They were “within days of carrying out this attack.” Will the Islamophobia never end?
Here is some useful background on this story.
“Trial opens for alleged New York bomb plotter,” by Sebastian Smith for AFP, April 16 (thanks to David):
NEW YORK “” The high-profile trial began of a man accused of being part of a New York trio that was only “days” from launching suicide bombs in the city’s crowded subway to take revenge for the US war in Afghanistan.
The trial in Brooklyn features New York immigrant Muslims who became radicalized in the feverish post-9/11 atmosphere and allegedly became homegrown terrorists with a plan to cause carnage in America’s biggest city.
Federal prosecutor James Loonam opened by pointing across the courtroom at defendant Adis Medunjanin, 27, and calling him an Al-Qaeda “terrorist.”
Loonam detailed how in September 2009 Medunjanin, along with two former New York high school friends, put final touches on a plan to bomb either the subway, Times Square, or another packed location.
“Three men were prepared to strap bombs to their bodies and walk into crowded New York subway cars that were filled with innocent people,” Loonam said. “These men came so close, within days of carrying out this attack, before they were stopped.”
Gesturing at Medunjanin, who wore a suit, the prosecutor said: “One of those Al-Qaeda terrorists is inside the courtroom right now.”
Medunjanin, a Bosnian whose family fled to the United States during the war with Serbia in the 1990s, is charged with nine terrorism-related counts.
He is accused of traveling to Pakistan in 2008 in a failed attempt to join the Taliban to fight against US forces in Afghanistan, then entering the bomb plot on his return home, and finally trying to use his car to cause bloodshed in a desperate last act before his arrest.
He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said Medunjanin was only a passionate Muslim who wanted to go to Afghanistan because he was outraged by the US drone bombing of civilians and abuses in US military prisons.
“The truth is Adis Medunjanin is not a terrorist. The truth is, in this case, the government with all its inflammatory and incendiary allegations, is just wrong,” Gottlieb said.
“Mr Medunjanin never planned to bomb the New York City subways, contrary to what the government has told you. Mr Medunjanin never joined any plan, as that term is defined in the law… to go to Afghanistan to kill members of the United States military.”
The other two men in the alleged plot, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have already pleaded guilty and turned on their old friend in hopes that cooperation with prosecutors will earn them lighter sentences.
Ahmedzay was the first witness called by the prosecution.
He told the court that Medunjanin had helped him grow closer to Islam. Then one day, when the three of them were in a car, they “made a covenant to go to Afghanistan” and join the Taliban.
He described Medunjanin as steadfast in his ambition to become a suicide bomber on return to the United States….