Tag Archives: Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis

Queens man gets 30 years for trying to bomb Federal Reserve Bank


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Twitter/@eyewitnessnyc

A Queens man who pleaded guilty to attempting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank was sentenced to 30 years in prison Friday.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 22-year-old Bangladeshi national, first came to the U.S. in January 2012 on a student visa, residing in Jamaica. But his real intentions, according to authorities, were to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of al Qaeda that would “disrupt the U.S. economy and kill Americans.”

One of the individuals he recruited to help him with his terrorist plot was an undercover FBI agent.

The undercover agent supplied Nafis with non-working explosives, and later met up with him on October 17, 2012 to assemble what Nafis believed to be a real bomb. They then drove to the Federal Reserve to detonate the device. When Nafis tried to set off the fake bomb, he was arrested.

In February, he pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

In court today, Nafis apologized to the United States, New York City, the judge and his parents, according to CBS News, saying “I’m ashamed. I’m lost. I tried to do a terrible thing. I alone am responsible for what I’ve done. Please forgive me. ”

 
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Queens man pleads guilty to Federal Reserve bomb plot


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Twitter/@eyewitnessnyc

The Bangladeshi national said that he wanted to “destroy America.”

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank, resolving to commit mass murder last October, according to the FBI.

Nafis first came to the United States last January on a student visa, but his intentions were instead to execute a terrorist attack on the behalf of al Qaeda.

“As [the] guilty plea shows, [Nafis] came to this country not to further his studies but to advance goals of jihad,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. “Once here, he devoted his energies to refining his plan to disrupt the U.S. economy and kill Americans and attempting to recruit others to join him.”

Nafis sought to recruit multiple individuals to assist him in his quest, including al Qaeda contacts, but unknowingly recruited an FBI source who posed as an al Qaeda facilitator. At Nafis’ request, the undercover agent supplied him with 20 50-pound bags of purported explosives.

On Wednesday, October 17, the two traveled in a van to a warehouse where Nafis attempted to assemble what he believed to be a bomb. He explained to the agent that he also had a “Plan B” that involved a suicide bombing if his original plan were to be thwarted by the police.

Nafis and the undercover agent then drove to Lower Manhattan, parked next to the Federal Reserve Bank, and went to a nearby hotel. There, the 21-year-old recorded a video statement meant for the American public.

“We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom,” he said, according to the FBI.

Nafis then repeatedly tried to detonate the purported bomb, and was immediately arrested after his failed attempts.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that this was just one of 16 terrorist plots against the city since 9/11.

After his guilty plea, Nafis now faces life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for the end of May.

 

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Terrorist plot may affect student visa program


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The foiled terrorist plot to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank by a Bangladeshi national, living in Queens under a student visa, could extinguish the opportunity for future foreign students to attend school in the United States.

Senator Charles Schumer called for the immediate passage of legislation increasing the oversight of student visa programs following the discovery that alleged bombing suspect Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis entered the United States with a student visa in order to attended classes at Manhattan’s ASA Institute of Business and Computer Technology.

This year, more than 850,000 active foreign students were in the United States.

An investigation headed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that “sham universities” have provided foreigners entry into the country without conducting thorough personal investigations. According to Schumer, early in 2012, Tri-Valley University in California was dismantled for selling student visas to 1,500 foreign nationals.

The school Nafis attended, Manhattan’s ASA Institute of Business and Computer Technology, is an accredited institution.

Schumer also pushed for investigations by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to determine if Nafis’ request for a visa should have been denied.

“This foiled attack must serve as a wake-up call. We need to shut down gaping loopholes allowing foreign nationals, some of whom may wish to do us harm, from entering the country through the student visa program,” said Schumer. “While the facts of this particular case are still coming to light, we do know that thousands of people have entered this country through sham universities like hand out student visas like candy, and that practice must end now.”

Under the Student Visa Integrity Act, providing false information to obtain a student visa means a mandatory two-year sentence; reasonable suspicion of fraud could expel a student from the program. The legislation also limits student visas to students attending accredited schools and prohibits any flight school that is not FAA-accredited from bringing in foreign students.

But excessive red tape can make it difficult for legitimate foreign students to study in the United States. Syracuse University student Andreacarola Urso applied for her student visa in June of 2012 in order to attend school in the United States. The 19-year-old from Naples, Italy, described the application process as lengthy, adding that the agency required her to prepare numerous documents proving she was financially stable, unmarried, maintained a permanent residence in her home country and was, in fact, legitimately Italian.

Urso’s student visa application fees amounted to $400.

The pre-med student said that while she was required to obtain an excessive number of forms for her meeting at the United States embassy in Italy, they were barely even skimmed.

“I thought the meeting would’ve been tougher, but in the end it was not,” said Urso. “I prepared all of those documents as I was told to, but they didn’t even look at them.”

Urso said the bomb plot could make it more difficult for students from other countries to obtain visas to attend school in the United States. While she believes it is ethical for officials to request documentation and perform background checks, she knows many people who were refused a visa because they seemed doubtful during their interview with the embassy.

“I think [parts of the screening process] are ridiculous,” said Urso. “It changes people’s futures since we apply a year earlier and get accepted to a university and then they refuse our visa. It’s disappointing. Obviously it’s not my case, but it is still a common problem.”

The terrorist downstairs


| qceditorial@queenscourier.com

Neighbors say they had no idea that the quiet man living downstairs was plotting a terror attack.

At first glance, they say, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, seemed harmless, and those who know him were shocked to hear the news that the FBI busted him on Wednesday, October 17 for planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank.

It’s scary to think he might have been successful.

Nafis, living on 93rd Avenue in Jamaica, traveled to the U.S. this January specifically to take part in a terrorist attack, but unknowingly enlisted the help of an undercover FBI agent.

With reported connections to al-Qaeda, Nafis said in a written statement that he wanted to “destroy America” by targeting the economy. Also in the statement, Nafis included quotes from “our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden” to justify his attack that would involve the killing of women and children.

We are supremely grateful that his plot was thwarted through intel, hard work and cooperation by the FBI and NYPD.

The Bangladeshi national tried to recruit individuals to help him in his attack, and one of those was an FBI source posing as an al-Qaeda facilitator. This allowed the FBI and NYPD to closely monitor Nafis as he attempted his attack. Nafis also reportedly sought out al-Qaeda contacts within the United States to assist him.

The undercover agent gave Nafis 20 50-pound bags of non-working explosives, and later met him on the morning of Wednesday, October 17 and witnessed Nafis assembling the 1000-pound bomb. The two drove together to the Federal Reserve, leaving the purported bomb inside the van and walking to a nearby hotel. After Nafis repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to detonate the bomb, he was arrested by authorities.

So, when it comes to budgets, we ask the politicians – do you still want to cut Homeland Security funds or further thin out the ranks of our men and women in blue?

We hope not.

Nafis was arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday afternoon, and has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

The question remains – how many more seemingly innocent people might be plotting acts of terror against our country at this very minute?

We can sleep soundly knowing that our lives – and the lives of our children – rest in the hands of those who serve and protect.

Neighbor of Federal Reserve bomb suspect speaks


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The day after a Queens man was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he believed to be a real bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, a neighbor spoke out, saying he had no idea what was being plotted, just downstairs.

Photo Twitter/@eyewitnessnyc

The FBI said that Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Jamaica, traveled to the U.S. this January specifically to take part in a terrorist attack, and unknowingly enlisted the help of an undercover agent.

At first glance, neighbors say, Nafis was said to be harmless, and those who know him are shocked to hear the news.

“He’s a good looking guy, a very young kid,” said Nafis’ upstairs neighbor, Mohammad Chowdhery. “I feel really shocked.”

Nafis was reportedly considering the Federal Reserve Bank and several other targets for his attack, but settled on the bank because it was what he believed to be the most effective way to “destroy America” — by targeting the economy, according to the FBI.

The Bangladeshi national, who allegedly has overseas connections to Al-Qaeda, tried to recruit individuals to help him in his attack, and one of those was an FBI source.

The undercover agent gave Nafis non-working explosives, and later met him on the morning of Wednesday, October 17 and witnessed Nafis assembling the bomb. The two drove together to the Federal Reserve, and after Nafis unsuccessfully tried to detonate the bomb, he was arrested by authorities.

“You never know if he was practicing those things here,” said Chowdhery of their 93rd Avenue home. “If you see someone, you can’t realize what type of person they are.”

Nafis resided in a second-floor apartment with relatives, including Shamim Khan, his wife, their two-and-a- half year old daughter, and grandparents, according to Chowdhery.

After word of the alleged attempt leaked, Chowdhery tried to contact Khan, but got no response. He saw Khan when he got home from work on Wednesday, and said he looked distraught but said nothing.

Nafis was arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday afternoon, and has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Al-Qaeda. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola