Failed terrorist living in Jamaica gets 30 years for bomb plot
A would-be terrorist who came to Queens from Bangladesh specifically to wage violent jihad against the United States will spend more time in prison than he has spent on Earth so far, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced Aug. 9.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 22, most recently of Jamaica, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge Carol Amon. Nafis had pleaded guilty last February to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Nafis had said he wanted to “destroy America” in the name of al-Qaeda and tried to recruit people into a terrorist cell, according to the government. One of his contacts was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
When Nafis sought bomb-making material so he could blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan, an undercover FBI agent provided him with fake explosives. Nafis loaded the material into a van, and he and the agent drove to the bank on Oct. 17, 2012. Nafis attached a detonator to the false bomb on the way.
They parked the van and went to a hotel, where Nafis made a video statement declaring jihad and repeatedly tried to detonate the material using a cell phone. He was then arrested.
In court Nafis apologized and said he was ashamed to have believed in radical Islam.
Register by tomorrow to vote in city primary
Citizens must register to vote in person by tomorrow, Aug. 16, or send an application postmarked by that date, in order to vote in this year’s primaries. Mailed applications must be received by Aug. 21.
Primaries in the races for mayor, comptroller, public advocate and City Council will be held Sept. 10. Any runoffs in the citywide races, required if no candidate gets 40 percent of the vote, will be held Oct. 1.
Sept. 3 is the last day to postmark a request for a primary absentee ballot, while Sept. 9 is the deadline to apply in person. Ballots must be postmarked by Sept. 9 or delivered in person by someone other than the voter by Sept. 10.
The general election is Nov. 5. Citizens may register up until Oct. 11 to vote then.
Further information is available by calling (718) 730-6730 or visiting vote.nyc.ny.us.
LGBT couples getting workplace benefits
Same-sex married couples are now eligible for the same unpaid family and medical leave benefits available to opposite-sex couples under a new U.S. Department of Labor policy, The Hill newspaper reports.
The change follows the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had said the federal government can only recognize heterosexual marriages.
The Obama administration is changing policy in several areas following the 5-4 June ruling on DOMA. Same-sex spouses of federal employees may now utilize a partner’s health and retirement benefits, for example.
Abuse victims’ shelter now allows pets too
Victims of domestic violence may bring one or two small pets, including cats, with them to a shelter run by the Urban Resource Institute, the social service group recently announced.
Up to 40 percent of abuse victims decline to leave home because they fear their pets may be harmed if they do, the URI says, citing an academic study. The group says its PALS program, for People and Animals Living Safely, is the first of its kind in the city. It said it is working on accommodating dogs too.
Those in need may call the URI’s domestic violence hotline at 1 (888) 279-2211 or 1 (888) 252-2890 or visit urinyc.org for information.
News intern wanted
The Queens Chronicle seeks a newsroom intern to do reporting two days a week for 12 weeks. For details, email a resume and at least two writing samples to PeterM@qchron.com.