I met a terrorist at a Brooklyn park bench 11 years ago

Of course, I didn’t know Syed Fahad Hashmi would later be dubbed a terrorist. I interviewed him for a story about his connection to a radical Islamic group, Al-Muhajiroun, which was accused of recruiting disaffected and disenfranchised students from Britain to go fight in Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. The group was meeting with students at local campuses in New York. 

Pakistani-born and later a U.S. naturalized citizen, Hashmi, a student at Brooklyn College in New York at the time I spoke to him, was perceptive, articulate and passionate about Islam.

Most of us try and seek ways to find order in a chaotic world. Some religious fanatics want strict rules and goals to find that order but also demand that others follow that same path – or else.


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