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Maryland paramedic on terror count

CNN | August 5, 2005

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Maryland paramedic has been arrested by U.S. federal authorities on charges of conspiring to provide material support to a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group linked to terrorist attacks in India and the disputed region of Kashmir.

According to a complaint filed by prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Mahmud Faruq Brent of Gwynn Oak, Md., near Baltimore, attended a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and received martial arts training from Tarik Shah, a New York jazz musician arrested in May on terrorism charges.

The complaint also alleges that Brent, also known as Mahmud Al Mutazzim, had contact with Seifullah Chapman, a member of the so-called "Virginia jihad group" that prosecutors said trained for attacks with paintball guns.

Chapman was found guilty in March 2004, along with two other men, on terrorism and firearms charges, including providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is serving a 65-year prison sentence.

In December 2001, Lashkar-e-Taiba was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government, shortly after the Indian government blamed the group for an attack on the parliament in New Delhi that killed 12 people.

Law enforcement officials told CNN that Brent was arrested Thursday in Newark, N.J. His home in Maryland was also searched.

The complaint reveals that Shah, who has been charged with providing support to al Qaeda, helped prosecutors build their case against Brent.

On the day of his arrest, Shah called Brent and arranged to meet him at a hotel in Columbia, Md. During that meeting, which was recorded and videotaped by the FBI, Brent admitted to attending a camp in the mountains of Pakistan where he trained with the "mujahedeen," according to the complaint.

At the time, Shah was cooperating with prosecutors, according to the complaint against Brent. Now, "no cooperation agreement exists" with Shah, the complaint said.

Shah told the FBI that he trained Brent in martial arts when both lived in Beacon, N.Y., in 2001, and he also said Brent introduced him to Chapman, according to the complaint.

An address book found in Shah's possession contained a phone number listed in the name of Brent's wife and another number used in his passport application, as well as a number for a phone at a Virginia home where Chapman once lived, the complaint said.

In 2000, Brent -- using the name Mahmud Al Mutazzim -- requested an expedited passport to travel to a religious conference in Saudi Arabia, to which he attached a "letter of support" from Chapman, the complaint said. The passport showed that Brent arrived in Lahore, Pakistan, on Feb. 25, 2002 -- about five months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- and left on June 4, 2002, the complaint said.

During a conversation with an undercover FBI agent recorded prior to his arrest, Shah said several of his martial arts students had gone overseas to training camps in Afghanistan and Yemen, including "Mahmud Al Mutazzim," the complaint said.

The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group draws its members mainly from madrasas (religious schools) in Pakistan and veterans of the Afghanistan wars. The organization also has links to the al Qaeda terrorist group.

Under President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan has been a key ally of the U.S. war on terror, particularly along its border with Afghanistan, where elements of the ousted Taliban regime and al Qaeda are thought to operate.

The country has also been in the spotlight in recent weeks after it emerged that at least two of the July 7 London bombers had visited Pakistan in recent months and may have stayed at a madrasa in the country.

Last week, Musharraf said as part of his crackdown on Islamic extremism in madrasas, foreign students would be thrown out of the country.

He also said mosques would not "be allowed to be used for extremism or incitement to hatred."

 

 

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