Terror Suspect Unable To Raise Funds For ‘Jihad’ From New York’s Muslims

A courtroom sketch of Agron Hasbajrami

The U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York unsealed some of the documents related to the arrest of Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S. Hasbajrami was charged with providing material support for terror because he sent money to a group he knew was engaging in terror and planned a trip to join the group’s fight in Pakistan. According an FBI press release about the unsealed documents, Hasbajrami tried to raise funds among Muslims in New York, but was rebuffed:

According to the government’s court filings, Hasbajrami sent over $1,000 to Pakistan to support his contact’s terrorist efforts. When asked to collect money from fellow Muslims for the terrorist cause, Hasbajrami reported that fundraising was difficult in New York because his fellow Muslims became apprehensive “when they hear it is for jihad.”

Hasbajrami’s failure to raise funds underscores what polling has long demonstrated: that Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject violence.

Despite this evidence, Islamophobic terrorism “experts” — such as those profiled in CAP’s reportFear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network In America” — and politicians like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) tend to view the presence of Islam, writ large, as a terrorism problem in the U.S. The Islamophobic “experts” fail to distinguish between radical Islamic extremists and the broader Muslim population, and King’s hearings on domestic radicalization focused only on Islamic extremists.

The reality is that ordinary American Muslims have been helpful in the U.S. effort to combat terror at home. Sociologist Charles Kurzman, who talked to ThinkProgress last week, found so far in a study that about one third of the tips that led to foiled terror plots came from the Muslim American community itself. Kurzman noted that the threat from Muslim terrorism was actually quite small compared with other threats to public safety.