Qns Muslims polarized over FBI terror probe

Najibullah Zazi (r.) was arrested by FBI agents in Aurora, Colo. Saturday. The FBI said Zazi drove from Colorado to Queens Sept. 10 with bomb-making instructions on a computer. AP Photo/Chris Schneider-Denver Post
By Anna Gustafson and Jeremy Walsh

Amid an expanding terrorist investigation in Queens, some members of the borough’s Muslim community expressed outrage over potential terrorists operating in their communities while others were more reticent about discussing the topic.

Three men, including Fresh Meadows resident Ahmad Alfazi, were arrested by the FBI Sunday for allegedly making false statements to authorities during a fast-paced probe by federal and city agencies that has expanded dramatically in Queens this week.

“If they are doing things wrong, they should get caught and should get punished,” said Ali Naderi, building manager for the Islamic Institute of New York in Elmhurst.

Naderi also said he does not worry about the investigation having a negative effect on the Muslim community.

“Why should we? Because if these people are coming and doing the wrong thing, they should be punished. [Muslim immigrants] come in here, they do work or whatever they have to do, but not the wrong thing. No one cares about those people. They should be punished severely.”

Morshed Alam, president of the New Americans Democratic Organization of New York, echoed Naderi’s sentiments. He said though he has occasionally heard that people are worried they could be unfairly targeted because of their religion, it is not a frequently voiced concern.

“I know 99.9 percent [of Muslims] oppose this activity and think they should be punished,” Alam said.

Several other members of the Muslim community in Queens contacted by TimesLedger Newspapers, however, were more hesitant or refused to comment.

“Listen, if you want to come down here and talk about Islam and that’s it, no problem. But if you want to talk about terrorism and all of that, that’s an entirely different thing, brother,” said one person who answered the phone at a Muslim house of worship in Flushing before hanging up.

Reporter Stephen Stirling contributed to this article.

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