Mentioned nowhere and at no time in the past two years since the highest-profile case of passenger intimidation — part of the soft jihad commanded by imams across America — occurred aboard a US Airways flight in 2006 is the fact that one of the six was an Albanian imam from Phoenix named Didmar Faja.

While we know that Albanians aren’t generally “like that” (in reference to Muslims — who of course “aren’t all like that” either), one must ask finally why there often seems to be an Albanian — four of them in the case of the Ft. Dix plot — turning up in jihad contexts. Furthermore, what would an Albanian — with a constantly professed “tolerant tradition” of Islam — have in common with a man like Omar Shahin, the spokesman for the group of the six imams?

I learned that one of the six imams, all of whom are suing US Airways, airport police, an FBI agent, and the distressed passengers, was an ethnic Albanian from an incidental mention in a very recent news story about Phoenix-area Muslim leaders being watched by the FBI more closely these days:

…The events that triggered the stepped-up scrutiny were the federal probe into a Muslim charity accused of funneling money to the Palestinian group Hamas; a target-shooting episode in Phoenix this year involving a large group of Muslim men and boys firing hundreds of rounds from AK-47s and other guns; and the high-profile removal in 2006 of six Arizona-bound imams from a jetliner after passengers and crew complained of their behavior.

The saga of the six traveling imams touched off a national controversy and attracted federal scrutiny. Much of the focus has been on the group’s spokesman, Omar Shahin…Shahin’s involvement was one factor that drew the FBI’s attention to the case and intensified its interest in Muslims’ activities in Arizona.

In the late 1980s, Shahin served as imam at the Islamic Center of Tucson, where he headed a Muslim youth group. The mosque was a hub for adherents to the radical Wahhabi school of Islam, some of whom later became important aides to Osama bin Laden in the al-Qaida terrorist group.

While in Tucson, Shahin raised money for the Holy Land Foundation before the group was outlawed. He also was a fundraiser for the Illinois-based KindHearts Foundation, which the government shut down last year for alleged support of Hamas.

Shahin has served as a Muslim community liaison with the FBI and the Phoenix police. A book released by Shahin last year advocated that Muslims living in Western society follow a strict version of conservative Sharia law.

“A Muslim must try his best to abide by the rulings of Sharia whenever possible as much as he can. He should not allow himself to be liable to those western laws that contradict the clear-cut Islamic rulings,” Shahin wrote.

Throughout the book, Shahin quotes an extremist Islamic scholar who studied under the man widely credited with inspiring al-Qaida. The scholar was a speaker at Holy Land Foundation events, prosecutors in the Dallas case said in court this year. They showed jurors photos of the man with Hamas and Hezbollah leaders and in videos preaching to kill Jews.

Shahin declined to comment in detail on his writings, the jetliner incident or the fundraising case. He is the father of one of the young men arrested in the Phoenix target shooting, Oday Shahin, 20. Another imam stopped in Minneapolis, Mahmoud Sulaiman, 51, a Syrian native, also has a son who was at the scene of the target shooting but was not arrested, a Phoenix police report stated.

Shahin and his son share other connections with people involved in events that drew the FBI’s interest. Omar and Oday Shahin work with a third imam from the plane, Didmar Faja, a 28-year-old Albanian, at a conservative Islamic school in south Phoenix. Saiaf Abdallah, son of Akram Abdallah, accused of lying to the FBI, also works there, and his mother is a board member. […]

The only other news story involving Faja was in the Washington Times in August 2007, and was about a “pop bottle bomb” that landed 25 feet from him:

An Arizona mosque frequented by an imam involved in a high-profile lawsuit against airline passengers was hit by vandals early Monday with what police describe as a “pop bottle bomb.”

Imam Didmar Faja says he was standing outside of the Albanian American Islamic Center of Arizona, just west of Phoenix, when the incident occurred at 1 a.m.

The plastic bottle contained pool-cleaning fluid and strips of aluminum foil, and was thrown from a red car driven by two persons. It landed about 20-25 feet from the imam, police said.

A sergeant with the Glendale Police Department said the incident is under investigation. “We are treating it as a hate crime. We are taking it very seriously,” Sgt. Jim Toomey told Reuters News Agency.

Mr. Faja and five other clerics are suing U.S. Airways and “John Doe” passengers claiming they were discriminated against when they were removed from a flight last year. The passengers are named in the suit for reporting suspicious behavior.

It was not clear what the imam was doing outside of the center at 1 a.m., as prayers were scheduled for 4:30 a.m.

As one commenter to this article wrote:

Perhaps the persons who threw the bottle have had their rights violated by being accused of suspicious behavior, and should sue the Imam. So what if the Imam felt threatened? He was not actually hurt. The Imam and CAIR, by their ridiculous lawsuit, have shown that being overtly threatened without being actually hurt is no excuse for reporting suspicious behavior.

To follow up belatedly on another event, here are more Austria-Bosnia connections that shed further light on the Bosnian who was caught trying to bring explosives into the U.S. embassy in Vienna in October 2007:

Bosnian Muslim Wahabbis [sic] behind terror plot on US Embassy (October 15th, 2007)

Mehmed Djudjic, one of the Bosnian Muslim conspirators in the attempted bombing on the US Embassy in Vienna, confirm Bosnia Muslim papers, is indeed a member of a Wahabbi sect led by a Bosnian Muslim Imam Muhamed Porca who preaches from a house located in Vienna on the Murlingenstrasse 61 street in the 12th Vienna district.

Members of this particular Vienna Wahabbi cell are explicitly told by their leader not to give interviews to the media….However, a rat from that cell has emerged who says that Djudjic was indeed the mastermind in the attempted attack on the Embassy because the Bosnian Muslim who walked into the Embassy carrying explosives, Asim Cejvanovic, did that after approaching Djudjic for some money.

The anonymous Bosnian Muslim says that Cejvanovic was in need of 200 Euros and when he approached Djudjic, he was given a Wahabbi text titled “Anointing in Islam” found in the rucksack along with the bombs…Cejvanovic says that it is Djudjic who told him to go to the Embassy but, according to some Austrian news sources, his real motive was not to blow up the Embassy but in order to offer a deal to the CIA in which he will rat on his fellow Muslim who sells Islamic bombing paraphernalia in exchange for money.

The leader of the Vienna Wahabbis, Muhamed Porca, is one in the informal group of Bosnian Muslim extremist Imams who are a vital part in the worldwide Islamic terror network.

Muhamed Porca, Senad Podojko, Jusuf Barcic, Sabahudin Albani, Safet Durguti and Sulejman Bugari are led by Adnan Buzar, an imam married to a Palestinian woman Badiya Khal’il, daughter of the notorious terrorist Abu Nidal…It is also interesting to note an ethnic Albanian connection to this group. Sabahudin Albani, Safet Durguti and Sulejman Bugari are all ethnic Albanians.

Sabahudin Albani is a Muslim Albanian from Macedonia and is known for his unquestionable support of Osama bin Laden. Albani was a volunteer for the Bosnian Muslim army in the 1990s where he got valuable experience in killing Christians, mostly Serbs.

Safet Durguti, an ethnic Albanian from [the ]Kosovo village of Orahovac, was an appointed representative of an Islamic terror organization [named] Vazir that was shut down in Bosnia after US discovered it was funneling money for Osama bin Laden’s terror cells.

Sulejman Bugari, who preaches hatred of Jews, Serbs and America from a mosque in Sarajevo is an ethnic Albanian…[A] more conspicuous Albanian connection with radical Islam is made with Jusuf Barcic who studied Islam in Damascus from Muhammed Nasiruddin bin Nuh Al Albania, an ethnic Albanian who is regarded as one of the highest Wahabbi authorities in the Islamic world. Muhammed Al Albania became a professor of Islam in Damascus only after Saudis intervened on his behalf. Al Albania died in 1999.

Wahhabism: from Vienna to Bosnia

Local media reports trace the financial and ideological center of Bosnia’s radical Wahhabi movement to Vienna, while the moderate Islamic communityprepares for an intensifying battle of influence.

By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch (June 2007)

Only the funeral of former Bosnian Muslim leader and wartime Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic went down with a bigger crowd and more security than that last weekend of Jusuf Barcic, the informal leader of Bosnia’s radical Muslims of the Wahhabi movement.

More than 3,000 Wahhabis arrived in the northern city of Tuzla to attend the funeral, and according to local media, almost half of them came from Slovenia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Serbian region of Sandzak. A number also came from Western European countries, mostly from Austria, whose capital, Vienna, is said to be the Western financial and ideological center for the Bosnian Wahhabi movement.

More than 50 uniformed and undercover policemen monitored the funeral of Barcic, who died in a car accident in Tuzla on 30 March after hitting a light pole while speeding, according to the preliminary police report.

[A police] source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bosnian radical Muslims, as well as those from Serbia, were being financed and led by Bosnian Muslims living in Vienna and other Austrian cities, as well as by Saudi Arabia.

It appears that both Wahhabi movements, in Bosnia and Serbia, were financed and led by Bosnian and Serbian Wahhabi clerics living in Vienna.

Bosnian Islamic community officials and police accuse former Bosnian Muslim cleric Muhamed Porca, who runs the Vienna-based Islamic community administrative unit, of serving as the financial and ideological supporter of Barcic and his movement.

Porca, who was Barcic’s colleague at university in Saudi Arabia calls for the creation of a parallel Islamic community in Bosnia, which would lean toward radical Islam.

Bosnian media and Islamic community officials also named another Vienna-based Bosnian cleric, Adnan Buzar, as a main supporter of Barcic’s movement. Buzar is the son-in-law of Palestinian Sabri al-Banna, also known as Abu Nidal, the founder of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, and the most wanted international terrorist in late 1980s. Al-Banna was killed in Iraq in 2002.

In the late 1980s, Swiss authorities blocked Abu Nidal’s Société de Banque Suisse and Credit Suisse account and its US$18 million balance. In January 1998, the accounts were unfrozen and Buzar’s wife and Abu Nidal’s daughter, Badija Khal’il, withdrew US$8 million. Badija Khal’il was granted Bosnian citizenship in 1995 through the Bosnian embassy in Vienna.

According to Serbian media reports, the alleged financier of the Sandzak Wahhabis is a Vienna born Serbian Muslim named Effendia Nedzad Balkan, also known as Ebu Muhammed, the leader of the Sahaba Mosque in Vienna. Balkan, along with six other Wahhabis, three of them Austrian citizens, was involved in the beating of Bosnian Serb Mihajlo Kisic in Bosnian city of Brcko in 2006. After a short trial, the seven were given symbolic sentences on parole and some of them returned to Vienna.

Several Islamic aid agencies were based in Vienna during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, and the Bosnian government opened a bank account in the Austrian capital, while nearly 100 Islamic fighters were granted Bosnian citizenship through the embassy in Vienna [as was Osama bin Laden himself].

Barcic himself traveled to the Austrian capital several times during the war as the representative of the Vienna-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IGASA) for the Bosnian city of Zenica.

Austria became the major logistical and financial center for the Bosnian government during the 1990s - an arrangement that allowed the Islamists to create a system for arming the Bosnian Army, transferring foreign fighters and weapons via the Slovenian city of Maribor and the Croatian port city of Split.

The biggest financier of Bosnian Muslim defense [aggression] was the Vienna-based Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), through whose account in the Austrian Die Erste Osterreich Bank flowed some US$350 million in donations from Islamic countries between 1992 and 1995. About half of that money was used for financing Bosnian government.

The TWRA was established in 1987 by a Sudanese native, Al-Fatih Ali Hassanein, considered a close friend of former Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic.

In July 1992, a couple of months after the war started, Hassanein was authorized by the Bosnian leadership to serve as the financial representative of the Bosnian state, while TWRA allowed to collect donations for refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 1996, some two years after Hassanein fled Austria and settled in Turkey, Austrian police raided TWRA’s offices and bank accounts. Investigations showed that the majority of the cash originated in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia as the largest contributor, followed by Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Brunei and Malaysia.

According to ISN Security Watch’s source from the commission for citizenship revision, some of those involved in TWRA’s work in Vienna during and after the war are also under suspicion of granting Bosnian citizenships to foreigners from Islamic countries under questionable circumstances.

In addition, the source said the Bosnian Foreign Ministry had noted the disappearance of some 300 blank Bosnian passports from Vienna embassy during that time. The passports were stolen in 1993 from the embassy safe, but there was no sign that the safe had been broken into. The police source said a report was filed naming former embassy secretary Nadzisa Tabakovic as responsible.

In the applications for Bosnian citizenship, obtained by ISN Security Watch, some wrote that they would go to help Bosnian Muslims during the war, while also contained a note saying “recommended by TWRA.”

However, the police source close to the commission’s work said most of those who received Bosnian citizenship in embassies throughout the world, and especially in Vienna, never set foot in Bosnia, but used the passports for easier travel, as at the time a Bosnian passport made travel easier in Europe than some Middle Eastern passports.

However, issuing Bosnian citizenships to the Islamists has seriously damaged Bosnia’s wartime reputation, especially when it comes to those foreign fighters who arrived here ostensibly to help Bosnian forces during the war, but more likely were here to gain more influence.

In 1999, Turkish authorities arrested Mehrez Aodouni while en route to Chechnya with a Bosnian passport. Aodouni was believed to be a close associate of bin-Laden. After his arrest, the Bosnian government said his
citizenship had been granted due to his membership in the Bosnian Army, even though local media investigating the case found no evidence that he had fought in Bosnia.

Also, in 1997, Italian authorities arrested 14 people suspected of plotting to assassinate Pope John Paul II on his trip to Bologna. All of those arrested carried Bosnian passports and were reportedly members of the
Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Just like in Aodouni’s case, there was no evidence for half of them that they had ever set foot in Bosnia. […]

A Fort Dix follow-up to come tomorrow.