A federal grand jury has started reviewing evidence against Samir Khan, a 24-year-old who ran a militant Islamic website out of his parents’ basement, and is now suspected of being behind the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire could face terrorism charges.
NY DAILY NEWS Inspire, a 67-page mag published online in June, slapped snappy titles on terrorist advice columns like “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” and ran items like a packing guide for what to take on a jihad trip.
It instantly attracted FBI attention, and intelligence agents noted eerie similarities between Inspire and Khan’s own blog, “Inshallahshaheed” which translates to “A martyr if God wills.” “There were choices in content and how it was created that echoed what Samir Khan had done with his blog several years back,” a federal source said when the site surfaced.
Khan, who neighbors haven’t seen in months, is said to have flown to Yemen in October. Last summer he told people at his local mosque that he was moving to teach English and learn Arabic, NPR reports. Shortly after he left, Inspire popped up.
Authorities are now investigating if Khan actually left to join a terrorist group targeting Americans. They think he was recruited by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who has been connected to the Fort Hood shootings and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a plane headed to Detroit.
Intelligence officials believe Khan accepted an invitation from al-Awlaki to come to Yemen.
The grand jury is now deliberating whether there is enough evidence to charge Khan with “material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit murder overseas,” sources close to the case told NPR.
As the FBI closes in, several young Muslim men in Charlotte say they’ve been interviewed by federal agents, and many have received subpoenas to appear in front of the grand jury.
(There is a known Islamic terrorist cell in Charlotte, NC. Why doesn’t the FBI clean it out?)
“They were asking for more information than would be reasonable for anyone to know about this guy,” said Adam Azad, who told NPR that Khan was just an acquaintance he knew through their local mosque. “First of all, if Samir was going to go overseas to harm Americans overseas, he certainly wouldn’t make those intentions public.”
Khan’s family has refused to talk about him.
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