A Federal jury today found Sudbury resident and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy graduate Tarek Mehanna guilty on all seven charges of supporting Al Qaeda and lying to Federal investigators about his involvement with the group. Mehanna, a son of an Egyptian immigrant, could face a life sentence.
Children making “Free Tarek” signs at Islamic Center of Worcester
During the trial, the prosecution told the jury of Mehanna’s attempt to seek terrorist training in Yemen. They described the pleasure he and his friends took in watching videos of Americans being beheaded and of American soldiers killed and mutilated in Iraq. Watching a scene of an American soldier whose chest was ripped open and whose innards then set ablaze with gasoline, Mehanna called it “a Texas barbeque.” When asked by a fellow extremist if the soldiers should not have received some sort of trial, Mehanna said no, “BBQ sauce is the way to go.”
Mehanna and his friends talked online about how his own translations of Al-Qaeda recruitment literature into English made him part of “the media wing of Al Qaeda.” In these same conversations, monitored by the FBI, he has said that he “looks to Osama Bin Laden as his real father” and “loves him,” and that he wasn’t sorry for the victims of 9/11; he was just sorry “for the buildings.”
Despite all this, prominent leaders of the Massachusetts Muslim community openly and aggressively encouraged their constituents to support Mehanna during his trial. Pro-Mehanna activists harassed the U.S. Attorney’s office with persistent phone calls and sit-ins. They accused the Justice Department of racism and targeting of innocent Muslims. Mosques like the Islamic Center of Worcester and the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, held events and fundraisers in Mehanna’s support. Mehanna’s supporters have built a large web presence among online extremists, who post messages like “Close Guantanamo Bay, Reopen Auschwitz” on Free Mehanna websites.
This isn’t surprising, considering that indicted along with Mehanna was the son of former Roxbury mosque vice president Abdulbadi Abousamra. Sons of two other local Muslim leaders were also in on Mehanna’s plots and became cooperating witnesses against Mehanna, presumably in exchange for immunity.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq at a “Free Tarek” demonstration.
Most vocal and extreme in support of Mehanna has been the president of the umbrella Muslim group in New England, the Islamic Council of New England, Imam Abdullah Faaruuq.
Faaruuq, the Muslim Chaplain of Northeastern University and the spiritual guide to the University’s Muslim students, has urged Muslim congregations to to pick up the gun and the sword on behalf of Mehanna and another Boston-based convicted terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder of FBI agents. In fundraising efforts for Siddiqui, Imam Faaruuq expressed supportfor “cutting through” FBI agents with a machete. Take a look at our video about the alarming level of Islamic extremism at Northeastern and Imam Faaruuq’s role in its spread at the university.
Despite Imam Faaruuq’s extremism, he enjoys a prominent position in Boston. He has had a close relationship with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and appeared at events with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and John Kerry.
Imam Faaruuq leading MA Gov. Patrick in prayer
Imam Faaruuq at a groundbreaking ceremony with Mayor Menino and Sen. John Kerry
Imam Faaruuq embracing MA Gov. Deval Patrick.
APT calls on Massachusetts civic and political leaders to disassociate themselves from radical Muslim leaders and to denounce Imam Faaruuq’s activism on behalf of convicted terrorists. The guilty verdict against Mehanna is a welcome development and APT thanks the U.S. Attorney’s office for a skilled prosecution and for steadfastness in the face of extremist pressure.