DU Expert: Terror Suspect From Aurora Probably Not Threat To U.S.
DENVER (CBS4) – A man from Aurora who has been accused of trying to help a terrorist group will come back to Colorado to face charges.
The FBI arrested Jamshid Muhtorov at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport over the weekend. Agents believe he was about to board a flight to Turkey.
A lot of details about the Islamic Jihad Union were spelled out in the indictment. Muhtorov is accused of supporting the designated terrorist organization from an apartment in Aurora although the group’s main target is in Muhtorov’s homeland of Uzbekistan.
Middle East & Islamic Affairs Prof. Nader Hashemi with the University of Denver said Muhtorov probably wasn’t a real threat on U.S. soil.
“I don’t think the people of Colorado or the United States have anything really to fear of this one individual,” Hashemi said.
Muhtorov’s activities with the Islamic Jihad Union and phone calls were closely monitored. In one call he reportedly told his daughter that he would never see her again, but if she was a good Muslim girl, he would see her in Heaven.
“It’ is scary to think that somebody living right across the hall from you could be involved in that,” former neighbor Lisa Afisi said.
Afisi said she noticed Muhtorov’s appearance change in the months before he and his family moved away.
“He’d have a thick beard and it looked like he grew his hair out a little bit longer and he would cover up a lot more,” Afisi said.
Hashemi said the group Muhtorov is associated with targets its hatred at the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, who’s been accused of serious human rights violations.
“That rule has produced reactions, violent reactions from militant groups such as the one that this man is affiliated with,” Hashemi said.
The U.S. comes into play with its on and off again relationship with Karimov and coalition forces have been targeted as a result.
“The United States, unfortunately, has had a relationship with him, largely due to strategic needs that resulted from the war in Afghanistan,” Hashemi said.
The indictment also says Muhtorov often referred to “the wedding” and “the wedding gift” in his communications with the group. Federal agents say that is code for a terrorist event.
If found guilty Muhtorov is facing up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
It’s not the first time a terrorism case has been connected to Aurora. Najibullah Zazi was arrested in 2009. Zazi, an airport shuttle driver, pleaded guilty to charges he planned to bomb New York’s subway system. The plot was designed to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Zazi’s father was convicted of trying to cover up his son’s plot.