Mosque Leader Says Chesser Was Stubborn In Religious Beliefs | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Mosque Leader Says Chesser Was Stubborn In Religious Beliefs

Play associated audio

By Jonathan Wilson

Zachary Chesser, the man from Northern Virginia charged with supporting a foreign terrorist organization, is set to make his second appearance in federal court this afternoon.

The head of the Islamic Center where Chesser once worked provided some insight into the 20-year-old past.

Muhammad Farooq is the president of the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, and says Zachary Chesser was mostly quiet and friendly during his time as a caretaker there in 2009.

"I didn't see anything abnormal in him at that time," says Farooq.

But Farooq recalls that near the end of his 6 months working at the Islamic Center, Chesser, also known as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, showed increasing stubbornness in class at the mosque.

He says Chesser would focus on obscure verses in the Quran, sticking to his own interpretation even when his teachers pointed out how other verses contradicted his reading of the text.

"That is one reason why he also quit his job," he says, "because he realized we are trying to stay where the middle ground is."

Still, Farooq says Chesser's behavior never suggested he was capable of supporting terrorism.

Chesser faces up to 15 years in prison for allegedly trying to join the Somalia-based terror group al Shabaab as a foreign fighter.

NPR

These 'True Tales' Add Nuance To The Immigration Discussion

President Obama announced an executive action on immigration this week. For an in-depth look at the issue, author Gustavo Arellano recommends two nonfiction collections about Mexican immigrants.
NPR

Need A New Sweet Potato Recipe For Your Thanksgiving Table? Try Gnocchi

Because some cooks like to mix it up for Thanksgiving, we offer a Found Recipe from our archives: Julia Della Croce's purple sweet potato gnocchi.
NPR

House Panel Finds 'No Intelligence Failure' Before Benghazi Attack

The final report by the House Intelligence Committee concludes the CIA "ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and ... bravely assisted the State Department" on Sept. 11, 2012.
NPR

Electric Bikes, On A Roll In Europe, Start To Climb In U.S.

Electric bicycles have been popular in Europe for some time. But recently there has been a surge in U.S. sales amid changing perceptions that e-bikes aren't just for the elderly.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.