A former New York City Uber driver faces terrorism charges over his alleged plot to go to Afghanistan and join the Taliban. Delowar Mohammed Hossain, 36, planned to “kill Americans” but was apprehended at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2019.
Hossain’s trial began Wednesday and prosecutors allege he planned to travel to Afghanistan, “a venture that prosecutors say he spent a year planning” reports Biz Pac Review. “Specifically, he is charged with attempting to provide material support for terrorism and attempting to make or receive a contribution to the Taliban.”
Hossain was found at the airport with $10,000 in cash and other supplies he expected to need in order to survive in rural Afghanistan “where the Taliban was working towards an overthrow of the normalized government at the time.” The day before he was arrested, Hossain reportedly asked one of his “terror cohorts” who was actually an undercover FBI agent, to “acquire extra hair gel, condoms and lubricant before he left.”
Hossain’s attorney attempted to argue he was nothing more than a “wannabe playboy” who was going to leave his wife and family to fly to Thailand and meet girls. “He painted the would-be terrorist as a man upset by his financial situation and family life who simply wanted to sow his wild oats in the hedonistic country of Thailand.”
Prosecutors, however, pointed out Hossain had already bought the supplies needed to survive in Afghanistan. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrier said during opening statements that Hossain “Wasn’t just any other traveler – he was on a mission to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and kill Americans and he was on his way.”
Schrier also said Hossain had studied al-Qaeda literature to learn bomb-making techniques and religious warfare, “only deciding against the ideation of bombing a New York military installation because he didn’t think he could kill enough people.”
Biz Pac Review reports “Prosecutors also contend that Hossain tried to throw off investigators by frequenting bars and strip clubs – impermissible for a strict Muslim – and that he engaged in an elaborate ruse, even encouraging the informants to “get dirty” with forbidden Muslim behavior themselves in order to fool law enforcement.
Hossain’s attorney claimed his client was just a “hypocritical” Muslim with a “wild imagination.”