The father of a Bangladeshi man arrested in the U.S. on charges of plotting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve said his family isn’t “jihadist” and denied his son was involved in the plan.
“We are a religious family, but we aren’t involved with any jihadist organization,” Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah, father of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, said in an interview at his house in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. “My son is innocent.”
Nafis, 21, was arrested on Oct. 17 as part of a federal sting operation in which he was provided with fake explosives and attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb, according to the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force. The New York Fed is a few blocks from the World Trade Center, the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks masterminded by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Nafis was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and providing material support to al-Qaeda, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, according to the office.
“I can’t believe my son could ever do that,” said Ahsanullah, a 56-year-old banker, adding that he spoke to his son via Skype hours before the arrest. “I want to speak to my son, at least once. This is all I want now,” he said, with tears on his face.
Nafis’ aunt, Sufia Akunjee, called on the Bangladeshi government to help secure her nephew’s release from U.S. custody. Local police who visited the family’s house in Dhaka wouldn’t comment on the case.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Howard Willie Carter II, a 36-year-old San Diego man who was arrested on child pornography charges, has been linked to Nafis. Carter’s computer contained e-mails addressed to Yaqeen, a name Brooklyn prosecutors said Carter used in the bomb plot, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified law enforcement official.
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