Locating Adnan Shukrijumah, a leader of al-Qaeda, may depend on those closest to him.
In May 2001, Adnan el-Shukrijumah, a high level al-Qaeda operative, left his residence of South Florida, where he had lived since 1995, and fled the United States. There is a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. Does his family have the information that authorities are looking for? A new development may suggest that they do.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government worked to track down potential future terrorist threats to the nation. One identity which kept popping up was that of Adnan el-Shukrijumah or, as he was better known within the al-Qaeda movement, Jaffar al-Tayyar. Intel reports branded him as the heir apparent of 9/11 hijack leader Mohammed Atta, handpicked by the 9/11 mastermind himself, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
In March 2003, when reports were made public regarding el-Shukrijumah’s ties to al-Qaeda, all eyes became focused on his family. Both the government and the media descended on Adnan’s home in Miramar, Florida. At the time, a number of statements of interest were made by el-Shukrijumah’s father, Gulshair, concerning Adnan’s whereabouts.
Gulshair told the Miami Herald, “He graduated in 2001 [from Broward Community College (BCC)] and left for Arabia… The last time we saw him was in May 2001.”
According to Malcolm O’Brien of the Immigration Division of Trinidad and Tobago, in May 2001, Adnan had used a Guyana passport issued in the U.S. to enter Trinidad. Reports state that he entered Trinidad either by way of Guyana or by way of Panama.
Gulshair said that Adnan went to Trinidad to sell Islamic-oriented garments and books, as part of an import/export business that would eventually lead him to Saudi Arabia, where he and three of his siblings were born. Gulshair told the St. Petersburg Times, “He doesn't tell us where he is but he normally goes between Florida and the Kingdom of (Saudi) Arabia.” Reports state that he did indeed find his way to the Middle East.
About the father’s statement that Adnan graduated in 2001, BCC spokeswoman Jillian Krueger Printz, has said that Adnan departed the school in 1999 and didn’t stay long enough to finish his degree.
Gulshair told the Herald, “He calls sometimes and sends letters, but not regularly… The last time we heard from him was about five months ago [December 2002]. He was in Morocco teaching English.” He said that Adnan had a wife and child in Morocco. He told the New York Times that Adnan is “not in contact” with the family.
Whether or not Adnan’s father was practicing obfuscation with at least part of his statements cannot be known, but to be sure, his mother, Zurah Abdu Ahmed, left nothing to imagination with hers. She stated to the Herald, “When he did call I told him the FBI was looking for him. He wanted to come home, but I told him to stay away… I tell him we don't want to know where he is. We tell him to stay put.”
Of course, none of these statements mean that the family actually knew or know where Shukrijumah is located. It could very well be that Adnan took his mother’s advice and did not and will not tell them. That said, a recent change in Adnan’s sister Aidah’s website may be reason enough to reassess the situation.
Aidah el-Shukrijumah is a citizen of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 17-years-old, when Adnan went missing. When she was 13, a police report was filed stating that Adnan had left her with a bite mark on her arm and had hit his other sister in the face. To excuse this, Adnan’s mother asserted that Adnan was acting as the “disciplinarian” of the household.
In March 2007, this author wrote a piece for FrontPage Magazine (‘Brother of Terror’), within which he discussed photographs that were found on Aidah’s MySpace web page. They consisted of various pictures of the family, including pictures with Adnan.
One of the photos was of Adnan posing with Aidah. She titled it ‘Big Bro.’ A more interesting image, though, was of Aidah and her siblings sitting outside the Canadian Broadcasting Centre (CBC) Building in Toronto, next to their father, who has since passed away. The sisters, with smiles beaming from ear to ear, are seen holding a portrait of Adnan and a female. Adnan doesn’t seem so young in the portrait.
A number of rumors had come out placing Adnan in Toronto. As well, Bilal Philips, an individual linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who was recently banned from entering England, and who is a close family friend to the Shukrijumahs, lived in Toronto for many years and still frequents the area. Question: At the time the photo was taken, was the family paying Adnan a visit? And if they were, do they know his whereabouts now?
And if they weren’t visiting him, why did Aidah remove the photo from her MySpace page – the only photo that was removed from her site?
It is pure speculation on the part of this writer, but it could be that the entire family went to Toronto to say goodbye to their loved one. Goodbye, because they knew that he was getting ready for a trip to South Asia [where he would later attend an al-Qaeda terror summit in Waziristan, a tribal region in Northwest Pakistan that borders Afghanistan, in March 2004] – a trip that he may never return from.
It appears that the only member of the family not present in the photo is Adnan’s mother, Zurah. Everyone else – the father, the four sisters, and their younger brother, Nabil, who has since become radicalized himself – is present. One of the smiling sisters, who is holding the portrait or sketch, is pointing to the female in the portrait – possibly an acknowledgement of the fact that it is her mom that is taking the photo of them.
Maybe the portrait of the mom and Adnan was made while they were together in Toronto.
Today, el-Shukrijumah’s name has surfaced once again – in relation to a foiled terrorist plot to blow up New York City subways.
In September 2009, after flying to Pakistan to join the Taliban to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and after receiving training in bomb making techniques with al-Qaeda, Najibullah Zazi, a resident of Denver, Colorado, and two former classmates – Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay – conspired to carry out ‘rush hour’ suicide attacks in different New York subways.
According to counterterrorism officials, while in Pakistan, Zazi met with el-Shukrijumah. In fact, el-Shukrijumah is alleged to have personally directed the attacks, and on July 8th, he was charged by federal authorities for his role in the plot.
As mentioned previously, el-Shukrijumah is no stranger to the area.
The United States government is currently offering a reward of up to $5 million for information resulting in the arrest of Adnan Gulshair Mohammed el-Shukrijumah.
Question: Does the el-Shukrijumah family have the information that will make them $5 million richer? Do they know where Adnan is?
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.