Goodbye, Columbus

The indictment of Somali refugee Nuradin Abdi yesterday for plotting to bomb a Columbus shopping mall has elicited a classic round of comments from Abdi’s friends, family and supporters. America’s fifth column speaks.
“We’re shocked. What they’re doing is not right,” said one of Mr. Abdi’s brothers, Abdiaziz Abdi, shortly after his brother made an initial appearance in federal court. Brother Abdi was of course referring to the government, not to the indicted defendant.
Another of his brothers vouched for Abdi’s love of the United States. Seventeen-year-old Mohamed AbdiKarani said his brother loved the freedom of the United States and never spoke out against the U.S. government. “He really hated terrorists,” AbdiKarani said. “He loved it here. He never had as much freedom. He said it’s good to raise his kids here.” Abdi has a son and daughter and his wife is pregnant.
Muslim community spokesman Ahmad Tansheet also rose to the occasion, expressing no concern over the charged offense, but rather over the evident national hysteria: “We wish he receives a fair trial, which although appears difficult given the cloud of secrecy shrouding his case, and given the atmosphere in which every Muslim man with a beard and every Muslim woman with ‘hijab’ are presumed terrorists.”
Abdi is charged with plotting the bombing together with Iyman Faris, a former Columbus resident who pleaded guilty in June 2003 for providing material support to al-Qaeda. Faris had plotted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and derail trains in New York City or Washington and is serving a 20-year prison term. Abdi’s family assures us that he only knows Faris coincidentally through attendance at the same mosque. Don’t worry, be happy.
The Toledo Blade story is “U.S. indicts detainee in scheme to blow up Columbus-area mall.” The AP story is “Feds foil bomb plot at mall in Columbus.”

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