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Zazi, Homegrown Terrorists, and the American Mosque

“I want to talk about the radicalization process -- how an extremist becomes a terrorist -- and what we in the FBI are doing to address this new threat,” FBI Director Robert Mueller also said in 2006.

Which is the million-dollar question, and likely why all 50 FBI field offices are now involved. Was Zazi, like so many other suicide bombers, radicalized in a mosque? And if so, how many others like him are out there?

"Enter ye here in peace and security." Those words greet visitors to the Masjid Hazrat I Abubakr Mosque in Flushing, New York. This is the mosque where Zazi prayed. It is located in the same neighborhood where the FBI raided three homes in the first few days of the Zazi investigation. It is also a mosque with a questionable history, as reported in 2004 by the New York Times:

Muslim factions at odds over involvement with the Taliban and terrorism squared off yesterday at a Queens mosque, where the issue divided the congregation after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Armed with a court order and a phalanx of police officers, a group that had been ousted from the mosque in 2001 demanded entrance. The group, which recently won its case in State Supreme Court in Queens, said it was the true founder of the mosque, the Hazrat-I-Abubakr Sadiq in Flushing, and demanded the departure of the current imam, who charged after 9/11 that the group had been supporting the Taliban.

Supporters of that imam, Mohammed Sherzad, accused another group within the mosque of funneling money to Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "The Taliban cannot regroup in Afghanistan, so they're trying to establish a base in New York at this mosque, and the American people should know this," the mosque’s imam Mohammed Sherzad told the New York Times five years ago.

Prescient words.