June 08, 2005

Al Qaeda in California Arrests: Ties to Radical Mosques, Jihadis and Religious Schools Revealed [UPDATED]

UPDATE 6/16/05: Scroll down for more information.

What's wrong with this picture? When WWII was declared the overwhelming response of the German community was to condemn en masse the Nazi front of the German Bund. Even though Japanese Americans were treated far more poorly than the Germans, the response from that community was to enlist in the Army in an effort to prove their loyalty to the nation and ease the oversuspicious among us.

How does the Muslim community respond to any and every indictment against suspected terrorists? By screaming intimidation and ethnic profiling.

Via the California Mafia we learn that two indictments have been handed down in the Lodi al Qaeda ring and how the Muslim community responds to finding out about the traitors living among them. Sacramento Bee (subscription):

Two Lodi men accused by the government of connections to terrorist training in Pakistan were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Sacramento.
Humid Hayat is charged with two counts of making a false statement to FBI agents, and his father, Umer Hayat, is charged with one count of making a false statement to FBI agents.

The indictment says Hamid Hayat was lying when he denied being with any type of terrorist organization and denied attending any type of terrorist training camp.

The indictment says Umer Hayat was lying when he denied having any first-hand knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

Of course, if you've seen the Hayets' lawyer on TV he is quick to remind you that his clients were not indicted on terrorism charges, but on charges of lying. Which is technically true if not utter nonsense and sophistry since they are charged with lying about their ties to terrorism. I have yet to hear a reporter challenge their lawyer on this.

And which two groups are filing the complaint? Come on....do I really have to even say?

Also on Thursday, a coalition of Muslim civil rights groups and other organizations announced they were filing complaints of "intimidating tactics" against the FBI along with a formal request for records of its investigation into possible terrorist connections in Lodi....

The tactics involve denial of medical treatment, threats of arrest or deportation to coerce people, and denied access to legal representation, said Basim Elkarra of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Sacramento Valley.

"This must be done in the way that respects people's rights," said Mark Schlosberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

More at California Mafia.

[UPDATE 6/09 AM: Fifth suspect arrested, more arrests expected in Lodi. Go the most recent post here, the Main Page, or scroll down for latest information. This post will be updated as more information is gathered and will serve as an archive for the al Qaeda cell in Lodi.]

Whoa, this puts a whole new spin on that CCR song. Four men have been arrested in Lodi California, two on suspicion of aiding al Qaeda and two on immigration violation charges. One of the most worrisome aspects of this story is that the two arrested on immigration charges were in the process of starting a religious school. Guess which religion?

I have a feeling when they say 'immigration charges' that the specifics of the charges will be 'lying about ties to al Qaeda training centers in Pakistan or Afghanistan'.

I'll have more on this later, I'm sure. [UPDATE: I'm surfing the sphere and not seeing much on this. What gives? Has the arrest of another Muslim in America with ties to radicalism become so commonplace that it is no longer 'news'? Another Update: Story seems to be picking up steam. If you have info on this case, please e-mail me]

Here's what a local paper has to say about the arrests. Tracy Press:

Federal authorities have arrested two men and detained two others who they believe are linked to an al-Qaida terror cell in Lodi, The Sacramento Bee reported on its Web site Tuesday night.

Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested over the weekend on charges of lying to federal agents, and both made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday, FBI special agent John Cauthen confirmed to The Associated Press. The two men, who are both U.S. citizens, are being held in Sacramento County Jail.

Hamid Hayat is accused in a federal complaint of training in an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn “how to kill Americans,” and then lying to FBI agents about it.

His training included explosives and weapons instruction and using photographs of President Bush as targets, court documents indicate.

Umer Hayat, a Lodi ice cream truck driver, is charged in the complaint with lying about his son’s involvement and his own financing of the terror camp.

Both men made brief initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski. Both are being held in Sacramento County Jail pending further court proceedings.

Two other men were detained over the weekend for questioning, area residents said Tuesday. The men were identified by one source as Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed, and are being held on immigration violations.

The two were believed to be working to open a religious school in Lodi to teach young Muslims. Both were detained after they met separately with Umer Hayat in the predawn hours Saturday.

Neither man was arrested on any criminal charges, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Kice would not disclose where Ahmed and Khan are being jailed. Sacramento County Jail records indicated a Shabbir Ahmed was in custody. No record of Khan could be found.

Ahmed is the imam and Khan is the former imam of a mosque in Lodi.

Khan represented the Lodi Muslim Mosque for three years as imam, equivalent to the Christian term “pastor.” Khan’s former role at the mosque is not clear. Mohammad Shoaib, who took over as mosque president in November 2003, said he fired Khan in January. Others at the mosque claim that Khan was never the imam in the first place.

Khan is now the leader in the effort to build the Farooqia Islamic Center, including a school for children up to fourth grade, south of Lodi on Lower Sacramento Road.

Ahmed has been imam of the Lodi mosque since Khan left the mosque leadership.

FBI agents descended on a house next door to the Lodi Muslim Mosque about a day after two of Lodi’s top Muslim leaders were arrested.

“It’s unfortunate,” Nasim Khan, former mosque president, said after hearing about the arrests. “These are guys who’ve been doing good work in the community.”

On Tuesday, FBI agents searched Ahmed’s house on Poplar Street, next door to the Lodi mosque, and another house on the 300 block of Acacia Street, about four blocks from the mosque.

One of the suspects has already confessed. Fox News:
According to an FBI affidavit, Hamid Hayat first denied any link to terror camps, but then told agents he attended an Al Qaeda camp in 2003 and 2004.

"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission," according to the affidavit. "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."

The California Mafia is blogging locally. This is what they have to say:
From the local news, we find out, "Shabbir Ahmed, imam of the Lodi Muslim Mosque, and Mohammad Adil Khan were arrested either late Sunday or early Monday morning". The two reports seem to conflict about charges against these two, one says no charges the other says immigration violations. But, according to the Bee, they met with the young Hayat before being arrested.
Check out the Sacremento Bee story [registration] on how the Pakistani community is simultaneously shocked & cooperating with authorites but already complaining about 'civil rights violations' and refusing to cooperate with authorites. First:
"The Muslim community in Lodi supports any efforts to find people who are trying to hurt us or destroy the United States," he said. "People have been living here for 80 to 90 years, and we've always cooperated with local law enforcement authorities and will continue to do so."
But then:
Some of those questioned by FBI agents say their civil rights have been violated. Zafar Mohammad Khan, 19, said he is Hamid Hayat's cousin and was at a local grocery store Monday with Hayat's younger brother and an uncle when four FBI agents began questioning them. "These guys were following us everywhere," Zafar Khan said.

He said he refused to answer the agents' questions. But he told The Bee that the FBI sweep "was all because of a stupid phone call someone made against the Hayat family. Hamid told me someone called the FBI to make up a story because they have something against him."

This despite the fact that the man's cousin has already confessed to being an al Qaeda agent!!!Because, you know, he couldn't be guilty because he's a Muslim and no good Muslim could ever be tied to al Qaeda.

And of course CAIR just wouldn't be CAIR if they didn't come to the defense of every single terrorist arrested in America:

Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), said Khan was one of several local Muslim leaders who previously met with the FBI to discuss security issues. "They've got nothing on those guys," Elkarra said. "This has happened before - if they don't like them, they'll get them on immigration violations. We will fight to make sure that everyone's civil liberties are upheld."
The Farooqia Islamic Center, which lists Muhammed Adil Khan as the President has a webpage here. From their 'Word from the President [Khan]' page:
United we can build our centers, masjids and schools everywhere.
Scary thought. And what is the goal of the center:
The main goal of Farooqia Islamic Center is to spread the education of Quran and Sunnah.
Fine, but who's interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah's? What is the Saudi connection to this (potential, it's still being built apparently) mosque, if any? What is the connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, if any?

Oh it gets worse, much worse. In June of 2002 the center sponsored a fundraiser and conference. Headlining the conference was Imam Siraj Wahaj:

'In a similar vein, CAIR board member Imam Siraj Wahaj calls for replacing the American government with a caliphate, and warns that America will crumble unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda." Wahaj, it should be noted, served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Muslim cleric convicted for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.'
Siraj Wahaj, a member of CAIR’s Board of Advisors, was listed as a potential unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing case (List of unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators in United States versus Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, Mary Jo White, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, February 2, 1995). He is the imam of the al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, where he provided a platform for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. He later served as a defense witness for the Sheik in the World Trade Center bombing trial. In September 1991, Wahaj stated the following:

"…And he [Allah] declared ‘Whoever is at war with my friends, I declare war on them.’ Who is a friend of Allah? [He chants a passage in Arabic] Allah. Your true friend is Allah, the messenger, and those who believe. Americans and Canadians. Hear it well. Hear what I’m telling you well. The Americans are not your friends, hear what I’m telling you, hear it well. The Canadians are not your friends, hear what I’m telling you, hear it well. The Europeans are not your friends. Your friend is Allah, the Messenger and those who believe. These people will never be satisfied with you until you follow their religion. They will never be satisfied with you…"

Another speaker at the conference was Imam Abdul Malik.
Hillel students reported that speaker Imam Abdul Malik Ali, a spiritual leader at Oakland's Masjid Al-Islam mosque, urged the crowd of roughly 500 to 800 to 'stop calling them suicide bombers. When a person commits suicide, they are oppressed, without hope, depressed. Palestinian mothers are supporting their children who are suicide bombers, saying, 'Go honey, go!'

Michelle Malkin has links to stories on hospital and school based terror plots. UPDATE: Michelle also has a copy of the affidavit used to secure the arrest warrent in PDF format. Check this part out:

After a brief
interview with an FBI agent who showed Hamid some photographs, the polygraph examination was administered and and his answers to the relevant questions were found to be indicative of deception.
Whoa! So does this mean we have photos of Hamid at the terrorist camp or if we just have photos of the camp? Either way, I wonder along with Bill Kristol who said it earlier today on Fox News, if we know where these jihadi camps are in Pakistan then how come our allies haven't shut them down?? More:
Hamid admitted that he attended a jihadist training camp in Pakistan for approximately 6 months in 2003-2004. Hamid stated that Al-Qaeda supports the camp and provides instructors for the camp. Hamid later confirmed this camp was run by Al-Qaeda. Hamid described the camp as providing structured paramilitary training, including weapons
training, explosives training, interior room tactics, hand to hand combat, and strenuous exercise.....

Hamid stated that during his weapons training, photos of various high ranking U.S. political figures, including President Bush, would be pasted onto their targets. Hamid further stated that he and others at the camp were being trained on how to kill Americans...

Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his Jihadi mission. Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores.

Traitor, indeed. Bad enough, but look what else al Qaeda is teaching their devotees these days:
Classroom instruction included ideological rhetoric detailing opposition towards the United States and other non-Muslim countries.
And why did he want to become a jihadi? It couldn't have anything to do with Islam, could it??
Umer Hayat described Hamid Hayat as first being interested in attending a jihadi training camp during his early teenage years, and being influenced by a classmate, Sadr Yaqoob (phoenetic spelling), at the madrassah (religious school) Hamid attended in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Haven't we learned enough about Pakistani Madrasas to come to the conclusion that they are terrorist breeding ground?

But wait, there's more. It seems that jihadism runs in the family:

The madrassah was operated by Hamid Hayat's grandfather, and Umer Hayat's Father-in-law, Qazi Saeed Ur Rehman. According to Umer Hayat, Qazi Saeed Ur Rehman sends the students from this madrassah to jihadi training camps in Pakistan. After completing his education at the madrassah, Hamid Hayat went to the Tamal training camp near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, which is operated by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Umer Hayat stated that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a close personal friend of Saeed Ur Rehman, Umer Hayat's father-in-law.
Another story of a quiet, good mannered, proclaim- himself-a-patriot Muslim immigrant. I'm serious, either the Muslim community begins to root out the jihadists themselves or we will be forced to assume the worst about them.

If one good thing can come out of this it is that it seems at least two of the men arrested are now cooperating with the FBI. Each of these men seems to have some fair abount of knowledge of the jihadi network in Pakistan.

California Conservative chimes in with this:

In many ways, Lodi is the perfect location. It’s a very small town and out-of-the-way, yet close enough to major airports and big cities like San Francisco and Sacramento, California’s capitol.

On the other hand, it’s the kind of place a terrorist would stick out. And, hopefully, that helped in uncovering the case here.

The Political Teen has a video of a live news conference by the leader of the Farooqia Islamic center. Any guesses on what he has to say? On the one hand he proclaims loyalty to America and its interests and then goes on to say how the two clerics could not be guilty of immigration violations. One interesting aspect of this story is that it seems that at least one of the suspects is being sued by the Lodi Muslim Mosque.Modesto attorney Gary Nelson, who is representing Mohammed Khan and others affiliated with Farooqia Islamic Center in a civil suit filed against them by the Lodi Muslim Mosque, said late Tuesday afternoon he was unaware of the arrests. I found a link to an old story about it, but it was dead. I'd be interested to find out if the falling out between the founders of the Farooqia Islamic Center and the Lodi Muslim Mosque had anything to do with a difference in views over jihad?

Is Goldstein ever not funny?:

Evidently, one of those arrested had been using photographs of President Bush for target practice—virtually assuring himself of legal representation by the ACLU on First Amendment grounds.

Others: Charles Johnson, Chad Evans, Robert Spencer, Captain Ed (who thinks the men ought to be tried as traitors, agreed), The Pirate's Cove, Strata-Sphere, Fraternitas Vitae, Dread Pundit Bluto (taqqiyeh indeed), Rantingprofs, Ian at The Political Teen, Huffington Post, Abu David, Take Back The News, Bloggeldygook, Roughstock Journal, Stained Glass Soul, Clarity and Resolve, National Terror Alert, Synthstuff, Mover Mike, Daily Polemic, Hyscience, Uncooperative Blogger, Scared Monkeys, Imaginary Conversations,

UPDATE: 6/09 update below. Fifth terror suspect arrested, more arrests expected.

Multiple news agencies reporting that a fifth man has been detained in the Lodi, CA, al Qaeda cell investigation. Broadcast media is also reporting that the FBI expects to make more arrests. Further, search warrants have been executed on the Farooqia Islamic Center and the Lodi Muslim Mosque.

Reports also indicate that officials are backing off of earlier claims on the specificity of targets. Yesterday, an affidavit used to obtain the arrest warrant noted that potential targets included "hospitals and large food stores". The amended affidavit makes no such claim. Further, the FBI is backing off of the claim as to the location of the terrorist training camp and that photos of high-ranking US officials including President Bush were used for target practice.

Yesterday a number of pundits, including myself, questioned whether the fact that the US had intelligence reports indicating the location of jihadi training camps was evidence that Pakistan was being less than 100% cooperative in the Global War on Terror. Could pressure from the State Department, hoping to avoid a potential diplomatic fiasco with Pakistan, have forces the change?

Among the changes was the charge that one of the training camps was near Rawalpindi. Because Rawalpindi is the headquarters of the Pakistani military, it would be difficult to believe that the Pakistani military was not complicit in the camps.

I'm going to cross post this update here.

< href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159002,00.html">Fox News:

Five men, including two father and son pairs, have now been arrested as federal law enforcement officers try to determine whether they have uncovered a network of Al Qaeda (search) supporters in Northern California.

Father and son Umer and Hamid Hayat were arrested over the weekend in Lodi, Calif., on criminal charges. Three Pakistani citizens are also being held on immigration violations. Lodi is an agricultural community 40 miles south of Sacramento.

Two law enforcement sources have confirmed to FOX News that there is a connection between the Hayats and the Pakistani citizens....

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents also have arrested Mohammed Adil Khan, Shabbir Ahmed and Khan's 19-year-old son, Mohammad Hassan Adil, for immigration violations. All three are citizens of Pakistan and Khan is affiliated with the Farooqia Islamic Center near Lodi, Calif. Ahmed is a citizen of Pakistan who currently functions as the Imam of the Lodi mosque.

Those three men are expected to eventually appear before an immigration judge.

An FBI affidavit says Hamid Hayat first denied any link to terror camps, but then told agents he attended an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan for six months.

A law enforcement source confirmed to FOX News that search warrants have been executed at two mosques, homes of the Hayats, as well as that of the Lodi Muslim Mosque's imam. The case is now described as "ongoing investigation by the JTTF," the joint terrorism task force. FOX News was told that the connection between the Hayat's and Khan Ahmed "is more than just a meeting, there are many connections, here and possibly Pakistan."

California Mafia seems to have noticed this last night as well as other late-night West Coasters.

UPDATE: Evan Kohlmann has video of a jihadi training camp in Pakistan here.

UPDATE PM: From the Lodi News Sentinel:

One of two Lodi men suspected of having ties to an al-Qaida terrorist camp was once accused of attempted kidnapping in a case that ultimately led to a misdemeanor conviction and an order to attend anger management classes.

Umer Hayat, 47, was arrested in 2001 for allegedly assaulting two children. Hayat and his 22-year-old son, Hamid Hayat, are now behind bars, accused of lying to federal agents who were questioning them about their links to terror training camps in Pakistan.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:56 AM | Comments |