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UK al Qaeda bomb plot investigation extends to Toledo, Ohio

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Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

16 July 2007: The Northeast Intelligence Network was first to confirm that last month’s failed London car bomb plot had its tentacles reaching far into the United States. Now, NBC24, a television station in Toledo, Ohio is reporting that the FBI has questioned a Muslim doctor who recently moved to Toledo from the UK. Toledo also happens to be the corporate home of KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, an Islamic charity chaired by Hatem El-HADY, a Toledo physician, and a charity that has been the subject of an investigation for its reported ties to terror organizations.

The Toledo doctor was questioned by the FBI on July 4, 2007, less than a week after the failed bomb plot in London. According to information obtained through additional investigation conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network, authorities are focused on a number of subjects in the U.S., including Muslim doctors, and others in the Toledo area who are also associated with a specific Toledo, Ohio mosque. When contacted by this agency, a spokesperson for the mosque declined to speak with this Northeast Intelligence Network investigator.

The July 4th visit to the unnamed Toledo doctor has prompted Toledo area Muslims to circulate an e-mail warning to Muslim doctors “to be ready for a knock at the door by the FBI,” and urged them to “have an attorney present” when answering questions asked by law enforcement officials. Following up on the investigation in Toledo, this Northeast Intelligence Network investigator spoke to a federal law enforcement official from Cleveland, Ohio who is familiar with the various overlapping investigations in Toledo.

Responding to the e-mail being circulated, this law enforcement official stated that this type of “feigned cooperation” by the majority of Muslims, whether they are imams, Muslim community leaders or simply members of the Muslim community “is the norm.” “It has been my experience that it’s not unusual for Muslims to publicly portray a sense of cooperation, yet privately stonewall our investigations by refusing to answer questions, or limit their dialogue with law enforcement to communicating only though an attorney, even for the most basic of questions.”

This federal official, speaking to this investigator on the strict condition of anonymity, expressed his frustration at the misconception of a working dialogue between federal agents and “certain Muslim leaders and their representatives.” If you listen to them, they are actively trying to help us [law enforcement] weed out the bad guys,”  stated this source. “That’s not quite the reality of it. There is a lot of stonewalling, unwillingness to share information about possible actions of other Muslims that could have criminal implications, or even ties to terrorism,” he added. “We’re talking about everything from possible terrorist funding to direct or peripheral ties to terrorism. When it comes down to them helping us by providing even some answers to the most basic of questions, there is a tremendous amount of resistance and unnecessary roadblocks. I can say from experience that instead of answering questions openly when asked, we have been put off, told to direct our inquiries to their legal representatives, or simply turned away. To make matters worse, we have been frequently told to ‘lay-off’  by higher ups, to avoid causing a PR problem, I guess,” stated this source. “It’s definitely frustrating and the supposed cooperation, at least from my experience, is not being honestly portrayed.”

When asked about the media reports that Muslims are urged by Islamic advocacy groups to fully and truthfully cooperate with law enforcement whenever questioned, this source stated “I wish it was that easy, but it’s not like that at all. There is a tremendous unwillingness for Muslims to talk other Muslims, and it’s getting worse.”

This is not the first time a doctor in Toledo has been questioned or at the center of investigation. In an unrelated case, Dr. Mohammad ANVARI-HAMEDANI, 72, a licensed physician, pleaded guilty last April to 36 counts of money laundering, making illegal money transfers to Iran and tax evasion for sending at least $4 million to his native Iran over a four year period. ANVARI-HAMEDANI was sentenced to 60 days in a community jail and ordered to pay $1.15 million in fines and forfeitures. U.S. District Judge James Carr permitted ANVARI-HAMEDANI to serve his jail time on weekends so that he can continue practicing medicine.