FBI: 3 In South Fla. Accused Of Supporting Pakistani Taliban
Updated On: May 16 2011 07:01:29 AM EDT
The U.S. Attorney?s office in South Florida has indicted six individuals in South Florida and Pakistan on charges of providing financing and other material support to the Taliban in Pakistan.
The four-count indictment charges Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, a U.S. citizen and resident of Miami; his son, Irfan Khan, 37, a U.S. citizen and resident of Miami; and another son, Izhar Khan, 24, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Lauderdale.
The defendants are originally from Pakistan. Hafiz Khan is the Imam at the Miami Mosque, also known as the Flagler Mosque. Izhar Khan is an Imam at the Jamaat Al-Mu?mineen Mosque in Margate.
The indictment does not charge the mosques themselves with any wrongdoing, and the individual defendants are charged based on their provision of material support to terrorism, not on their religious beliefs or teachings, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Three others who live in Pakistan charged in the indictment are Ali Rehman, also known as ?Faisal Ali Rehman;? Alam Zeb; and Amina Khan, also known as ?Amina Bibi.?
All six defendants are charged with conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, as well as conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically, the Pakistani Taliban.
"We want to dismantle terrorist networks. So, I think that whenever you do take some of these folks down that are facilitating and supporting terrorists, I think it's a big deal," FBI Special Agent John Gilles said.
Ferrer said the group sent as much as $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban to buy weapons.
"When you purchase weapons and guns for $10, you can see that $50,000 can go a long way," said Gilles.
Court documents also show Hafiz Khan supported a school in Swat, Pakistan, that trained children to kill Americans.
"That school was being used to shelter members of the Pakistani Taliban and prepare children to become militant fighters for the Taliban," U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer said.
The school is not far away from the town where Osama bin Laden was found hiding and was killed by U.S. Special Forces two-weeks ago.
The three are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court in Miami at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
In addition, Irfan Khan was arrested in Los Angeles and is expected to make his initial appearance there.
Late Saturday, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen reacted to the arrests. Ros-Lehtinen said, "this is yet another indication that the threat posed to the U.S. and other free nations by violent Islamist extremists did not end with the killing of bin Laden; that the war against enemies of freedom continues. It also highlights the need for the U.S. to receive more cooperation from Pakistan to counter this threat.?
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