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Times Square Bomb Suspect May Have Received Online Education in Jihad

Faisal Shahzad

A man who was identified by neighbors in Connecticut as Faisal Shahzad, is shown. (AP/Orkut.com)

The 30-year-old Pakistani-American accused of trying to blow up an SUV in the heart of Times Square may have been poring through the Internet for years to gather information on jihad.

FoxNews.com has uncovered several dozens of postings by a man named Faisal Shahzad on radical Islamist Salafist websites devoted to a variety of different jihadist sects. 

Experts suspect this is the same Faisal Shahzad whom authorities have charged with plotting to explode a massive car bomb in New York on Saturday. If so, then he has been educating himself on the Internet for years on the legitimacy of holy war.

Shahzad visited numerous websites devoted to ideological discussion of Islamism and Shariah law. His apparent online posts date back to at least 2006 — three years before the Times Square suspect became a naturalized American citizen.

“If the person on these websites is indeed the suspected bomber, the postings show that he was intellectually thinking about engaging in jihadism for a few years,” said Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Knowing that, the ideology of jihadism often has inspired violence and terrorism....

“These can be coined as Islamist Salafist websites where lots of material is posted, including theological, ideological and political texts and blogs,” Phares said,  noting that he saw discussions about fatwas, jihad and other Islamist causes on these sites."

Islamist Salafists are extreme radical militants who are calling for the establishment of a Taliban-like regime in the Muslim world, and who seek to replace secular laws around the world with Muslim Shariah law.

"Individuals do not become jihadists overnight or because of one major crisis or event, as some social scientists proclaim," Phares said. "They become jihadists over time, after a gradual change, consciously in a stable intellectual process."

An FBI spokesman said any possible online postings by Shahzad would be investigated.

An intelligence source initially provided Fox News with a link to what was believed to be an online posting by the Times Square suspect. Using details from that post, FoxNews.com found several dozen more on radical Islamic jihadist sites devoted to a range of Salafist sects. These other postings shared either the same IP address — in Pakistan — or e-mail address or partial e-mail address. (For example, in some cases the same user name appeared on both Yahoo and Hotmail accounts.)

The initial post, dated May 24, 2006, and placed on the World Islamic Mission Forum by a user named Faisal Shahzad, inquires into the purchasing of a recorded sermon. 

He wrote:

Dear do u know the website where i can find the download able Munazaras of AHLESUNNAT WITH EVIL SECTS. Do u know any successfull Mubahila held ?

Wasalam

Faisal

In response to that post, Faisal was directed to another site, Yanabi.com (Oh Prophet!), where a member had posted a list of the many sermons he had available for purchase.

A user wrote:

I have various lectures by some excellent ulema of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, such as,

Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri (I had the pleasure of attending his gathering at my local minhaj-ul-quran masjid).
Moulana Saeed Ahmed Asad (Would Love To Listen To Him Live)
Moulana Mukhtar Shah Sahab (Without a doubt my favorite)
Moulana Fateh Deen Chishti Sahab (rehmat Ullah Alai)
Moulana Kookab Noorani Sahab
Moulana Shafi Okarvi Sahab (father Of Moulana Kookab Noorani Sahab)
Moulana Sayyed Hashmi Mian Sahab Indiawaale
and many more.


These are in audio and video. I have also got manazra (debates) of Moulana Saeed Ahmed Asad Sahab, Moulana Abdul Kareem Naqshbandi Sahab, Moulana Muhammed Jameel Ahmed Sadiqqi Sahab, and more. All in Vid.

A member named Faisal Shahzad joined the discussion several posts later asking for help finding the downloads of the tapes he’d ordered.

In many of his posts, the man intelligence officials believe is the Times Square bomber appears to be an eager and inquisitive student, and he frequently engaged in discussions revolving around the ideological argument at the heart of different schools of jihadist thought.  

He asked, for example, why a certain fatwa was issued in one instance while one was not in a similar situation. He asked about the specific differences in the beliefs of Salafists around the world, and the reasoning behind them.

He questioned the ideology behind a fatwa issued by the Deobandi school of thought in India. (Deobandi is an extremist South Asian form of Islam; major Taliban leaders attended Deobandi madrassas.)

In other posts, also uncovered by FoxNews.com, a user who also appears to be Shahzad inquired about how to obtain work visas in Italy and Canada. That same person was a member of a Google group that recently circulated a petition opposing a cartoon rendering of Muhammad that appeared in the Australian media.

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