Omar Ahmed Ali Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh”, passed away at the age of 78 in a North Carolina prison hospital on February 18, 2017. For such an important character in the modern jihadist movement, the event passed with little fanfare—a few stories and no protests or celebrations to my knowledge. Yet, his story here in the US deserves more attention because he and his associates were at the epicenter of the burgeoning confrontation between the United States and some of its erstwhile allies in Afghanistan. Men associated with the Blind Sheikh murdered the ultra-nationalist Orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane, perpetrated the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, conspired to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the US, and conspired along with the Blind Sheikh himself to attack multiple landmarks in New York City. I decided to investigate these matters by browsing the extensive court proceedings from the “Landmarks” case. Apart from the proceedings themselves, the material includes an interesting document listing 172 unindicted co-conspirators (UCCs) in the case. The thousands of pages of court proceedings and such a list of names are both a researcher’s dream and nightmare, and it’s hard to know where to begin. As I’m a person who likes to look at what other people ignore or what seems to be peripheral, I was immediately drawn to that list of UCCs. Frankly, there were only a handful of the names that bore any familiarity, but I did settle on one of them that I remembered reading in a couple places that received only passing mention: Khaled Ibrahim.
The trial opened on January 30, 1995 and ended on October 1, 1995, with convictions for Abdel Rahman and 9 other men on 48 of 50 counts. The last person to testify on July 13, 1995, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the case named Khaled Ibrahim. His testimony would carry over into the following Tuesday, and the content of that testimony is fascinating on a number of levels. Firstly, it provides a window into Azzam’s US-based support activities through the Al-Kifah Refugee Centers tied to the Masjid al-Farooq in Brooklyn and the Masjid al-Salaam in Jersey City. Secondly, apart from COL Deatkine’s testimony before his, it provides the first real insight into the activities of Ali Mohammed, a man who would later be revealed as an important al-Qaeda double agent inside the US. It also turns out to be one of the earliest mentions of Osama Bin Laden. I know of Robert Fisk’s December 1993 profile of the Arab mujahid constructing a road from Khartoum to Port Sudan. Between that report and Pat Fitzgerald’s reference to Osam Ben Laden in his cross of Khaled Ibrahim, I’m aware of only a couple other reports, one concerning his status as a fundraiser for jihad and one describing the stripping of his citizenship. Finally, it gives an abbreviated view into the world of an immigrant family picked up by the father and transported around the world to take part in the Afghan jihad.
Ibrahim found himself in front of the court based on associations he built through the Al-Kifah Refugee Centers. Al-Kifah, commonly called the Jihad Office, served as the US front for Abdullah Azzam’s Afghan Services Burea (Maktab al-Khidamat), raising money for the jihad and recruiting foreign mujahidin. The organization had many offices around the country, such as Brooklyn, Jersey City, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Tucson. The Brooklyn and Jersey City offices had significant overlap and were both initially co-located prominently within the premises of Al-Farooq and Al-Salaam. The main office in Brooklyn, run by Mustafa Shalabi, eventually moved out into its own space (566 Atlantic Ave) in an office a few doors down from Al Farooq (552 Atlantic Ave). From his testimony, it appears that Ibrahim was a regular visitor to the two Jihad offices. From there he obtained monthly copies of Azzam’s Al Jihad magazine; he visited the Brooklyn office with El Sayyid Nosair; he claimed to have seen Ali Mohammed at the Jersey office; he was able to distinguish when materials initially appeared in the offices; he watched videos there with other men. It was a central meeting point for Ibrahim and a lot of men who would in one way or another be involved in the Kahane murder, the attack on the World Trade Center, and the multiple other conspiracies alleged in this trial.
Training with Abu Omar
According to Ibrahim, Ali Mohammed, going by the name Abu Omar, first appeared in the Jersey City area in the late spring or early summer of 1989. Nosair may have attempted to interview him for the Jihad Office newsletter before then, but it is unclear from the record. Ibrahim begins telling of a phone interview with an Egyptian who was former special forces, before he is cut off by the court. Ibrahim claims that Abu Omar was introduced to them by Nosair, who was apparently his host. Steven Emerson and others relying on his work state that Khaled Ibrahim was the one who introduced Mohammed to the group, although I can’t find the underlying evidence to support this view.
In any event, Mohammed conducted training courses on his first visit at an apartment on Harrison Avenue belonging to an Abdel Aziz Hassan. The training was attended by Ibrahim, Nosair, and others, and dealt with topics of navigation, orienteering and weapons recognition. Following the training, Mohammed came to the offices of Al Kifah, where he presumably left manuals stolen from the JFK Special Warfare Center (SWC) related to weapons recognition, explosives, grenades, and the construction of improvised weapons.
Mohammed returned in the fall, when Ibrahim saw him at Al Kifah when he came in with Nosair. They discussed Afghanistan and the situation with the mujahideen. He brought with him a video of himself taking part in an SWC panel discussion for the brothers to watch.
According to Andrew McCarthy’s book, Willful Blindness, Ibrahim also attended Abu Omar’s weapons training at the Calverton range, although his testimony only mentions shooting at the Connecticut range the group used.
Do You Know Osam Ben Laden?
During the cross examination by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald launched on a series of questions asking Ibrahim if he knew Bilal Alkaisi and Ramzi Yousef (or his real name Abdul Basit). In Alkaisi’s case he denied having ever seen him in Afghanistan, New York or New Jersey. He denied having seen Ramzi Yousef and did not know anyone by the name Abdul Basit. At this point, Fitzgerald showed him a series of 5 Government Exhibits (photographs entitled 5F, W610, 384C (#2), W630, and W631). From other parts of the record 5F is a picture of Bilal Alkaisi. W610 is Ramzi Yousef. 384C (#2) is Nidal Ayyad. W630 is Abdul Rahman Yasin. W631 is Musab Yasin. In each case, he says he does not recognize the individuals in these photographs.
Immediately on the heels of this he asks Ibrahim:
Q: “Are you familiar with the person by the name of Osam Ben Laden, O-s-a-m B-e-n L-a-d-e-n?”
Q: “Have you ever met him?”
Q: “You are sure?”
Q: “Have you ever passed messages from Osam Ben Laden to anyone else?”
Q: “The jihad office, the jihad magazine.”
Mr Stavis (Attorney for Nosair): “May I have a sidebar, your Honor, with regard to the last series of questions?”
The Court: “No.”
Q: “Al Jihad magazine had an office in England, is that correct?”
A: “In England?”
A: “I think so. I am not sure.”
Q: “Did you ever go to that office?”
Q: “Have you ever been to England?”
A: “I have never been to England.”
This is a remarkable exchange as there seems to be no transition between asking Ibrahim about the identifications of the photographs, men who were clearly a part of the conspiracies at hand, and the sudden injection of a man named Osam Ben Laden. It is unfortunate that Mr. Stavis was not given an opportunity to ask about the purpose of this series of questions. One is left only to surmise. Is Fitzgerald asking these questions because he has information that Ibrahim, in fact, knows Bin Laden or at least is tasked indirectly by Bin Laden to act as a courier, presumably between Afghanistan and the Jihad Office in England? I can’t really see any other plausible explanation. Ibrahim is the only person he asks about Bin Laden during the trial.
Joining the Caravan
A significant portion of Ibrahim’s testimony is spent describing his experience of joining the jihad in Afghanistan. As a matter of conviction this wasn’t just a personal move but one that involved his entire family and had originally been planned as a joint venture with the Nosair family. At the beginning of his testimony he lists the members of his family: wife, Fatima, who he married in 1983; son, Yousef, age 10; daughter Sara, age 9; son, Ali, age 8; and daughter Mariam, age 2, who may have been born after the family’s return. These may seem like minor details, but they will be important in establishing later aspects of this story. Having considered and planned for some time, Khaled packed up his family in August of 1991 and headed for Peshawar, Pakistan, the gateway to the Afghan fight. Khaled returned to the US after approximately a month, leaving his family behind, in order to wrap up some loose ends in the US. The family had made the move as part of Khaled’s normal vacation time, so he was still actually employed. He finally returned to Peshawar sometime around March of 1992.
While he was at home, he testified to an interesting encounter with his old trainer Abu Omar. Ibrahim’s daughter, Sara, flew back temporarily for an appointment with a doctor. Ibrahim was waiting on her in the terminal when he sees his friend Ali Mohammed come out with the arrivals. According to him, Sara and Ali sat together on the flight not realizing their common acquaintance. Mohammed was on his way to the West Coast and asked for a ride to Newark airport, which Ibrahim happily provided. He missed his flight, however, and stayed overnight with Ibrahim before departing the following morning. That would not be their last meeting.
As the final collapse of Jalalabad and Kabul seemed near, Ibrahim entered Afghanistan by bus from Peshawar with a couple other men. They eventually reached the front in Jalalabad and spent a short period there before pulling back to a base to help attend the injured at a medical facility. Jalalabad fell on April 19, 1992, approximately three weeks after Ibrahim’s arrival. Afterwards, he returned to Peshawar to be with his family and worked relief efforts for the next 3-4 months.
In about June of 1992 Ibrahim returned to Afghanistan because he had heard rumors that the training camps might be shut down. He was eager to engage in further training for future jihad in places such as Bosnia and feared that the window of opportunity was closing. He attended a camp he named during cross examination as al-Farooq. Here he underwent rigorous physical training and learned the use of light weapons, crew-served weapons, and RPGs. Afterwards he returned to Peshawar and his family where he unsuccessfully attempted to obtain employment with a Saudi engineering firm intent on taking part in the anticipated Afghan reconstruction.
Some “brothers” wanted him to do some translation work and brought him back to Afghanistan around September of 1992, back to an area near the camp he had trained at earlier. During his time there an old friend appeared one day: Ali Mohammed. This time he was going by the name Abu Osama instead of Abu Omar. According to Ibrahim, Abu Osama spent 3-4 weeks in the camp training men. Ibrahim himself worked in the camp on-and off for the next 3-4 months but made intermittent journeys back to Peshawar to see his family. He finally took his family in February 1993 and brought them back to the US. He claimed that the Arab “brothers” in Peshawar were coming under increasing pressure from the Pakistanis with more and more being arrested.
And so went the story of the Ibrahim family jihad, but as with all stories some details were left out.
Testimony Comes Back to Haunt Ibrahim
After his testimony in the Blind Sheikh’s trial, US authorities worked up an indictment against Khaled Ibrahim, originally sealed on March 23, 1998, and unsealed the day he was arrested on May 11. He was charged with “willfully and knowingly” filing a false immigration affidavit on behalf of Mohammed Salameh, one of the World Trade Center bombing conspirators. There wasn’t much to be done as he had admitted to the fact on the stand during the Blind Sheikh’s trial.
According to the docket, the court directed Ibrahim on October 9, 1998, that until November 6, he was not to reside at his home at 2200 Huston Place in Herndon, VA. He was to have no contact with his wife or children, Mariam and Hassan, and he was not to engage in any abusive acts against them. It is hard to see why this would be ordered unless he had already been abusing them.
A plea bargain was offered by the government shortly before the indictment against Ali Mohammed was handed down in late October 1998. It appears to have been accepted as all motions against Ibrahim were terminated on March 31, 1999.
I’m currently trying to obtain the files for this docket to see what else can be gleaned, but it is not critical to the overall story. I will issue an update of this article in the future if anything particularly interesting is revealed within them.
And then the story of Khaled Ibrahim goes silent for a long time.
The Emergence of Mohammed Ali Osman and the Case of Amir Meshal
On September 7, 2015, Fox 9 in Minneapolis ran a story on a local man named Amir Meshal who was accused of recruiting Somali youth to go fight overseas. Much of the information in the story came from interviews with two of Meshal’s cousins: Mohammed Ali (“Tony”) Osman and Nabil Ashour. In the course of the story, Osman is revealed to be the step-son of co-conspirator, Khaled Ibrahim. Osman is described as a “double cousin” of Meshal, meaning that their parents are sibings. Meshal’s father, Mohammed, is the brother of Osman’s mother, Fatima Meshal, and Meshal’s mother, Fifi Osman Meshal, is the sister of Osman’s father, Gamal.
Meshal was already well-known stemming from his detention in Ethiopian jails in 2007. The Tinton, New Jersey youth had gone to Somalia ostensibly to “enrich his study of Islam” and was captured by Kenyan authorities as he fled the violence there. The Kenyans deported him back to Somalia to an area controlled by Ethiopian troops. After a number of days he was transported to Ethiopia and placed in detention, where he contends he was threatened with torture, falsely accused of receiving training from al-Qaeda, and denied access to a lawyer by US officials. He ultimately returned home on May 26, 2007.
With the assistance of the ACLU, he filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the US officials he accused of wrongdoing. The case was dismissed by a lower court in 2014 whose decision was upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on October 23, 2015. The court essentially said that despite the troubling nature of Meshal’s claims, his constitutional rights were not violated because events took place overseas in the course of a terrorism investigation. Troubling indeed.
Meshal joined another lawsuit in 2011, originally filed in June 2010 by the ACLU, challenging placement and redress processes related to the US Government’s No-Fly list. Meshal also alleged that the FBI repeatedly offered to take him off the list in exchange for his services as an informant, which he repeatedly declined to accept.
Osman says that Meshal indicated to him that these experiences permanently embittered him towards the United States.
A September 19, 2015, story from Minnesota Public Radio gives more detail about how Meshal ended up in Africa in the first place. According to the report, Meshal’s mother asked Amir’s uncle, Dr. Magdy Osman, if Amir could come stay with him in Cairo and “reacquaint” himself with their religion. Meshal left for Egypt in 2005. By the following year Meshal told his family he wanted to get work in Dubai, but in reality he was headed to the Somalia of the Council of Islamic Courts, where he intended to find a Somali wife as he told his uncle Magdy.
Such is the story of Amir Meshal in a nutshell, one that deserves its own article in its many aspects. But what of Tony Osman, the cousin who so freely speaks of Amir’s feelings, viewpoints, and alleged misdeeds to the media, the one whose step-father is Khaled Ibrahim. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Osman first made waves in the Meshal case in Tom Lyden’s investigative report mentioned above, but a follow-up report on the story by Lyden 5 months later revealed that Osman was actually a paid FBI informant on his cousin in the Somali youth recruitment case. Osman recorded his conversations with the FBI and played them for Lyden to confirm his allegation. According to Osman, the genesis of his approach to the TV station arose from his frustration with the Bureau for going after the “small fries” instead of the “bigger fish” recruiter types like his cousin. His position is that the Bureau is simply trying to generate the maximum number of convictions to justify budgets and magnify importance.
Those appearances have been disastrous for him. The Bureau cut its ties and shortly thereafter his home was raided by the DEA, who destroyed his “grow operation,” some 72 marijuana plants he claims he used to generate cannabis oil to alleviate the effects of an autoimmune disease that causes him to vomit after he eats. As one can imagine, a confidential informant that gets high several times a day and speaks to the media becomes a liability. But what of his story? The Meshal stuff is only the tip of the iceberg.
According to those reports out of Minnesota, Osman initially approached the FBI with a complicated conspiracy theory regarding the death of his biological father, a man by the name of Gamal Eddine Osman. The Bureau was not interested, so he returned later with charts and timelines detailing the history of his family and its associations with international terrorism. He says he was laughed out of the office, but called back a couple days later after his family tree was looked into. When he returned, he says investigators held up a photograph and asked him if he knew the identity of the individual. He told them it was Amir Meshal, and that kicked off his work for them.
The Family Soap Opera
His theories regarding his father’s death, his connections to individuals associated with the Blind Sheikh in NY/NJ and early members of al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and alleged family ties to the events of 9/11 are not just the stuff of hidden Bureau files, however. Osman himself, with the assistance of his cousin Nabil Ashour, has put this material out on Youtube for the whole world to see. Some of it consists of rambling commentary (as if he had recently been taking some drags of the cannabis oil), inflammatory accusations against family members, and some facts which are independently verifiable. All of this is interspersed with family photos, official documents, email printouts, and a backdrop of books and materials generally related to the story of international terrorism. No matter what you ultimately think of it, it is undeniably fascinating, all the more so because you know at least some of it is true. The following is a presentation of the family story as he sees it.
Tony’s father Gamal came from Egypt established himself in the US in the mid-70s and became financially successful. Gamal was killed in a car accident in Massachusetts in 1982, an incident Osman claims was orchestrated by members of his own family who profited by his death. Most bizarrely one of the perpetrators of the accident was allegedly Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a former Black Panther turned FBI informant who’s become “famous” in his own right. Osman’s mother, Fatima, became a hot commodity with the substantial inheritance and was eyed greedily by uncle Magdy before she was quickly snapped up the following year by Gamal’s “best friend”, Khaled Ibrahim.
The subsequent years saw his mother, step-father, and aunts and uncles pilfer insurance money, sell properties, and acquire his cab medallions to build their own little empires. Especially given his current financial troubles, he is eager to reacquire what he feels belongs to him and was stolen from him.
Not only were his family taking his money, but as was stated earlier, step-dad Khaled was involving the young boy in his jihad. He says that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman stayed with their family for a couple months upon entering the United States in July 1990. The Fox 9 story says that Ibrahim sponsored Abdel Rahman into the US. Ibrahim in his testimony, on the other hand, said he met Abdel Rahman ~6 months after he came to US. Osman claims to have been present in the room when Abdel Rahman gave permission for an attack against the World Trade Center but denied permission for one against the United Nations building.
Osman’s presentation includes a photo of a young boy, which he claims to be him, shouldering an RPG surrounded by admiring onlookers. He says that Ibrahim took him along during the training journeys to Jalalabad and Khost after the family moved to Peshawar. He says that he met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, Ali Mohammed, and a host of other stars of the global jihad. He says that Khaled Ibrahim’s friend Ahmad Salama Mabruk aka Abu Faraj al-Masri was a neighbor across the street in Peshawar. He claims Ibrahim called Ramzi Yousef from Peshawar and gave him the go-ahead for the attack against the World Trade Center. The family returned to the United States around the time of the attack.
In short, Khaled Ibrahim was in his words “a f**king terrorist.”
But it’s not just Khaled who is a terrorist. Osman didn’t stay with the family for much longer upon their return to the US. A steadily deteriorating relationship between him and his step-father resulted in legal guardianship ultimately passing from his mother Fatima to his uncle Magdy, the same guy to whom Fifi Meshal sent her son Amir to stay in Egypt. Property records from Atlantic County, NJ, show this to be the case for sure by 1998; these property records also show that Fatima Meshal was still legal guardian of Osman as late as June 1993. Osman claims that he began traveling overseas with Magdy Osman as early as 1994 and lasted until he became an adult. Magdy Osman is a neurosurgeon and medical devices salesman, with emphasis on the medical devices salesman aspect according to step-son, Nabil Ashour. This may be so when one considers the string of properties and corporations belonging to him and his wife, Johanna Ashour Osman, in Florida. Tony went to be with him in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and continued with him as they moved to the Clearwater/Belleaire Beach area of Florida. His step-sister Sara Ibrahim is also associated with Magdy’s 1800’Gulf Blvd residence for a period.
Both Tony and Nabil describe Magdy as a greedy and dirty old man, one who illegally siphoned off nearly $200K from the estate of his brother. In one video, Osman details in incident in which he says Magdy attempted to kill him by passing fumes from mixed pool chemicals through the AC/ventilation into his room to poison him. On a grander scale they level the serious charge that he was a recruiter of many of the 9/11 hijackers. In their videos they lay out several papers they found among his effects in Arabic with numbers in both European and Arabic numerals. They contend that these are the names of the hijackers with associated numbers of some sort. Tony says he accompanied Magdy on many trips to Saudi Arabia where he supposedly met and recruited these individuals at numerous weddings.
These sorts of accusations are not just reserved for Magdy. He also makes the most scandalous charges against his aunt Azza (Meshal) Khalil, who he calls the smartest of them all. This seems to be verifiably true as she is an engineer doing antenna research at the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). He claims that Azza and her husband, Mohammed Khalil, profited from the pressured sale of his six cab medallions, which they acquired and have now parleyed into a trove of 33 medallions, earning them a staggering monthly sum. He also says they were the ones who put him on the plane to Karachi as a little boy, telling him that he was going on a vacation to the caverns of Virginia. Finally, he says that Azza was totally onboard with the extremist scene in NY/NJ in the late 80s and early 90s, coming up on weekends and interacting with individuals involved in the attacks and conspiracies. He claims her knowledge was used to assist the 9/11 hijackers in their takeovers of the planes and how to drop off tracking radars.
By any accounting this is weird, wild stuff, as Johnny Carson used to say. I’m not going to make judgments one way or another about Osman’s claims. They are many, and they are explosive. All one can say is that there undoubtedly multiple strains of jihadism within the family, that several branches are dysfunctional in the extreme, and that there is a lot of money at play. Osman has many grievances against certain family members, yet the known activities and behaviors of some of them provide a veneer of believability to some of his accusations despite his obvious pecuniary agenda.
The Homicidal Mayhem of Yusuf Ibrahim
After the story of Mohammed Ali Osman, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I nevertheless turned up another unexpected avenue in my researches on the name Khaled Ibrahim with a couple of stories out of New Jersey about a gruesome double-homicide/decapitation from 2013.
On February 5, 2013, a 27-year-old man by the name of Yusuf Ibrahim was riding together with Henry Tawadros and Amgad Konds in a white Mercedes-Benz C280 owned by Konds. An altercation broke out among the men and Ibrahim shot both Tawadros and Konds in the chest with a .38 caliber pistol. According to Ibrahim, all three men were high. He claimed that he feared for his life as Tawadros and Konds had commissioned him to “find them some women,” and were becoming increasingly agitated at his failure.
After shooting the two, he placed the bodies in the trunk and drove them back to a wooded area behind the unoccupied home of his grandmother at 1124 Harding Highway in Buena Vista Township, NJ. There he took a tire iron and knocked out their teeth; then he took a drywall saw and a pair of scissors to remove the victims’ heads and cut their hands off. He buried the bodies in shallow graves and moved the dismembered items a short distance away. The implements of the deed were also left lying in the general area.
The news reports of the incident are confusing as to when particular events that night took place and how long the time span was between them. What can be said is that Yusuf in his excited state entered the premises by crashing through the gate at the entrance of the property. That combined with the strange goings-on late at night at a house usually vacant caused neighbors to call authorities. The police responded to the call but did not find Yusuf or the car in the wooded area of the property. At some point Yusuf’s uncle Tarek, in whose name the property now stood, arrived at the premises and found his nephew. Now this is odd, because Tarek’s residence was in Virginia, and he returned there the following day. According to Tarek’s testimony during the first day of the trial, Yusuf admitted his crime straightaway. Tarek’s response: “You have to take those bodies and get them out of here. You just turned my mom’s house into a major crime scene.” He then took his nephew to get some energy drinks and cigarettes, returned home and went to sleep. He awoke the next day to find his nephew grimy and sweaty, indicating that Yusuf did the burials overnight while his uncle was asleep, even though accounts normally make it sound as though he dismembered the bodies right after arriving. Tarek went back to Virginia while Yusuf’s brother Ali made the opposite journey to help Yusuf dispose of the car. Yusuf and Ali drove the vehicle to Philadelphia on February 6th and attempted to torch it in a run-down area of town at 4100 Penns Grove St. A police officer spotted the two and attempted to give chase, but they got away in Ali’s wife’s car. The following day Yusuf’s uncle returned to New Jersey and made a report with the police, who returned to the property with cadaver dogs and discovered the bodies. Yusuf was ultimately arrested on February 10th at an apartment in Bayonne.
The day of his indictment turned out to be a very rough day indeed. Hours before the murder charge came down, he was also hit with carjacking and robbery charges stemming from an incident in September 2012. He would ultimately be convicted for the murders on June 22, 2016, and be sentenced to two life terms exactly three months later.
So how does all this connect to Khaled Ibrahim? Well, it turns out that Yusuf is in all likelihood his eldest son. Figuring this out is a somewhat complicated process, which I’ll detail in bullet format below:
- The first clue comes from a couple of news stories indicating that the grandmother’s house came into uncle Tarek M. Ibrahim’s possession by way of quitclaim deed from Khalid M. Ibrahim and Maged M. Ibrahim. Originally the deed included all three men with the widow Mimi Hassan as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. The first question is how they relate to one another. Given the same middle initial for each of them, the natural hypothesis is that they are brothers.
- All the paperwork for this Buena Vista township property lists a single Virginia residence for the three men: 174 Glen Heather Road in Sterling. This address and other addresses associated with the men are all in the same general area to which co-conspirator Khaled M. Ibrahim and his wife Fatima Meshal moved after leaving New Jersey.
- Various online records associating these three men as relatives often give ages or birthdates. For example, Radaris gives Maged’s and Tarek’s ages as 59 and Khaled’s as 63. Others tend to give Khaled’s age as 62.
- Court records in Fairfax County for a Khaled Mamdouh Ibrahim give a birthdate of June 9, 1954, making him 62—soon to be 63.
- A corporate filing in Virginia for IMEX, Inc. names as director Tarek Mamdouh Ibrahim at the address 174 Heather Glen Road in Sterling, VA. This means that Khaled Mamdouh Ibrahim is in all likelihood the same Khaled M. Ibrahim related to Tarek and Maged.
- Khaled Ibrahim mentions during the trial that his father was already in the country, and that he and his mother and two brothers followed later
- During his testimony at the 1995 trial, Ibrahim gave the names and ages of his four children by Fatima. The oldest son was named Yusuf and was 10 years old at the time. He would have been 27 or 28 by the time of the events described here. The murderer was 27. Ibrahim named his second son as Ali. The murder’s brother was named Ali.
- A Jersey City address listing for Yusuf Ibrahim, if it is accurate, gives a fairly conclusive connection between the murderer and the family of Khaled Ibrahim. A couple of the addresses listed with Ibrahim, such as the apartments at 1 Woodbine Ave in Avenel, NJ, and the 812 Sycamore St address in Herndon, VA, can be clearly tied to Fatima Meshal, Khaled Ibrahim and his sister Sara. The 55 Ocean Ave address in Jersey City is tied to Emma Abdelrehim, a woman with whom the murderer lived in the years before his arrest.
The research that went into making the connection between the murderer and the eldest son of Khaled Ibrahim took some time but unearthed a lot of information in terms of addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and corporations. One could get a general sense of familial connections and movement over time.
The first thing that jumps out at a person sitting back and looking at the whole thing speaks to one of Tony Osman’s criticisms voiced in his secret recording of a phone conversation between himself and Khaled Ibrahim: that they could never develop normally as a family because, among other things, they were constantly on the move. At first they owned or lived in numerous homes in New Jersey, then they went to Northern Virginia and moved around incessantly. This was followed by a sojourn in Florida with some members of the family, then back to Virginia/Maryland. I have several pages of addresses associated with Ibrahim and several family members culled from various Whitepages-type websites, property records, corporate filings, and court records.
The second striking aspect of this comes not from all the information I collected, but the fact that it took all the information to make the connection in the first place. With the all the news stories generated by the slayings, not one of them delves into the background of Yusuf Ibrahim. He’s just some deadbeat drifting through life that appeared out of nowhere a few years back. I find that unbelievable in this day and age. The only two family members prominently covered are ones who were involved and forced to testify at the trial. Two others are mentioned in passing as being on a property record where the bodies were found, but no attempt appears to have been made to understand their relationship to the accused.
I researched and wrote this profile not because I believed there to be any overarching conclusions to be drawn or ground-breaking revelations, but simply because I believe in putting together the most complete story possible on events. If something new and intriguing comes out of it, then that’s great. In this case, I think there are several things that really stand out
Specifically regarding the events of that era, I’m extremely interested to know what the government truly thinks of Ibrahim’s involvement with Osama Bin Laden and his burgeoning organization. Did they really have something on him, or where Fitzgerald’s questions just a fishing expedition? We know that Bin Laden’s man Ali Mohammed was involved with the Jersey City group, and from later events we know that guys like Nosair and Mahmoud Abouhalima were known associates of Wadih El Hage. Do the Egyptian émigrés in the Osman, Meshal, and Ibrahim families have any history with radical Egyptian groups apart from what is already known? What was the true nature of the relationship between Ibrahim and the Blind Sheikh? Was Ibrahim his stateside sponsor? Did he actually live with them as Tony Osman says?
Getting down into the weeds of this history makes one wonder just how many foreign fighters we have here in the US. It would be interesting to know how many individuals here in the US fought in the Afghan jihad against the Soviets, how many fought in Bosnia, Algeria, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc. While I don’t think the numbers would be staggering, I would wager they would be surprising nonetheless. Some might question the relevance of digging up old bones, but I don’t. I’ve seen enough jihadi magazines and videos to recognize the importance placed on heroes of jihad. While these veterans may not be planning anything untoward here in the US, their worldview is almost certainly molding future generations that may show less constraint as the atmosphere becomes more volatile and more vicious.
The case of Amir Meshal highlights a phenomenon I’ve noticed in a number of other cases but have never seen addressed specifically in-depth. In these case studies it seems common to have a family with a troublesome child who turns to religion at some point to clean up his act. Sometimes it is at the behest of his family, and sometimes it is of his own volition. Regardless of their own religiosity, the family is initially relieved to see the reform, but is later becomes dismayed as his reform becomes the basis for increasing demands upon their own routine and descends into outright radicalism. The amazing thing is how this reform process is either actively farmed out or goes almost completely unmonitored until it is too late.
The last thing is more of a sociological concern arising out of this case study. What are the effects of this belief system and lifestyle on a family? One could look at any number of variations: a father who is locked away long term for some act as with the Nosair family; a family who moves to a contested territory for a time and returns as in the case of the Ibrahim family; or families such as those we have now who stay in the warzone long-term, and may be pulled away unwillingly. Maybe it’s been done, and I’m just now aware of it, but I think an exhaustive study of this nature would be very enlightening.