ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Two Muslim men caught up in an anti-terrorism sting operation pleaded innocent Friday as details emerged about 10 new charges against them.
Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain were accused Thursday of attempting to provide support to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based group listed by the federal government as a terrorist organization. Aref, who leads a mosque, also was charged with lying to federal officials.
The pair were initially charged in August 2004 with conspiring to launder money and promoting terrorism. They now face a total of 30 charges.
Entered as new evidence against Aref were entries in his personal journals that prosecutors say link him to Mullah Krekar, the founder of Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group that U.S. authorities contend has ties to al-Qaida and has been responsible for attacks on American forces in the Middle East.
One of the entries stated it was time to “take the war to America and Israel,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Pericak said.
A memorandum filed by prosecutors also includes reference to a poem prosecutors say was written by Aref in December 1999 that read: “Raise the Jihad sword … Raise the Koran with blood … So we can bring back the freedom for ourselves and the entire people of this Earth.”
“Freedom for ourselves and the entire people of this Earth.” Yet the learned analysts will tell you this is all a reaction to American foreign policy, and that the jihadists will leave us alone if we leave them alone. In fact, this sounds much more like an echo of the Pakistani jihad theorist Syed Abul Ala Maududi’s dictum that unbelievers have no right to wield political power anywhere, and that if they do, Muslims must work to dislodge them from that power.
The written materials “compel the conclusion that Mr. Aref espouses and has adopted the goals of terrorist organizations and has had an ongoing relationship with terrorist organizations,” U.S. Magistrate Judge David Homer said. “It seems the government’s case is extremely enhanced.”
He revoked Aref’s bail but allowed Hossain to remain free.
Aref’s lawyer, Terence Kindlon, had argued his client’s writings were merely notes he made describing what he heard visitors to his home in Syria talking about. He said Aref had only briefly met Mullah Krekar when Aref worked as a “glorified janitor” at offices of the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan, an organization alleged to be an armed movement seeking an Islamic government in Iraq.
Isn’t it funny how there are so many coincidences of this kind? “Yes, I met that jihad terrorist, but we only discussed auto repair.” Etc.