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18 May 2010

E-mails paint Times Square suspect as frustrated Muslim

amd_terrorist_orkut.jpgNew York (CNN) -- Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed car bombing in New York's Times Square, was frustrated with the state of the Muslim world and sought a way to "fight back."

Two e-mails obtained by CNN help piece together a portrait of the Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen. They also may shed some light on what propelled his failed terror plot.

"Everyone knows the current situation of Muslim World," he wrote in an e-mail he sent to a large group of recipients in February 2006. Read the full e-mail (pdf)

At the time, he had been in the United States for about six years, had earned his MBA and was working as a financial analyst in Connecticut.

"Everyone knows how the Muslim country bows down to pressure from the west. Everyone knows the kind of humiliation we are faced with around the globe."

The e-mail continues: "It is with no doubt that we today Muslim, followers of Islam are attacked and occupied by foreign infidel forces. The crusade has already started against Islam and Muslims with cartoons of our beloved Prophet PBUH (peace be upon him) as War drums."

Shahzad was referring to the 2005 controversy in which a Danish newspaper published a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that many Muslims found offensive.

"Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed," Shahzad asked. "And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows? In Palestine, Afghan, Iraq, Chechnya and elsewhere."

The second e-mail was sent in April 2009 to a smaller group of recipients. By then, Shahzad was a U.S. citizen. In that e-mail, Shahzad ridicules an article written by a Muslim who took a more moderate view than him.

"If you don't have the right teacher, then Satan should become your sheikh," according to a translated portion of the e-mail.

"I bet when it comes to defending the lands, his opinion would be we should do dialogue, etc., which is not the proven way from history and has not worked in current time and will not work in the future because it simply wasn't the way of the Quran," he added.

A month after he sent the e-mail, a bank foreclosed on his home.

CNN obtained the e-mails from Dr. Saud Anwar, a Connecticut physician who is active with the American Muslim Peace Initiative and also serves on an FBI multicultural diversity council.

Anwar got them from one of the original recipients, and in turn, provided copies to the FBI.

The FBI has interviewed at least one of the recipients of the e-mails.

Anwar said he made the e-mails public to offer some understanding of Shahzad's motivations.

Shahzad, 30, is the only person charged in the May 1 Times Square bombing attempt.

He was arrested while trying to fly out of New York 53 hours after he allegedly attempted to set off a car bomb in the always-crowded tourist hot spot. The bomb failed to detonate.

Shahzad has been charged with five counts in connection with the case.

According to court documents, he admitted to law enforcement officials that he attempted to detonate the bomb and that he recently received bomb-making training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said Shahzad was working with the Pakistani Taliban.

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