DETROIT – A tip to New York police from a man who said his ex-brother-in-law was a terrorist linked to Al Qaeda and "was getting ready to bomb you guys" has triggered the arrest of a Yemeni man in Michigan.
Agents who raided the home of Mohamed Nasser Alajji found a number of anti-American tapes and documents, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday.
State police and federal agents arrested the 31-year-old Detroit resident Thursday near Springfield, a Battle Creek-area community about 120 miles west of Detroit.
Alajji appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday on charges of possessing two social security cards. He is to appear again Friday before a U.S. magistrate.
Alajji's attorney, Nabih Ayad, said his client was only accused of having two social security cards and was being targeted because of his ethnicity.
"This is a chilling effect the government is putting on this courthouse over and over," Ayad said. "It's a detriment to the constitutional rights of this man."
Ayad said his client is innocent of the social security card accusations, saying Alajji did not speak English at the time he allegedly applied for the second number and never used it to obtain benefits.
A government request for his detention details thousands of Arabic language documents and audio tapes that it says were seized in searches of Alajji's Detroit home and of his truck.
According to the detention request, New York police got a call Dec. 17 from a man identifying himself as Fakrudin A. Mallahi, saying that his ex-brother-in-law, Alajji, was a terrorist and was "getting ready to bomb you guys."
In a later call, Mallahi said Alajji soon would carry out an Al Qaeda attack in Michigan, the request said. "Mallahi went on to describe Alajji as a fundamentalist, who is ready to die," it said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Straus said the seized documents and the statements from the brother-in-law showed that Alajji is danger to the community and a flight risk.
According to the detention request, the documents included a letter that apparently came from a religious leader. The letter appeared to answer a number of questions posed in a previous letter from Alajji.
One answer was in response to a question about using explosives to kill one's self as an act of martyrdom, the detention request said.
"Whoever killed himself by explosives is a self killer and not a martyr, even if he kills the enemies as well," the response said. "But if he was ignorant ... he shall not be blamed for his deed."
The audio tapes were translated and found to be recordings of speeches by various Muslim clerics.
U.S. attorneys also said Alajji kept a drawing at his former job of a plane striking the south tower of the burning World Trade Center. Ayad said his client denies drawing the sketch.
Alajji has had a green card allowing him to live in United States legally since 1995. He applied for citizenship two months ago, Ayad said. His application is pending.