Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Terrorism: Washington - Hunt for five missing Muslims

Federal investigators are searching for a Howard University dental student and four other missing young Muslim men reported missing from the Washington, D.C. area, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned. There is concern they may have been sent abroad to train for jihad. The five were last seen November 29.

The identities of two of the missing men, Howard student Ramy Zamzam and Waqar Khan, have been mentioned in online postings, including a Facebook page that was set up Monday for friends to offer their support. Some of those pages, however, appear restricted to friends and associates.

It is not clear where the men are believed to have gone, but an informed source told the IPT that at least one left behind a farewell video.

According to the Facebook and Twitter postings, Zamzam is among the missing. He has been active in the Muslim Students Association, serving as president of the MSA DC Council. A Howard University spokeswoman has not responded to questions from the IPT.

The disappearance comes as U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about the threat of homegrown Islamist extremism.

On the surface, at least, the situation in Washington resembles the case of 20 young Somalis who disappeared from the Minneapolis area a year ago. They are believed to have made their way back to Somalia, where they trained with the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

At least three of those men have died, including one who became the first known American citizen to carry out a suicide bombing. Fourteen people have been indicted in relation to the Somali recruitment effort.

For more information, see the story posted online by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Source: Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

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