Saudi Student in U.S. Accused of Aiding Extremists

(Wall Street Journal) - Paul M. Barrett In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, a Saudi graduate student in computer science at the University of Idaho, led fellow Muslims in a candlelight march remembering the dead. Yet federal investigators say Hussayen's public image was a cover for a secret career supporting terrorism. The indictment against him alleges that he raised money for the Islamic Assembly of North America, a Michigan organization the government is investigating for possibly supporting terrorists in the Middle East. The FBI says Hussayen has communicated often with two radical clerics known as the "awakening sheiks" because of their ideological influence on young Arabs. The clerics are widely recognized as intellectual godfathers of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network. Hussayen, the son of a senior Saudi education ministry official, grew up in a comfortable home in Riyadh. Arriving in Idaho in 1999, he soon became the leader of the university Muslim Students Association. The Saudi government paid Hussayen's educational expenses, plus a $2,700 monthly stipend. It is now paying his legal expenses. Nail al-Jubeir, spokesman for the Saudi Embassy, said his government financially supports roughly 3,500 Saudi students at U.S. universities. In September 2000, Hussayen registered the Internet site, an Arab-language online magazine produced by the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). In June 2001, the site carried an article by a Saudi-trained Kuwaiti cleric entitled, "Provision of Suicide Operations." "The warrior must kill himself if he knows that this will lead to killing a great number of the enemies," wrote Sheik Hamed al-Ali. "This can be accomplished with the modern means of bombing or bringing down an airplane on an important location that will cause the enemy great losses."

2003-05-29 00:00:00

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