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Friday, October 19, 2012
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'NY Terror Plot'

Nafis' family stunned

Quazi Ahsan Ullah shows a photo of his son, Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, at his residence in the capital's Jatrabari yesterday.Photo: STAR

Just a few hours before he was arrested in an FBI sting operation, a Bangladeshi man accused of trying to blow up New York's Federal Reserve building calmly spoke via Skype with his parents back home and updated them on his studies, his family told The Associated Press.

They were stunned yesterday morning to find out that the banker's son from a middle-class Dhaka neighbourhood was accused of trying carry out a terror attack. They denied he could have been involved.

"My son couldn't have done it," his father, Quazi Ahsanullah, said weeping.

"My brother may have been a victim of a conspiracy," said Fariel Bilkis.

The FBI arrested 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis on Wednesday after he tried to detonate a fake 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) car bomb, according to a criminal complaint.

Prosecutors said Nafis travelled to the US on a student visa in January to carry out an attack.

Hours after his arrest, Bangladeshi detectives were at his family's three-story home in the Jatrabari neighbourhood in south Dhaka.

"We are just collecting details about Nafis from his family," one officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Nafis family said he was incapable of such actions and he went to America to study business administration, not to carry out any attack.

Nafis was so timid, he couldn't even venture out onto the roof alone, his father said. "He used to take someone to go the roof at night. I can't believe he could be part of it (the plot)."

"He is very gentle and devoted to his studies," he said, pointing to Nafis' time studying at the private North South University in Dhaka.

However, Belal Ahmed, a spokesman for the university, said Nafis was a terrible student who was put on probation and threatened with expulsion if he didn't bring his grades up. Nafis eventually just stopped coming to school, Ahmed said.

Ahsanullah said his son convinced him to send him to America to study, arguing that with a US degree he had a better chance at success in Bangladesh.

"I spent all my savings to send him to America," he said.

Nafis attended Southeast Missouri State University during the spring semester, which ended in May, in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, university spokeswoman Ann Hayes said. He requested a transfer of his records in July and the university complied, Hayes said, though she couldn't say where the records were sent.

Mohammad Arif Akunjee, a childhood friend, said Nafis wanted to be a businessman.

Just a few hours before his arrest, Nafis talked to his mother over Skype to update her on his plans, Bilkis said.

"My brother told my mother that he was doing well in studies in the US and was transferring to a college in New York," said his sister.

Early yesterday, a relative living in Switzerland called to tell the family Nafis had been arrested.

"We woke up with this terrible news. We just can't believe it," she said.

Ahsanullah called on the government to "get my son back home."

Bangladesh does not have the same record of involvement in global terrorism as Pakistan, with which it once formed a nation before winning its independence in 1971. At least one Bangladeshi was among those detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

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US govt is now evaluating how easy it is to get a visa from Bangladesh. They cited an example of how with a simple three question a visa is granted and within a month and half time.

: Turja, Canada

He has brought shame to an entire nation. Bangladesh should pro-actively provide all facts related to this to USA so that students are not denied visas and it gets continued funding.

: Arshad M

Comments

  • Reaz Hassan
    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:34 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    It is devastating news for Bangladesh and especially for the family of Nafis. Bangladesh deplores Taliban terrorism, and jehadi outfits. What emerges from the accounts show that the boy knows little about explosives. It is quite possible that he has been entrapped by gangs of terrorists to smear the fair name of Bangladesh. I don't believe that within a month of his arrival in New York, he could manage significant amount of money as well as suppliers who could sell him 1000 pounds of explosives. We must remember that this is a year of Presidential elections in USA and who knows what dirty tricks have been played at his cost and at the cost of Bangladesh. The government has to engage attorneys in USA to solve the mystery behind such plots.

  • Sajjad
    Friday, October 19, 2012 06:38 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    It is urgent that the issue is probed with all seriousness. Given the long history of lies within the global intelligence and military machinery, the apprehension of orchestration is more convincing than the allegation against Nafis. It is rather pathetic to see that a large machinery of such a rich country goes all the way to set up such plots! It's like alluring a person with huge sum of money to steal a small thing and then catching him to show others that there are thieves around to justify resources for the 'security'! What is happening to our common sense? The media needs to dig deep.

  • MH Khan
    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:38 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    I believe Nafis was framed. It is the FBI agent who motivated and provided him with explosive to arrest him who should be convicted. It was FBI who did this to justify and save the jobs of 1000 agents employed by the Homeland Security. It is a shame.

  • kausik
    Friday, October 19, 2012 03:27 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    I feel bad for parents who spent their life savings in sending this boy to USA even though he failed miserably in his home country and was a terrible student on probation and may be the parents did not know his secret dalliance with terrorist organizations which make heroic for these young misguided misinformed teens.He obviously an amateur and easily played in to the hands of FBI.This should teach a lesson to eager parents who spend their life savings to send children to colleges in USA to screen them for fundamentalist violent thoughts and have to be successful in their country first.

  • Dukhu Bhai
    Friday, October 19, 2012 06:14 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Whatever his family's version of it but per FBI, almost all his activities and extent of his involvement is on record and how to deny that fact? Moreover, per North South University, he was NOT a serious student!

  • md. shahjahan
    Friday, October 19, 2012 10:47 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    I think he just a computer fantasist and fell to the trap made by FBI and became a victim.

  • Shah Deeldar
    Friday, October 19, 2012 01:17 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    This should be a rude wake up call for many parents, who might not have seen dark side of their children. It is rather sad to have such bad thing happened to a good family. There are plenty of criminals, who can change many young people' lives by influencing to get into such notoriety. As an adult in the US, Nafis should have stayed away from this nonsense.

  • Asad
    Friday, October 19, 2012 05:37 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    We Bangladeshi need to find out who are these 2 Bangladeshi origin undercover FBI agents who needed to 'entrap' Nafiz. If Nafiz uttered any threat they could just report US Immigration to kick him out of USA. Instead they make fake explosives with him, drove van to the Bank, made this plot. I mean why? No wonder US election is coming soon.

  • The Rationalist
    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:57 PM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    I feel sorry for the parents and what they are going through. But this is, to my belief, is not a conspiracy. Clearly he has been brainwashed; boys of his age are particularly vulnerable to revolutionary ideas. Political Islam does a great job of recruiting people from that age bracket. Seriously, why would Nafis even care what Bin Laden, this militant Arab from the desert has to say? Yes, it is political Islam that is calling on ever believer to take up arms and fight the unbeliever. You can see how attractive it is for a young Muslim to get confused by this ideology.

  • Jumana Sarwar
    Friday, October 19, 2012 01:34 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Family's account has very little value. Every son and daughter is precious and innocent to their parents. This particular young man seems to have trouble with US policies and so does to a lot of people. But that does not mean he expresses his anger violently or engross the perimeters that a law abiding citizen cherishes or adhere to. Having said that, it is also cleared that FBI lured, brain washed and trapped him utilizing his state of mind. In fact he needed completely a different therapy as opposed to FBI tactics. I have full faith on US justice system and hope he gets fair trial with his account and is compassionately considered given the circumstance where he is just one of the many players.

  • moarah
    Friday, October 19, 2012 04:58 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    I hope someone explain Mr. Quazi Ahsan Ullah the accused's dad that some one allegedly done a crime of this magnitude will be investigated and prosecuted if found guilty and will be freed if not guilty. So, not to worry if his son is truly innocent and throw away all those crappy framing and conspiracy theory out of the window.

  • Selim
    Friday, October 19, 2012 06:22 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    The US needs to manufacture such stories to justify their military cooperation with Bangladesh to fulfill their Asia-Pacific goals . The number of innocent people that the US has killed over the last 12 years is unprecedented in human history. Looks like Bangladesh is going to join the hit list soon.

  • Binith
    Friday, October 19, 2012 07:43 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    FBI and CIA make terrorist nicely and supply whole over world, this is just a political stunt of USA.

  • M Nasrulla
    Friday, October 19, 2012 01:43 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    This is a huge black mark on the nations face. Play with fire and you will be burnt. The denial of the family is both pitiful and stunning.

  • niloufar sarker
    Friday, October 19, 2012 04:19 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    It's a sad event for the nation as well as for the family,When we are not a vigilant our children can take us for a ride.The father insists that Nafis was a devoted student. However,NS spokesman didn't mince words & termed him a terrible student who got chucked out from the university.I wonder why the parents didn't check his grades in BD before sending him to U.S. away from their supervision.The law of the country will take it's course & no amount of character certificates from parents will help.By the way BD govt can do very little to help the parents especially when the allegation is a terror plot

  • Turja, Canada
    Friday, October 19, 2012 05:32 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    It is a major concern that extremist and terrorist group getting a strong foothold in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, so called civil society and media[anyone would expect they should] are mum or afraid to speak bluntly against this new trend. Bangladesh now quickly getting close to Pakistan at least in this respect.

  • rch
    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:41 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Idiots like him are creating problem for others. Now there will be no Student visas and lacs of Bangladeshis will be under NYCP/FBI suspicions.

  • Ibrahim
    Friday, October 19, 2012 08:39 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    self denial will not help. The boy was caught on camera disclosing his views.

  • naabaj
    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:59 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Enough evidence is there that Nafis is involved in this terror attempt. Investigation should focus on who instigated him in his plot.

  • Omar
    Friday, October 19, 2012 11:05 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    We should be very careful what our children are doing, do we really know they are not being recruited by some Jihadi groups like Hizbut and so on whose members are from the higher middle class segment of the society.


 

 


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