Stunned relatives of bomb plot suspect Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis insisted on his innocence Thursday as the alleged Al Qaeda wanna-be sat behind bars without bail.
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 3:44 PM
Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah, the father of Bangladeshi national Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis.
The Al Qaeda wanna-be accused of plotting to bomb the Manhattan Federal Reserve building came from a middle-class Bangladeshi family that spent its last dime sending him to the U.S.
Stunned relatives of suspect Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis insisted on his innocence Thursday as the terror suspect sat behind bars without bail.
“My son can’t do it,” Nafis’ weeping father, banker Quazi Ahsanullah, told The Associated Press in his home in the Jatrabari neighborhood in north Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. “He is very gentle and devoted to his studies.”
Ahsanullah and his wife spoke with Nafis via Skype from New York just hours before his arrest — with their son detailing his plans to transfer to a college in the city, The Associated Press reported.
Nafis insisted that his grades were good while offering no clue of his alleged plot to “cause a large number of civilian casualties, including women and children,” as charged in a federal complaint.
Nafis arrived in the U.S. in January on a student visa after convincing his dad that a degree from an American college would help lead to success in their homeland.
“I spent all my savings to send him to America,” Ahsanullah said. “I can’t believe he could be part of it.”
But once here, authorities said, the bloodthirsty young man began plotting to “destroy America” while pledging his allegiance to “our beloved Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”
Mayor Bloomberg noted that this was the 15th foiled plot targeting New York City since the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center.
“The great danger is that we are going to forget the lesson we should have learned on 9/11,” the mayor said Thursday. “We have to make sure we stay safe and don’t let our guard down.
“Freedom is fragile, and we have to work hard to keep ourselves safe.”
In addition to his plans to detonate a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty St. in lower Manhattan, Nafis also considered assassinating President Obama and blowing up the New York Stock Exchange, according to a criminal complaint.
Nafis attended Southeast Missouri State University in the spring — although his academic record in Bangladesh was hardly stellar.
The would-be bomber was a terrible student at the private North South University in Dhaka and was nearly expelled because of bad grades. He eventually dropped out, a school spokesman said.
This undated handout photograph provided to AFP by the family of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, shows a portrait of Nafis at an undisclosed location in Bangladesh.
The father said the suspect, who vowed in a videotaped statement that “we will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom,” was a shy and quiet boy.
The timid Nafis was even afraid to climb on the roof of their home without a friend.
The family, including a sister who’s a doctor, described Nafis as a devout Muslim with no terrorist leanings.
“Nafis is not a radical type,” his dad told Agence France-Presse. “He says prayers five times a day and read the holy Koran every day. I have never seen him reading any books on jihad.”
Joel Cairo for New York Daily News
Federal Agents remove evidence from the apartment of terror suspect Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis in Queens on Wednesday.
Authorities said he was unafraid of constructing the huge car bomb from 50 20-pound bags of ammonium nitrate. He was working with an accomplice who was really an undercover FBI agent.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the suspected terrorist came here with “the avowed purpose of committing some sort of jihad in the United States.”
Nafis was intent on assembling an Al Qaeda cell here to assist him in reaching his psychopathic goal, federal official revealed.
The bearded suspect was busted Wednesday morning after he repeatedly tried to detonate the phony bomb with a cell phone from the Millenium Hilton Hotel — just opposite Ground Zero.
He faces life in prison on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material aid to Al Qaeda.
Relatives of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis cry as they claim his innocence at their residence at Uttar Jatrabari in Dhaka October 18, 2012. The FBI on Wednesday arrested the Bangladeshi man in a sting operation on charges he attempted to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
A source described the intended bomb as similar to the one used in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993.
Nafis allegedly assembled the device early Wednesday at a Long Island warehouse, pouring what he thought were real explosives into bags and trash bins, then packing them in a Chevy Astro van, the complaint shows.
While en route to his target, Nafis bragged to his accomplice that he had devised a “Plan B” to conduct a suicide bombing operation if cops thwarted his diabolical Federal Reserve attack.
“Before entering Manhattan, Nafis armed the purported explosive device for detonation by turning on the cellular phone to be used in the detonator, installing the battery in the detonator and connecting the wires linking the detonator to the purported explosive materials,” the criminal complaint details.
Joel Cairo for New York Daily News
Federal Agents searching the suspect’s apartment on Wednesday.
On the ride in, Nafis also revealed his jihadist views were shaped, in part, by the videotaped sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Yemeni imam and top Al Qaeda recruiter killed by a U.S. drone attack.
“What we know is that Awlaki was a motivator for this person,” Kelly said.
On Tuesday night, he told the FBI informant he wanted the bombing “to happen, no matter what.”
Officials said they have recorded phone conversations of Nafis plotting the attack and had installed video surveillance cameras at the warehouse where he stored his explosives.