Counter-Terrorism: June 2, 2005


The recent arrest of two Moslem-Americans, as suspected al Qaeda supporters, brings to light the informant and sting operations being conducted by the FBI against terrorists. Since September 11, 2001, the FBI has been appealing to the Moslem-American community for help in finding, and arresting al Qaeda supporters. The case in question involves martial arts expert Tarik Shah, 42, and physician Dr. Rafiq Sabir, 50. Shah wanted to train al Qaeda fighters in the martial arts, and Sabir was willing to provide medical care for al Qaeda fighters wounded in action. Shah originally came to the attention of the FBI when he mentioned his pro-terrorist attitude to a paid FBI informant. The FBI has expanded its informant force since 2001, with most of the new ones being those who might be useful in counter-terror operations. Some are Moslem-Americans, but most are ex-criminals (or not ex-) who have contacts in the criminal underground. The FBI knows that terrorists often use criminal organizations to obtain weapons and other equipment they need for terrorist operations.

Most of the informants in the Moslem-American community are unpaid volunteers, who want to protect their community from the embarrassment of being associated with terrorist activity. The mere presence of these informants discourages many potential terrorists from becoming active, or even openly expressing their support for Islamic terrorism. The arrest of Shah and Sabir spreads more fear among wannabe Islamic terrorists, and that is considered one beneficial effect of the arrests.

Sabir was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but converted to Islam while in High School. Shah is the son of a Black Moslem leader who worked for Black Moslem icon Malcolm X. Both men had, like many Moslem-Americans, expressed support for Islamic radicalism. That is not a crime, but when approached by an undercover FBI agent, they responded enthusiastically to requests for active support of al Qaeda activities. That is a crime. The FBI has been energetically recruiting Moslem-Americans, both for their language skills, and their ability to work undercover among Moslem-Americans. 


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