Skip to comments.How Normal Is Norman?
Posted on 01/11/2006 7:27:58 PM PST by concretebob
Norman, Oklahoma (population 100,923), is as American heartland as it gets. So on October 1, 2005, when Joel Hinrichs III, a 21-year-old Colorado Springs, Colorado engineering student at the University of Oklahoma strapped explosives to his body and blew himself up outside the college stadium where 84,000 fans were watching a Saturday-night football game, thus earning the town the distinction as home to America's first suicide bomber, I was, well, curious. Within 24 hours of the event, three players in the unfolding story issued statements aimed at quashing rumors that the bombing was terrorist related.
University President David Boren, in letters to students, faculty and staff, focused on allaying security fears and not drawing inferences from the rumors: Just because Hinrichs blew himself up with TATP (an ingredient that is the hallmark of Middle Eastern terrorists' bombs), and just because Hinrichs' roommate, Fazal Cheema, was a foreign student from Pakistan, no inferences to Islamic terrorism should be made. "We should not judge others or jump to conclusions on the basis of color, race, gender, economic status or freely exercised religious beliefs," Boren wrote.
The FBI confirmed that a second cache of TATP explosives was found inside the apartment Hinrichs and Cheema shared. The bomb squad removed the lethal ingredients and exploded them off campus; according to a witness I interviewed, the explosion was heard five miles away. As to the suggestion of a larger terror plot, the Feds were firm: "At this time, there is no known link between Hinrichs and any terrorist or extremist organization(s) or activities."
Because of Hinrichs' Pakistani roommate, newspaper reporters questioned whether there was a Muslim connection. Mohammad Elyazgi, a spokesman for the Masjid An-Nur Islamic mosque in Norman, addressed journalists who asked if Hinrichs, whose photo in newspapers showed him sporting a beard, had recently converted to Islam. "We had never seen him until we saw his picture in the media," Elyazgi told reporters.
Elyazgi shared stories with the press about the racism that he, his family and other Muslims in Norman felt after 9/11 -- how he kept his "children at home for several days" for fear of retaliation. Elyazgi talked about the "chills" he felt when Hinrichs' bomb went off, how a "silent prayer" went through him, and how he hoped no one would "associate the incident with the Norman mosque." Elyazgi underscored Islam's commitment to pacifism: "Islam forbids suicide, and Muslims condemn all acts of violence."
Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar As I began investigating the suicide bombing in Norman, I was reminded by my editors of the Freudian adage: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a death-by-suicide bombing is just that. But this Freud/cigar idea got me thinking: Maybe sometimes a credential is just a credential. How do we know to believe the messengers? University President Boren is well credentialed (a former Governor of Oklahoma, a former U.S. Senator and former chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence), and the FBI has its own unique credentials. But who is Mohammad Elyazgi? What achievements, personal qualities and background activities lend him credence?
In investigating Elyazgi's credentials, I was referred to and spoke with Mitchell Gray, a Norman resident and immigration attorney. Gray -- a former Operation Desert Storm JAG officer and Arabic speaker -- has been working on a book about extreme Muslims in America who disguise themselves as moderates. I asked Gray about Elyazgi, and Gray said, "Mr. Elyazgi and his family have made themselves public figures. They wear the cloak of officialdom. It's time Mr. Elyazgi officially explains his close ties to terrorists." Gray provided me with some interesting public-record documents in which Elyazgi's name has appeared.
To give Mr. Elyazgi an opportunity to respond to the documents, I called him at his office in the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. I asked him if he stood personally by the statement he made on behalf of the mosque: "Islam forbids suicide, and Muslims condemn all acts of violence."
"Of course," he said.
I asked him to explain his relationship to a man named Mufid Abdulqader. I had reviewed 1995 court documents that list Elyazgi and Abdulqader as co-owners of Sinbad Greek & International Food in Oklahoma and as co-defendants on fraud and failure to pay charges (Case No.: CJ95 2176-66).
"You mean Mufid?" he asked.
"Yes, Mufid Abdulqader," I repeated.
"We're just friends."
"So you don't have a business relationship with Mufid Abdulqader?" I asked.
"No, no business relationship," he stated emphatically.
I told him about the documents I had in front of me.
Elyazgi changed his tune. He also seemed to lose his grip on the English language. "Me and him were together in business. In small shop."
I asked Elyazgi to comment on his former business partner's indictment on terrorism charges.
"He's a normal person," Elyazgi said. "He's an activist."
Abdulqader, who formerly worked for the Department of Transportation in Oklahoma and later in Texas, was recently indicted on terrorism charges for being a fundraiser for HAMAS (a Palestinian Islamist movement), one of the most violent jihadist terrorist organizations in the world.
Why Isn't Norman Newsworthy? Throughout 2005, suicide bombings were daily news. In the same month that Hinrichs exploded himself, 19 suicide bombers around the world killed 180 people and injured another 420 -- in supermarkets and restaurants and houses of worship, according to statistics offered by a website called www.thereligionofpeace.com. Those suicide bombers became news -- headline news. And yet the suicide bombing in Norman caused hardly a ripple in the media.
Norman, Oklahoma, is mentioned in the intelligence report prepared by the House and the Senate on the 9/11 terrorist attacks; this report, which Congress has declassified, references known terrorists' activities in Norman, Oklahoma, no less than 17 times. In examining this and other U.S. government documents, a disturbing portrait emerges: Norman, Oklahoma, has been associated with terrorist activity ever since Osama Bin Laden's personal pilot, Mohamed Ihab Ali, went to Norman to take flying lessons back in 1993.
It's true, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But sometimes, when you peel away the layers, you find something else.
Annie Jacobsen, author of Terror in the Skies: Why 9/11 Could Happen Again, writes about business, finance and terrorism for a variety of national and international magazines and webzines. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and two sons.
If you would like to send Annie Jacobsen an email, please click HERE.
OKC & 911 were both Iraq financed and planned and executed
The left has it's head in the sand like many did in the 1930's and before in Europe and ended up in gas chambers
They are showing they have not learned anything and are doing it again here in the USA
They are useful idiots and traitors in many cases
When all comes apart they expect American soldiers to fight and die to protect and save them
They demand a free ride - see the #ages in the US military
Facts are facts
OK Terrorism ping!
I just pinged a whole list of people who also know.
Thanks for the ping, OT.
Why do certain songs keep popping in my head? "What's That Smell?",
"Suspicious Minds", "Boomer Sooner"
Smoke does not happen by itself.
Or TATP explosions outside stadiums, apparently.
Looks like we got another "fedscum know-it-all, move along- nothing happening here" type.
I'm with Y'all, there is way more info on ALL these bomings than is known to the public.
That truck bomb did not bring down the OKC Building alone.
Here I fixed it for Ya.
The link below will take Freepers to a long and well documented paper on the Teflon Terrorists in America.
A large part of the paper addresses the Jihadist history/problem in Oklahoma City and some addresses the problems in Norman.
Those who are interested in the history of the Jihadists in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and Norman might want to bookmark this long and well documented paper.
I forgot to ping you to this reply of mine.
The link might be of interest to you.
Nope! Nothing to see here, folks! Move along now!
Thanks for posting the link! Too many people with their head in the sand sometimes.
Thanks for the ping!
Thank you for the ping.
Do you live under a rock? :-) There was a live thread going on this when it was happening.
Put in the search engine keyword Norman or poster PhiKapMom. She was at the stadium when it went off. There will be lots of threads and you can read all about it. Very scary.
Hmmm, I joined an OK ping list, but didn't get this. I even saw the headline yesterday in a different sidebar from the OK one, but didn't know it was about Mecca ... er, bad choice of words for the center of the Sooner Nation/Universe.
Liberty Rocks might have a little more info on Mufid Abdul-Qadr (correct spelling), as we did some additional sleuthing on him. He was co-incorporator with El-yazgi on the OKC mosque on St. Clair Ave. He has also been known to reside in Richardson, TX.
Interesting that he does have ties to Hamas. Here's the whole list of their co-defendants in the 1995 case with Crossroads Associates (their restaurant must have been in the mall):
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