On a spring night in 2009, four men whose friendships were forged in prison and later in a Newburgh mosque, drove down to Riverdale, that quiet Bronx neighborhood, with the intention of blowing up two synagogues. That their bombs were fake and Jews didn’t die was the singular doing of the FBI, which infiltrated that Newburgh mosque, kept tabs on the four and arrested the men before their evil — there is no other name for it — could come to its explosive conclusion.
This week, a jury found the Newburgh Four guilty, and equally important, exonerated the FBI of charges that the bureau was guilty of “entrapment,” the idea that these “dupes” (as some called them) were only planning to kill Jews because the FBI put them up to it. With this verdict, the jury joins many others across the country that have concluded that the FBI infiltration of mosques, and infiltration of the radical gangs that often meet in mosques, is not entrapment but is legal and necessary to ensure our safety.
Of course, the Newburgh Four were energetic anti-Semites, as heard in tapes of their hate-filled rants. One of the four was previously convicted (without FBI help) for driving from Newburgh to Monsey, in Rockland County, to shoot Orthodox Jews with a BB gun.
And yet, the attacks on the FBI were even heard in Riverdale Jewish Center (the very synagogue that along with Riverdale Temple was saved by the FBI), when at an interfaith gathering organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish leaders and rabbis were among those reportedly applauding Imam Talib Abdur Rashid when he scolded the FBI, saying: “We are against being probed, against having our houses of worship surveilled, and against the use of our weak-minded for these set-up operations.”
The Riverdale story is not isolated and it is not over. According to the FBI, despite the many concerns about Islamophobia, there have been more attacks in the past year against Jews than there have been against Muslims. After the arrest of the Newburgh Four, Riverdale, despite its relative obscurity, was suddenly being discussed on jihadist web sites, according to intelligence groups who monitor such things. On one forum a jihadist complained, “the brothers in New York were deceived,” and FBI infiltration “is a real problem” needing “solutions.”
Their problem, FBI infiltration, has been our solution and salvation.