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Imam's missile-plot defense: All a joke!
New York Daily News ^ | August 11, 2004 | GREG B. SMITH

Posted on 08/11/2004 1:37:06 AM PDT by sarcasm

ALBANY - A mosque leader charged with helping launder money in a missile plot thought all the weapon talk was a joke, his lawyer said yesterday - but prosecutors were not laughing.

Imam Yassin Muhiddin Aref was jailed without bail after prosecutors questioned why his name was found in a notebook in a terrorist camp listed as "Commander Yassin, United States."

They also unveiled a photo of the imam's co-defendant watching as an informant shouldered a real surface-to-air missile in the back room of an Albany-area convenience store.

That was among the evidence cited by prosecutors in Albany Federal Court in the successful bid to deny bail to Aref and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain, a pizzeria owner and co-founder of the imam's mosque.

Prosecutors charge both men helped launder $50,000 for what they thought was an arms dealer selling his wares to terrorists. The dealer was really an FBI informant who allegedly told the duo the missile was to be used to kill the Pakistani ambassador in New York City.

Aref's lawyer, Terry Kindlon, claimed the imam believed the missile plot was a joke and did not think he was doing anything other than witnessing a legitimate financial transaction.

"He heard the reference to a missile and he thought they were joking," Kindlon said.

Kindlon said the informant only referred to the missile twice when talking with Aref - and in one encounter, the imam seemed skeptical and demanded to know if the informant was recording the conversation.

The informant insisted he was not, and even raised his shirt, a reaction that caused both men to laugh.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney David Grable tied Aref to a notebook found by soldiers in June 2003 at a terrorist group's camp in northern Iraq.

Grable did not identify the group but sources say it's Ansar al Islam, a Kurdish group that has ties to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

In the camp, soldiers found rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons, Grable said.

The book contains an Albany address that Aref says was his five years ago, and next to it was the phrase "Commander Yassin United States" in Arabic, Grable said.

When questioned by the FBI, Aref claimed "he's never been in the military and does not know why his name is in the book," Grable said.

He also revealed Aref had mailed a package using a false name, and possessed a Syrian ID in his name that was valid through 2007. Aref contends he's an Iraqi citizen who fled to the U.S. seeking refuge from Saddam Hussein's regime.

Prosecutors alleged Aref also made $15,000 to $18,000 in wire transfers to northern Iraq. Kindlon insisted the money was going to Aref's three brothers who still live there.

Authorities said Aref recently applied to travel to Iraq this December. His lawyer counted the imam was merely planning to visit relatives.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 200306; albany; albanycell; albanymosque; alqaedairaq; ansaralislam; aref; assassinationplot; clerics; commanderyassin; hossain; imams; iraq; iraqalqaeda; iraqi; masjidassalaam; masjidassalam; missile; missiles; mohammedhossain; moneylaundering; notebook; pakistaniambassador; syria; syrian; terrorclerics; yassinaref

1 posted on 08/11/2004 1:37:06 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm

Bookmark and Bump

2 posted on 08/11/2004 1:41:27 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (Must get moose and squirrel ... B. Badanov)
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To: sarcasm

Ha-Ha! Those Imams are such kidders.

3 posted on 08/11/2004 1:43:37 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: sarcasm
A mosque leader charged with helping launder money in a missile plot thought all the weapon talk was a joke

Laugh this off, pig****er.

4 posted on 08/11/2004 1:44:36 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: Hugin

Imam at the Improv on Saturday night!

5 posted on 08/11/2004 1:51:21 AM PDT by GeronL (KERRY: "I went to Cambodia with the CIA and all I got was a hat")
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To: sarcasm
Joke? The joke is that the shoulder-fired-missile-seeking
folks in Albany, NY, at the Masjid As-Salam mosque,
had some object under at least "her" very heavy clothes.
Jokes aside, what does the "woman" have under her jacket?
She avoids the camera absolutely. Note the mass
object from her right posterior shoulder linearly-directed both medially and caudally.
The object appears as a radius linearly directed OUT and AWAY from "her" body.
Joke? I think NOT.

6 posted on 08/11/2004 2:33:50 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Re: Protection from up on high, Keyser Sose has nothing on Sandy Berger, the DNC Burglar)
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To: Diogenesis

Two highly regarded role models in action. All those mosques need to be shut down. They are the safe-houses for terrorist, money laundering, training and propaganda. The typical hate America/Whitey Crowd habitats. Excellent observation of the object under the clothing. Bush/Cheney 2004

7 posted on 08/11/2004 4:21:44 AM PDT by No Surrender No Retreat (These Colors Never Run( 7.62))
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To: Cindy

blast from the past ping

8 posted on 11/15/2006 4:25:23 PM PST by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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