An American citizen living in Queens arrested by the FBI, and who has admitted to being a sleeper agent for al-Qaida, has ties to a British-based Islamic extremist organization with still more agents operating in the New York borough, WorldNetDaily has learned.
Mohammed Junaid Babar, a naturalized citizen from Pakistan, was secretly taken into custody in April and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan. Babar, who is said to be cooperating with interrogators, allegedly admitted to aiding in a plot to blow up discos, restaurants and train stations in London. Babar faces 30 years to life in prison under an agreement with federal prosecutors.
The plot was foiled in late March when British authorities arrested eight suspects and seized 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which can be used to make explosives, from a storage locker near central London.
WND has learned that Babar, 29, was a member of the UK-based Al-Muhajiroun, a worldwide Islamic fundamentalist group led by London cleric Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, who maintains operatives in Pakistan and in Queens, N.Y.
A U.S.-based leader of Al-Muhajiroun who operates openly in Queens told WND on condition of anonymity: “I’ve known Junaid [Babar] for a long time. I met him about seven years ago in a local Mosque in Queens before we both became involved with Muhajiroun.”
The leader would not comment on Babar’s involvement with his group, except to say Babar was involved in “organizational operations” in Queens and later in Pakistan, where he traveled after leaving a $70,000-a-year computer job because he wanted to join the jihad in Afghanistan.
Al-Muhajiroun has long been suspected of ties to al-Qaida. One of the September 11 hijackers reportedly was involved with Al-Muhajiroun, and according to an internal FBI memo by Phoenix agent Kenneth Williams, another Al-Muhajiroun member with ties to al-Qaida trained at an Arizona flight school prior to September 11.
Al-Muhajiroun’s branch in Queens claims to be involved in “only peaceful activities.” The group holds closed-door meetings and study sessions at a mosque in Jackson Heights, Queens, led by an older spiritual cleric identified as a Sheikh Choudray.
The Queens branch youth leader, Abu Yousuf, a U.S. citizen who says he attended a “camp” in Sudan and takes computer courses at the City University of New York, speaks at universities throughout New York City at events usually sponsored by the Muslim Student Association.
At one Al-Muhajiroun event at Queensborough Community College sponsored by the MSA and attended by WND, a Muhajiroun speaker working with Yousuf said, “We reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don’t lobby Congress or protest because we don’t recognize Congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it!”
The speaker continued, “The so-called terrorists are the only people who truly fear Allah. … They are the only worthy causes, and the mighty superpower only fears them.”
In a private interview with WND, a Queens based Al-Muhajiroun leader said he would be “absolutely honored” to give up his life in a “martyr operation” against American civilians. The leader warned that “a jihad is coming to America because of the moves of the Bush administration.”
Al-Muhajiroun is a major force in the UK. Sheikh Muhammad has several thousand followers and has held public rallies in support of September 11, at which he shouted “Death to America!” Muhammad, who has been interviewed by WND, has been arrested and released several times. His arrests usually spark outcries from London’s large Muslim community.
Al-Muhajiroun’s Queens branch currently has about a half-dozen organizers, and their private weekly meetings are usually attended by about 30 people.
In custody, Babar reportedly told investigators al-Qaida is planning more attacks in the United States, and he allegedly revealed a detailed plan to smuggle al-Qaida agents across the Mexican border.
Babar’s assertions were reportedly part of the intelligence that led to recent warnings about a summer threat from the terror network.
Babar first appeared on the FBI’s radar and was put on a terror watch list after he made anti-U.S. remarks to a Canadian news reporter in Pakistan following the Sept. 11 attacks.
He said that despite the fact his mother had escaped from the ninth floor of one of the World Trade Center towers, his loyalty was “to the Muslims, not the Americans.” He also announced his intention to fight with the Taliban against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
WND was told an Al-Muhajiroun leader in Pakistan, who appeared behind Babar in a British documentary aired on ITN television network in November, 2001, may have been instrumental in arranging for Babar to travel there.
“I’m willing to kill Americans,” Babar said in the television interview, adding that he had no plans to return to New York.
But Babar returned to New York April 6 and was allegedly placed under surveillance by a team of police investigators and FBI agents. He was arrested four days later on his way to a school for taxi drivers in Long Island City.
The arrest was first reported Thursday by ABC News.