Islamic Center of Boca Raton congregant Dr. Rafiq Sabir gets 25 years for supporting Al Qaeda
November 29, 2007
Court sentences al Qaeda supporter to 25 years
By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Florida-based doctor convicted of supporting al Qaeda for swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden and agreeing to help treat wounded fighters was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday
Rafiq Sabir, 52, was found guilty by a federal jury of two terrorism charges based on an oath he and his friend Tarik Shah made in Arabic in May 2005 to an undercover FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda recruiter. He taped both men pledging support to the militant Islamic group and "Sheikh Osama."
Sabir, a strict Muslim raised in New York, pleaded innocent and said he had been misled by Shah, a martial arts expert and jazz musician.
"I had no clue I was being asked to treat al Qaeda members," Sabir said in pleading for leniency to U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, repeating his trial testimony that he did not understand the pledge because his Arabic was poor.
"I am an extremely gullible man who made some foolish mistakes in my life," he said.
But the judge said evidence showed Sabir had a good understanding of Arabic and clearly understood the pledge.
"Terrorists cannot succeed without the treatment of their wounded," she said, adding Sabir's situation was worse because he failed to show any remorse. "He has deeply held views regarding militant fundamentalist Islam."
Shah and two other men also charged in the case pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Earlier this month Shah was sentenced to 15 years in prison for agreeing to help train al Qaeda fighters in hand-to-hand combat.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman)
MIM: For more on the Sabir case see:
MIM: Sabir's accomplice got 15 years:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York jazz musician and martial arts instructor was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday for agreeing to help train al Qaeda fighters in hand-to-hand combat.
Tarik Shah, 44, a Muslim born and raised in New York, received the maximum sentence in Manhattan federal court under a plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors in which they dropped one of the terrorism charges against him.
He pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiring to support al Qaeda.
Shah was the central figure in a case that centered on an oath he and his friend Rafiq Sabir, a Florida-based doctor, made in Arabic in May 2005, pledging support to al Qaeda to an undercover FBI agent who posed as a recruiter for the militant group.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney)