Suspected NYC Bomber Ahmad Rahami became radicalized by an extremist cleric named Qudri during a year-long trip to Pakistan in 2014.
“This Mullah Qudri has brainwashed Ahmad,” one of his relatives told The New York Times, using the term mullah to denote a religious scholar. Qudri reportedly spent so much time with Rahami that he would often sleep on his floor.
Rahami met Qudri in the Pakistani city of Quetta, which sits right on the border of Afghanistan. Quetta is famous for harboring senior Taliban leaders and is rife with sympathies for radical Islam. Rahami defended his trip to customs officials upon his return, saying he was merely visiting relatives in Quetta.
Reports now indicate Rahami was already sympathetic to extremist ideas before departing to Pakistan in 2014, and became fully transformed into a terrorist under Qudri’s spell. The FBI now believes Rahami also made a trip to Turkey during his visit, but is unsure of what exactly he was doing there.
Sections of Rahami’s journal indicate he may have been blocked entry into Syria, where he could have tried to join Islamic State. Rahami eventually returned from Pakistan to resume work in his parents’ chicken shop. He quickly began to demonstrate a propensity for violence.
During an argument with his family, Rahami stabbed his brother, his sister, and his mother in the same domestic violence incident. In the wake of this incident, Rahami’s own father warned the FBI that his son was a “terrorist.” The FBI took note of the claims but closed the investigation after three weeks when Rahami’s father recanted the claim. At no point did the FBI even interview Rahami.
After Rahami’s release from jail, he put a lock on his door at his father’s apartment and covered up his windows to prevent his father’s spying. He began to order bomb components off eBay to his place of business and built two pressure cooker bombs.
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