NY Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Aid to Al Qaeda
Update: Syed Hashmi was sentenced to 15 years in prison on June 9, 2010.
Posted: April 28, 2010
A former Brooklyn College student has pleaded guilty to providing Al Qaeda with military gear to use against American forces in Afghanistan.
On April 27, 2010, Syed Hashmi, a.k.a Fahad, pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop other charges filed against Hashmi, including conspiracy to make a contribution of funds, goods or services to, and for the benefit of, Al Qaeda. Hashmi, 30, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
"Syed Hashmi admitted that he knowingly provided material support to al Qaeda," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated after Hashmi's guilty plea. "He will now face justice for giving aid to terrorists he knew full-well were dedicated to harming Americans."
Hashmi graduated from Brooklyn College in 2003 and moved to London to pursue a master's degree in international relations at London Metropolitan University. From June 2004 through May 2006, he provided military equipment to others who transported the gear to Al Qaeda associates in South Waziristan, an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in Pakistan that serves as a center for launching attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
Hashmi's co-conspirator – who has been identified by law enforcement officials as Mohammed Junaid Babar – used Hashmi's London apartment to store equipment, including ponchos, waterproof socks and raincoats, to help Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan stay dry while fighting against U.S. forces. Hashmi also reportedly lent Babar $300 for the purpose of buying a plane ticket to carry the gear to Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Babar, a Pakistani-born American, pleaded guilty in 2004 to supplying money and materials, including night-vision goggles, sleeping bags and other items, to an Al Qaeda official setting up a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.
Hashmi was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport in June 2006 while trying to board a plane for Pakistan. His extradition to New York in May 2007 marked the first time the United Kingdom extradited an individual to the U.S. on terrorism charges. Under U.S. law, any American citizen participating in terrorist activities overseas may be charged in an American court.
Since Hashmi's extradition to the U.S. and subsequent incarceration, several organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Justice Initiative, have organized gatherings outside the New York federal jail where he has been held to protest the conditions of Hashmi's confinement.
According to prosecutors, Hashmi was a member of Al Muhajiroun, a British-based Muslim extremist group disbanded in 2004. While attending Brooklyn College, Hashmi reportedly became involved with the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), an apparent offshoot of Al Muhajiroun located in the Jackson Heights section of Queens. ITS, which supports the imposition of Islamic hegemony worldwide, has held numerous protests in New York that include anti-Semitic and anti-American messages, endorsement of terrorism and calls for the destruction of Israel. Hashmi's co-conspirator, Mohammed Junaid Babar, was also affiliated with Al Muhajiroun and is cooperating with law enforcement officials in ongoing terrorism investigations.