Florida terrorism arrest follows tip from local Muslims

Florida terrorism arrest follows tip from local Muslims


(Washington, DC – 1/9/12) – This morning, a Tampa, Fla., man was arrested on charges that he was planning an attack using guns and bombs on multiple locations. As in numerous previous cases, the suspect, Sami Osmakac, was apprehended following a tip from local Muslims. The Muslim Public Affairs Council commends the vigilance of citizens and public officials in their successful efforts to prevent an attempted act of violent extremism.

Today, law enforcement officials noted the important positive role Muslim American communities played to prevent the plot.

“This investigation was also predicated, in part, by assistance from the Muslim community. I would like to thank them as well,” said Robert E. O’Neill, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, in a press conference this afternoon. 

O’Neill also said that, through the local Muslim community, “we were able to know that this person had this ideology and wanted to commit a crime.” Steve Ibison, who heads the FBI’s Tampa office, called assistance from members of the Muslim community “very significant” throughout the investigation.  “This case is not about the Muslim religion, and it’s not about the Muslim community,” Ibison said. “It’s about an individual who committed a crime.”

SEE: Feds: Man, Sami Osmakac, Planned Terror Attacks in Tampa (ABC News) and Florida Resident Charged with Plotting to Bomb Locations in Tampa (U.S. Department of Justice), and Kosovo native plotted bombings, bloodshed in Tampa, feds say

FBI Special Agent in Charge in Tampa Steven Ibison further noted:

“The Tampa FBI Division has always considered its relationships with regional community groups throughout Central and Southwest Florida extremely important. In this case, we are grateful for the Muslim community’s continued support. This incident clearly demonstrated how citizens can help law enforcement keep our neighborhoods and our nation safe.

“Despite the gravity of this incident, we are relieved to know that the increased awareness of both citizens and government officials played a part in keeping our nation safe,” said Alejandro Beutel, MPAC’s Government and Policy Analyst . “If these charges are true, today’s arrest is the latest indication of the positive role Muslim Americans play in preventing attacks against our fellow citizens.”

Osmakac is innocent until proven guilty and must have his day in the court of law. MPAC will continue to engage policy-makers and elected officials to fully ensure laws and policies can keep our nation safe while upholding civil liberties and civil rights for all Americans.

The role of Muslim Americans in preventing violent extremist plots is nothing new. According to MPAC’s “Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database”, Muslim communities have assisted law enforcement officials to prevent two out of every five al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11.

Meanwhile, MPAC also urges our fellow citizens to remain aware and notify local police about possible threats to public safety.

Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.

See Updates on this story at American Muslims Cooperation With Law Enforcement http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american-muslims-cooperation-with-law-enforcement/0018970