Wednesday, November 7, 2007

N.Y. Muslim martial arts instructor gets 15 years for backing al Qaeda

A New York jazz musician was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday for agreeing to help train al Qaeda fighters in hand-to-hand combat in a case that centered on an oath he took before an undercover FBI agent.

Tarik Shah, 44, a martial arts instructor raised in New York, received the maximum sentence in Manhattan federal court under a plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors.

Shah pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiring to support al Qaeda. In exchange, prosecutors dropped one of the terrorism charges against him.

Two other men pleaded guilty and a third was convicted by a federal jury, but Shah was the central figure based on an oath he and a friend took in Arabic in May 2005 before an undercover FBI agent who posed as an al Qaeda recruiter.

Prosecutors said Shah wanted to attend militant training camps in Afghanistan before pledging support to "Sheikh Osama" and al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri during one of many taped meetings with the undercover agent.

Three other men were charged in the case, including Shah's friend, Rafiq Sabir, a Florida-based doctor who also attended the May 2005 meeting.

Sabir was convicted in May of two terrorism charges for agreeing to give medical treatment to al Qaeda fighters. He faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced November 14.

Mahmud Faruq Brent, a former paramedic and cab driver in Maryland, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in July for attending a training camp in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. State Department has designated as a terrorist organization.

A fourth man, Brooklyn bookstore owner Abdulrahman Farhane, was sentenced in April to 13 years for conspiring to transfer funds to militant groups in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Sphere: Related Content