Two Indian brothers charged with providing support to al-Qaeda had discussed ideas for an Islamist insurgency in India, documents filed by United States prosecutors show.
Hyderabad-born Yahya Farooq Mohammad and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad were indicted by a grand jury on Friday, Nov 06, for allegedly providing and raising funds through credit card fraud for slain jihadist ideologue and commander Anwar al-Awlaki.
All four men have been indicted on one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support and resources to terrorists, one count of providing material support and resources to terrorists and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
While Ibrahim was arrested in Texas, where he lived, his brother Yahya lives in UAE. Sultane’s brother Asif also stays in the UAE.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Ibrahim in Texas – where he lived — on Thursday, Nov 05, while Sultane was apprehended in Ohio.
In an e-mail sent by Farooq to Zubair on January 31, 2005, Yahya wrote: “The Muslims there (in India) are our brothers. The non-Muslims our enemies. We do dawah (proselytise) to them in the best manner. But if they refuse, and when we have the capability, we offer them to live as dhimmis (non-Muslims under the protection of Muslim law) or else face the sword.”
“We will never have a subservient attitude for them,” the e-mail says. “There is a time for dawah, and a time for jihad.”
The men also exchanged jihadist literature produced by al-Qaeda — among it, an interview with slain Pakistani Taliban commander Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri, hailing the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.
India’s intelligence officials, government sources said, were informed four weeks ago that Farooq might seek to flee to this country, ahead of the indictment. However, no details were provided on his passport details, origin or possible activities in India.
“FBI had these men under surveillance for a length of time”, a senior official said, “but told us nothing about it. The prospect that they might have funded jihadists in India is a matter of great concern”.
Attorney Kadri Cherrefe, who represents Sultane, said he has pleaded not guilty. It is not known who is representing the other three men in federal court.
“Salim has pleaded not guilty. The case has been filed against him and others. The onus is now on the federal prosecutors to produce documents and evidences to prove,” Cherrefe told PTI over phone.
Officials from either the FBI or the Department of Justice did not respond to calls and emails on the case.
However, given the past precedence, the Department of Justice would try to get back the other two mentioned in the indictment to the US to face the charges.
Yahya, an Indian citizen, studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004. He married a US citizen in 2008, but has been a resident of the United Arab Emirates since 2004, according to local daily The Toledo Blade in Ohio.
Ibrahim, also an Indian citizen, studied engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2001 to 2005.
He moved to Toledo around 2006, married a US citizen, and became a permanent resident of the US around 2007, moving at some point to Texas, the daily reported.