Update to today’s terror arrests in Florida.
(LWJ) — The US Department of Justice has charged six Pakistani Americans today with aiding the Pakistani Taliban. Three of those charged, including two imams at mosques in southern Florida, have been arrested, while three others are currently in Pakistan.
The six people have been identified as Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan; his two sons, Irfan and Izhar; his daughter Amina and her son Zeb; and another man known as Faisal Ali Rehman.
Hafiz and Izhar were arrested in Florida today, while Irfan was arrested in Los Angeles. Amina, Zeb, and Rehman are currently in Pakistan, beyond the reach of US officials.
Both Hafiz and Izhar are imams at mosques in southern Florida. Hafiz is the imam at the Miami Mosque, which is also known as the Flagler Mosque. Izhar is the imam at the Jamaat Al-Mu’mineen Mosque in Margate.
The six Pakistani Americans have been 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,” the Department of Justice said in a press release issued today. In addition to the conspiracy charges, Hafiz, Rehman, and Zeb have also been charged with “providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban.”
“The defendants sought to aid the Pakistani Taliban’s fight against the Pakistani government and its perceived allies, including the United States, by supporting acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere, in order to displace the lawful government of Pakistan and to establish strict Islamic law known as Sharia,” the statement continued.
The Department of justice singled out Hafiz for “founding and controlling” a madrassa, or religious school for Muslims, in the district of Swat in Pakistan. The madrassa has been used by the Pakistani Taliban to train child terrorists to kill US troops in Pakistan.
“Khan has allegedly used the madrassa to provide shelter and other support for the Pakistani Taliban and has sent children from his madrassa to learn to kill Americans in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Both Hafiz and Irfan were recorded taking part in conversations that advocated violence against the Pakistani state and US troops in Afghanistan.
“On one occasion in July 2009, defendants [Hafiz] Khan and Irfan Khan participated in a recorded conversation in which Khan called for an attack on the Pakistani Assembly that would resemble the September 2008 suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan,” the Justice statement said. “On another occasion in September 2010, Hafiz Khan participated in a conversation in which he stated that he would provide that individual with contact information for Pakistani Taliban militants in Karachi, and upon hearing that mujahideen in Afghanistan had killed seven American soldiers, declared his wish that God kill 50,000 more.”