I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven. And evidence continues to come in that jihadists view the aggregate of peaceful Muslims not as a challenge, but as a recruiting ground -- and make copious use of the Qur'an and Sunnah in that recruitment. Stateside jihad alert from the New York Times, with thanks to all who sent this in:
A martial arts expert from the Bronx and a doctor from Florida have been arrested on charges that they conspired to train and provide medical assistance to Al Qaeda terrorists, federal and local authorities said yesterday.
The men, United States citizens who were identified by the authorities as Tarik ibn Osman Shah of the Bronx and Rafiq Sabir of Boca Raton, were captured in early morning raids in the Bronx and in Boca Raton on Friday, according to Paul J. Browne, a New York City police spokesman.
The arrests came as part of a two-year sting operation that ended with each man facing a single conspiracy charge. While the authorities said that they had no evidence that either man had actually provided support to terrorists, they said they had taped each man swearing his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Browne said.
According to a statement released by David N. Kelley, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John Klochan, the acting assistant director in charge of the New York office of the F.B.I., the complaint contends that between 2003 and sometime this month, the men met with a law enforcement informant and an F.B.I. agent who was posing as a Qaeda operative and recruiter.
The complaint said that in those meetings, which were recorded, Mr. Shah agreed to provide training in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to Qaeda members and associates, while Dr. Sabir agreed to provide medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.
"During these conversations, Mr. Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim 'brothers' in the martial arts in order to wage jihad and also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight," it said....
Cue the usual protestations of innocence and discrimination:
A report yesterday in The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale quoted a friend of Dr. Sabir's saying that the charges were absurd. "He is a quality guy and a quality physician," the friend, Dr. Daniel McBride, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, told the newspaper. "He's about helping others."
Mr. Browne said that Dr. Sabir attended City College of New York and received his medical degree from Columbia medical school. Last night, Lisa Kozan, a neighbor who lives across the way from Dr. Sabir in Villa San Remo, a gated community in Boca Raton, said she believed that Dr. Sabir had rented there for about four years.
She said that the doctor stood out from other neighbors by his Muslim dress and that the doctor and his family lived quietly in the community. "Other than that, we didn't talk to him, and they didn't talk to us," she said.
Mr. Browne said that Mr. Shah, who public records show lived in Beacon, N.Y., and Poughkeepsie before moving to the Bronx, was the son of an aide to Malcolm X.