Officials: Magazine influenced Nafis' plot
Newsday -- by Candice Ruud and Matthew Chayes
An al-Qaida-affiliated magazine started by a former Westbury resident that promotes violence against the West motivated the Queens man charged with a plot to blow up the Federal Reserve, authorities said.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, who is accused of the plot, was a follower of Inspire, a sophisticated-looking online publication advocating jihad in the name of Islam.
Nafis was charged Wednesday after his arrest in lower Manhattan near the Federal Reserve's headquarters. He had plotted to detonate a van full of explosives, but was thwarted by a months-long FBI sting, authorities said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Nafis apparently was motivated by an al-Qaida magazine called Inspire. Nafis used the magazine to justify the planned attack, and cited Anwar al-Awlaki, a major magazine contributor who was killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen, as a role model. It's the same magazine that authorities said influenced Jose Pimentel, the Hamilton Heights man charged last year with building bombs to attack post offices, police patrol cars and U.S. military personnel.
Inspire magazine was first published by Samir Khan, a former Westbury resident and al-Qaida propagandist who was killed in the 2011 drone strike in Yemen. Khan began publishing Inspire after he and his family moved from Long Island.
The complaints against Nafis allege he handed an undercover agent a thumbdrive containing an article he wrote that he wanted published in Inspire after the attack. He also told the agent he admired the publication he referred to as "I", which the agent took to mean Inspire.
Since Khan published the first issue in summer 2010, issues of Inspire have been mostly released quarterly. Since Khan's death, the magazine publisher and location are unknown.
The slickly produced web publication includes how-to pieces on making a bomb "in the kitchen of your mom" and building a remote-control detonator, as well as philosophical essays on the virtues of "martyrdom versus victory."
Tips on recovering emotionally from "losing a friend in jihad" are also covered. Its editor, listed as Yahya Ibrahim, also invites reader-submitted suggestions, articles and design help.
One piece from the first issue, called "What to expect in jihad," advises English-speaking foreigners on how to blend with the culture of "the land," and to only bring a sturdy backpack with a few changes of clothes "when on jihad."