Residents in the quiet Jamaica neighborhood where alleged terrorist Quazi Nafis lived were unwilling to talk about the foiled bank bomb plot when questioned by the Chronicle late Friday morning.
“I don’t know this guy,” said a man who lived next door, where an American flag is prominently displayed. “I don’t know anything. I don’t have time to comment on this.”
And he closed the door.
A woman who lived upstairs said she had heard reports about Nafis on the news, but didn’t know anything beyond that.
Similarly, two women praying at a Hindu temple located around the block were also silent. After asking the exact address of where the man lived, one of the women replied, “We can’t talk about that now. We are in the middle of a service. It wouldn’t be appropriate.”
The FBI arrested Nafis, 21, on Oct. 17 for allegedly plotting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Manhattan. He is being charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Al-Qaeda.
A native of Bangladesh, Nafis came to the United States in January with the intent of forming an Al-Qaeda terrorist cell in New York, according to the FBI. But one of the men he tried to recruit was a government informant, which led to the close monitoring of Nafis and his eventual capture by law enforcement.
An FBI agent posing as an Al-Qaeda facilitator supplied Nafis with 20 50-pound bags of nonfunctional explosives. After assembling the inert bomb, Nafis drove it in a van to the Federal Reserve, parked it and walked to a nearby hotel, where he was arrested.
“I applaud the extraordinary work of the NYPD and the FBI in remaining vigilant to keep the city and country safe,” said state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis), who represents the area where Nafis lives. “I am confident that this misguided individual will be punished to the fullest extent of the law and a strong message will besent to all would-be copycats.There iszero tolerance for terrorism in this city.”
According to the FBI’s report, Nafis considered bombing the New York Stock Exchange and assassinating high-ranking government officials before settling on the Federal Reserve. His family back in Bangladesh was mortified when they found out what their son was up to, according to published reports, especially since they gave him their entire savings so he would be able to travel to the U.S.
“I feel bad for the family, because they are clearly in shock,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who also represents the district where Nafis lives. “It was a surprise to find out that a person who has been accused of terrorism was living in Jamaica.”