Four men have been detained in California by the FBI for allegedly arranging to join an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in what appears to be yet another effort by the agency to spread Islamophobia.
A “criminal complaint” unsealed by US authorities on Monday accuses the four of “conspiring to take part in activities they intended as preparation for deadly attacks on Americans overseas, including US military personnel,” Reuters quoted an FBI statement Tuesday.
According to the report, the FBI claims the suspected ringleader of the group, Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, an Afghan-born naturalized US citizen, recruited Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, “who converted to Islam under his influence,” to engage in “violent Jihad.”
Deleon and Vidriales are in turn accused of enlisting a third man, Arifeen David Gojali, 21, to join their alleged adventure.
According to the US government complaint, in conversations recorded by an unidentified paid FBI informant, Deleon and Santana allegedly spoke about traveling to Afghanistan to join Kabir and engage in "violent jihad," mentioning potential targets for attacks, “including US military bases.”
The FBI admits that it rewarded its confidential informant USD250,000 plus "immigration benefits" in return for his 4.5 years of work on behalf of the US government.
The FBI further claims that the accused made visits to a Los Angeles firing range and a paint ball facility for shooting practice "to prepare for terrorist training overseas."
US authorities allege that Kabir met Deleon and Santana in a hookah lounge and introduced them in 2010 to “radical Islamic teachings, including those of US-born al-Qaeda militant Anwar al-Awlaki,” who was killed in a US drone attack last year in Yemen.
FBI officials, adds the report, declined to discuss the suspects' educational or personal backgrounds, and the criminal complaint sheds little light along these lines.
The FBI use of phrases such as conversion to “radical Islam” and “violent Jihad” has raised eyebrows among the Muslim community, which regard such references in line with efforts to spread Islamophobia.