City of Brass

Some more information has come to light about the four bumbling bronx would-be jihadis, who bonded at a Newburgh, NY mosque before embarking on their pathetic plot. In a nutshell, these are men with extensive criminal histories prior to their recent conversions to Islam, and whose actual attachment to the faith seems to be casual at best. The ringleader, David Cromitie, seems to have lied about being raised in Afghanistan, which was apparently a lame attempt to boost his “terror cred”. Talking Points Memo has compiled dossiers on all four that are worth reading to understand just how unlikely a threat these four fools posed. Ultimately, this case is less about the threat of domestic terrorism and more about the lives of four embittered, small-time criminals.

Interestingly, TPM also has some information about the informant who tipped police off to the plot:

An upstate motel owner, identified by the New York Post as Shahed Hussain, 52, he became a government informant in 2002, after he was busted for helping immigrants cheat on drivers tests while working as a DMV translator. He was hoping to win leniency in his sentencing and avoid being deported to Pakistan.

– He started showing up at the Newburgh mosque, where all four men attended services, around 2007. An imam at the mosque said he invited other worshipers out for meals, and talked about Jihad. “There was just something fishy about him,” said the imam, saying that some members “believed he was a government agent.”

– This isn’t his first sting operation. A few years ago, he posed as an arms dealer who had sold a shoulder-launched missile to be used to kill a Pakistani envoy. Two Albany men, Mohammed Hossain and Yassin Aref, helped him launder money from the supposed sale, and were convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

That’s really troubling – he seems to be less of a genuine concerned citizen and more of a trawler for exactly the kind of idiots that the recent four represent – gullible and vaguely angry. It makes this whole case seem a lot more like entrapment, a concern noted in the press release condemning the synagogue plot by MANA:

MANA Condemns Alledged

Plot to Bomb New York Synagogues

Lexington, KY (05/22/09) – The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) strongly and unequivocally condemns the recent alleged plot to bomb two New York synagogues and to shoot down American military airplanes. The accused suspects are said to be affiliated with the American Muslim community.

Terrorist acts are prohibited in Islam, and MANA rejects any Islamically-based interpretation that purports to justify these or any other terrorist acts. The Holy Qur’an clearly states that killing one innocent person is like killing the whole of humanity (5:32). MANA stands united with other American Muslim organizations to condemn, confront, and challenge Muslim extremism.

While condemning the alleged bomb plot and the individuals said to be involved, MANA is concerned that their case might involve a paid FBI agent-provocateur who did not join an existing plot but actually manufactured and facilitated the plot. The FBI’s use of agent-provocateurs who instigate terrorism by preying upon those who are angry and alienated is not an effective or ethical way of fighting terrorism. Such tactics engender suspicion of the FBI within the American Muslim community, and further compromises what could be a strategic and effective partnership to combat Muslim extremism.

About MANA

MANA is a national network of masjids, Muslim organizations and individuals committed to work together to address certain urgent needs within the Muslim community.

What the case does raise of interest is the question of Islam prosletyzation amongst the black prison population, which suggests that the incidence of crimes perpetrated by muslims is going to rise by definition. It is important to maintain perspective; not every crime committed by a muslim, even a hate crime against Jews, is terrorism – unless we are adopting such a broad definition of terrorism as to render the word even more meaningless than it’s already been.

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