Mohammad Radwan Obeid, 33, was in bed with his fiancée, Misty Iddings, 30, at 8:37 a.m. on March 28, 2005, at their residence in Piqua, Ohio, when about 10 FBI agents pounded on the door, entered the house, questioned Obeid, and arrested him. They also seized his computer, documents he had downloaded from the Internet, computer disks, and phone numbers from his cell phone. Iddings was handed a business card for an officer connected to the local Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Immigration Judge Robert Newberry then ordered Obeid jailed. While he is charged with entering the United States via marriage fraud (he married a Kansas City woman in Jordan, arrived in the United States in February 2001, and five months later had their marriage annulled), the real concern is terrorism. He remarried and again got divorced. In mid-2004, he says, he became a Jehovah's Witness and decided to write a book on terrorism.
But Newberry, in the words of Detroit Free Press report, "agreed with the FBI that Obeid's claims of writing a book, his recent conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses and other activities often are used by terrorists to avoid arrest and deportation."
This promises to be a particularly interesting case, with the court system having to decide whether visits to terrorist websites were done in the spirit of an adept or a researcher; and whether Obeid's conversion out of Islam was real or phony. The Obeid case offers an acute version of the dilemma I have sketched out concerning Abdullah al Kidd and Mohammed Abu Baker Mansha. (June 29, 2005)