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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 4, 2011 / 28 Adar I, 5771

2 N.J Muslims plead guilty to plotting terrorist acts

By Peter J. Sampson






JewishWorldReview.com |

cEWARK — (MCT) Two New Jersey men arrested last year in a plot to join an international terrorist group based in Somalia pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to murder non-Muslims overseas.

Surrounded by a ring of U.S. marshals, accused jihadists Mohamed Alessa, 21, of North Bergen and Carlos Almonte, 24, of Elmwood Park admitted they planned to link up with al-Shabaab, a militant Islamic group with ties to al-Qaida, to kill individuals whose beliefs and practices, they believed, were contrary to Islamic law.

The duo, both U.S. citizens, were arrested by the FBI on June 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport as they were about to board separate planes to Egypt on the first leg of a journey to Somalia.

During the probe, an undercover New York City police officer who speaks Arabic recorded the men talking about beheading Americans and sending them home in body bags. In one recording, Alessa said he would start killing "kuffar," or non-believers of Islam, in the United States if he was unable to do it abroad.

"Through covert recordings and their admissions today, Alessa's and Almonte's own words confirm they took steps down a deadly path," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Thursday.

"The defendants planned and trained for a mission that began in their New Jersey neighborhoods and would end with the murder of innocent civilians," he said.

Dressed in blue prison jumpsuits and sporting long black beads, the shackled defendants acknowledged their guilt during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in Newark. They pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to kill individuals outside the United States on behalf of a terrorist group.

Alessa's parents and relatives filled a row in the packed courtroom but declined to comment afterward. In an earlier interview, they said their son had a big mouth and had been pushed by the undercover officer.


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The pleas were entered as a "package" deal in which both men had to admit their guilt. Under the agreement, they can appeal only if sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, while prosecutors can appeal only if they get less than 15 years.

The judge can impose any sentence up to life in prison, but defense lawyers are hoping he will be lenient given their clients' youth and the fact they never engaged in violence.

Alessa and Almonte admitted they planned to travel to Somalia last summer to join al-Shabaab, knowing that the group was staging attacks against the government and multinational peacekeeping forces in the East African country.

To prepare for the Somalia trip, they underwent physical conditioning — including weightlifting at a gym, hiking and running — and engaged in combat simulations by shooting paintball guns at a West Milford, N.J., facility, they acknowledged.

They also saved and pooled their money and acquired hydration systems, tactical clothing, knives, night-vision optics and other gear, they said.

The FBI had been monitoring the men since 2006, after receiving a tip. In 2007, the two traveled to Jordan in an attempt to join extremists who were engaging in violent attacks against non-Muslims outside the United States, authorities said.

Stanley L. Cohen, Alessa's court-appointed attorney, dismissed the taped evidence as little more than youthful banter elicited by a skillful undercover officer who steered their conversations.

"A lot of it was kids saying stupid things," Cohen said, noting the FBI began investigating Alessa when he was 16 years old. "We all know kids say and do things ... that they don't necessarily believe."

He added that no one was killed, and there was no talk about building bombs or buying guns.

"These cases are almost impossible to try," Cohen said, noting the government has only to establish a state of mind and a few minor overt acts to prove a conspiracy that, under sentencing guidelines, carries a term of 30 years to life.

Calling Debevoise an eminently respected, fair and independent jurist, Cohen said he has "absolute faith" that the judge will craft a sentence that is appropriate after reviewing all the facts and circumstances.

Cohen said that Alessa had been "thrown out of 10 schools."

No one answered the door at Alessa's parents' home in North Bergen on Thursday.

"We all knew he was guilty anyway," Stefan Seguen, a teen who grew up next door to Alessa, said of his neighbor. "He was celebrating when 9/11 happened."

In Elmwood Park, Dolores Shipman said the arrests of the homegrown terrorists were disconcerting, but she was thankful that law enforcement acted before anyone was harmed.

"If they got these guys, it makes me think more of it is probably going on," she said outside her apartment. "But I believe the authorities will take care of it."

Almonte's attorney, James Patton, said his client's family did not attend the plea hearing but they continue to support him.

A tentative sentencing date was set for June 20.

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© 2011, North Jersey Media Group Inc. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.