SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 19, 2012

Terror suspect's family says he asked to go to US

NEW YORK — Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was a terrible student in his native Bangladesh, and his middle-class parents say he persuaded them to send him off to study in the U.S. as a way of improving his job prospects.

At the Missouri college where he enrolled, one classmate said Nafis often remarked that true Muslims don’t believe in violence — an image that seemed startlingly at odds with Nafis’ arrest in an FBI sting this week on charges of trying to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York with what he thought was a 1,000-pound car bomb.

“I can’t imagine being more shocked about somebody doing something like this,” said Jim Dow, a 54-year-old Army veteran who rode home from class with Nafis twice a week. “I didn’t just meet this kid a couple of times. We talked quite a bit, sir. And this doesn’t seem to be in character.”

Federal investigators, often accused by defense attorneys of entrapping and leading would-be terrorists along, said the 21-year-old Nafis made the first move over the summer, reaching out for accomplices and eventually contacting a government informant, who then went to federal authorities.

They said he also selected his target, drove the van loaded with dummy explosives up to the door of the bank, and tried to set off the bomb from a hotel room using a cellphone he thought had been rigged as a detonator.

During the investigation, he and the informant corresponded via Facebook and other social media, talked on the phone and met in hotel rooms, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nafis spoke of his admiration for Osama bin Laden, talked of writing an article about his plot for an al-Qaida-affiliated magazine, and said he would be willing to be a martyr but preferred to go home to his family after carrying out the attack, authorities said. And he also talked about wanting to kill President Barack Obama and bomb the New York Stock Exchange, a law enforcement official said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140721_SN_PBI_MARKETB_090 Thousands rally after 8 Market Basket execs are fired

    TEWKSBURY -- Valerie Edge has never been afraid for her job. Through the death of her father, a near-fatal crash involving her daughter, and her own lengthy illness, the five-year employee of the Epping, N.H., Market Basket said her bosses always tol

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos 1 Slideshow 4 Stories

  • 140721_SN_DLE_MARKETBASKET5 North Shore Market Basket workers, customers remain defiant

    MIDDLETON -- The Market Basket revolt continues, despite the firing of eight insurgent employees. Workers at the Middleton store on Monday were still making clear their position in favor of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, though in some cases with ca

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos 5 Stories

  • Lindsay Obama denies religious exemption urged by Gordon College president

    WENHAM — The letter that has caused so much controversy for Gordon College has gone unheeded by President Barack Obama.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo 7 Stories

  • Tobin Bridge toll booths are history BOSTON -- The next time you drive over the Tobin Bridge on Route 1 into Boston, you won't have to fumble for your wallet or root through your purse to pay the toll. On Monday, the state Department of Transportation replaced the toll booths on the upp

    July 22, 2014

  • 140715_SN_DLE_ABBOTTHALL1 Heard Around Town: For Seth Moulton, there's no place like home Candidate for congress in the Democratic Party and Marblehead homeboy Seth Moulton might have gotten a jolt when the Democratic Town Committee recently endorsed his opponent, incumbent Rep. John Tierney of Salem. The Marine Corps and Iraq veteran is

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos