At the Hajj. By Jay Weaver in the Miami Herald, with thanks to all who sent this in:
A reputed al Qaeda member told U.S. authorities that the terror network scrutinized Jose Padilla as a recruit for Islamic extremism in 2000-01, according to a new document filed in federal court in Miami.
The information sheds more light on how Padilla, a U.S. citizen once held by federal authorities as an ”enemy combatant,” was allegedly recruited by al Qaeda for jihad in the Middle East.
Padilla, who left the Fort Lauderdale area for Egypt in 1998, is charged with conspiring with two other Muslim men as part of a North American terror cell that provided money, recruits and other support for terrorist activities abroad.
The three defendants — Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi — have a key hearing today and face trial on April 16.
In the court document, a man identified as Abdallah Ahmad Salih al-Rimi — aka Uways — told U.S. authorities that a ”fellow facilitator” had met Padilla during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The facilitator, named Abu Malki al-Sharabi, ”had convinced [Padilla] to come with him to Yemen in 2000, so that he could then travel to join the second jihad in Afghanistan,” according to the document filed Wednesday by prosecutors.
The Arabic name Padilla used at the time was Abu Abdallah al-Amriki.
Uways told authorities that he also met with Padilla on ”numerous occasions” to size him up — ”whether he would be a satisfactory candidate to send to jihad,” the document says.
Uways said he decided not to send Padilla to jihad.