Two American Muslims, one of whom complained that Muslims were treated like “dogs,” have been charged with plotting to kill Jews by blowing up synagogues in Manhattan.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, an aspiring fashion model who once sold cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue, and his accomplice, Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, a taxi service dispatcher, were arrested Wednesday after purchasing three semiautomatic pistols, 150 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade from an undercover police officer.
They are charged under state law with second-degree conspiracy as a crime of terrorism, second-degree conspiracy as a hate crime and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism.
New York law enforcement described the two men as “lone wolves” with no apparent connection to Al Qaeda or any other terrorist group. Their arrest is the result of a seven-month undercover investigation during which Ferhani became increasingly angry and violent, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. As Ferhani’s rage grew, so did the scope of his plans. He even talked about blowing up the Empire State Building.
Shortly before the arrest, Ferhani said he was “fed up with the way Muslims were being treated around the world. They are treating us like dogs.”
Ferhani is an Algerian-born legal permanent resident who came to the United States with his parents in 1995. Mamdouh, from Casablanca, Morocco, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived in the States since 1999.
Ferhani’s father told The New York Times that his son was not a particularly devout Muslim. He described him as a “naïve person” with a “very good heart” whose weakness was credulity. “If somebody tries to tell him something, he always believes it,” Ferhani’s father said.