Neighbors and family members of two Queens men arrested in connection with a plot to terrorize a Manhattan synagogue were stunned by the allegations Thursday. NY1's Tetiana Anderson filed the following report.
Authorities unveiled charges Thursday against two men from Queens who allegedly plotted to attack a Manhattan synagogue, but those who knew the suspects could not imagine a motive.
One of the suspects, 26-year-old Ahmed Ferhani, is unemployed and lives in a Flushing home with his family.
"He immigrated to the [United States] in 1995 from Algeria with two siblings and his parents, who claimed asylum," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
"You guys can do my family's research, and through all the years we've been in this country, everybody we ever met loved us, you know?" said Mohamed Ferhani, the suspect's brother. "Because we have such a great personality, we look out for the neighborhood."
In Whitestone, just a few blocks from the Ferhani home, lived Ahmed's friend, 20-year-old Mohamed Mamdouh, the other terror suspect currently in custody.
Police say Mamdouh is a livery service dispatcher. He was originally from Morocco but came to the United States with his parents in 1999.
A woman who lived below the family said that Mamdouh never expressed anti-Semitism and was an easygoing man.
"They're very nice people. I am very surprised," she said. "He's a cool guy, a very nice person."
Law enforcement officials painted a very different picture Thursday. Kelly said Ferhani complained that the world was "treating Muslims like dogs," and that his destructive plans were getting so big that officials had to bring the two suspects in when they did.