Los Angeles News

SoCal terror suspects met at Pomona mosque

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The four local men who were arrested on terror charges all worshipped at a mosque in Pomona, where they apparently met. Reaction from mosque members was mixed.

Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, formerly of Pomona, Ralph Deleon, 23, of Ontario, Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, of Upland and Arifeen David Gojali, 21, of Riverside, are named in an FBI criminal complaint with pages and pages of evidence about their alleged plan to travel to Afghanistan and start violent jihad.

"If somebody does that, he's crazy, he's not normal," said Gamal Atia.

Atia says if the charges are true, they're reprehensible because Islam is about peace.

"If somebody tried to do that, he's really bad, and he's not Muslim," he said.

But there are others at the mosque, like Aaron Gaulding, who do not believe the charges and think the men were set up.

"They were wonderful young men," Gaulding said. "FBI entrapment is what I believe. The FBI has violated our civil rights and freedom of religion because he had come in here and prayed with us."

Gaulding was referring to the man working undercover for the FBI - a man who was paid more than $250,000 by the FBI to provide information about the suspects' activities. Gaulding thinks it was that confidential source who set up the four men as terrorists.

"If they're guilty of anything, it's just simply being of youth, na´ve," he said, adding that he didn't think the men were capable of such an attack.

The FBI said in a statement, "The defendants will have an opportunity to defend themselves in court. The charges were filed with the court. The charges speak for themselves."

Meanwhile, there's still no one answering the door at the Pomona home of the alleged ringleader. Neighbors are still shaking their heads at the fact that there was an alleged terrorist living next door.

"It really surprised me," said neighbor Chuck Woods. "I don't know what to say other than it's a shock to my wife and I both."

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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