April 23rd, 2010
02:45 PM ET

Officials: New York subway terror suspect pleads guilty

Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty to charges he plotted a terror attack on New York City's subway system.

Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty Friday to terrorism charges stemming from his role in an al-Qaeda plot to "conduct coordinated suicide bombings" on New York’s subway system in September 2009, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Ahmedzay and another man, Adis Medunjanin, conspired with Najibullah Zazi on the attack in mid-September 2009.

Ahmedzay, 25, pleaded guilty to the following charges: Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass of destruction in the U.S.; conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country; and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al Qaeda. Ahmedzay faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Security Brief: 'Home-grown jihadists' a growing headache for FBI

Ahmedzay listened intently in court and swiveled from side to side in his chair as the judge made sure he understood what entering a guilty plea meant. He responded that everything was clear to him and then stood up to make a statement detailing his role in the terror plot.

Ahmedzay started his statement with a quote from the Quran and ended with a message to Americans.

"I strongly urge the American people to stop supporting the war against Islam," Ahmedzay said. He added "I am thankful for myself that I did not do anything to harm anyone but fear someone else will do the same thing."

During Ahmedzay's hearing, prosecutors for the first time revealed the name of the two al Qaeda leaders who ordered the plot - Saleh al-Somali, head of international operations for al Qaeda, and Rashid Rauf, a key operative.

–CNN's Jen Rizzo contributed to this report.

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. qmcs

    Ali–you and your peace loving Muslim brothers need to squash the life out of these people...sooner or later no one will care about the difference realizing that there is no innocense to befond if this is allowed to continue...this incl;ude the religious leaders.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    Profiling would have done little to stop the Oklahoma bombing, nor stop the Jihad Janes of this world, nor stop the American Taliban. The truth is that we enemies foreign and domestic and law enforcement must stop each and everyone of them whether they look like OBL or Timothy McVeigh. God bless and save America from all her enemies.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |

    Please explain to me why this country continues to allow them to live within our borders
    if you hate americans you hate our way of life. please go home. How many times do
    we have to catch these terrorist living here planning to do us harm. Send them all back

    April 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    We have enemies foreign and domestic. All must be stopped.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tony

    Van, maybe we should just stop letting everyone into the country, and while were at it maybe we would be better off stopping all economic trade with other countries. I think people who judge the immigration into this country don't understand that what we see in the news in a very very small amount of people entering the US.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sevvy88

    I understand that alot of people feel that "there isn't a war on Islam" and that may or may not be so.

    It all comes down to perspective. These terror organizations are successful because of their ability to pull in angry, disenfranchised feeling, and young people into their fold.

    Anyone who has objectively studied Islam for a hot minute knows that these groups are all quack. They are no better than the Westborough Baptist Church in terms of representing their religion. It's ashame that they have gained so much attention, succeeded at their criminal acts, and sprouted up in different forms in several countries around the world.

    I am glad that this man pleaded guilty and was caught, and I am also saddened that instead of choosing a better way to utilize his obviously strong faith, he was instead misguided and turned the beautiful religion that Islam can possibly be into a weapon to hurt others.

    The prejudice that has been born toward the majority of Muslims (who are not terrorists or violent people) because of these people's actions is devastating and polarizing. Really sad....

    April 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ben

    There is nothing we can do to convince radical Muslims that we are not warring against them. The Quran says to "kill infidels" which is everybody who does not practice Islam. These radicals will not rest until they have killed all the non-Muslims they can. Even if we leave their countries and keep to ourselves, they still believe non-Muslims are evil and need to be eliminated. The United States needs to protect itself and hold that paramount above all else.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chuck B

    I think the Churches of America along with the American Mosque need to creating some kind bridge of communication to ease the anti-Arab and anti-American atmosphere in our country today. That would be a great weapon against terrorism.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Armand

    Islam used to be on the forefront of mathematics, science, and technology. Credit where credit is due. That was over 900 years ago; a few Crusades later, and they became paranoid, closed off, and intolerant of anyone who thought differently than they do. That's not generalization, that's a track record. They attacked the United States directly once. Once. Look what it got them. We have killed many times more of them, than they killed here 9 years ago. It hasn't started a jihad in the US, and their culture of death hasn't weakened our stomach for this.
    Once every 3-4 years, we hear of a harebrained scheme like this. Are we going to become paranoid, closed off, and intolerant of anyone that doesn't think like us? I don't think so, not in the long run. If they think escalating terrorist activities in this country will help them, it won't . It will just escalate things to the point where we turn their neighborhood into black glass to get them to understand the United States just does not play.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Julio

    It is for a good reason this man feels good about himseft because he did not hurt anybody, this time. The reason ? he was caught before he could do it.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AH

    It will take Muslims to put an end to the radicals who commit this violence. The Muslims need to stand up and march against this killing of Muslims by these radicals. Instead of them marching, burning, destroying the very people who are trying to help the Muslims gain their OWN countries back from the radicals they FEAR. There is not a WAR against ISLAM period.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    I would just stick him in general population in a New York prison :).

    April 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pauly

    Why arent there more vocal antiterrorist muslim-lead movements/initiatives?
    Why is the catholic church protecting "priest" from child molestation?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    Keep them out of the country if you hate america so much stay out.We have thousands as well in Canada that we don't need

    April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tughral

    The action of handful Muslims can not be translated into the entire Muslim population. Now did anybody appreciates ever the Muslim countries fully cooperating against Alqaeda, while comming up a front line defence for United states in war against terorism. THE BIGGEST PARTNER AGAISNT TERRORISM HAS NOT BEEN APPRECIATED FOR POLITICAL REASONS. IS IT FAIRNESS.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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