Archive for September, 2005

Brooklyn, New York Mosque Leader Convicted In Visa Fraud Scheme

ICE Uncovers Elaborate Scheme To Exploit Religious Worker Visas

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Muhammad KHALIL

24 September 2005: The ringleader of a massive visa fraud scheme operating out of a mosque he established in a Brooklyn basement was convicted by a New York court on September 23— the result of a three-year investigation led by ICE.

Muhammad KHALIL was convicted on charges of conspiring to submit hundreds of false applications on behalf of illegal aliens from the Middle East, exploiting a program that provides specialized visas for foreign workers with religious training to work with religious organizations in the United States.

KHALIL was the Imam—an Islamic religious teacher— and director of the Dar Ehya Essunnah Mosque, which was located in the basement of a variety and greeting card store he owned in Brooklyn.Since 1993, Khalil sponsored over 200 fraudulent applications for individuals seeking religious work visas to enter the United States, charging cash fees ranging from $5,000 to $8,000. Prosecutors claimed that he had netted more than $600,000 from the scheme.

Prosecutors alleged also that KHALIL is an admirer of Osama bin Laden and his jihadist philosophy. While Khalil has not been linked to specific terrorist activities, prosecutors pointed to a taped conversation in which Khalil reportedly praised bin Laden and called for Muslims to “arm themselves” for “another attack.”

“None of these aliens were religious scholars, but instead were simply seeking entry into the United States under false pretenses,” said Martin Ficke, ICE Special Agent-in- Charge for New York.“Today, KHALIL’S international smuggling pipeline has been shut down and a potentially serious vulnerability to our homeland has been closed.

”In addition, Khalil issued bogus paychecks to the applicants and requiring them to return the money to him in cash. He then filed tax returns for the mosque and required the applicants to file personal tax returns stating that they were employed as religious workers at the mosque. This allowed him to portray the mosque as a large-scale entity with a growing congregation.

He was also convicted of making false statements to ICE agents investigating the matter and conspiring to obtain false Social Security cards.

KHALIL’S mosque shut down shortly after his arrest in February 2003. Charges are pending against his son, Asim Khalil, for his alleged role in the scheme.Muhammad Khalil was convicted September 23 for his role in a visa fraud scheme in New York.

College Park, Maryland Arrested on Terrorism Charges

Part of the “Virginia Jihad & “PAINTBALL” Case”

16 September 2005: A Maryland man who federal authorities say served as a research assistant to a controversial Muslim leader in the Washington area has been charged with providing equipment and support to a banned terrorist group in Pakistan. Ali Asad Chandia was arrested on the evening of Sept. 15, 2005, at his home in College Park, Maryland. Chandia is scheduled to make an initial appearance today at U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virgnia, and his arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 23, 2005.
But a lawyer for the man, Ali Asad Chandia, said the charges amounted to guilt by association.

Chandia, 28, is the latest in a string of young Muslim men charged in the so-called Virginia jihad case.Ten people have been convicted in the case in connection with what federal authorities say was a plot to wage war against Americans overseas by aiding a terrorist group in Pakistan called Lashkar-e-Taiba. (LeT).

Prosecutors say the young men convicted in the case underwent training - in part by playing paintball in rural Virginia - to provide military aid overseas in defense of Islam. Some Muslim leaders in Northern Virginia refer to the prosecution derisively as ‘the paintball case,’ insisting that the men were guilty of little more than playing games and speaking out against American foreign policy.

Mr. Chandia was arrested Thursday evening at his home in College Park, Md., the Justice Department said. A federal indictment against him says he had been a personal assistant to Ali al-Timimi, a Muslim leader and scholar in Northern Virginia who was sentenced to life in prison in July for inciting his followers to violence.

The indictment says Mr. Chandia helped Mr. Timimi schedule appearances and speaking engagements and research Islamic subjects. In a meeting on Sept. 16, 2001, at the home of another defendant in the Virginia case, Mr. Timimi reportedly told other followers that ‘it was compulsory to assist Afghanistan in jihad against the expected U.S. military invasion,’ the indictment says.

The indictment says Mr. Chandia visited Pakistan in November 2001 and, after returning to the United States, helped ship 21 boxes of paintball supplies from Virginia to Lahore, Pakistan.

The indictment also charges a man now in British custody, Mohammed Ajmal Khan, who American authorities said was a senior official with Lashkar-e-Taiba and served as a procurement officer.

Both men were charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in December 2001. Each of the four charges carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Mr. Chandia made a brief appearance Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., and is scheduled for a bail hearing on Tuesday.

His lawyer, Marvin D. Miller, declined to discuss the specific accusations against Mr. Chandia because he had not yet reviewed the indictment in detail, but he said the charges were groundless and amounted to “a great case of guilt by association.”

Mr. Miller said that Mr. Chandia was held as a material witness for several weeks in 2003 in connection with the Virginia jihad case but that talks to secure his cooperation lapsed when the government refused to offer him immunity.

‘The government doesn’t have anything else to do, so now they’re going back to a guy they had two years ago, and they’ll say he’s a flight risk,’ Mr. Miller said. ‘With their great skill in making innocent events look really dangerous, they take something that normally wouldn’t pass the laugh test and turn it into an indictment.’

In a separate terrorism investigation in Memphis, an Egyptian student at the [b]University of Memphis[/b] was ordered held without bond Thursday after federal law enforcement officials said he had bogus credentials and had ordered $2,500 worth of pilot paraphernalia and flight instructional material over the Internet this summer.–

The student, Mahmoud Maawad, 29, is charged with wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number. An assistant United States attorney, Steve Parker, described the accusations outlined in an affidavit and search warrant for Mr. Maawad’s Memphis apartment as ’scary,’ and said he was a flight risk.

A criminal complaint says Mr. Maawad used a debit card in June, July and August to order $3,300 worth of merchandise from Sporty’s Pilot Shop in Batavia, Ohio.

An affidavit for a search warrant lists items including a private pilot course, flight simulator software, a flight gear bag, maps of the Memphis airport, a $239 leather Navy flight jacket, a DVD titled ‘How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act’ and instructional programs on airplane terminology.

New al Qaeda Video Threatens U.S., Australia on 9/11 Anniversary

Islamic Terrorism, American Style

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11 September 2005: An eleven-minute videotape was delivered to ABC News in Pakistan this weekend and aired this morning - the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks - on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The tape features a man wearing a black turban covering most of his face (pictured at left), and called the attacks of four years ago “blessed events” before making terrorist threats against Los Angeles and Australia.

“Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Allah willing. And this time, don’t count on us demonstrating restraint and compassion,” the man says on the video.

The eleven-minute tape is similar in many respects to the video aired in October of 2004 believed to be that of Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an Orange County, California native who is suspected by the FBI to be working with Islamic terrorists as a translator. Gadahn, who was born Adam Pearlman, also goes by the nom de guerre Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki and “Azzam the American.” He is shown at left from the October 2004 videotape.

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Investigators suspect that Gadahn, pictured at left without the facial coverings, grew up on a farm in California, converted to Islam as a teen, moved to Pakistan, and attended al-Qaeda training camps to fight the United States. He currently serves as a translator and propaganda tool for the terrorist organization. In the video from last October, Gadahn threatened:

“Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood, matching drop for drop the blood of America’s victims. What took place on September 11th was but the opening salvo in the global war on America. The next attacks, he adds, “could come at any moment.”

Four men arrested: planning attacks against U.S.

2 September 2005: A federal grand jury indicted four men, one the leader of a state prison gang, for allegedly plotting terror attacks against U.S. military and National Guard facilities, Jewish synagogues and the Israeli Consulate. The 15-page indictment was released yesterday and accuses Kevin Lamar James, 29; Levar Haney Washington, 25; Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21; and Hammad Riaz Samana, 21, of plotting terrorist attacks, including the use of guns and explosives to “maximize the number of casualties to be inflicted.” All sites are reportedly in the Southern California area. The indictment identifies all four men as being part of a terrorist “war” by Islamic extremists.

The six-count indictment identifies all four men as being a part of a conspiracy “to levy war against the U.S. government through terrorism” and states that the plot was hatched by James, an inmate at the California state prison in Sacramento. Kevin Lamar James, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for an armed robbery in 1996, is the founder of a prison gang of radical Muslims known as Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or “JIS,” an Islamic group operating in prisons since 1997.

The indictment states that James, who has been incarcerated since 1996 on attempted robbery and weapons convictions, preached that it is “the duty of JIS members to target for violent attack any enemies of Islam or ‘infidels,’ including the United States government and Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel.” He also allegedly forced members to take an oath of obedience to him and not to disclose the existence of JIS. The indictment alleges he recruited inmates by distributing a “protocol” that spelled out his teachings about Islam, including the justification for killing nonbelievers. James, who used several aliases, also aspired to create “cells” to carry out violent attacks outside prison.

According to the indictment, the terror attacks were to be carried out on Jewish holidays. The indictment also charges Washington and Patterson with robbing a gas station at gunpoint on July 5 to help fund the terrorism, and notes that Patterson reportedly bought a .223-caliber rifle this past July. They were also actively engaged in recruiting bomb experts. In December 2004, the indictment alleges that James urged Levar Haney Washington to recruit five people without felony convictions and “train them in covert operations,” including teaching them to make remote-activated bombs.