On March 19, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had arrested a 28-year-old Pakistani doctor and former Mayo Clinic research coordinator named Muhammed Masood at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). If proven guilty, he may serve up to 20 years in prison.
Masood had also pledged his allegiance to the extremist Islamic terror outfit, besides expressing his desire to execute ‘lone wolf attacks’ in the United States. He was living in the country for 2 years, at the time of arrest, on an H-1B visa.
The Pakistani doctor graduated in 2016 from the Riphah International University in Islamabad which supposedly produces professionals with Islamic morals and ethics. He worked at the Pakistan Railway Hospital, Federal Government Polyclinic Post-Graduate Medical Institute and the Government of Punjab’s Healthcare department in Rawalpindi before joining Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the US as a research trainee in February 2018.
Laying the Trap
During the investigation, FBI officials found that Masood was the encrypted Social Media Platform (SMP) user ‘BB’ who wanted to travel to Syria and help the ISIS carry out their acts of terror. In the United States Vs Muhammed case, the FBI officials furnished computer records and conversations between two reliable sources that the Pakistani doctor mistook for as ISIS commanders.
Vicious Plans of the Pakistani Doctor
‘BB’ aka Muhammed Masood wanted to use his medical knowledge to work as a frontline jihadist and help the ‘mujahideen'(terrorists) on ground zero. He also wanted to be trained in weaponry. During his conversation with one of the sources, the Pakistani doctor revealed that he hated smiling at the Kaffir (non-Muslim/infidel) passing by but he did so nevertheless to avoid making them suspicious.
Masood also desired to study engineering and help transform small drones that could be purchased online into ‘suicide bombing drones’. He believed that ‘Qiyamah‘ (the day of judgment) was near and thus wanted to do jihad. The ISIS sympathiser also wanted to carry out “lone wolf” attacks in the United States.
On meeting one of the sources, he requested for a fabricated visa to keep his travel history clean and wanted to travel to Jordan before making into the ISIS territory.
In order to persuade Masood into exposing his dangerous mindset, a confidential source informed him that he might have to kill people for his ‘Iman’ (Faith) and asked whether he was willing to do such a thing. The Pakistani doctor replied, “I want to kill and get killed, again and again. This is what even Prophet Mohammed wished. Allah will protect its people.” Reportedly, he was in search of the ‘Truth‘ and was motivated to commit acts of terror after he began listening to one Anwar Nasser al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki was a Muslim Cleric in Virginia who also worked as a recruiter and planner for Al-Qaeda, a dreaded terror organisation. He was the source of ‘motivation’ for at least three 9/11 hijackers, and a former American Army Major turned mass shooter in Texas named Nidal Malik Hasan. Al-Awlaki who was killed during an airstrike in 2011 also prepared a Nigerian Islamist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in December 2009.
The Muslim cleric has left behind his Facebook page and several Youtube videos that continue to radicalise Muslims and inspire acts of terrorism. Reportedly, the Saudi news organisations refer to him as the “Bin Laden of the Internet.”
The story of Muhammed Masood was no different. He supposedly learnt from the lectures of Al-Awlaki that ‘Dawla al-Islamiyya’ in Iraq was the epitome of Truth. When the Pakistani doctor met one of the FBI sources who he mistook as ISIS commander, he said that one must know the direction in which the arrows of the Kaffirs are pointed. Masood emphasised that he understood the infidels better after moving to the United States and that he was sick of the place.
The Arrest of the Pakistani Doctor
Masood had resigned from his job at the Mayo Clinic on March 17, 2020. He also sold most of his personal belongings online, including, office chair, mattress, and shoe rack. The outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus, however, marred the plans of the Pakistani medic. He had booked a flight to Jordan from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. His mistake was that he shared the itinerary with the FBI source.
On March 19 this year, Masood was nabbed by FBI ’s Joint Terrorism Task Force while he was en route a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Pakistan Planned Terror Attack in Delhi
On March 29, two Pakistani terrorists, operating out of Shopian region in Kashmir, for the national capital to carry out a terror attack. As per a report, the two Pakistani terrorists had allegiance to ISIS and were communicating using Telegram. ISIS magazines al-Naba and Voice of Hind had also reportedly written articles urging jihadis to ‘capitalise’ on India’s preoccupation with coronavirus outbreak.
An editorial in al-Naba reportedly urged jihadis to exploit the ‘opportunity’ as the government’s ability to coordinate counter-terror operations might be reduced as the country was focusing on ensuring safety and supply of essentials to citizens amidst coronavirus outbreak. As per the report, on pro-ISIS channels, a message was circulated that read, “We are preparing for new attacks, which will be the last thing they want. The military apparatus is also crippled because of the restriction of movement. The overburdened hospitals will have a nightmare if the mujahideens greet them in the morning.”