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. Jim

    VeeZee, it is too bad the US doesn't execute spys and terrorist like we did in WWII and before, but I guess it is because too many people think that giving a prison term to someone who was willing to die for a cause will somehow change his mind. It only delays the inevitable.

    Antipaki, the reason Pakistani's and others come here to cause destruction is the same reason Pakistan and India have had a blood feud for more than 50 years and Arabs have been cheating and stealing from each other, since the beginning of time. It is a lack of resources and opportunity and the corruption of those who have control to manipulate those who have nothing. 2500 Dollars is enough to pay a man to strap a bomb to his body so he can give more to his family dead than he would ever be able to give them in life. Take a good look in the mirror. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    GI Jamal, I commend you for your service and even though I think war is the worst of all solutions, your decision to stand against tyranny and for freedom will help bring the Middle East out of the 13th Century thinking that has made slaves of the common people. It is the lack of mass demonstrations of Musilms in America against tyranny that is disappointing.


    March 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Snappy21

    Alright it is time to get going and start cleaning up the mess in our own country, there are people who live on our soil and hate us. WTF.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dara Khan

    This guy should be locked up if he was truly plotting against America. I am happy to see the US working hard to prevent terrorism from happening. I think it's important to remember though that the authorities are receiving this intel, because of the assistance of other foreign nationals that want to be here for all of the right reasons and for what America stands for. Just because someone has a non traditional name doesn't mean that they should be judged based on the their name.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. giglr

    "I cannot believe that there are still people out there condemning wire tapping and loss of privacy rights"

    Benjamin Franklin once said "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"

    March 27, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. 28ymAmerican

    Writing my congressman to support increasing the penalty for terrorist activity related to al qaeda to a death sentence. 30 years is not enough. All that will do is give them plenty of time to think up ways to act out when they get out. If you are involved in the planning of Terrorist attacks then the consequence should be proportional to what you support / planned.

    I encourage you to do the same.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. bob

    they shouldn't even publicize this stuff......just execute him.......a terrorist is terrorist not a human!

    March 27, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa

    Many people ask, why an American Muslim wants to do us harm? To answer this question, let me ask them a simple question, why do you want to have him executed or imprisoned? They may answer, because he wants to do or he did us harm. Here is the answer to the first question, He wants to do us harm because our government is killing or assisting others to kill Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and other countries. I agree we are in a war with Muslim extremists, but we need to look into real causes of the war if we want to stop the killing from both sides.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. MK

    I am muslim & I love America & American people...I always did & I always will

    March 27, 2010 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. nilreb

    to all muslims: if you don't condemn it, you support it. so far all of you support it except for that brave woman, Hissa Hilal, in saudi arabia's version of American Idol, who spoke against the clerics who she said "hijacked her culture."

    March 27, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. mallyman

    Terrorist acts should be considered as acts of subversion. No trial. Line'em up and shoot them.

    March 27, 2010 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. pion

    CNN you promote hate and racism, then you cry why they don't like us, we are angels why they are angry , we are very peacful ,

    March 27, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. modirajiv

    Starting with WTC(Khalid Sheikh) till this news,all links lead to Pakistan.What you are facinng are the same bunch of terror groups who are attacking our freedom and our way of life in India. Sadly your government has truned a blind eye to this fact and considers Pakistan a partner in fight against terror inspite of loads of proof of that country being supportive of these terror groups.

    March 27, 2010 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. mohammedkuttha

    These guys keep coming here on student visas or visitor visas and slip away, they end up working in gas stations and driving cabs. Now they want to bite the hand that feeds them. Figures...

    March 27, 2010 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ilonka Stille

    Don't talk to me about Zionists terrorists, Hindu terrorists or whatever terrorists. They have no comparison with Islamist terrorism, Jihadism in other words. This category is a worldwide phenomenon and out to get all of us. It is stated in their "holy" book, the proof is all over the place . It is not a religion but an ideology like communism and nazism.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rasaq Seriki

    How can someone sponsoring terrorist against his Country is quite sick i think he should pay the price of doing so after thorougly investigation

    March 27, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
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