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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Islamic Center of Boca Raton - Raising funds to defend member linked to Al Qaeda -Where is Imam Muneer Arafat ?

Islamic Center of Boca Raton - Raising funds to defend member linked to Al Qaeda -Where is Imam Muneer Arafat ?

CAIR's stands up for doctor denied bail for being 'threat to the community" - still no comment from ICBR Imam Muneer Arafat
June 1, 2005

MIM:Conspicuous by his absence is the new Islamic Center of Boca Raton Imam Muneer Arafat, whose predecessor Ibrahim Dremali, fed the media a bizarre story about an assault by 'red necks in a pick up truck' to deflect criticism of the ICBR's anti semitic and terror related website.

MIM: ICBR spokesman Daniel McBride is whirling faster then a Derwish on speed together with Altaf Ali, the FL director of CAIR , to portray Rafiq Sabir, who is being denied bail on the grounds that he is a threat to the community, as a Muslim who is being unfairly victimised. According to McBride and Ali's Islamist weltaanschauung, Sabir's intention to minister to wounded Jihadis and train fellow Muslims for Jihad is simply the Muslim version of Florence Nightingale and a Boy Scout.

It is also worth noting the ICBR spokesman McBride, who is a convert to Islam, has a brother who is serving as a reservist in Iraq. http://www.bocanews.com/index.php?src=news&prid=5054&category=LOCAL+NEWS

Which brings to mind the possiblility that McBride is helping raise money for the defense of a doctor who was planning to treat terrorists who could have been attacking Americans and US soldiers.

MIM: Instead of being outraged that someone who wanted to help Al Qaeda kill them and their families was living next door to them ala "24", and blame Sabir for bring terrorism into their community, Sabir's neighbors were angry at the government for for disturbing their idyll, went into denial mode, and said it would have been better if it the arrest had never happened.

"...Sabir's neighbors at the Villa San Remo gated community west of Boca Raton expressed shock at Sabir's weekend arrest. "Everyone is a little concerned," said Alicia Figueroa. "It's unbelievable what (the federal government) is charging him with. We wish it wasn't here and that the charges aren't true..."

Said another woman: "He has two beautiful kids. They were decent people."


Boca Islamic Center to raise cash for doctor

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


FORT PIERCE A west Boca Raton doctor remains in federal custody after making his first appearance in court Tuesday on a charge of conspiring to provide material support and resources to the terrorist network Al-Qaeda.

Dr. Rafiq Sabir, 50, must return to the federal courthouse here on Friday to tell U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins whether he has retained a lawyer. A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton said his organization intends to raise money for Sabir's defense.

Sabir also has a court date Monday, when a hearing is scheduled to determine whether he should continue to be held without bail and whether he is the same person named in a New York complaint. A decision probably will be made Monday on whether Sabir should be tried in Florida or New York.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Brown said Tuesday that Sabir should be denied bail because he's a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Meanwhile in New York, a hearing was conducted in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for Sabir's codefendant, Tarik Shah. He smiled and waved at supporters and was described by his lawyer as a world-renowned jazz musician, a father and family man.

Shah, according to the federal complaint, has boasted that his "greatest cover" was his career as a jazz musician. Fellow musicians said he played bass at New York clubs for years and had backed greats like Abbie Lincoln and Betty Carter.

Shah's attorney, Anthony Ricco, characterized his arrest as a "desperate prosecution by our government."

The government contends that during the course of an investigation that began in 2003, Sabir and Shah presented themselves to an undercover agent and a confidential informant as a "package deal" to help Muslim "brothers" wage "jihad" here and in the Middle East. Shah would give them martial arts training and Sabir would provide medical assistance, according to the complaint, which also alleges that both men took an oath pledging their loyalty to Al-Qaeda.

Federal agents arrested Sabir on Saturday and searched his home. Both men were charged on Sunday.

A graduate of Columbia University's medical school, Sabir has not yet entered a plea in the case. His arraignment was set for June 15. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sabir sat next to another defendant in the jury box of the small courtroom Tuesday for 15 minutes before his case was called. His head was bowed, eyes closed, almost the entire time. When Hopkins finally called him, Sabir wearing jail-issue navy blue shirt and pants and shackled at the hands and feet shuffled to the lectern and answered the judge's questions clearly and calmly. Five federal law enforcement officers stood nearby. The hearing was over in 10 minutes.

A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton attended the hearing and said afterward that his organization will raise money for Sabir's defense. Sabir, who moved to suburban Boca Raton in 2002, is a member of the center, and the spokesman, Dan McBride, said he considers him a friend.

"This anti-American stuff they're accusing him of is absurd... just dumb," McBride said. "He's a good Muslim."

Sabir knows Shah, his New York codefendant, from years ago when Sabir lived in New York and Shah was his martial arts instructor, McBride said. "He has exercised off and on for years," McBride said. Sabir visited Shah last week when Sabir went to New York to see his mother, McBride said.

McBride maintains there is a simple explanation for Sabir's leaving the United States from October 2004 until May 1 of this year, as stated in the federal complaint. He was working in a Saudi hospital on a six-month visa, McBride said. The government contends that Sabir also planned to fly to Saudi Arabia Thursday. McBride said that was to do another stint at the Saudi hospital. "He was expecting the pending approval of his visa."

Sabir, according to the federal complaint, told the undercover agent that he works as a doctor at a Saudi military base in Riyadh.

Practicing medicine abroad was hardly lucrative, McBride said.

Sabir has five children, three of them adults by a former wife, McBride said. His current companion and two youngest children have joined him when he has worked in Saudi Arabia, he said, in part because he wanted the children to be bilingual.

McBride said that Sabir was vacationing west of Boca Raton between jobs in Saudi Arabia at the time of his arrest. A spokeswoman for Glades General Hospital said Sabir worked there as an emergency room physician between August 2003 and January 2004 under a contract with a company that used to supply the hospital with emergency room doctors.

Also attending Sabir's court hearing was Altaf Ali, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Pembroke Pines. He said Sabir's companion "is devastated over the ordeal and she has remained adamant" that Sabir is innocent.

"We are playing this by ear and taking a close look at this," Ali said. "There have been many incidents where Muslims have been wrongfully arrested. We want to make sure he receives a fair trial as any American."

Sabir's neighbors at the Villa San Remo gated community west of Boca Raton expressed shock at Sabir's weekend arrest. "Everyone is a little concerned," said Alicia Figueroa. "It's unbelievable what (the federal government) is charging him with. We wish it wasn't here and that the charges aren't true."

Said another woman: "He has two beautiful kids. They were decent people."

Mahmood Azhar, general secretary of the Muslim Community of Palm Beach County, said Sabir "wasn't associated with our mosque. We don't understand why people who are in such high positions as a medical doctor, how he ended up in such a situation."

Azhar noted that Sabir is a U.S. citizen. "We believe that once we have taken allegiance as a citizen, we should abide by the oath of allegiance to becoming a United States citizen."

To hear the Islamic Center of Boca Raton's McBride tell it, Sabir would agree. "He prefers America," he said. "As Muslims, we're encouraged to obey the laws of the country we live in."


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-05-31-terror_x.htm# N.Y. man, Fla. man denied bail after arrests in al-Qaeda sting By Toni Locy, USA TODAY A New York martial-arts expert and a Florida doctor who both allegedly swore an oath to al-Qaeda were held without bail Tuesday in the latest FBI sting operation to target U.S. citizens suspected of plotting terrorist activity.

However, an FBI affidavit is unclear about whether investigators believe Tarik Ibn Osman Shah, 32, and Rafiq Sabir, 50, are part of a terrorist cell. Shah bragged at one point to an undercover agent posing as an al-Qaeda recruiter that he had trained many "brothers" in the USA, the affidavit said.

The case is the second recent FBI sting that has uncovered alleged plots by U.S. citizens to assist al-Qaeda in its war against America. On May 20, Ronald Allen Grecula, 68, of Bangor, Pa., was arrested in Houston for allegedly attempting to build and sell a bomb to an undercover FBI agent disguised as a terror operative.

Agent Matthew Bertron, a spokesman for the FBI's New York office, said stings are an effective FBI tool in counterterrorism cases. "The FBI is ... working on a lot of different ways to go after people who are trying to hurt American citizens," Bertron said.

Shah, a martial-arts expert who also describes himself as a jazz musician, was arrested in the Bronx on Saturday. Sabir, a doctor, was arrested the same day in Boca Raton, Fla. Shah offered to train al-Qaeda members in hand-to-hand combat while Sabir wanted to treat wounded jihadists, the affidavit said.

A lawyer for Shah, Anthony Ricco, said the case was a "desperate prosecution by our government." He described Shah as a world-renowned musician, a father and a family man.

"They are prosecutions based upon religious beliefs," said Ricco, a veteran terrorism defense lawyer.

Melanie Dyre, who described herself as a fellow musician, described Shah as "a beautiful person and a wonderful musician."

A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Dan McBride, defended Sabir as a man who traveled between the USA and Saudi Arabia to earn enough money to support his wife and their two sons.

"He has no money," McBride said. "He works over there, then comes back and lives over here."

Both men are charged with conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda. If convicted, they could each face up to 15 years in prison.

The FBI said that during the two-year investigation, it recorded numerous meetings between Shah and a paid FBI informant.

The bureau also recorded conversations that Shah and Sabir had with the undercover agent, the affidavit said.

In one of those meetings, the affidavit said, Shah showed the undercover agent how he had fashioned his prayer beads into a weapon that could be used to strangle a person.

"Shah indicated that his 'greatest cover has been' his career as a 'professional' jazz musician," FBI agent Brian Murphy wrote in the complaint

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