FEBRUARY 14, 2006
Al-Qaida operatives are everywhere, even in Lodi, a tiny and quiet farming town in northern California best known for its annual grape festival.
Federal authorities will reveal details, in a trial that begins today in Sacramento, of a terrorist cell that operates in the 12-square-mile city of about 60,000. The trial will feature a Pakistani father and son charged with lying to the FBI about attending a terrorism camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004.
The al-Qaida camp, located in Rawalpindi, provided training in weapons and explosives and hand-to-hand combat. FBI agents also found a book titled “Virtues of Jihad” in the son’s (Hamid Hayat) bedroom and they claim he planned to attack hospitals and supermarkets in the United States.
In June 2005 two other men, both Muslim leaders with terrorist connections, were arrested in Lodi and charged with immigration violations.
Not surprisingly, groups such as the American Muslim Voice have called the arrests “an FBI witch hunt in Lodi” and have accused the Bush administration of creating a culture of fear, division, anger, frustration, confusion, anxiety and hate in order to expand its agenda.
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