Update 5: CNN says they failed to join some Islamic schools:
“They went to the madrassa [a Muslim school] of Jaish-e-Mohammad where they informed them about their desire for jihad. However, the management of the madrassa refused to keep them, and advised them to go to Jamat-ud-Dawa Lahore. Interestingly, the Jamat also refused to keep them as they could not provide a surety. Thus, they came along with their friend Umar Farooq to Sargodha,” the report said.
Update 4: New York Times confirms arrests?
SARGODHA, Pakistan — Five young Muslim American men arrested here Wednesday were on their way to the heart of the Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan’s tribal areas with the intention of training to fight against American troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani police authorities said Thursday.
The men, a tight circle of friends in their late teens and their 20s from the Washington suburbs, had been in contact through YouTube with a Pakistani militant with links to Al Qaeda before arriving in Pakistan on Nov. 30, said the Pakistani officials, who had firsthand knowledge of the case.
The police identified the others arrested in Sargodha as Ramy Zamzam, 22, a dental student of Egyptian background at Howard University, who was described as a sort of “ringleader”; Waqar Khan, of Pakistani background, who was reported to have family connections in Karachi; Ahmad A. Mini, 20, born in Eritirea; and Aman Hassan Yemer, 18, a native Ethiopian.
Update 3: The owners of the Facebook group dedicated to the brothers closed it down saying: “We have decided with careful consideration to close the group out of respect for the family members of our brothers.”
Update 2: Message from CAIR below.
Update 1: Apparently, the New York Times (via AP) is reporting that a farewell video was made by the brothers.
There was a lot of news and rumors spreading on Facebook of 5 brothers in the Washington DC area gone missing the past few days. Looks like they were in Pakistan and may have been arrested.
According to the Pakistani News:
SARGODHA: An Anti Organized-crime Cell raided a house situated in Aziz Bhatti Town of Sargodha and arrested five foreign nationals.
DPO Sargodha Dr. Usman Anwar told Geo News that the police raided the house of Khalid Farooqi, an activist of banned outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad, and arrested five foreign nationals from there.
The arrested foreigners include 2 Yemenis, 1 Egyptian, 1 Swedish and 1 US-born Pakistani.
The DPO told that these people had been living in Sargodha since Nov 30 and it was quite a possibility that they were engaged in acts of terrorism.
Initial investigations have identified them as Ahmed Abdullah, Waqar Hassan Khan, Eman Hassan, Yasir and Rami Zamzam.
Security agencies have initiated further investigations in this regard.
According to the AP:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani police say they have detained five U.S. citizens in a raid on a house in the east of the country.
Police officer Tahir Gujjar declined to say why the men were arrested Wednesday in the town of Sargodha.
He says three of the men are Americans of Pakistani descent, one is of Egyptian descent and the other is of Yemeni heritage.
He says they are being interrogated by senior police officers.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said officials there were aware of the reported arrests, but had no more information.
Of course it’s on FOX news.
Another local DC news article.
I actually knew one of the brothers and the others I’ve seen around. Shocking and strange, but then again the Pakistani government is just obeying the command of their owners in America.
Message from CAIR:
CAIR: Muslim Community Assists FBI in Finding 5 Missing Youth
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/9/09) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference later today in Washington, D.C., at which it will outline how the Muslim community assisted the FBI in resolving the case of five Muslim young men from Virginia who left the country recently under mysterious circumstances.
WHAT: CAIR News Conference on Case of 5 Missing Youth
WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 4 p.m. (Eastern)
WHERE: CAIR’s Capitol Hill Headquarters, 453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com
“The Muslim community has taken the lead in bringing this case to the attention of law enforcement authorities and will offer ongoing cooperation with the FBI as the investigation moves forward,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
The parents of the missing young people and local Muslim leaders recently informed CAIR of the disappearances. CAIR immediately informed the FBI and, along with the families and Muslim community leaders, has been working to assist the agency as the investigation moved forward. The families were also assisted in obtaining legal representation to make sure their constitutional rights were protected.
At today’s news conference, CAIR officials and other Muslim leaders will outline the sequence of events in the case, urge anyone aware of the missing group’s activities to come forward and warn against the dangers of adopting or promoting extremist religious views.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.