Al-Qaida terror plot trial opens in Germany (JERUSALEM POST) By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT 03/22/12)
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KOBLENZ – The trial of a German-Afghani accused of plotting terrorist
attacks in Europe and of being a member in al-Qaida and the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan opened in Koblenz, southeast of Cologne, on
According to the indictment, defendant Ahmad Wali Siddiqui, 37, aimed
to “weaken Europe’s economy” with attacks.
“We wanted to fight Americans,” Siddiqui said about his decision to
travel to Pakistan along with a group of fellow German Islamists in
Siddiqui’s brother, Sulyman, who also traveled to Pakistan, spoke on
a surveillance recording of “killing Americans,” the federal
US troops captured Siddiqui in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2010.
US military personnel questioned Siddiqui in Kabul and information
from his interrogation led to a high security alert in the United
Kingdom, Germany and France in late 2010.
German authorities in 2010 shut down Hamburg’s Al- Quds Mosque — the
so-called 9/11 mosque – where Siddiqui and his group met. The mosque
earned the reputation over the years as the source of “jihadi
tourism” because it was a magnet for radical German Islamists. It was
the organizational hub for many of the terrorists involved in the
attacks in the US on September 11, 2001.
According to German media, the Siddiqui case is a test of the
country’s anti-terrorism laws. Critics argue that the Federal
Republic tolerates violent Islamist activity, and its enforcement
strategy is weak and porous.
Siddiqui was one of the sources of the warnings in 2010 about al-
Qaida “Mumbai- style” terrorist attacks in Europe. The daily paper
Die Welt wrote at the time, “Germany on its way to becoming terror-
export world champion” because of the rising number of homegrown
German Islamists fighting against Americans in the Pakistan/
According to the report, 40 trained German Islamist explosive experts
are operating in Germany, training jihadists. Hezbollah is a legal
organization in the Federal Republic, with a membership of roughly
Siddiqui admitted on Tuesday that he participated in weapons training
at the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) camp in Pakistan,
including the use of AK-47 assault rifles. Siddiqui helped the IMU
produce propaganda films to recruit Germans to engage in jihad. After
a short period of training, he and a German-Syrian, Rami Makanesi,
relocated to al- Qaida Pakistan.
A Frankfurt court convicted Makanesi last year for membership in al-
Qaida and IMU.
He was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.
On Monday and Tuesday, the clean-shaven Siddiqui, wearing a blue
dress shirt and a dark coat and slacks, sought to present a different
demeanor than that shown in the footage of him as a violent Islamist
in an IMU film screened in the courtroom.
He faces a possible 10-year sentence for his alleged terrorism
activities. His testimony provided an extraordinary window into the
inner workings of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and al-Qaida
Siddiqui distanced himself from Mounir el-Motassadeq, an Algerian who
attended the Al-Quds Mosque, and was convicted of being an accessory
to murder in the 9/11 attacks. Siddiqui said he only helped drive
Motassadeq’s father to the prison in Wuppertal to visit his son.
Siddiqui denied knowing Mohamed Atta – one of the masterminds behind
the attacks on the twin towers.
Atta, an Egyptian who was the hijacker-pilot of the plane that
crashed into North Tower of the World Trade Center, lived in Hamburg
and attended the Al-Quds Mosque.
More hearings are slated for next week in Koblenz. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 03/22/12)
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