A decade has passed since the bombing of the World Trade Center, yet the two years – 1993 and 2003 – hold major familiar (and familial) ties.
As of March of this year, Adnan El Shukrijumah (Shukri Jumah) has been the focus of a manhunt by the FBI. He is considered to be the heir apparent of 9/11 attacker Mohammed Atta, a friend to ‘dirty bomber’ Jose Padilla, and “very, very, very dangerous.” According to a Homeland Security document, 9/11 mastermind Kalid Shaikh Mohammed characterized El Shukrijumah as “an operative with standing permission to attack targets in the United States that had been previously approved by Usama bin Laden.” That’s a lot worse than when there was a police report written up against Adnan for biting and hitting his younger sisters.
He had who to learn from.
Adnan’s father, Gulshair, who was educated at the radical Al Azhar University, in Cairo, himself, had dealings with terrorism.
After Al Azhar, Gulshair spent ten years studying at Al Madina Al-Munawarah (Islamic University of Medina), a religious learning facility in Saudi Arabia that was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that inspired, tutored and helped shape Osama Bin Laden’s philosophies.
At around the time his wife, a 16-year old girl named Zuhrah Abdu Ahmed, gave birth to their son Adnan, Gulshair, then 44, became a missionary for the Saudi Arabian government and was soon sent to spread the “good word” in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ten years later, in 1985, he was transferred to Brooklyn to lead a mosque.
Shortly after Gulshair’s arrival, in 1986, al Qaeda set up shop at the Al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn, sporting the name Alkifah Refugee Center.
Following the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, all eyes were on Alkifah, and subsequently, several individuals related to the center were alleged to have been involved in the attack. One of the individuals was Clement Rodney Hampton-El (a.k.a. “Dr. Rashid”), an artillery and bomb-making expert and an experienced mujahadin fighter in Afghanistan.
Showing up at Hampton-El’s trial as a chief/character witness was none other than Gulshair El Shukrijumah.
Hampton-El had been a member of El Shukrijumah’s mosque. Gulshair defended him by stating that he believed Hampton-El had fought in Afghanistan to “help his brothers, the Muslims” and that Hampton-El “was prepared to give his life for that, and that does not mean he was involved in any acts of terror…”
On June 24, 1993, Hampton-El was arrested, along with eight others, and in 1996, he was convicted for plotting to blow up the United Nations, the FBI headquarters, and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
Before Hampton-El’s and his fellow terrorists’ convictions, Gulshair skipped town to soak up rays with his family in sunny South Florida… but not before his son had ample time in New York to make his own radical connections to set his present course.
Upon arriving in Miramar, Florida, Gulshair acquired the job of serving as head of the Masjid al Hijrah (established by the Caribbean American Islamic Association), conveniently located right next door to his new house.
The Shukrijumahs continued to show their enthusiasm towards furthering the Islamic cause. They raised money for the Global Relief Foundation, a charity that was placed on the UN terror list and was closed down by the United States government for its involvement in funding terrorist organizations. In addition, Adnan took computer-engineering classes at Broward Community College and used his newfound skills to create a website for his father to sell courses in Arabic.
The designation for the site was www.masterarabic.com, aptly named, as Gulshair devoted much of his life to teaching the Arabic language. One of the persons he gave Arabic classes to was terrorist Imran Farooq Mandhai, who was later convicted of plotting to blow up a National Guard armory, South Florida electrical substations, Jewish-owned businesses and community centers, and Mount Rushmore. How appropriate that Mandhai was soon to become friends with the “master” teacher’s son, Adnan. Mandhai was also the person that originally tipped off the FBI about Adnan’s relationship with the 9/11 attacks.
The guestbook on Gulshair’s website was signed by some very interesting individuals. The sixth person to sign the guestbook was Bilal Philips, someone that has been named as a possible co-conspirator to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He wrote, “Mabrook on the website and special salaams to your father [Gulshair] and prayers for his good spiritual and physical health. He was one of my first teachers in Arabic and is a dear friend…”
The very first signatory was Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. Zakkout was the vice president of the Health Resource Center for Palestine, a now defunct charity that was linked to the Islamic Association for Palestine, widely reported as a front group for Hamas. He is now the director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), a group whose website boasts anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-homosexual material and contains a graphic link to www.islamonline.net, a site which features religious/legal opinions in support of suicide bombings.
Concerning Adnan and his friends, Zakkout stated, “I saw (El Shukrijumah, Padilla and Mandhai) at different times in different mosques, and I always said hello. Does that make me a terrorist?”
Altaf Ali, the Florida director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also had what to say about Adnan. When confronted about Adnan possibly being involved in terrorist activity, he stated, “That would be a total shocker. It is beyond explanation. You're talking about someone in your circle who frequents the same family centers you do.” He further stated, “El-Shukri taught at all the South Florida mosques, often accompanied by his children, including El Shukrijumah.”
According to various news sources, Gulshair lost his $500 a month job at al Hijrah (although he has been seen attending the mosque since). But as the elder Shukrijumah has been quoted as saying, “All I can hope is that where one door closes, others will open.”
How right he was, as he has now landed a job as a director at the Shamsuddin Islamic Center in North Miami Beach (under the alias Shukri Jamal M. Gilshair). This center is positioned right across the street from AMANA. In fact, the Shamsuddin Islamic Center was originally located at the same address as AMANA, and Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout was listed as the president, treasurer and registered agent for it.
There can be many questions asked about Gulshair El Shukrijumah’s affiliations. In fact, right on Gulshair’s website, one is invited to “PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL SHEIKH AND ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU LIKE (After 10:30) p.m. [(954) 962-1719].” However, there is one question on everyone’s mind that still has not been answered, and that is, “Where is his son, Adnan?” Sightings have been reported in Tampa and Maine, yet there has been nothing substantial enough to lead to his capture. The only things we have to go on are statements made by his parents.
*Gulshair El Shukrijumah (March 21, 2003, Miami Herald): “I do not know the whereabouts of my son… He graduated in 2001 and left for Arabia… The last time we saw him was in May 2001. He calls sometimes and sends letters, but not regularly… The last time we heard from him was about five months ago. He was in Morocco teaching English.”
*Gulshair El Shukrijumah (March 21, 2003, New York Times): “I wouldn't say he is in hiding but he's not in contact with us.”
*Gulshair El Shukrijumah (March 22, 2003, St. Petersburg Times): “He doesn't tell us where he is but he normally goes between Florida and the Kingdom of (Saudi) Arabia.”
*Zurah Abdu Ahmed (March 31, 2003, Miami Herald): “When he did call I told him the FBI was looking for him. He wanted to come home, but I told him to stay away… I tell him we don't want to know where he is. We tell him to stay put.”
It looks as though Adnan has taken his mother’s advice, as he has eluded capture – at least up until this point. According to federal authorities, that is not a very good thing. What is Adnan El Shukrijumah secretly plotting, and when is he planning on doing it? It is something that only someone like his father can figure out… if he doesn’t know already.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate. You could visit Joe’s personal interactive website, at joe4rep.com. Beila Rabinowitz is an international journalist and translator.