Bangladesh said Friday its diplomats will meet U.S. officials to learn more about a Bangladeshi man charged with trying to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Bangladesh diplomats will meet State Department officials Saturday in Washington.
“This is a sensitive issue,” Moni told reporters in Dhaka. “We don’t want to speculate on it.” Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested Wednesday in an FBI sting operation. A criminal complaint says he made several attempts to blow up a fake 1,000-pound car bomb near the Federal Reserve.
The arrest of the 21-year-old has stunned his family in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. They say he could not have committed the alleged crimes. Nafis’ father Quazi Ahsanullah called on the government to help bring his son back home.
At Southeast Missouri State University, where Nafis studied for a semester, some were struck by how homesick the freshman was, CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.
Jim Dow met Nafis in physics class. He said Nafis gave him a gift — a Koran — and urged him to convert to Islam. But they talked politics only once.
“He told me he did not believe Osama bin Laden was involved in the Twin Tower (bombing), that he believed that bin Laden was a very good religious man and that a good devout religious Muslim would not do something like that,” Dow said.
Bangladeshi students who came with Nafis to Missouri told the FBI Wednesday night they became alarmed when his political views slowly turned radical. He began talking about violence and videos recorded by Anwar al-Awlaki — the al Qaeda recruiter killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen last year.
Nafis’ arrest made headlines in Dhaka newspapers and caused Bangladeshis to worry it would hurt their country’s image as a moderate Muslim nation. “I don’t know if this kid is actually involved in the plot, but the incident does not help our image abroad,” said Harun Rashid, a resident in Dhaka.