News

US Muslim Leaders Say Arrest of Five Americans Pakistan a Wake Up Call

Officials at a Northern Virginia mosque pray for speedy resolution in arrest of five Americans in Pakistan

US Muslim Leaders Say Arrest of Five Americans Pakistan a Wake Up Call
US Muslim Leaders Say Arrest of Five Americans Pakistan a Wake Up Call

Pakistani officials say five American men arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of trying to join Islamist militant groups are likely to be deported back to the U.S., unless they are found to have committed crimes in Pakistan.  Meanwhile officials at a Virginia mosque held a news conference to say they are praying for the young men's speedy return. 

At the Northern Virginia Islamic center where the five young men are said to have worshipped - outreach counselor Mustafa Maryam says allegations that they were plotting a holy war against Americans in Afghanistan came as a big surprise.

"Our group discussions never talked about politics, never talked about ongoing conflicts, never talked about fighting against anyone indirectly or directly," he said.

The five American Muslims are currently under police interrogation in eastern Pakistan, captured after their families reported them missing earlier this month. 

One of them left behind an 11-minute farewell video explaining why Muslims must be defended.

Mosque spokesman Essam Tellawi said he prays for a speedy resolution and thanked the men's families for notifying the authorities. "I ask all of us to pray for them.  They are going through severe hardship.  It is a very painful experience to see this happening to them," he said.

Analysts say the incident demonstrates that homegrown terrorism is a rapidly growing threat. Jena McNeal, a Homeland Security expert at the Heritage Foundation, said "There have been 27 plots foiled against the United States since 9/11.  I think this demonstrates that while some of these people were homegrown terrorists and some of them were not, we do have a threat that needs to be taken seriously."

Islamic leaders say they are paying attention.  Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, said, "We are determined not to let religious extremists exploit the vulnerability of the emotions of our children through slick seductive and destructive propaganda on the Internet."

Although none of the men have been charged, people with knowledge of the case told Associated Press that agents are looking into whether there is evidence to charge the five Americans with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs