CAIR Disavows Tampa Terror Suspect; Was There Entrapment?
The Florida Council of American-Islamic Relations on Monday disavowed any connection to a Pinellas Park man arrested on charges of plotting a terrorist attack in Tampa.
Federal agents said Sami Osmakac, 25, had a list of targets, including nightclubs in the Ybor City area, the Operations Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Ybor City and a business in the South Tampa area.
Osmakac, a naturalized citizen born in Kosovo, was arraigned Monday on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and faces a possible $250,000 fine and a maximum of life in prison.
Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR's Florida chapter, said Osmakac had been banned from several mosques and "was no friend or supporter of the Muslim community."
Shibly characterized Osmakac as a "self-radicalized lone wolf" and said the local community played "a vital role" in bringing him to the attention of the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office.
Nonetheless, Shibly expressed "concern about a perception of entrapment" and said CAIR will monitor the case.
"The weapons and explosives were provided by the government. Was he just a troubled individual, or did he pose a real threat?" said Shibly, who was briefed by FBI agents prior to Osmakac's arraignment.
Osmakac planned to build a car bomb and wanted to use the explosive belt to "get in somewhere where there's a lot of people" and take hostages, according to authorities. He allegedly stated that he would then make demands of the FBI to release some prisoners and then, "They can take me in five million pieces."