Adis Medunjanin (pictured), a confederate of Najibullah Zazi, was convicted Tuesday on all counts of scheming to set off suicide bombs in crowded subways. Medunjanin had travelled to Pakistan to learn the techniques of mass murder and hoped to kill US soldiers, but the jihad bosses wanted him and his high school classmates (who also had American passports) to create havoc in the US homeland.
The 28-year-old Bosnian native was a graduate of Flushing High School who certainly has experienced American freedoms, but thought it would be better to murder the people who had foolishly opened their country to him.
Bosnian Muslims are supposed to be the elusive “moderates” we hear about but rarely see. But the country has been represented previously in hostile Muslim activities, like the Salt Lake rampage of refugee Sulejman Talovic who murdered six people in a shopping center. Another is Anes Subasic, an immigrant Bosnian who is awaiting trial for involvement in a plot to attack a Marine base and other targets.
This terror plot targeted New York City, so it has gotten a fair amount of media attention. When jihadist attacks happen in middle America (like Portland and Little Rock), the arrests and trials usually get little coverage, even though they have occurred with increasing frequency in the last few years.
Not every Muslim immigrant is a jihadist dedicated to killing Americans, but some are friendly to America’s enemies. More than 3/4 of mosques in America promote jihad, according to a Freedom House report titled “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques” (Read). The Hamas-supporting Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has instructed Muslims on how to avoid speaking to the FBI, a campaign called “Build a Wall of Resistance.” Is that behavior supposed to represent assimilation these days?
Today we see a convicted Muslim immigrant who plotted to blow up a subway, a scheme that was thwarted. Let’s hope we don’t next see a city nuked by another unfriendly immigrant, one who wasn’t caught before the act. Muslim immigration is a threat to national security, and America should learn from Europe’s bad experience with Islamic diversity.
Terror Defendant Convicted in Plot to Bomb New York Subways, New York Times, May 1, 2012
A Queens man was convicted of a host of terrorism charges on Tuesday for participating in a plot led by Al Qaeda to stage suicide attacks in the New York subways, an effort that prosecutors said was stopped just days before three former high school classmates planned to set off a series of homemade bombs during rush hour.
The two-week trial offered a rare look at the evolution of a terrorist plot and the workings of Qaeda training camps where the former classmates received their orders. Two of the classmates and two other convicted terrorists testifying for the government described the plot, sharing their secrets from the witness stand in a packed public courtroom.
The plot began after the defendant, Adis Medunjanin, traveled to Pakistan with two friends with the intention of fighting American troops in Afghanistan. The friends testified that they were instead recruited to a Qaeda training camp, where they were told that they would be far more valuable to their cause by returning to the United States to carry out an act of terrorism.
A lawyer for Mr. Medunjanin, 28, a naturalized citizen born in Bosnia, argued that Mr. Medunjanin had dropped out of the plot after falling out with the friends, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay.
The trial, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, put on full display the government’s efforts to prosecute terrorists in criminal court, which has been the subject of controversy in recent years, with critics arguing that security risks make military tribunals a more appropriate venue.
Federal authorities have called the subway plot one of the most serious threats to national security since the Sept. 11 attacks, but the trial concluded without incident. The courthouse, which sits alongside a public park, had no noticeable increase in security.
The jury deliberated for nearly a day, sending several notes to the Judge John Gleeson to seek clarification of the charges, before finding Mr. Medunjanin guilty on all counts. When the foreman read the verdict on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Medunjanin, who rarely showed emotion during the trial, raised his palms upward and said a prayer. He faces life in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 7.
The case against Mr. Medunjanin centered on the testimony of his friends from Flushing High School, Mr. Ahmedzay and Mr. Zazi, who had already pleaded guilty to their involvement in the plot and hope for leniency during sentencing. They testified about the steps they had taken to carry out the attack.
They said Mr. Medunjanin participated every step of the way, from the decision to travel to the Middle East to fight with the Taliban to the decision to return home to commit jihad. They said he also helped choose the location where they would set off their bombs.
During the trial, a lawyer for Mr. Medunjanin, Robert C. Gottlieb, argued that his client had grown apart from his friends — at one point while overseas, Mr. Zazi had a fistfight with Mr. Medunjanin — and lost contact with them when he returned to the United States two months before his friends did. Mr. Gottlieb said Mr. Medunjanin had never planned to follow through with the attack.
But prosecutors argued that he remained so dedicated that when he feared he was going to be arrested, months after the plot was uncovered, he fled in his car and intentionally crashed into oncoming traffic in a last-ditch attempt to commit a suicide attack.
Mr. Medunjanin called 911 moments before, screaming, “We love death more than you love life.”
The trial also featured testimony from two men convicted in separate terrorism plots that were not related to the subway bombing scheme. Those men, Saajid Badat, a British man who was supposed to bring down an airplane as the second so-called shoe bomber, and Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island man who took up arms and fought against American troops in Afghanistan, were called as expert witnesses about Al Qaeda to corroborate facts about the overseas terrorism camps where they both trained.
But the core of the prosecution’s case came from Mr. Medunjanin’s two high school friends. They described Mr. Medunjanin as the most religious among them and said he encouraged them to listen to the recordings of Anwar Al-Awlawki, a radical anti-American cleric who urged all Muslims to take up arms.
“Adis was saying it was an obligation of every Muslim to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq,” Mr. Ahmedzay testified.
In August 2008, Mr. Medunjanin traveled with Mr. Zazi and Mr. Ahmedzay to Pakistan, hoping to use the country as a staging ground for a trip into Afghanistan. But they were unable to cross the border and were soon recruited by members of Al Qaeda, who took them to a mud-walled terrorist training camp in the tribal regions of Pakistan. There, members of Al Qaeda asked them to commit a suicide attack in the United States.
Mr. Zazi said he attended a second camp, where he learned how to make bombs out of common household materials, like nail polish remover, flour and clarified butter.
In September 2009, after returning to the United States, Mr. Zazi drove to New York from Colorado, where he was living, with the detonator and other materials for the bombs, but backed out of the attack when he realized that law enforcement officers were following him.
Mr. Zazi was the first member of the conspiracy to be arrested, in September 2009. Mr. Medunjanin and Mr. Ahmedzay were arrested in January 2010.
The charged against Mr. Medunjanin fell into three categories: crimes committed before the men left the United States, including conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country; crimes committed in Pakistan, like providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and receiving military training from a terrorist group; and crimes committed in Pakistan and continued in the United States, like conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.