Terrorism Suspects Worshipped at Monroe Street Mosque

TOLEDO -- Three Toledo men indicted for plotting to kill US and coalition troops in Iraq face a hearing Friday in federal court. Authorities say they were able to bring charges against the men because of help from law enforcement agencies and the local Muslim community.

Despite the violent nature of the crimes the men are accused of committing, they were apparently devout Muslims.

As the prayer hour arrives, so do the Muslims at a storefront mosque in the 3300 block of Monroe Street in central Toledo. And it is that mosque where the men accused of terrorism-related crimes came to worship.

"The world is very bad. The whole world," said Fay Asad, a woman who belongs to the mosque. She says she can't remember seeing the suspects there, but she's stunned that anyone planning what authorities call a "holy war" worshipped where she does.

"Yes, I am surprised," Asad said, "because our good people [are] not supposed to be terrorist. Not supposed to be like that. Supposed to be praying, good people. Muslims don't believe in any of that."

Mosque officials wouldn't comment on camera when News 11 asked about the alleged terrorists in their congregation. But in a written statement, they said they have no knowledge of any illegal activities involving their members.

Also in the statement, Mosque officials said it's in the interest of everyone to advocate for protection of the rights of every citizen.

Fay Asad says she worries that terrorist activities indicate the end of the world is near. "Even Jesus Christ -- he doesn't believe in war. Doesn't believe in killing," she said. "But people believe in that. They're doing it every day."

Despite the violent actions of a few, Asad hopes people realize that most Muslims are deeply religious, and that they respect life.

"I'm not ashamed to be covered," she said. "Or not ashamed to be a Muslim -- because we have a lot of respect for Jesus Christ, and a lot of respect for Mary."

Mosque officials will not say how big their congregation is. Meanwhile, two of the suspects remain in federal prison in Milan, Michigan. The other is in a federal facility in the Cleveland area.