Zazi’s imam gets the boot


Ahmad Wais Afzali. Image from The New York Daily News.

Ahmad Wais Afzali, the Queens imam who has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his connection in the Najibullah Zazi case, has been ordered to leave the US within 90 days as a term of his plea deal with prosecutors. The plea spared Afzali more jail time (he was credited with his time served during hearings). Before his involvement with the Zazi case, Afzali had agreed to assist the NYPD in sniffing out a would-be terrorist who attended his Flushing mosque. Not long after, it was discovered that Afzali had informed Najibullah Zazi that he was under FBI surveillance. In the complaint and affadavit against Afzali, the special agent conducting surveillance testified about phone calls between the imam and Najibullah Zazi:

On or about September 11, 2009, pursuant to legally-authorized electronic surveillance, FBI agents intercepted a telephone conversation between Individual A (Zazi) and Individual A’s father.

During this call, Zazi’s father told Zazi to contact Afzali as soon as possible, as Zazi’s father was aware that the imam had identified Zazi in a photo to the FBI. While conversing with his father, Zazi received a phone call on the other line from Afzali. In that call Afzali told Zazi:

“I was exposed to something yesterday from the authorities. They asked me about you guys. I’m not sure if somebody complained about you. I’m not sure what happened. They said ‘Please, we need to know who they are…’ And I told them that they are innocent….”

It is clear from the transcript of this conversation that Afzali was very aware of Zazi’s activities. Afzali advised Zazi to tell the police he was in Pakistan to meet his wife: “You went to visit your wife, right?” Afzali said to Zazi. He also asked Zazi for the phone numbers of Individuals B and C, and proposed meeting with Zazi and Individuals B, C, and D.

Afzali then advised Zazi to not get into a political discussion on Iraq and Afghanistan. “Don’t get involved in Afghanistan garbage, Iraq garbage.” Toward the end of the phone call, Afzali warned Zazi that their call was being listened to by law enforcement officials. “Listen, our phone call is being monitored,” he said.

In an interview less than one week later with the FBI, Azali made a written statement that conflicted with facts in the transcripts of his intercepted communications with Zazi. In his statement, Azali denied telling Zazi’s father that the authorities had approached Azali for information about Zazi. Azali also denied telling Zazi that their telephone conversation was being monitored. Azali’s statement also omitted to report that in one of his conversations with Zazi, Azali had asked him whether “evidence” had been left in Zazi’s rental car; this question had in fact been recorded in one of the intercepted communications between Azali and Zazi.

At his sentencing yesterday, Afzali tried to justify his actions to the court. From the NY Times:

“I’m standing in front of you as a convicted felon, a lying imam, which is a physical, emotional and spiritual burden far greater than any sentence you could impose,” Mr. Afzali told Judge Frederic Block in the brief sentencing hearing.

“Honest to God,” he added, “it was never my intention to help those idiots for what they do in the name of Islam.”

Afzali addressed the media outside of the courthouse following his deportation sentence:

“To be honest with you, the reality hasn’t set in yet,” Mr. Afzali said. “Anywhere I go I’m going to be known as the imam that worked with the American government, guy used, abused and kicked out. What country will take me in?”

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.


  • DANNY says:

    I am sure that Hell will be taking you in no problem mr Afzali…

  • grh says:

    There will be plenty of places that will take this miscreant and treat him as a hero. He lied and continues to lie. He knew what he was doing then (wanted the attack to succeed based on the evidence), knew he was lying in court during his sentence (I am so lucky not to be going to Federal prison) and knows what awaits him as he is feted overseas as a Salifist hero (just like that idiot in Yemen that advised Hasan and Mr. fruits of the loom). This guy will be spewing venom at the US as soon as he is settled in some Salifist utopia. 90 days to get out? How generous. I would have made it the amount of time to cart him to the airport and a one-way ticket (that he bought) and ensured the door DID hit him in his fat rear on the way out. Actually, I would have thrown him in the can for as long as I could and see how much fun he thought being a Salifist facilitator was locked up. Sure he would radicalize inside. He will radicalize outside also. The solution: “More Cowbell”

  • Zeissa says:

    He’s probably lying about not wanting to help those guys, but he doesn’t seem to be an extremist himself… just one who sympathises with them. Not that it makes much difference.

  • Tyler says:

    Push came to shove he decided to cooperate and help put Zazi & co behind bars. Thats worth certain considerations. But he’s enough of an a-hole that he has no business being in this country.
    I got no problem with this.

  • KW64 says:

    If you are aiding and abetting would be mass murderers and get to walk free, it is a little cheeky to belly ache. Al Queda would not treat him nearly so kindly if he was their enemy.

  • Al says:

    I have no real explanation as to why we even let these scummy rats into the country in the first place. To appease the Left and Saudis, to improve our image in Moslem world? ENOUGH. No Mas. Nyet.
    Our useless State Dept. is far to liberal.

  • Mr T says:

    I think he just let out his true feelings. He is worried about being the man that worked with America. He is not worried about being the man that worked with Al Qaeda.
    Since when is it worse to work with Americans than a murderous terrorist organization? Since he decided for himself that its worse, thats when, and that shows his true feelings.
    Don’t worry, he will soon be on the battlefield killing Americans.

  • Z says:

    Only god can judge him, so love him or leave him alone ~H.O.V.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram