Men plead not guilty in New York synagogue plot

Suspects allegedly conspired to dress as Jewish worshipers, bomb synagogues in Manhattan; US lawyer: "This is terrorism and a hate crime."

June 16, 2011 15:16
1 minute read.
New York City skyline.

new york skyline. (photo credit: Gary Hershorn / Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


NEW YORK - Two men pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges they bought guns and a hand grenade and plotted to blow up synagogues and other buildings in New York City.

Ahmed Ferhani, 26, an Algerian, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, a Moroccan-born US citizen, were indicted on weapons and terrorism charges in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

New SoHo synagogue courts young, hip Jews
Paris synagogue bomber's extradition approved

Prosecutors say the two men conspired between October 2010 and May 2011 to dress as Jewish worshipers and bomb synagogues and churches in Manhattan. Police have said they appear to have worked alone, without any ties to established militant groups.

Authorities say the suspects met an undercover detective several times, expressed a desire to kill Jews and bought semiautomatic handguns, ammunition and an inert grenade.

"Their desire to commit violent jihad against Jewish Americans is not only an act of terrorism but also a hate crime," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

Elizabeth Fink, who represents Ferhani, said the charges were politically motivated and used by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the police to "drive a wedge" between New Yorkers of different backgrounds.


Fink said the most serious charges had been downgraded, from second-degree conspiracy charges to charges in the fourth degree. That, she said, reflects the weakness of the evidence against her client, who she said suffers from psychiatric problems. She also said the case was one of "entrapment."

The May 10 arrest of the two men came just over a week after the killing of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden but authorities have made clear the alleged plot had begun months earlier.

In an unrelated case two years ago, four men were arrested for placing what they thought were explosives outside synagogues in the Bronx. The men were videotaped making vitriolic anti-Semitic statements to an FBI informant, although their defense lawyers argued they were entrapped.

They were convicted after a trial in Manhattan federal court and are awaiting sentencing.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Protesters with painted faces pray in Cambodia
November 16, 2018
U.N.-Cambodian court convicts two former Khmer Rouge leaders of genocide