Muslim Wire

Former Stoughton resident accused of terrorist plots

Posted in Non Muslims, Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 27, 2009

Stoughton –

Around 1995, before his interests turned to terrorist training, Ahmad Abou Samra seemed a normal adolescent around the Islamic Center of New England’s Sharon mosque.

An honor student at Xaverian Brothers, a Catholic high school in Westwood and the son of a leading Islamic Center board member, “he seemed like a regular kid,” a longtime mosque member recalled.

That seems to have changed by the time he graduated in 1999 from Stoughton High, where he switched for his senior year.

Within a year, according to government documents, he was talking about jihad. Not long afterward, he allegedly praised those behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Today, Abou Samra is a wanted man. While he has yet to be charged, federal authorities this week named him a co-conspirator with Tarek Mehanna, the Sudbury man accused of plotting to attack shopping malls and target U.S. politicians and charged with conspiring to provide support for terrorists.

Abou Samra allegedly fled to Syria in 2006, after being questioned by the FBI.

That hasty departure, as well as his life in Massachusetts before then, is under fresh scrutiny following this week’s arrest of Mehanna, whom he reportedly met at the Sharon mosque.

Abou Samra’s father is Dr. Abdul-Badi Abou Samra, a former Islamic Center president who is now on the faculty of the Wayne State University medical school in Detroit.

He could not be reached for comment on Friday about his son’s alleged activities or his role with the Islamic Center. Current Islamic Center officers also could not be reached for comment.

Ahmad Abou Samra and Mehanna were middle schoolers or in high school when they met at the Sharon mosque. That opened in 1993, when Abou Samra was 13 and Mehanna was 12.

Longtime mosque members, who didn’t want to be identified, aren’t sure how well Abou Samra and Mehanna knew each other back then.

One said former Sharon Imam Muhammad Masood played a key role in shaping Abou Samra’s turn to conservative Muslim practices.

One of those members recalls seeing Abou Samra with other Muslim youths “talking and talking” after evening prayers. That member said that Abou Samra’s father, Dr. Abdul-Badi Abou Samra, had grown worried about his son’s extremism by 2004, the year that his son and Mehanna allegedly visited Yemen and Iraq.

“He was living two lives,” the Islamic Center member said of the younger Abou Samra, “attending Northeastern and dreaming of life as a jihadi.”

Dr. Abou Samra was member of the Islamic Center board of directors when Imam Masood was hired. (He’d leave Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as his home south of Boston, in early 2007.)

One member said by the time his son graduated from Stoughton High, the Syrian native was the board’s president and “the linchpin of everything” that happened at the mosque — from the creation of an Islamic school to supervision of Imam Masood’s visa application as a religious worker.

Imam Masood was named the mosque’s spiritual leader in 1996, when Abou Samra was a Xaverian Brothers sophomore.

Imam Masood was picked up on immigration violations in November 2006. In January 2007, an attorney for the Islamic Center board confirmed that some former board members had been called to testify before a grand jury in connection with the imam’s violations.

Criminal charges were filed against Imam Masood in August 2007, but he was never accused of having extremist ties.

The Pakistan native pleaded guilty to visa fraud in October 2008 and returned to his home country, where he now lives.

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  1. South Africa Immigration said, on October 28, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Bush accused the two countries of using “terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West and America, and on the Jews&quot. South Africa Immigration


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