Local Ties, Local Concerns After NYC Bomb Scare

By Chris Gordon
|  Tuesday, May 4, 2010  |  Updated 7:46 PM EDT
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Report: Car Bomb Suspect Has D.C. Ties

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Report: Car Bomb Suspect Has D.C. Ties

The man arrested for the car bomb attempt in Times Square has ties to the Washington area. Meanwhile, the incident is having a ripple effect on local law enforcement and the Islamic community.
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New York City car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad attended Southeastern University just a few blocks from the Capitol until he transferred to the University of Bridgeport in 2000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Though the Times Square bomb failed to detonate it is clear that the suspect intended great harm. In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, accompanied by law enforcement officials, said Faisal Shahzad will be charged with several acts of terrorism.

An official at Southeastern University, which closed in 2009 when it lost accreditation, said it could not share student information due to privacy concerns. Shahzad got a B.A. in computer science and engineering from Bridgeport. On April 17, 2009 he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The Washington-based Council on American Islamic relations, America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, said it welcomes the arrest in the bomb plot.

"We condemn the attack," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said. "American Muslims repudiate all acts of terrorism."

"The street vendor who reported seeing smoke from the car in Times Square is a Muslim," noted Imam Mahadi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society. "He undoubtedly saved lives by reporting it to authorities."

In D.C., federal and local authorities have been on a heightened state of alert since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. Park Police on horseback, in vehicles and on foot patrol all monument grounds, but authorities said they still rely on the public to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

"The public gives us additional eyes and ears that we need," said Sgt. David Schlosser, of U.S. Park Police. "They should not hesitate to report anything out of the ordinary. We will check it out. We'd rather err on the side of caution when it comes to these types of issues."

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