man who became more angry and radical over time. But prosecutors say Nafis had formed his plan to attack the U.S. even before he left Bangladesh.

In an interview with CBS News, Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said: “What is clear is that when he arrived here, he had already conceived of the plan to construct a bomb of some sort and of large magnitude and to effect great destruction. What’s also clear is that he had already conceived of the plan to come here and recruit others already in the U.S. to join him, and that’s what he actually set about doing.”

Lynch is the chief prosecutor on the Nafis case. Her office has prosecuted major terrorism cases from the al Qaeda plot to bomb New York subways, to the plot to blow up the fuel lines supplying Kennedy Airport. Lynch says the Nafis case is another reminder of the key role the internet and social media play in terrorism.

When Nafis came onto the FBI’s radar, he was trying to “friend” his way into recruiting small cell.

“This defendant used Facebook. There are internet chat rooms, there are websites, there are blogs devoted to terrorist thinking that are out there that can draw people in,” Lynch said.

One of those Nafis recruited turned out to be an informant, who introduced the 21-year-old student to an FBI undercover agent posing as an al Qaeda facilitator. Critics of such sting operations have charged that the government becomes an enabler for a plot that the suspect could never achieve. In this case, the federal prosecutor takes exception.

Officials are investigating possible additional misconduct by Marines shown urinating in video

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is investigating other possible misconduct by members of a battalion who drew worldwide attention when a video surfaced purporting to show them urinating on Afghan corpses, officials said Thursday.
In disclosing that a follow-up probe is under way, Marine spokesman Col. Sean D. Gibson said he could not provide details of the possible misbehavior or say what prompted the decision to widen the probe. He said the follow-up began May 15 and is to be completed by mid-June. It is headed by a Marine colonel.
“There are indications of other possible misconduct involving the unit depicted in the video that requires another investigation,” Gibson said.
The disclosure in January of the video showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead men led to a criminal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as well as a Marine investigation of the unit involved, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought in the southern Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before returning to its home base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., last September.
No investigation results have been released.

Officials dispute decision to remove female passenger from Detroit flight on 9/11 anniversary

DETROIT — An airline that reported suspicious behavior by two men aboard a flight from Denver on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks said authorities in Detroit removed them — and a female passenger who is half Middle Eastern and claims she was later strip-searched — without consulting the pilots or crew.

However, airport police and the Transportation Safety Administration said authorities responded after getting an in-flight alert from Frontier that three passengers were engaged in suspicious activity.

The crew “responded to concerns expressed by passengers on their aircraft about the suspicious activity of two gentlemen . and only two gentlemen,” Kowalchuk said. “After that, what happened was out of the control of the Frontier crew or anyone at Frontier Airlines, for that matter.

Reaction to Frankfurt Attack: US Officials Urge Caution after Airport Shooting

4 March 2011

Although German and US investigators are still looking into the shooting at Frankfurt Airport that left two US airmen dead, German officials have played down the need for more security at US installations and public places. American officials cautioned military personnel and civilians to remain vigilant, and published a self-help antiterrorism guide online.

Two days after two US airmen were killed and two others wounded by a lone gunman at Frankfurt Airport, German authorities said Friday that the incident had not prompted an increase in security at most of the country’s airports and train stations.

On Thursday, the US Army Garrison Stuttgart posted “A Self-Help Guide to Antiterrorism” online that was produced by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 2010. The 60-page manual gives US military personnel and their families instructions on how to avoid being the victim of terrorist attacks. In one section it describes “Indicators of a Potential Active Shooter,” such as making “anti-American statements asserting that US police and authority is illegitimate.” It advises the Americans on how to evacuate, or to find shelter “out of the active shooter’s view.”

Erasmus University Officials Oppose Ramadan’s Dismissal

News coverage of Tariq Ramadan’s dismissal from the Rotterdam city council and Erasmus University continues this week, DutchNews reports from NRC and Volkskrant. Erasmus University in officials are angry with the decision. “’It is a politicial [sic] decision and we are shocked about it,’ economics professor Arjo Klamer said. Professors can only be sacked if they are suspected of commiting a crime, fail to turn up to do their job or damage the university’s reputation, he said.”

University faculty members and employees have released an open letter protesting the dismissal on the grounds that it threatens academic freedom. Ramadan was dismissed by Erasmus and from his advisory job at the city council last week because of his involvement with an Iranian television show.

Officials are being asked to repudiate NY Representative’s anti-Muslim remarks

The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on American Muslims and people of conscience to urge their elected officials to repudiate New York Representative Peter King, concerning a bigoted response to a Department of Homeland Security report released earlier this week.

In an interview on MSNBC, Representative King stated: “[Napolitano] has never put out a report talking about look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police. If they sent out a report saying that, there would be hell to pay.”

CAIR-NY director Faiza Ali responded by saying that “sweeping generalizations about Muslims and mosques have no place in serious natural security discourse.” Ali added that this is not the first such inflammatory comments by King, and that he has a long history of rhetorical hostility toward the American Muslim community.

Officials consider Islam-related rehabilitation for Canadian Omar Khadr following Guantanamo

With the Guantanamo Bay prison set to close within a year, little has been said in recent US/Canada meetings about the fate of Canadian child solider, Omar Khadr. This Globe and Mail article suggests that, assuming that he is returned to Canada, as opposed to incarceration in the United States, serious thought must be given to his rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into society.

One model is Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive counterterrorism program aimed at prevention, rehabilitation and post-release care. A central feature of the program is the recognition the state must also engage in a “war of ideas” to combat the ideological justifications of violence. The Saudi government asserts its interpretation of Islam in which loyalty and obedience to the state are paramount. The Saudi prison rehabilitation program includes art therapy and theological debates between scholars and prisoners.

Iran claims links with British universities

Officials from the country’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology said they were in talks with a number of universities in Britain, the United States and Germany. Reports from Tehran claim they will provide teaching materials and scholars after striking up deals with several unnamed institutions.

Gholamreza Khajesarvi, a government official, told the Islamic Republic News Agency: “The ministry is currently studying proposals by numerous world academic centres and universities, including several universities from Britain, the United States, and Germany. The departments will be set up to train and educate experts on Islam so as to assist in the introduction of Islam and its realities to the world in a proper academic setting,” Graeme Paton reports.

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Officials recommend the Netherlands scrap anti-blasphemy law

An anti-blasphemy law in the Netherlands which dates back to the 1930s, is being called outdated and a law of favoritism, and officials are recommending that it be replaced by an anti-discrimination law instead. Officials from several Dutch parties argued that the anti-blasphemy law offers unfair protection for religious groups, but that an anti-discrimination law would protect all groups evenly. In scrapping the anti-blasphemy law, the cabinet is now making moves to strengthen anti-discrimination laws against all backgrounds, and taking the religious component out of being implicit in the equation.

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United Press International

Radio Netherlands

Officials in Calgary Allow Hijabs, Saris and Other Religious Clothing at City Pools

Residents of Calgary, Alberta will now be allowed to swim in city pools wearing saris, hijabs and other clothing deemed “religious” in a new policy designed to encourage the participation of ethnic and religious minorities. For safety reasons, saris will be banned from the deep end. The city´s superintendent for aquatics and fitness stated that the policy clarifies what before had been a grey area, typically handled on a case-by-case basis. Ms. Bruce stated, “We wanted to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and they can participate with dignity when they use our facilities.” Clothing must be clean and swimmers must shower in the garments before entering the pool.

Similarly, last winter, the Alberta Soccer Association changed its rules to, like in the provinces of British Colombia and Ontario, allow female soccer players to wear the hijab while playing. The headscarf is banned on Québec soccer fields.

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The Globe and Mail

The Calgary Herald