Jul 9 2011
BROOKLYN: Homegrown MUSLIM jihadist convicted of trying to join terrorist group so he could kill U.S. troops
He’s a homegrown terror, an American- born Brooklyn MUSLIM man who was convicted by a federal jury yesterday of trying to join a mujahedeen group with the intention of attacking and killing United States armed forces abroad.
NY POST –Betim Kaziu, 23, was found guilty after less than four hours of deliberations in Brooklyn federal court following a two-week trial. The panel found that Kaziu had sought out jihadist training and weapons from Islamic militants overseas.
He faces life imprisonment when he is sentenced this fall by Judge John Gleeson for conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, attempt to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to use a firearm.
Kaziu showed no emotion as the verdict was read, although one of his sisters began to cry. He later smiled and waved as he was escorted from the courtroom by US marshals. The case pitted two young men from MUSLIM immigrant families against each other — Kaziu and Sulejmah Hadzovic, his childhood pal and onetime aspiring jihadist, who switched sides to become the chief witness for the prosecution.
The two young New Yorkers were both born in the United States and grew up in immigrant families from the former Yugoslavia. They began gravitating toward radical Islam — not the moderate faith of their former Balkan lands of Macedonia and Montenegro, but the vitriolic rhetoric of jihadist groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, officials say.
They were radicalized over the Internet, Hadzovic told the jury, as they watched al Qaeda videos, listened to exhortations from Osama bin Laden and engaged in passionate discussions about picking up the torch of holy war.
Assistant US Attorney Seth DuCharme argued that Kaziu had traveled to Cairo, Egypt, tried to join terrorist groups and hoped to die a martyr for “the cause of Islam” by fighting US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Egypt, Hadzovic had a change of heart, renounced jihadism and eventually became a government witness who testified that Kaziu is a committed radical.