March 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Chicago man charged with supporting al Qaeda

A Chicago, Illinois, man was charged Friday with providing material support to al Qaeda by attempting to send the terrorist group funds overseas, the Department of Justice said.

The man, Raja Lahrasib Khan, also allegedly discussed attacking a stadium in the United States this summer, officials said, though they stressed that there is no imminent domestic danger.

Khan, a Chicago taxi driver who is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was arrested by FBI officials Friday morning.

"While there was no imminent danger in the Chicago area or elsewhere, these charges ... affirm that law enforcement must remain constantly vigilant to guard against domestic support of foreign terrorist organizations," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the charges Friday.

Khan, 56, was charged with two counts of providing material support to terrorism, each carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The charges were filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago and unsealed Friday following Khan's arrest.

The investigation into Khan is continuing, officials said Friday.

Khan appeared in federal court in Chicago on Friday afternoon but won't enter a plea until a later arraignment hearing, according to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago. Khan is being represented by the federal public defender program, Samborn said.

The complaint against Khan alleges that he attempted to transfer funds to Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged terrorist leader who tried to help organize an attack against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, according to U.S. officials.

Kashmiri is an alleged leader of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a group the U.S. Justice Department said has "trained terrorists [and] executed attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control."

Kashmiri also is alleged to have links with al Qaeda.

Earlier this month, a U.S.- born Chicago man who officials say had ties to Kashmiri pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges. Authorities say that man, David Headley, had planned the attack on a Danish newspaper in coordination with Kashmiri. The attack was never carried out.

The investigation leading to Khan's arrest is unrelated to the investigation that resulted in the charges against Headley and another Chicagoan, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who is also alleged to have participated in the Denmark plot.

According to the criminal complaint against Khan, he claims to have known Ilyas Kashmiri for approximately 15 years.

The complaint says Khan has discussed meeting Kashmiri and hearing about his desire to train operatives to conduct attacks in the United States. Khan has said Kashmiri needed money to purchase materials from the "black market," according to the complaint.

The affidavit says Khan transferred roughly $950 last November to a contact in Pakistan, then instructed the contact to deliver some of the money to Kashmiri, using a nickname for him.

Khan told an undercover FBI agent that he had met Kashmiri most recently in 2008 in northwest Pakistan, the complaint says.

On March 17, after agreeing to personally deliver to Kashmiri any funds the undercover agent wanted to send, Khan accepted $1,000 from the agent, according to the complaint.

The affidavit says Khan and the undercover agent had discussed the possibility of having Khan's son transport the money from the United States to England, where Khan would meet his son, retrieve the money, and deliver it to Kashmiri in Pakistan.

On March 23, government agents at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport came into contact with Khan's son and discovered he had seven of the ten $100 bills that the undercover agent had given to Khan, according to the affidavit.

Also in March, Khan and an associate appeared to discuss bombing a stadium in the United States in August, according to the complaint. Khan said that bags with remote controlled bombs could be placed in various locations, and then "boom, boom, boom, boom," federal officials said.

Khan said that he would ask Kashmiri to teach him how to conduct such an attack, the complaint alleges.

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Filed under: National security
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. VeeZee

    Death penalty time!

    March 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maurizio

    It has been said over and over that the new threat will be from within, homegrown if you would; I cannot believe that there are still people out there condemning wire tapping and loss of privacy rights.....we are at war and we should never forget that. Extreme measures are a necessity- We should be discriminating more and worrying less about hurting everybody else's feelings- We are just defending our way of life and preserving life itself within our borders.

    March 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BoB

    We have terrorists everywhere man especially across the border in Juarez Mexico. This world is filled with sick idiots that want attention and they are getting it, that is why they are doing what they are doing!!! I say round them up, don't ask any questions or waste our hard earned tax dollars and mow them down, END OF STORY!!!!!

    March 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ash

    It is amazing that CNN refuses to report the truth about Al Queda or Al CIA da...they work for the usa....why haven't we caught Bin Laden yet? maybe because he is dead and worked for us in the beginning according to Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator.

    March 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jonalist

    So he's connected to the Muslim Turks that stole autos then disassembled them to ship the parts to Turkey but unloaded before they made it to port to avoid Tariffs and had lots of Opium from Afghanistan back in Turkey still available yet their stash in Afghanistan was destroyed by US Troops. Anything new like how Obama and William Ayers got so much money out of those terrorists when they occupied Chicago cause they were led there from New York and whom was the leader at that time. I know Obama had millions to distribute and some money went to his Attorney/Lawyer hire and to Rev Wright so where was Ayers spending the cash?

    March 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LacrosseSon

    Send him back to Pakistan where they can mete out some swift, brutal justice!

    March 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellen

    Hmmm, so everybody gets bent out of shape over the thought of housing the prisoners from guatanamo in the prison in northern Illinois. This man was not in an ultra high security prison behind walls topped with razor wire. He was living in Chicago, driving a taxi, right among us. I don`t believe we need to worry about those prisoners, but those terrorists living among us as naturalized citizens. So let northern Illinois benefit with jobs and improve our economy in Illinois already.

    March 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. antipaki

    Why are all these pakistanians causing trouble for the us of a

    March 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Will

    When is this going to stop- every month it seems another muslim in america is accused of trying to kill us- and of course their families claim their innocence- and then they plead gulity-
    wonder why true americans have such disdain for muslims- where are the american muslims marching in support of our coutry- WHERE?

    March 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scott

    Wow, what a shame. He enjoys a free life among the rest of us yet he would just love to see us all die in an act of terror. Lock him up for a long, long time, then maybe he'll understand the value of peaceful freedom.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Katie

    ridiculous. why is it that every muslim wants to destroy america? if you hate USA so much, just stay in your own country. no one asked you to come here.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Surthurfurd

    This is not about religions or morals. It is about people who want to feel important and believe that violence is justified in avenging their group no matter who is hurt.

    Sadly most people justify the radicals in our own group. (See the latest threats against Legislators after the recent healthcare vote, or the excuses for supporting Right Wing militants in Latin America, the Black Panthers, the KKK, etc...)

    March 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    So many of these happenings. Why do Muslims come to this country, when they hate Americans?
    Is this every Muslim? I doubt it, but we have no way of knowing which is which.Stop the immigration of Muslims and carefully check every Muslim in the U.S.Get rid of the supporters of hate and violence. Deport those we can and jail for life in places like Gitmo those we can't deport.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. G.I. Jamal

    "...where are the american muslims marching in support of our coutry- WHERE?"

    Will, we are in the U.S. Armed Forces fighing for it in Iraq and Afghanistan....

    March 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chaz

    Seems to me the root of all this evil is Americas unquestioning support for whatever Isreal does.We need to rethink this whole policy.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
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