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WP: Ft Dix Plot “Shatters Stereotypes”

From those celbrantss of the gorgeous mosaic at the Washington Post:

Israa, left, and Lamese Shnewer, whose brother is one of the men charged in a plot to kill Fort Dix soldiers.

The Terrorists Next Door?

Plot Suspects Lived Quietly in Suburb

By Anthony Faiola and Dale Russakoff
Thursday, May 10, 2007; A01

CHERRY HILL, N.J., May 9 — From the front porch of her two-story home on Mimosa Drive, Susan DeFrancesco looked out on the neighborhood she calls “a little United Nations.” Pointing from one house to the next, she said: “They’re Asian; that family’s from Poland. They’re from Canada. She’s from India. “

Living among those varied families for the past seven years were the Dukas, a three-generational clan of ethnic Albanians. Their Muslim religious garb, repeated minor run-ins with the law, and a brood of up to 20 children, grandchildren and other relatives made them unusual, but hardly unwelcome.

“You don’t want to single out a family because of where they’re from or what they believe,” DeFrancesco said.

On Tuesday morning, it suddenly looked different when three of the Duka brothers — young, bearded men in their 20s who had spent most of their lives in New Jersey — were among the six men indicted in an alleged terrorist plot to attack nearby Fort Dix with assault weapons.

For this bedroom community in the shadow of the Philadelphia skyline, they would become the accused jihadists next door — their arrest immediately shattering assumptions both here and beyond about who Islamic militants are.

Experts have warned that the next big terrorist threat will come from homegrown extremists, unaffiliated with al Qaeda but harboring resentments fostered by materials easily available from the Internet. In fact, the few who have shown themselves thus far prove that there is no stereotype.

Most of the men arrested Tuesday were European rather than Middle Eastern. They hail from one of the most pro-American and secular parts of the Muslim world — the ethnic Albanian regions of Macedonia, where gratitude for U.S. assistance in Kosovo during the 1990s still runs high.

They live in a garden-variety subdivision like those on the outskirts of cities from Washington, D.C., to Seattle — once-homogeneous communities now quickly becoming ethnically and racially mixed. Their children play soccer and video games with the neighbors’ kids; they hawked their roofing business at Friday prayers.

Had they not offered up an alleged jihadist video to be duplicated at a nearby Circuit City, they might never have been spotted…

As a reporter approached the Duka house on Wednesday evening, two young mothers across the street yelled out, “Don’t go over there and talk to them — you don’t know what they’ll do.”

Then Zurata Duka, the mother of the three arrested brothers, proclaimed their innocence, asking why neighbors now run from her.

“My sons got caught saying nothing — there is no proof, no words from them in that affidavit, only the other three,” she said. Wearing a headscarf and long robe, she threw her arms out, gesturing at her sons’ pickup truck. “Look, it’s their roofing truck. They’re hard workers. If they were really terrorists, would they take that tape to Circuit City?”

A teenager who declined to give his name but said he was their younger brother declared: “I’m with my brothers 24-7. They never talked like terrorists.” …

In their daily lives, according to dozens of interviews with neighbors, authorities and acquaintances, the six arrested men largely blended into the cultural patchwork of southern New Jersey, a region emblematic of the changing face of suburban America.

In the Cherry Hill School District, children now speak 62 native languages, compared with 53 in 1998. White children made up 92 percent of the school district in 1980 — compared with 76 percent today.

Within 10 miles of Cherry Hill, two mosques have sprung up over the past 15 years. One is the South Jersey Islamic Center in Palmyra, about 11 miles northwest of Cherry Hill, where the Duka brothers — whose brother-in-law, Mohamad Ibrahim Shmewer, was also arrested Tuesday — regularly worshiped on Friday evenings.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said in an interview that it was inside the South Jersey Islamic Center that the Duka brothers met and recruited Serdar Tatar, 23, a Turkish-born legal U.S. resident raised in the south Jersey area

The Dukas were living in America illegally, having entered two decades ago on now-expired visas. In almost every way, they were products of typical U.S. suburban life. Shain, 26, and Eljvir, 24, attended Cherry Hill West High School and often played soccer in their front yard.

They were also no strangers to the police. Tatar and the Dukas were habitual offenders, stopped dozens of times a year for speeding, illegal passing and driving without a license. Dritan Duka pleaded guilty in 2000 to possession of drug paraphernalia and Shain Duka to possession of marijuana — low-level charges that at the time did not trigger immigration background checks.

Only one brother had a driver’s license, and only briefly. But they drove anyway and were ticketed regularly by Cherry Hill police — including four citations in one five-week period for Dritan Duka. The three had their driving privileges suspended — meaning they could not even apply for a license — 54 times in less than a decade

The six men are scheduled for a bail hearing on Friday. But for Cherry Hill, the question is whether the town will sustain the tolerance that is a hallmark of community pride

The subtitle for this article on the Washington Post’s feed is:

Six indictees in Fort Dix terror plot shatter assumptions about radical Islamic militants.

Sure it does.

And isn’t it funny how the article fails to make any mention of the fact that these people were brought here as refugees by the US government.

I guess that’s not relevant to the story at all.

And, as always, it’s a question of which paper do you read?

From those enabler of terrorism at Reuters:

Suspected NJ plotters called quiet, different

Wed May 9, 2007

By Jon Hurdle

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (Reuters) – Whether they were anti-social and inconsiderate or just absorbed with their own lives, the Duka brothers and their extended family were certainly different, neighbors said on Wednesday.

The three Yugoslav-born, ethnic Albanians, who were charged along with three accomplices with plotting to kill soldiers at a New Jersey army base, largely kept to themselves in this modest suburban community some 20 miles east of Philadelphia…

The Duka brothers, who ran a roofing business, and one of the other plotters were ethnic Albanians motivated by the idea of holy war against the United States, rather than by any nationalist cause, said James Jatras, director of the American Council for Kosovo, a nonprofit group.

However, Jatras said, “there is a definite al Qaeda link” with the Kosovo Liberation Army with which at least one of the plotters was associated…”

It sure sounds like they fit all the “stereotypes” about terrorists to me.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 10th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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