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Saeed's family: 2 went to jail, one deported from US

Saeed's family: 2 went to jail, one deported from US

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 12, 2009

He lived in the Boston area, working odd jobs until he started teaching at the Islamic Academy of New England and Islamic Center of New England in Sharon, Massachusetts. Masood was arrested in November 2006 and charged with visa fraud and other unnamed crimes.

The second family member to arrive was Abdul Hannan, Saeed's brother-in-law. Hannan arrived in the late 1990s, through another member of their organization, Mhd Khalil, who is serving time in a US jail.

By 1998, Hannan himself was in jail, also in Massachusetts. He was out by 2002, and for the next couple of years, he spent time in Rhode Island, also as an imam, before returning to Massachusetts to be an imam there. He was arrested again in November 2006, with his brother-in-law Masood. So far, two members of Saeed's family were in US jails.

The third member, Hamid, another brother of Saeed, arrived in the US in 2001 for a program at Harvard University. He returned to the US later in the year, and became an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester. In October 2007, Hamid was deported to Pakistan because of visa irregularities. But other reasons, said sources, were that the US discovered he used to run a safe house for LeT ultras in Moon Chowk, Lahore, and that his activities as imam in the US centred on preaching jihad to youngsters there.

By 2003, LeT offices were visible in California and Virginia. After the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, international organizations discovered that LeT had also become an outsourcing centre, as its terror training camps were used to train terrorists of other groups.

Bruce Riedel, a close foreign policy aide to US president-elect Barack Obama and author of the book The Search for al-Qaida, told TOI, "Mumbai demonstrated that al-Qaida's ideology of global jihad has been adopted by LeT. The targets were al-Qaida's targets: Israel, America and India. I suspect al-Qaida may have had a hand in the planning given the long-standing and close ties between the two.''

If the hunt for al-Qaida and the hunt for terrorist groups targeting India are becoming the same, that would explain the intense interest of the international intelligence community in the investigations into the Mumbai attacks.

Daniel Markey of the US Council for Foreign Relations told American media last year that America's greater concern was that the LeT was becoming allied to global jihad, and was not just an anti-India group. Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan ambassador in the US, wrote in his book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, "They have managed to fly under the radar of the global network of law enforcement and still maintain their global links. But they have a grandiose ideological agenda and the capacity to wage violence, which makes them very dangerous.''

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