A leader at the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, admits knowing an accused terrorist and “his group will work” to ensure Christopher Paul’s “constitutional rights are granted.” Paul was arrested in Columbus this week for planning to conduct attacks with explosives here in America and elsewhere. He has known ties to Nuradin Abdi who is awaiting trial for plotting to blow up a Columbus shopping mall. One of Abdi’s former roommates was Iyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver, who is currently serving 20 years for plotting to sabotage the Brooklyn Bridge. Sources state that both Paul and Faris were trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan, met with Osama bin Laden, and received instructions from senior al Qaeda planners, to include Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Abdi allegedly trained in violent jihad in Ethiopia.
Friday, the Associated Press reported:
Federal authorities say an Ohio man was so dedicated to committing violent jihad that he angrily told a fellow al-Qaida member that the terrorist group should never consider scaling back military operations. Christopher Paul is depicted by investigators as a man who made that statement during a stay at an exclusive guest house for al-Qaida members in Pakistan in the early 1990s. He then spent years providing money and training to others who would join him in plotting to bomb European tourist resorts and U.S. military bases overseas, the U.S. government said Thursday.
In a letter to his future wife, Paul even reflected on his desire to one day raise “little mujahideen,” or holy warriors, according to a federal grand jury indictment. The investigation into Paul spanned four years, three continents and at least eight countries, FBI agent Tim Murphy said.
Paul, 43, a U.S. citizen and Columbus resident, was arrested Wednesday outside his apartment. He is charged with providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. The weapon of mass destruction charge carries the most serious penalty, up to life in prison.
Ahmad Al-Akhras, vice chair of the Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he knows Paul and the charges are out of character.“From the things I know, he is a loving husband and he has a wife and parents in town,” Al-Akhras said. “They are a good family together.” Al-Akhras said his group will work to make sure Paul’s constitutional rights are granted.
It sounds like CAIR plans on providing Christopher Paul with a lawyer, some positive PR, or both. One wonders who is paying Nuradin Abdi’s legal fees:
June 15, 2004 — “The American heartland was targeted for death and destruction by an al-Qaida cell,” Ashcroft said at a news conference announcing the four-count indictment against the man, Nuradin Abdi, 32, a cellular telephone business owner in Columbus who is originally from Somalia. The indictment, which was handed up by a criminal grand jury in Columbus on Thursday and was unsealed Monday, charges that Abdi conspired with admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris and others to detonate a bomb at a shopping mall in the Columbus area after he obtained military-style training in Ethiopia.
Abdi, who has been in custody since November on immigration-related violations, also was charged with fraud and misuse of documents by claiming that he had been granted valid asylum status in the United States. In fact, prosecutors say, he obtained that refugee document under false pretenses. There also were one count each of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in this case al-Qaida.
A government motion seeking to keep Abdi in detention says he returned to the United States from Africa in March 2000 and was met at the airport in Columbus by Faris. Those two and other unidentified co-conspirators were involved in the alleged shopping mall plot, prosecutors say.
One of the immigration charges contends that Abdi concealed his true destination when he applied for a U.S. travel document on April 27, 1999. He said he was going to Germany and Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca and relatives. In fact, “as the defendant well knew, he planned to travel to Ogaden, Ethiopia, for the purpose of obtaining military-style training in preparation for violent Jihad,” the indictment says. The training allegedly included use of guns, bombs and guerrilla warfare.
The man who planned to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge also lived in Columbus:
June 19, 2003 — An Ohio trucker has admitted to helping plan al Qaeda attacks in the United States after meeting terror chief Osama bin Laden at an Afghanistan terror training camp. Iyman Faris, 34, checked out the chances of destroying a New York bridge and tried to buy equipment for proposed al Qaeda attacks while appearing to be a law-abiding trucker, according to documents unsealed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
Faris pleaded guilty May 1 to providing material support to al Qaeda and to conspiring to do so, according to the documents. The charges together carry as much as 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. Sources told CNN that al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is in U.S. custody, told his interrogators the target was the 116-year-old Brooklyn Bridge.
Faris’ first links to al Qaeda came in late 2000 when he traveled with a longtime friend, who was an operative for the terror group, from Pakistan to Afghanistan, according to the court documents. During a series of visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Faris was introduced to bin Laden and at least one senior operational leader, who gave Faris his orders for when he returned to the United States. The operational leader, identified in court documents as “C-2” and said to be bin Laden’s “number three man,” told Faris in 2002 al Qaeda was again planning simultaneous attacks on New York and Washington.
In his first visit to an al Qaeda camp one of bin Laden’s men asked him about ultralight planes and said al Qaeda was seeking to buy an “escape airplane,” the documents said. About two months later, Faris went to an Internet cafe in Karachi where he looked up information on ultralights and provided it to an al Qaeda representative. In Pakistan, Faris helped procure 2,000 sleeping bags for use by al Qaeda and delivered cash and cell phones to an al Qaeda operative. In late December 2001, he bought several airline tickets to Yemen for use by al Qaeda operatives, the documents said. A few months later — and less than a year after the September 11 attacks — he was introduced to C2 and told of the new planned attacks on New York and Washington.
The leadership at CAIR — in the interest of national security and better American-Islamic relations — could promote “If you see something, say something” within the Muslim community. Instead, they always seem to be announcing they will spend money on legal fees for accused terrorists and those who only act like them aboard planes.