Family defends brothers charged in US terror plot



Oakland Park (Florida): Two Florida brothers charged with plotting to support terrorists are caring family men who enjoyed living in the US and would never hurt anyone, their family said.

Authorities swarmed a quiet, lakefront condominium near Fort Lauderdale earlier this week and arrested Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30, and 20-year-old Raees Alam Qazi, charging them with plotting to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Prosecutors said the two are naturalized US citizens originally from Pakistan. They remained jailed yesterday without bond.

Two people who identified themselves as the men's mother and brother told The Associated Press outside their condominium yesterday that one of the jailed men is married. They repeatedly refused to disclose their full names to an AP reporter.

"It's just a whole misunderstanding. A family like this with a baby like this would never do anything like this," the brother said. He was reluctant to talk, worrying "a lot of people don't know what's true" and stressing that his family has strong values.

"Always love people, always try to help people, if your car breaks down I will help you," he said.

Both referred to a 1-year-old boy who lived in the condo with them and missed the brothers who were arrested. However, it was not clear how the child was related to the two jailed men.

The mother said her sons' arrest has been hard on the family, saying "the wife is crying" all the time. But she said she was hopeful and repeated that her sons liked living in America.

"This is good America, good state, good job," she said. She spoke little English and said she and her husband did not have jobs.

Federal authorities said the investigation was still very active. But they offered few details about the plot, and information was scant in the three-page grand jury indictment released Friday. Authorities said the case was not an FBI undercover sting operation but declined further comment.

The indictment alleges that the two provided money, property, lodging, communications equipment and other support for a conspiracy to obtain a weapon of mass destruction between July 2011 and this week.

It wasn't clear whether the conspirators actually did obtain explosives or what their potential targets might have been.

PTI