Florida mosque leaders called authorities on arrested teen who talked of violence, jihad

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shelton Bell stood out at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville.

Not because he was a strawberry blonde American who converted to Islam. It was more because of the way he dressed — in headgear that resembled garb worn by remote tribes in Afghanistan — and mostly because of what he said.

In mid-2012, a parent was concerned that Bell, who now faces federal terrorism charges, was “in conversation with his son about inciting violence and talking about jihad and talking about weapons,” said Parvez Ahmed, the center’s board secretary.

Mosque leaders called the FBI, setting into motion a case that came to light this week. Bell, now 19, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He faces up to 15 years in prison for each of the two charges.

Chairman of Council on American-Islamic Relations resigns

The chairman of the largest Muslim-American advocacy group in the US has resigned this week. The move comes after Parvez Ahmed expressed growing frustration with the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) direction. Ahmed expressed that he wanted CAIR to be more proactive in the promotion of Muslim civil rights, and inclusive of younger, less religious Muslims. I also wanted to send a message that a change in leadership is needed at the highest level, that we need some new blood at the board and executive levels,” he said. Ahmed has served as the board chairman of CAIR since 2005.