Three men, two in Brooklyn and one in Florida, were arrested for planning terror attacks in conjunction with ISIS. Among the heinous deeds they worked on were assassinating President Obama and bombing Coney Island in Brooklyn, home of the iconic beach and amusement parks. They were in the process of traveling to Syria in order to join up with ISIS forces.
Two of the men were originally from Uzbekistan and the other was from Kazakhstan. Akhror Saidakhmetov and Abdurasul Juraboev were arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court, and Abror Habibov was captured in Florida, then arraigned in Jacksonville. All three are being charged with conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a recognized terror organization.
Among the statements these men made in Uzbek is this, posted on the Hilofatnews, a Uzbek-language website sympathetic to ISIS:
“Greetings! We too wanted to pledge our allegiance and commit ourselves while not present there. I am in USA now but we don’t have any arms. But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here? What I’m saying is, to shoot Obama and then get ourselves shot, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”
Saidakhmetov also spoke unknowingly to an informant about his plans to shoot police officers and “FBI people.” On February 2nd he showed up at the Manhattan office of the Department of Homeland Security, to fill out travel document forms, get fingerprinted and photographed.
One of the men was arrested at the busy Kennedy Airport; he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul with plans to go onward to Syria, and join ISIS in its bloodshed. The men had bought their airplane tickets at NiL Travel on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue X, near the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn.
The men have been trailed for the past several months, with informants providing leads to federal authorities.
Two of the men reside at Avenue O and East 10th Street, which is about half a mile away from where I live. I drive by their block of residence at least a few times each week. The travel agency where they purchased their air tickets is a corner site that I also drive by at least once or twice each week.
Many Americans have never even met a person of Uzbeki or Kazakhi background, but in Brooklyn there are many. I have taught several high school students of Uzbeki birth and a few of Kazakhi; they all speak Russian as well as their home languages, and English. Uzbeki restaurants and stores advertising Uzbeki goods or Uzbek speakers are not uncommon in southern Brooklyn.
Most Uzbekis in Brooklyn are not very observant Muslims, and the teens have told me so. But somehow two Uzbek men and one Kazakh man, disgruntled with American life, thought that involving themselves with ISIS terrorism would give their lives special meaning. Instead they are most likely looking at lengthy prison sentences, and put more fear into the hearts of Americans and especially their fellow New Yorkers.