February 14, 2007, - 2:01 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
About a week ago, the government of Ethiopia reported that two American fighters were caught among the Al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. Although it was reported in the weekend papers (in, predictably, a tiny blurb), I was waiting to hear the names and stories of these two U.S. citizens.
Today, one of the names was in the papers (also in a tiny blurb–USA Today), as well. The Associated Press has the full story on American Muslim convert, Daniel Joseph Maldonado a/k/a Daniel Aljughaifi a/k/a Abu Mohammed, who was indicted:
A former Houston man arrested in Kenya last month has been charged in Texas with teaming with al-Qaida to overthrow the Somali government and form an Islamic state there.
Daniel Joseph Maldonado, 28, a Muslim convert also known as Daniel Aljughaifi and Abu Mohammed, was ordered held without bail Tuesday on federal charges of undergoing military training with a terrorist organization and conspiring to use a destructive device.
Maldonado was returned to the United States on Monday night and appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Calvin Botley, the U.S. attorney’s office in Houston said. A detention hearing is set for next week.
Maldonado’s arrest marks the first criminal prosecution of an American suspected of joining terrorists in Somalia, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said in a statement.
According to the criminal complaint, Maldonado, a Boston native, traveled from Houston to Africa in November 2005. By December 2006, the complaint says, he was in Somalia and had joined with the Islamic Courts Union and elements of al-Qaida to fight in a rebellion designed to overthrow the Somali government and install an Islamic state.
The complaint says Maldonado was issued an AK-47 rifle and attended two military training camps at which members of al-Qaida were present.
Maldonado was captured by the Kenyan military on Jan. 21 as he fled Ethiopian and Somali forces. He was expelled by Kenya and turned over to U.S. officials for his return to Houston. . . .
Maldonado told FBI agents in Kenya that he went to Somalia to fight “jihad,” or holy war, for a true Islamic government, according to the complaint.
“I would be fighting the Somali militia, and that turned into fighting the Ethiopians, and if Americans came, I would fight them, too,” he is accused of telling the agents. He also told the agents he had “no problem” with killing Americans or with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the complaint says.
But, it’s the “Religion of Peace,” right?
Tags: Africa, al-Qaeda, Assistant Attorney General, Associated Press, attorney, Boston, Calvin Botley, Daniel Aljughaifi, Daniel Joseph Maldonado, Debbie Schlussel, destructive device, Ethiopia, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Houston, Islamic Courts Union, Islamic government, Kalashnikov, Kenneth Wainstein, Kenya, Kenyan military, Magistrate Judge, Somali government, Somali militia, Somalia, Texas, United States, USA Today