Increasingly, the resultant terrorists are younger and younger, some just months shy of their 18th birthdays; Mohamed Osman Mohamud, Mohammed Hassan Khalid, Adel Dauod.
They represent an impressionable and ignitable cross section of an already scrutinized and marginalized Muslim community, and to target young adults seems especially detrimental to establishing long term relationships with an already skeptical population.
On October 17th, 8:12 a.m, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Manhattan, New York after recording a video and placing several calls on a cell phone.
Nafis, a middle-class Bangladeshi from Dhaka, had first come to the U.S. in January of 2012. Quazi Ahsanullah, Nafis’ father, agreed to let him pursue an American degree to increase his professional appeal in Bangladesh’s competitive job market. “I spent all my savings to send him to America,” the banker said.
Enrolling in Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) as an undergraduate in cyber security, the student led an inconspicuous life in Cape Girardeau.
The devout young man’s spring semester at SEMO was marked by regular prayer and charitable projects. He became the vice president of the campus’ Muslim Student Association and encouraged fellow Muslim students to practice Islam.
“He taught me to be a better Muslim,” student Dion Duncan, adding that Nafis also did charity work and collected backpacks for underprivileged kids.
“He prayed five times a day,” Duncan said. “Sometimes he would stay later to pray. He was very strict in his religion. I had no idea he would do something like this.”
Agreeable and friendly, Nafis did not fit the profile of a violent criminal, much less a terrorist. Classmates spoke positively about their interactions with the 21 year old Muslim. “I’d see him in a group. He used to greet you when he passed by,” remarked engineering student, Syed Saqib Hussain, “He was a normal guy.”
Sophomore Mushfiqur Rahman, discussed religion with Nafis several times and recalled, “We chitchatted about the Islamic religion. He said he was very passionate about the Islamic religion in a positive way. He kept to himself and was very reserved.”
Members of the Islamic Center of in Cape Girardeau where Nafis often prayed expressed similar shock and disbelief when confronted with news of Wednesday’s alleged plot.
Sometime after May, Nafis transferred to a vocational school in New York, the ASA Institute of Business and Computer Technology. As confirmed by Ann Hayes, a SEMO representative, the University followed standard student visa protocols and immediately informed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) of his change in registration status.
Around the time that this notification of academic transfer was issued, Nafis came into contact (presumably via internet) with an FBI informant, who by July had already lured Nafis to New York for the “J”. A mere three months later Nafis was arrested.
What changed Nafis and inspired him to load a “big car with lots of fruits and vegetables”? The complete picture of ‘consensually recorded’ conversations between the informant, two undercover agents, a tangential co-conspirator, and Nafis, will most likely remain a mystery.
Yet, cited quotes from his criminal complaint arouse memories of old entrapment scripts, where informants and undercover agents encourage minds and orchestrate events beyond the call of twisted duty to ensure an actionable terrorist plot. Read the rest of this entry »