Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

N.Y. Bassist Accused of Conspiring With Al Qaeda

On Tuesday, jazz musician and martial arts expert Takir Ibn Osman Shah and physician Rafiq Abdus Sabir, made their first court appearances after being arrested over the weekend for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Both men, who are U.S. citizens, were said to have pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and planned to use their martial arts and medical knowledge to help train Al Qaeda men.

Bill Murphy wrote the criminal complaint and said that Shah was caught by the FBI checking out warehouse in Long Island where he allegedly planned to educate “brothers” in urban warfare. The complaint also mentioned that Shah had discussed the desire to create his own weapons so he would not have to rely on others and hoped to experience training in chemicals, explosives, firearms, AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades.

Shah was described as a talented jazz bassist who played in some of Harlem’s popular clubs and was a longtime member of the jazz circuit. He was also found frequently playing in Donald Smith’s quintet. Shah had dropped his jazz career for a while, Smith said, “because he was tired of all the alcohol associated with the business.” He also mentioned that Shah had opened a few New York City area martial arts schools for children but returned to his music career with some persuasion by friends.

Smith has known Shah for 20 years and said, “This man doesn’t even have time to do the things they say he did.”

No plea has been entered in the case and the preliminary hearing for Shah is set for late June.

Originally Published