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Alleged Assassin is “Rosa Parks” of Muslim Community

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Ahmed Omar Abul Ali, the Virginia Muslim charged with conspiring to assassinate President Bush, met several times with Zubayr al-Rimi—Al Qaeda’s number two man in Saudi Arabia, killed in a shootout with Saudi forces in September 2003: Abu Ali linked to Saudi Arabia al Qaeda leader. (Hat tip: The Jawa Report.)

A Falls Church man accused of conspiring to assassinate President Bush met several times with an al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia who once was the target of a global manhunt and a key suspect in an attack that killed nine Americans in Riyadh, law-enforcement authorities said.

Ahmed Omar Abul Ali, scheduled for a detention hearing tomorrow in federal court on charges of providing material support to al Qaeda, met with Zubayr al-Rimi in Saudi Arabia between September 2002 and June 2003.

The meeting with al-Rimi, described as the second-ranking al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia, took place at the time the Bush assassination scheme was being discussed, authorities said.

Al-Rimi, also known as Sultan Jubran Sultan al-Qahtani, was identified in a Sept. 5, 2003, FBI bulletin to law-enforcement officials as one of four suspected al Qaeda terrorists thought to be planning unspecified attacks against U.S. interests.

Less than three weeks after the bulletin was released, al-Rimi was killed in a Sept. 23, 2003, shootout with Saudi security forces during a raid on a hospital housing complex in Jizan, about 600 miles south of the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The New York Times quotes a Falls Church Imam, comparing the alleged Al Qaeda assassin to Rosa Parks: Case Adds to Outrage for Muslims in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Abu Ali also had clear ties to several defendants in a case involving 11 Northern Virginia Muslims accused of plotting to wage war against American forces and allied nations overseas. Prosecutors say he provided an AK-47, by all indications legally, to one of the defendants. And he may have occasionally played paintball with the group - an activity that served as paramilitary training, prosecutors say.

Which portrayal of Mr. Abu Ali is closer to the truth may not become clear until he is tried, and perhaps not even then. But until then, his case and the others preceding it have galvanized Muslims in the region.

“The feeling I get here on a daily basis must be what it was like to be a member of Martin Luther King Jr.’s church following the case of Rosa Parks,” said Imam Abdul-Malik. “People always ask, ‘What is the latest from the courthouse?’ ”

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