A Hunt for `The Pilot'
The FBI says he's an `imminent threat.' But where is he?
El Shukrijumah's family says he is also being wrongly accused. Zuhrah Abdu Ahmed says she urged her son to stay away after the September 11 attacks because she feared a backlash against Muslims. She tells U.S. News the family last heard from her son about six months ago, when he called to say he was teaching English in Morocco, had gotten married, and had a son. El Shukrijumah "doesn't hate America, and he doesn't hate Americans," says his mother. His father, Gulshair El Shukrijumah, 73, was fired last week as the imam of the mosque where his son and Mandhai prayed. The elderly man once was imam of a Brooklyn, N.Y., mosque where one of Abdel Rahman's coconspirators, Clement Hampton-el, prayed. The father says he testified--it's unclear in what capacity--during Hampton-el's pretrial hearings. He also provided Islamic tutoring to Mandhai, who, at 18, was a hafiz, someone who has memorized the Koran. U.S. officials say they have not yet completed a full security assessment of the father but stress that the intelligence they have led to the son, not his father.
Where the son might be now is anyone's guess. El Shukrijumah is believed to hold passports from Guyana, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad, and Canada. Last week, the FBI bulletin triggered numerous El Shukrijumah "sightings"--including one at a sandwich shop in south Tampa. The Tampa tip, like all the others thus far, turned out to be unfounded.
With Douglas Pasternak, Edward T. Pound, Arnold Markowitz, Rochelle Sharpe and U.S. News library staff