Muslims Distance Selves from Terror Suspects
By Adil James
April 25â€”All of those with alleged social ties to two terror suspects arrested by the FBI are seeking as much distance from them as possible.
The two, 19-year-old US citizen Ehsanul Islam Sadequee (of Bangladeshi origin) and 21-year-old Syed Haris Ahmed (of Pakistani origin), are local area students (Mr. Ahmed being a mechanical engineering bachelor’s candidate at Georgia Tech) accused of having gone to Toronto to conspire to engage in unspecified terrorist attacks against unspecified victims within the United States.
The FBI arrested Mr. Ahmed on March 23. They accused the two of having met at a mosque adjacent to the Georgia Tech campus, al-Farooq Masjid and Corporation.
Dr. Mohammad O. Tomeh, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of al-Farooq Masjid, said that he does not remember having seen the two boys at all in the mosque. â€œItâ€™s not like a churchâ€”people pray and goâ€”we have no relationship with them.â€
Dr. Tomeh emphasized that â€œthere are no political activities in our mosque.â€ No political functions, he explainedâ€”the mosque as a matter of policy as written in its bylaws, he says, prohibits political activities. â€œWe are a religious institution, we teach Qur`an, `ahadith, and good characterâ€”we have two schools. â€œWe have no relationship withâ€ the two boys who were arrested.
The mosque is an old one, having been built in 1980. It is now in the process of building an entirely new structure on its land, to replace the old mosque. So far, Dr. Tomeh explains, the mosque has fortunately had no problems from the surrounding community in the wake of the arrests.
Fellow students, also, are seeking to put as much distance between themselves and the two boys as possible. â€œI didnâ€™t hear about that at all,â€ explained Jenny Rieck, a freshman psychology major from Augusta Georgia in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, â€œIâ€™ve been locked in my room working.â€
Another student, West Daniel, was similarly shocked. â€œIâ€™d never even picture a classmate even being accused of something like that,â€ said Wes Daniel, a junior mechanical engineering major who believes he may have had a class with Ahmed. â€œEveryoneâ€™s asked each other if they know him.â€
One dark cloud remains over Atlanta in the wake of the accusations and arrests. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, without giving supporting evidence or quotes, that the two boys were well-known at Al-Farooq Masjid.
In fact, according to Dr. Tomeh, the Chairman of that mosque, this is absolutely not the case. –