Two Americans were arrested on June 22, 2011, for an alleged plot to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, 33, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, and Walli Mujahidh, 32, also known as Frederick Domingue, Jr., are alleged to have planned to attack the military recruiting station using automatic weapons and grenades. They were arrested at a Seattle warehouse where they expected to pick up weapons from an undercover informant.
On December 8, 2011, Mujahidh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kill U.S. officers and to use weapons of mass destruction, as well as another firearms charge. Abdul-Latif pleaded guilty to to conspiring to kill government employees and use a weapon of mass destruction on December 6, 2012. He was sentenced to 18-years in prison on March 25, 2013. Two weeks later, on April 8, 2013, Mujahidh was sentenced to 17-years in prison, less than the 27-32 years he had agreed to in his plea bargain.
According to authorities, the men, both converts to Islam, originally came under investigation when an individual they attempted to recruit informed authorities about the plot. That individual became an undercover informant for federal investigators, recording the suspects discussing their plans.
In addition to hours of audio and video recordings, evidence against the suspects includes emails and text messages, according to a criminal complaint.
According to one recording, Abdul-Latif, the apparent ringleader, indicated that he chose a military target because the U.S. military is "invading our lands." "Imagine how many young Muslims, if we're successful, will try to hit these kinds of centers," he said. "Imagine how fearful America will be, and they'll know they can't push the Muslims around."
Abdul-Latif, who has a long criminal history and spent two years in prison for robbery, also said, "We're not only trying to kill people. We're trying to get something that's going to be on CNN and all over the world."
Abdul-Latif, who served in the U.S. Navy in the 1990s, compared the plot, which he allegedly intended to carry out on July 5, to the deadly Fort Hood Army base shootings in 2009. According to the criminal complaint, Abdul-Latif told the informant that "If one person could kill so many people, three attackers could kill many more."
Abdul-Latif reportedly has a history of mental health issues, drug use and credit problems; he filed for bankruptcy last year.
In the months preceding his arrest, he posted comments online and recorded and uploaded videos on YouTube (including nine of himself) that shed light on his interpretation of Islam and general mindset prior to the plot, as well as his growing militancy. In a comment posted on the Voice of America Web site after the death of Osama bin Laden, Abdul-Latif said that "sacrifice is necessary in order to achieve success in anything in life, and sometimes it requires us to die."
Abdul-Latif's YouTube Rants
In the months before his arrest for allegedly plotting to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif shared and uploaded various videos on YouTube.
He subscribed to a number of radical YouTube channels, including an Anwar al-Awlaki channel that features several sermons by the U.S. born Muslim cleric whose online sermons have influenced scores of extremists in the West. In a comment posted in response to one of these sermons, Abdul-Latif made reference to the Fort Hood shooting, writing "hopefully there will be more soldiers who come out of the woodwork to serve Allah."
Among Abdul-Latif's favorite videos are those titled "Yemeni Mujahideen," "Rewards of Shaheed," and "Mujahideen – again we will rise." These videos depict terror training, anti-American and anti-Western propaganda, as well as other extremist messages.
Comments left on other videos reflect his views on Islam, the Muslim community and jihad. In June, just prior to his arrest, he commented on an Urdu language video of American Muslims' reactions to bin Laden's death. "…sacrifice is necessary in order to achieve success in anything in life, and sometimes it requires us to die," he wrote. About a month earlier, he mused, "I wonder what would happen to the security of this country if these Mujahid were to be successful in their intentions? Just curious..."
His comments in support of violence date back to 2010. Commenting on a video showing a man training his three year-old son "for jihad," he wrote, "May Allah bless this child to be a soldier for Your cause... And I hope that this causes other Muslims to support the Jihad by fighting the enemies of Islam."
Beginning in November 2010, Abdul-Latif began uploading videos as well. While a majority of the 22 uploaded videos are reposts of other videos, including the conspiratorial "The True Culprits of 9/11," and a movie that he renamed "The Fira'un (Pharaohs) of Today" about America's desire to establish a global empire, nine are of himself ranting about various religious and political issues.
These videos, in which Abdul-Latif seems to get progressively more militant, shed light on his interpretation of Islam and general mindset prior to the plot. The following are summaries of the videos he made of himself - none have been viewed more than 1000 times as of this writing, with the exception of his lecture on the hijab.
"Advice for the Ummah"
Uploaded to YouTube on November 18, 2010
In his first video upload to YouTube, Abdul-Latif, wearing a camouflaged t-shirt, says "Allah will help those of us who are not fighting right now and bless those who at least have the desire to go struggle for the cause of Allah….whether that's jihad by hand, jihad by tongue or jihad within ourselves." He notes that many Muslims voted for President Barak Obama, and then asks, "but what has he done? He's done nothing. He's made war on Islam. He's even put a hit out on Anwar al-Awlaki our brother sheikh, may Allah protect him, inshaAllah [Allah willing]." He also maintains that "there isn't even any proof that Muslims had anything to do with September 11." He then says that Muslims should "help the religion anyway you can, with da'wa [propagating the faith], with sadaqa [charity], with jihad, anything." He then adds, ironically, "And jihad don't mean going out here and just slaughtering, killing people, that's not jihad. That's murder. That's terrorism. Jihad is in defense of the religion physically and mentally and spiritually." The voices of what may be his wife and son can be heard in the background throughout the video.
"Islam's 20 Questions of Common Sense"
Uploaded to YouTube on November 27, 2010
In this video, Abdul-Latif asks a series of existential questions regarding faith in Islam such as who created the universe, who causes natural phenomena and disasters, does someone who is reliant on God deserve more obedience, worship, commitment, respect and love than Allah, etc. He says that answering these questions will lead inevitably to Allah.
"The Need To Be Unified"
Uploaded to YouTube on January 17, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif says that the Muslim community needs to be unified regardless of countries, tribes, sects, and other divisions. He warns that the "enemies of Islam…will come after Islam…they will not fear us, they will not respect us, they will hate us, and then they will do all the fitna [strife], the murder, the killing, and then blame us for it….Right now Muslims are being raped and tortured and terrorized, Islamic countries are being invaded by the kuffar [infidels]…and these are the same people many of us have turned to for leadership, for guidance, for advice, and for protection." He expresses his concern over Muslims abandoning Islam to please the kuffar. "The Americans now they're in Islamic lands murdering and killing Muslims. And we sit here and we do nothing, and we argue over the fiqh [jurisprudential] issues, we argue over nonsense…" He concludes with a message to all Muslims: "I don't care where you're from in the world, Africa, Canada, China, Somalia, Europe, Australia, you are my brother, and I love you and I want for you more than what I want for myself."
"Muslims Don't Be Fooled"
Uploaded to YouTube on March 2, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif cites news reports of Shiites killing Sunnis and claims that there is no religious basis for this division. "The enemies of Islam are stirring up propaganda and starting fitna [strife] between the Muslims," he says. He complains that Muslims will get up early for work but not for Dawn prayer. Most notably, near the end he exclaims, "Wake up! Let's get together, it's time to unify and be willing to sacrifice everything for our religion even if it means our life. I'm not just running my mouth."
"The True Hijab"
Uploaded to YouTube on March 5, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif lectures on the proper way to wear the hijab. A woman models what appears to be a full-length robe covering her entire body, except for her face. Abdul-Latif quotes from the Quran and Hadith regarding the law of the hijab. About halfway through the video the model puts on a niqab, a full-face veil, which Abdul-Latif notes is optional.
"Where Do Our Loyalty's Lie"
Uploaded to YouTube on April 9, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif complains about the abuse Muslims inflict on each other by fighting, cheating each other in business and generally being disrespectful of each other. He compares this to the treatment of non-believers, saying that Muslims would never treat non-Muslims in the same way. He rhetorically asks, "How can we support the kuffar [infidels] and not support Islam?"
"The Price of a Muslim's Blood"
Uploaded to YouTube on April 18, 2011
Abdul-Latif begins this video by reading a 2003 article from a now defunct Web site on how the West considers Muslim blood to be cheap. After finishing the article, Abdul-Latif introduces himself, saying that he is not a scholar but rather "just a Muslim out here, who wants for his Muslim brother what I wants for myself, which is janna [paradise], which is success in this deen [religion], in this life, and in the akhira [hereafter]." He laments Muslims' silence and acceptance of Western handouts, saying, "…they are going over there, raking billions of dollars, from oil and gold and all the other resources, and slaughtering anybody over there….There are even United States military soldiers who are over there raping women and killing Muslims and they're not being held accountable for it." He concludes by telling Muslims that they need to try to "stop allowing these kafirs [infidels] to try and destroy Islam in this way."
"Envy of the Kuffar"
Uploaded to YouTube on May 1, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif decries people's preoccupation with the Royal Wedding, suggesting that Muslims ought to come together "for Allah" instead. "We spend so much time chasing these kafirs [infidels] around, while at the same time they're murdering our brothers and sisters overseas," he says. He portrays the people who were preoccupied with the Royal Wedding and other Western celebrities more generally as "aiding the United Snakes and murdering Muslim brothers and sisters, invading their lands, and we continue to treat them as friends." He criticizes Muslims who befriend Christian and other non-believers because they are jealous and envious of their wealth. "They're shaking our hand, and stabbing our Muslim brothers and sisters with the other," he says. He also calls for the establishment of Shari'a law and the return of the Islamic caliphate. Abdul-Latif then advocates for the "need to have jihad with our tongues, jihad with our hearts and jihad with our hands." He says: "We must establish jihad. I don't care what anybody says about that. You can turn me in to the FBI or whatever….We need to stop trying to compromise with the kuffar [infidels], stop trying to be their friend because they hate us." Toward the end of the video, he claims that Allah loves "those who believe, who sacrifice with their wealth and their lives for Him" and calls for supporting "your Muslim brothers and sisters" in "any way we can."
"Sincerity in Islam"
Uploaded to YouTube on June 12, 2011
In this video, Abdul-Latif discusses supplications to Allah, describing the requirements for supplication and whose supplications are accepted by Allah. He laments the fact that most Muslim's only pay lip service to asking for God's help without being sincere in their prayers. He condemns Muslims for caring more about their paychecks than Muslim suffering and for passing off the responsibility.
Plots Against Recruiting Stations
The plot to attack a Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle is the latest in a series of plots and attacks against military personnel in the U.S. in recent years. Others include a planned attack on the Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey, a plot in New York to shoot down military aircraft, the shooting at the Fort Hood army base and a planned attack on the Marine Corps base in Quantico.
In addition, there have been four plots against U.S. military recruiting stations:
- Antonio Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen was charged in December 2010 in an alleged attempt to detonate a car bomb at an army recruiting center in Catonsville, Maryland. The criminal complaint alleges that he wanted to target the U.S. military because they were killing Muslims abroad. "Every soldier that we see in uniform will be killed on the spot, Insha' Allah ... They will be killed until they stop waging war against ... Islam," Martinez said. Martinez also told an undercover informant that he almost joined the military prior to his conversion to Islam.
- Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an American citizen was arrested in June 2009 for killing one soldier and wounding another at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Prosecutors allege that Muhammad admitted shooting the uniformed soldiers "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past" and that he "would have killed more soldiers had they been in the parking lot." According to court documents, Muhammad planned to target other military recruiting centers and Jewish organizations.
- Kevin James, Levar Washington and Gregory Vernon Patterson, U.S. citizens, and Hammad Riaz Samana, a U.S. permanent resident, from California were sentenced to between 6 and 44 years in prison in 2008 and 2009 for their involvement in a 2005 plot to attack U.S. military recruiting offices and military bases in the Los Angeles area, as well as the Los Angeles International Airport, synagogues and the Israeli Consulate.
- Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian national charged in September 2009 with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against a Dallas skyscraper, also identified military targets, including recruiting centers and the National Guard Armory in Dallas, Texas, according to court documents.