COLUMBUS “” 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….
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.
Paul appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Terence Kemp, who set a hearing Friday on prosecutors” request that Paul be held without bond. Paul’s lawyer, Don Wolery, declined comment.
After completing his al-Qaida training in the early 1990s, Paul returned to Columbus to teach martial arts at a mosque, the indictment said.
Paul traveled to Germany about April 1999 to train co-conspirators to use explosives to attack European and American targets, including government buildings and vacation spots frequented by American tourists, the document said.