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2 Seattle Men Call Inquiry Wrong on Ties to Al Qaeda
New York Times ^ | Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | By MICHAEL WILSON

Posted on 07/17/2002 12:12:48 AM PDT by JohnHuang2

July 17, 2002

2 Seattle Men Call Inquiry Wrong on Ties to Al Qaeda


SEATTLE, July 16 — A former inner-city mosque under investigation for suspected ties to Al Qaeda was run by mostly young African-American men who saw themselves as armed enforcers for a block overrun by drug dealers, members said.

A former leader of the Seattle mosque, Semi Osman, 32, a Tacoma resident who reportedly holds a British passport, was arrested in May on immigration and weapons charges.

Two members, the brothers James and Mustafa Ujaama, said in a news release on Monday that they were under investigation, and denied any wrongdoing.

But The Seattle Times has reported that federal investigators believe that James Ujaama and two members of the London mosque of Sheik Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical clergyman who is suspected of being tied to Osama bin laden, visited a remote farm in Bly, Ore., to try to set up a Qaeda training camp in 1999.

The investigation has shaken Seattle's largely moderate Muslim community of about 30,000 members.

The mosque, called the Yasin mosque, was in a strip-mall at a corner controlled by dealers in crack cocaine. When the building was condemned after an earthquake in 2001, the mosque moved a few doors down in the same building and was renamed Dar-us-Salaam.

"Almost everybody carried" a weapon, to help guard the area, said a former member, Eric McDaniel.

Another member, Abdul-Hakim said that members once beat a drug dealer and that the police raided the mosque for weapons.

Mr. Hakim said the accusations of ties to Al Qaeda were unfounded. Mosque members were interested in the Oregon property, he said, because they wanted to raise animals for religiously pure meat and to start a cemetery.

"We never heard the words `Al Qaeda' until they came out of George Bush's mouth," Mr. Hakim said.

In the news release, Mustafa Ujaama said that his brother had traveled to London and to the Middle East but that it was unfair to call them terrorists "because of where we have prayed," The Seattle Times reported.

The King County executive, Ron Sims, said the Ujaama brothers were respected members of the community. "These two gentlemen are community activists, not terrorists," Mr. Sims said through a spokeswoman.

But a British fighter in the Taliban who is in custody at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, told investigators that James Ujaama had set up a Web site for the London mosque, The Times has reported. James Ujaama is listed as the founder of the Web site

"America's foreign policy makers have brought hate to the people of the United States," reads a statement on the site attributed to James Ujaama. "We the people of the United States charge this government and their coalition with conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes of terrorism against Muslim people in our names."

Parents and officials at an Islamic school where Mustafa Ujaama and other mosque members sent their children said they had extremist attitudes.

"When one of the preschool teachers wanted to talk to him about his children, he said he didn't talk to women," the principal, Ann al-Moslimany, said of Mustafa Ujaama.

One of the men from the mosque once objected to the school's American flag, Mrs. Al-Moslimany said.

"We have not had very good relations to them," she said. "They certainly were very extreme." But she said did not think they were terrorists.

Mr. Osman, the mosque's former imam, has been indicted on charges of fraudulently applying for United States citizenship and having a handgun with the serial number scratched off. He paid his wife $50 to marry him to gain American citizenship, the indictment said. Executing a search warrant in May, investigators found anti-American literature, weapons and survival gear.

Mr. Osman was born in Sierra Leone, holds a British passport and has lived in the United States since the late 1980's, his lawyer has said.

Residents of Bly said he lived in their town in 1999. Mr. Osman was quiet and friendly, unless you went on his rented ranch, neighbors said. When Perry Thompson, a rancher, went to check on howling dogs there, Mr. Osman threatened him with what looked like a 9 millimeter automatic pistol, Mr. Thompson said.

Melba Thompson said Mr. Osman came out with a sawed-off shotgun when she and her daughter went to inspect the ranch as a rental. "There were no gunshots and no large groups of men, like I read in the paper," she said. "But Semi was an obstinate, arrogant, crazy man who acted like he was trying to shock some country bumpkins."

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: abdulyasin; almasri; darussalaam; jihadinamerica; osman; seattle; terrorwar; ujaama; yasin
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Quote of the Day posted by Alias Sandman

1 posted on 07/17/2002 12:12:48 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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2 posted on 07/17/2002 12:16:05 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
This is the first report from a major newspaper that confirms that the "Dar-us-Salaam" mosque was a predominately "black muslim" mosque.

All the while they( the media) have been reporting on any and all movements of ME men. It has taken a week and a-half for them to get around to the fact that this mosque was predominatly "african american". Loaded with guns, and "Almost everybody carried" a weapon, said a former member, Eric McDaniel.

"We never heard the words `Al Qaeda' until they came out of George Bush's mouth," Mr. Hakim said. Well I guess Mr. Hakim never heard the words Impeachment, Monica, or Sudan either.

MR. Hakim is someone to be watched, and I would bet that he isn't ME (Middle Eastern).

3 posted on 07/17/2002 2:42:33 AM PDT by snodog1
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4 posted on 07/23/2002 11:46:04 PM PDT by piasa
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To: JohnHuang2
Al Qaeda ties are kind of ugly, in my opinion.
5 posted on 07/23/2002 11:52:47 PM PDT by Consort
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