Why are people like Halimi allowed in the U.S.?
Zazi was also surrounded by his Afghan culture, living with others from his country. His family’s apartment was in the same small building as that of Saifur Rahman Halimi, an imam who was a chief representative for top Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Halimi attended the same mosque as the Zazi family.
Hekmatyar, one of three main U.S. enemies in Afghanistan, was a major figure in that country’s civil war and was briefly installed as prime minister. The U.S. declared Hekmatyar a global terrorist in 2003, and forces loyal to Hekmatyar openly fight American and international forces in Afghanistan.
In Queens, Halimi became a trusted voice for Hekmatyar’s cause and a vocal supporter of the global jihad. A video from one of Halimi’s speeches in 1992 captures his zeal for a “pure Islamic system” in Afghanistan and denunciations of Western intervention. “In the very near future, we will liberate all human beings from these devils,” he said then. “They know the power of Islam.
Halimi and the Zazi family joined others who split from their Queens mosque during a leadership dispute. They also gathered at times with a close-knit group that prayed, ate and socialized together, said Mohammad Sherzad, the imam on the other side of the schism.
Halimi, 61, now imam of a Philadelphia mosque, told The Associated Press he was stunned by Zazi’s arrest.
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