NEW YORK (TIP): In what can be a serious concern for the image of the community, members of Bangladeshi community rallied in Jackson Heights on October 21, making it clear that they do not condone the actions of 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who was arrested last week for his role in a foiled plot to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Manhattan.
Nafis, a Bengali national who lived in Jamaica, Queens, is being charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda.
Nafis was arrested on October 17, culminating an investigation by the FBI, NYPD and the New York Joint Terrorist Task Force.
Officials said Nafis arrived in the U.S. from Bangladesh in January 2012 with the intent of forming an Al Queda terrorist cell in New York City. The plot was foiled when one of the men he was trying to recruit turned out to be an FBI informant.
The informant, an undercover FBI agent, gave Nafis non-working explosives and met with him on the morning of October 17, authorities said. At that time, the FBI agent watched Nafis as he assembled the bomb – and the two men then drove together to the Federal Reserve Bank.
Nafis was arrested after he unsuccessfully tried to detonate the bomb by using a cell phone in a room at the nearby Millennium Hotel.
A report released by the FBI indicates Nafis considered blowing up the New York Stock Exchange and assassinating high-ranking government officials before setting his sights on the Federal Reserve Bank.
The report cites a letter that Nafis allegedly composed to claim his responsibility for the attack he planned to carry out for Al Queda, saying he “wanted to destroy America,” and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish his goal was to target the American economy.
“As alleged in the criminal complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch.
“One deranged individual does not represent the heart of our community,” John Uddin, president of the Bengali League of New York, said at Sunday’s rally at the Jackson Heights Plaza.
“He is not the face of our community,” Uddin declared. “The face is here, in the people gathered here today.”
Members of the group held up signs decrying terrorism and praising the U.S.