‘Failure in love, life led to terrorism’

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He said him being cheated by someone he loved and failing to succeed in his life in the US had pushed him towards terrorism which led to the ‘grave mistake’ he made.

“Your Honor, I have made a grave mistake. Please have mercy on me. Please consider my life situation before you sentence me,” Nafis wrote in a letter strewn with typo to Carol Bagley Amon, the Chief United States District judge at the Eastern District of New York.

“I am a simple, calm and quite person who has ended up doing one of the most violent crimes in the history of human civilization. Your Honor, I sincerely request you to forgive me for my grave crime.”

“I apologize to (you) and through you to all the people of the whole America especially those (who) work at and around the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Your Honor, please give me hope of living again. I beg (you) to have mercy on me. Forgive me, please,” he implored.

“I have no idea how much (a) disappointment I am to my parents, still my parents love me. My father has lost his job because of me.

The 22-year-old continued: “My parents are living (off) their savings and sending me money from that savings too. Almighty God only knows how long (they are going) to be able to do it. There is none to take care of my old parents. Your Honor, I need to go to them as early as possible.”

But his plea failed to convince judge Amon as she sentenced the Bangladeshi youth to 30 years in prison after he admitted that he intended to use a bomb to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank.

“I’m ashamed, I’m lost, I tried to do a terrible thing,” said Nafis, before the the verdict was handed down around 9:30pm Friday Bangladesh time.

Nafis, now being held in a US prison, had written to the judge for leniency in July 31. The New York Daily News published a copy of the letter on Thursday.

He was arrested in October 2012 while trying to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound (454-kg) bomb hidden in a van.

Instead, the van carried inert materials planted by an undercover FBI agent as part of a sting operation. Prosecutors said Nafis attempted to use a mobile phone to detonate the bogus device.

Nafis’ father Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah, who lives in Dhaka, had said at the time that his son was a victim of a ‘racist conspiracy’.

In the letter to judge Amon, Nafis had said that he was mentally depressed.

He wrote that his problem of stammering while a child, inability to do well in studies, failing to succeed in the US where he had come to try his fortunes, and being cheated by someone he loved had pushed him towards terrorism, although, he claimed, he was no believer in Islamic militancy.

Nafis had been a business student at North South University in Dhaka, before leaving to study computer science in the United States.

Nafis went to the US on a student visa and took admission in the Southeast Missouri State University. But without completing the cyber security course he had enrolled in, Nafis switched to a technical college in New York.

Nafis in the letter explained everything in his life to the judge including his belief, travelling to the US, accommodation problems, loneliness and about his girlfriend who ‘cheated on him’.

“I do not believe in the (radical) version of Islam anymore. I hate it from the bottom of my heart. It is purely evil and (inhuman). It is not Islam at all.

“I will always regret for my support for it which partly lead me to a crazy act.”

The letter also spoke about his depression over failure to make any friends.

“I had no real friends. I did not have good relation with my parents. I have grown up as a loner.

“I have (spent) my whole life trying to be someone. But I could not be anyone but a total disappointment to myself and my family… My life was totally void of any success.”

He said the university suspended him for transferring poor grades from Bangladesh, he went to Albany, New York, where his uncle lived, to find a job. He could not stay over there long “because of my aunt’s disapproval”.

“Then I came to Jamaica, Queens at Sonia’s place who is my distant relative. Furthermore, one day I had a very heated argument with the father of Sonia and he slandered me with the worst words for my simple mistake. After that living at her place started to become impossible for me.”

“Again, there was a girl in Bangladesh I used to care about and with who I was seeing my future with. I found out that she was cheating on me.

“(I) lost the last comfort (of) my heart when I got to know about that. I felt like the whole sky fell down (on) my head. I thought that there was no place for me (on) this earth neither was there anything for me to give a reason to stay alive.”

“I could not kill myself which is forbidden in Islam,” said Nafis.

After Nafis had pleaded guilty in the court on Feb 7, saying he wanted to shake the economic base of the United States. The judge had told him then that he could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of US$150,000 (Tk 200,00,000) for his crime and would lose the option of appeal if he admitted to it.

But Nafis said he was admitting guilt despite being aware of the consequences.

He also mentioned the remorse he felt after he was arrested.

“After being arrested I had a lot of time to study about Islam. I read the whole Quran which I did not read before being in prison… I did not find a single verse to support my actions (there).”

He said his viewpoint towards the United States and its people changed in jail.

Nafis also praised his lawyer Heidi C Cesare, who was appointed by the US government.

“In prison I have full right to practice my religion. I am learning Islam, the right Islam here. I have become more religious after being here at MDC.”

Admitting all his guilt, Nafis said, “If the agents had not found me I do not know what would have happened. I thank America from saving me from utter self-destruction.”

Source: Bd news24

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