- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

NEW YORK — A Maryland man was charged with conspiracy to help a terrorist group after he boasted that he went to Pakistan, attended terrorist training camps and agreed to provide whatever assistance was necessary, prosecutors said yesterday.

Mahmud Faruq Brent of Gwynn Oak, Md., was charged after a New York musician arrested on similar charges in May agreed to meet with him and let the FBI record the encounter, according to a joint release by federal prosecutors, the FBI and New York police.

Mr. Brent was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with conspiracy to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the United States designated a terrorist group in December 2001.

During the recorded conversation at a hotel in Columbia, Md., Mr. Brent indicated that he had traveled to Pakistan and into the mountains for training “and stuff” with “the mujahedeen, the fighters,” the release said.

He said that because of “treaties with Bush,” it became dangerous for “foreigners” like him to stay in the camps, so he was moved from place to place, the release said.

Prosecutors said Mr. Brent indicated that he would never go back on his decision to go to the training camps operated by Lashkar and that it was “one of the better decisions in my life.”

He also said he had agreed to provide whatever “assistance” he could there and expressed hope that Allah would bless him for his efforts, according to the release.

The investigation of Mr. Brent began, authorities said, after they found an address book with telephone numbers for him when they arrested Tarik Shah, 42, of New York.

Mr. Brent was being held in Manhattan and was scheduled to appear in court later yesterday. A telephone call to his attorney was not returned.

Mr. Shah pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges on June 28, and attorney Anthony Ricco called the case against his client “ridiculous.”

Mr. Shah, a jazz musician and martial arts instructor, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda after taking a formal oath of loyalty to the group with Rafiq Abdus Sabir, 50, who also was arrested in May.

Prosecutors say the two U.S. citizens had sworn the oath as they conspired to use their skills in martial arts and medicine to aid international terrorism. Mr. Sabir also has pleaded not guilty.

The government said an undercover FBI agent recorded a conversation before Mr. Brent’s arrest in which Mr. Shah mentioned the names of several students, including Mr. Brent.

The government said Mr. Shah told the agent that he planned to call Mr. Brent, a longtime student, to ask him to help make a demonstration video to be used for martial arts training of holy warriors.

After his arrest, Mr. Shah told investigators that he had trained Mr. Brent in martial arts while they lived in Beacon, N.Y., in 2001 and that they often watched martial arts training videos and other videos about jihad, or holy war, in Bosnia, the government said.

During this period, the government said, Mr. Brent introduced Mr. Shah to Seifullah Chapman in the D.C. area.

Chapman, of Alexandria, was sentenced in June 2004 to 85 years in prison after he and two others were convicted of training for holy war against the United States by playing paintball games in the Virginia woods.

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