Skip to comments.[Jewish] Temple attack 'stupid,' [Muslim] suspect says on tape
Posted on 10/10/2002 8:24:50 AM PDT by Alouette
|Mohammed Alfaqih leaves Bronx Supreme Court yesterday.|
A young Arab-American man accused of attempted arson of a Bronx synagogue explained in a written and videotaped statement that he did not want to participate in his friends' foiled plans.
Mohammed Alfaqih, 20, of Yonkers and his friend Mazin (Nick) Assi, 23, also of Yonkers, are on trial in Bronx Supreme Court, charged with attempting to set fire to the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale on Oct. 8, 2000.
A liquor bottle with a flaming rag was tossed through the glass door of the synagogue, but there was no other damage.
The pair were arrested three days later.
Yesterday, the prosecution showed the jury Alfaqih's videotaped statement and a four-page handwritten statement explaining his alleged role in the incident.
"I drove to the Jewish church," Alfaqih wrote. "Nick said he wanted to put the Jewish church on fire. They opened the bottles. ... [Medre] Medre [who has not been indicted] threw one bottle and Nick put the other bottle to the door. They had latex gloves on."
Alfaqih wrote that he was "sorry for driving them there" and that he also was scared, so he left them at the synagogue and drove off.
The incident took place just before the start of the holiest day of the Jewish New Year, and authorities have labeled the actions a hate crime.
Bronx Assistant District Attorneys Jeffrey Glucksman and Michael Cooper said the men plotted to target the synagogue because they were angry about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
But Assi's lawyer, Lynne Stewart, said it was a stupid thing for them to do, but they are not terrorists.
The two defendants opted for separate cases, but they are being tried at the same time. Alfaqih is represented by defense attorney Sabrina Shroff.
Alfaqih said that he was with three young men the day of Oct. 7, 2000, when they went to a liquor store and paid $35 for two bottles of 160-proof liquor. The bottles were left in Alfaqih's car until that night.
He said he attended his uncle's funeral that evening then met up with his three buddies again. Alfaqih said he and his friends picked up girls and went dancing at Club Hollywood in New Rochelle.
According to Alfaqih, they left the club about 2 a.m., dropped off the girls and headed for the synagogue.
"We were driving there to the synagogue and the bottles were being prepared by all of them," Alfaqih said. "Nick was in the front [the other two were in the back], and everything was already done by the time we got there."
Alfaqih said he dropped the three men off at the synagogue and drove away.
"No, I didn't help them prepare the bottles," he said on the videotape. "I just drove them there. I told them it was a stupid idea."
A year ago, in Dearborn, somebody found a burnt-out sparkler (no doubt left over from the 4th of July) on the sidewalk a block away from a mosque. The media went on and on and on for days on end about this awful "threat" which struck fear into the hearts of neighborhood Muslims.
But this playful prank of burning down a synagogue is just youthful exuberance.
Gee whiz, Lynne Stewart would know, wouldn't she? After all, she represents plenty of terrorists.
If it makes Lynne feel better, 40 years for arson works for me.
Such distinctions, I'm not a terrorist, I'm an arsonist.
Rule of thumb: whatever the defence says means the opposite is true.
Translation of defense lawyer's statement: THEY ARE TERRORISTS
It has seemed to escaped Stewart that if her boy wanted to get out of the conspiracy, he should've called the cops when he found out they wanted to burn down a synagogue.
Whatever happened to the investigation of her carrying messages from imprisoned terrorists to their cronies outside?
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